Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Attains Rare ‘Diamond’ Single Status in the U.S.
Queen's timeless "Bohemian Rhapsody" has achieved yet another top distinction for recorded music — this month, it gets certified "diamond" by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for reaching 10 million or more in sales and stream equivalents in the United States.
That's one heck of a climb for a song from a British rock act that first came out in 1975. In fact, Queen is the first British band in music history to earn the U.S. diamond song award. But the numbers line up with the A Night at the Opera single's enduring popularity — two years ago, the "Bohemian Rhapsody" music video from the '70s surpassed one billion views on YouTube.
"This is incredible news," Queen guitarist Brian May responded in a press release about the diamond certification. "At times like this, I have to pinch myself to be sure it's real. All those wild dreams we had — this is beyond any of them. Huge thanks to all who have believed in us over the years."
Added drummer Roger Taylor in the March 25 statement, "It's a wonderful and gratifying thought to know the song has reached out and connected with so many people! We thank you all … onwards."
The band's U.S. label, Hollywood Records, called the certification "the latest in a long line of extraordinary achievements for 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' which was Queen's first Top 10 hit in the U.S. In the U.K., it went to No. 1 for nine consecutive weeks, a record at the time, before returning to the top of the charts again in 1991. It was named the most-streamed song of the 20th century.
In 2004, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and Freddie Mercury's vocal performance was named by the readers of Rolling Stone magazine as the "best in rock history."
The RIAA first established its diamond award in 1999 to recognize recordings that moved a minimum of 10 million units and counting. (One million record sold is the familiar platinum award; 500,000 is gold.) Two diamond-certified albums — the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) and Michael Jackson's Thriller — have each sold over 30 million copies in the U.S. alone.
More recent pop singles that have achieved diamond status include Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode" (2018), Katy Perry's "Roar" (2013) and Post Malone's "Congratulations" (2016). Plenty modern singles have sold over 10 million, as well — John Legend's "All of Me" and "Despacito" from Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber are both are 13-times platinum. At 12-times platinum are songs such as "Firework" (Katy Perry), "Thinking Out Loud" (Ed Sheeran), "Closer" (The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey) and others.