Country artists from Jason Aldean to Carrie Underwood fared well on the year-end list of gold and platinum honors, which were released Wednesday (Feb. 1) by the RIAA.
Here are 10 top artists who enjoyed a banner year in 2011. Platinum singles and albums represent shipments of 1 million units, while gold represents 500,000 units.
His party was just getting started in early 2011. The My Kinda Party project reached platinum in January 2011, then boasted double-platinum sales by September. His singles scorched the sales chart, too. "Dirt Road Anthem" scored double-platinum, while "Don't You Wanna Stay" (with Kelly Clarkson) and "My Kinda Party" achieved platinum, plus "The Truth" landed at gold. (His hot streak continues, as "Tattoos on This Town" grabbed gold last month.)
The Band Perry
Their breakthrough ballad, "If I Die Young," has taken on a life of its own. Written by singer Kimberly Perry, the family trio's digital single has surpassed the triple-platinum mark, while their self-titled debut album has earned a platinum plaque. Another of their hits, "You Lie," reached gold in July. (And their latest one, "All Your Life," duplicated that feat last month.)
This Georgia native keeps shakin' it up in country music. "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)" became his first platinum single. And his latest album, Tailgates & Tanlines, earned a gold plaque. (Plus, his 2012 is off to a strong start because "Do I" has already surpassed the platinum mark while "Don't Want This Night to End" grabbed gold in January.)
Last year proved to be a momentous one for Eric Church, as he claimed his first-ever gold certifications. His Grammy-nominated album, Chief, as well as his previous effort, Carolina both reached that milestone, as did his singles "Homeboy," "Love Your Love the Most" and "Smoke a Little Smoke." ("Drink in My Hand" gripped a gold award in January.)
The trio's signature hit, "Need You Now," continued to soar last year with an astonishing 5 million downloads. They also grabbed platinum for the singles "American Honey" and "Just a Kiss," while an early hit, "Lookin' for a Good Time," made it to the gold mark. Their current album, Own the Night, also reached platinum status less than six weeks after its release.
Didn't it seem like Miranda Lambert was everywhere in 2011? Her captivating batch of songs certainly attracted country fans. Her new album, Four the Record, earned gold in just one month. Earlier in the year, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (from 2007) seized a platinum album award. Her successful singles reached new heights, too. "White Liar" and "The House That Built Me" landed at platinum, while "Heart Like Mine" and "Only Prettier" grabbed gold.
This entertainer achieved a neat hat trick in 2011. His career compilation, Hits Alive, rose to gold status, and so did his latest album, This Is Country Music. As mentioned, "Remind Me" (with Carrie Underwood) caught the attention of 1 million paying fans. He also enjoyed gold plaques for "Old Alabama" (with Alabama), "Waitin' on a Woman" and "Water."
The buzz on Blake Shelton in 2011 was incredible. Along with a high-profile wedding and joining The Voice, his music continued to resonate with fans. Like Paisley, Shelton climbed to gold status with his latest album, Red River Blue, as well as a career compilation, Loaded: The Best of Blake Shelton. In addition, "Honey Bee" stuck -- er, struck -- platinum (and so did "God Gave Me You" in January). And three years after its release, "Home" received a gold certification, too.
Reaching back to the beginning of her career, Swift's self-titled debut album climbed to 5 million units. And her list of certified singles is quite long: "You Belong With Me" rose to 3 million (and up to 4 million in January) and "Mine" achieved two million in sales. Her platinum singles from 2011 are "Back to December," "Fifteen," "Forever and Always" and "Mean." In addition, "Jump, Then Fall," "Sparks Fly" and "Speak Now" enjoyed gold status.
Her Play On album (2009) reached double-platinum status. Plus she earned platinum singles with "Just a Dream," "Last Name," "Remind Me" (with Brad Paisley) and "Undo It." All in all, she's sold 14 million albums since winning American Idol in 2005. Look for a new album from Underwood on May 1, with the single "Good Girl" at country radio on Feb. 23.
Scotty McCreery reached platinum with his debut album, Clear as Day, as well as a gold certification for his debut single, "I Love You This Big." First-time platinum singles were also presented to the Eli Young Band's "Crazy Girl," Jake Owen's "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" and Thompson Square's "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not."