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'American Idol' finalist Clay Aiken awarded first platinum single of 2003


By Wade Paulsen, 07/29/2003 

What do these people have in common: Elton John; Charlie Rich; Pink Floyd; Lee Ann Womack; Clay Aiken? If you answered "million-selling singles," move to the head of the class.

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Billboard reports that Clay Aiken's debut single, "This Is The Night" b/w "Bridge Over Troubled Water," has been certified platinum, for sales of over 1 million copies, by the Record Industry Association of America ("RIAA," better known as the group that sues music file-swappers).

Clay's smash hit, which has dropped to #23 on the airplay-focused Billboard charts but remains #1 for the fifth straight week on the U.S. Nielsen SoundScan sales charts (and on the Canadian Nielsen SoundScan charts as well) is the first single to reach platinum status in 2003. The only other singles to reach platinum status in the last two years are Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance," which was the only single certified platinum by the RIAA in 2002, needing two years to sell a million, and Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors" and Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)," each of which needed over 20 years before achieving RIAA platinum status in 2001. "This Is The Night" is also the first single to achieve platinum status in the minimum 4 to 5 weeks after release since Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle In The Wind 1997."

Next up for Clay is the release of his debut album Measure Of A Man, which ranks in the top 20 on Amazon.com based on pre-orders --- even though a firm release date for the album has not yet been determined!

Clay has now surpassed both Idol winners, Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard, who only managed to reach gold -- 500,000 copies sold -- with their debut single releases ("A Moment Like This" and "Flying Without Wings," respectively). In addition, the Idol finalists' single, "God Bless The U.S.A.," featuring Clay and Ruben, also was certified gold.

However, Kelly still has one achievement that neither Clay nor Ruben can match. Kelly's CD Thankful was certified platinum during the finale of American Idol, with both Clay and Ruben looking on, and is currently edging close to multi-platinum status, while her hit "Miss Independent" continues to hover around the Top 10. We'll soon see if either Clay and Ruben can top that when their CDs are released.












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