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"Metallica" Turns Sweet 16...Million in Sales

Image courtesy of Ross Halfin (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Ross Halfin (via ABC News Radio)

It's official:  Metallica 's self-titled album -- known by almost everyone as  The   Black Album  -- has sold 16 million copies.

When we last checked in at the end of March, the 1991 album had moved approximately 15,971,000 units.  According to  Billboard , Metallica was selling 2,000-3,000 copies of  The Black Album  per week at that time, and should therefore have hit the 16 million mark sometime in June or July. 

Sweet 16 is here a little early.

Here are some interesting facts about  The Black Album :

-- It's the vehicle for some of Metallica's biggest hits, including "Nothing Else Matters," "Wherever I May Roam," "Enter Sandman," "Sad but True" and "The Unforgiven."

-- The album cost $1 million to make, had to be remixed three times and led to intense arguing between members.

-- Three of the four members of the band --  Lars Ulrich , Kirk Hammett  and  James Newsted  -- went through divorces during the course of the album's recording and production.  In an interview with  Playboy , Hammett admitted that he and his band mates felt intense pressure to try "to get something positive out of" the recording of the album in the midst of those tumultuous times.

-- The album was produced by  Bob Rock , who commanded the members of Metallica to work to his schedule and much harder than any other producer had.  Metallica fans later circulated an online petition, asking the band to never work with Rock again because they believed he altered Metallica's sound too dramatically.  Despite the fans' wishes, the band continued to partner with Rock through  St. Anger  in 2003.

The Black Album  was Metallica's first album to debut at #1, selling more than 650,000 copies during its opening week of sales.