Brooks, not Elvis, is the king of sales

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Garth Brooks officially is the bestselling solo act in U.S. music history. Again.

Brooks collected his latest hunka-hunka precious metal Monday from the Recording Industry Assn. of America, certifying total album sales of 123 million copies, allowing him to surpass Elvis Presley to reclaim the No. 2 slot.

The Beatles have long been No. 1 on the RIAA's ranking of U.S. album sales, currently showing sales of 170 million and counting, but the No. 2 position has shifted over time. In recent years that spot has been held by Brooks, Led Zeppelin and, most recently, Presley, whose lifetime album sales stand at 118.5 million. Before Monday's news, Brooks had held No. 3 with 116 million sales.

Brooks appeared outside Capitol Records' offices in Hollywood to receive formal recognition of his latest sales peak, a figure that's certain to continue upward with the impending release of his three-disc "Ultimate Hits" compilation album landing in stores today.

Led Zeppelin, in fourth place with 109.5 million albums sold, also figures to add to the band's hits tally with the first-time availability of its catalog online for downloading, the release next week of "Mothership," a new two-CD career retrospective, and a reunion concert slated for Dec. 10 in London.

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