Somebody summon the spirit of Liz Taylor because Lil Nas X just went diamond.
According to Billboard, the rapper’s “Old Town Road” has now sold 10 million units — whether that’s digital downloads or equivalent streaming units on Spotify. The track, which features a popular remix with “Achy Breaky Heart” singer Billy Ray Cyrus, is the fastest song in history to reach the prestigious chart milestone. Other Diamond singles include Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” and Katy Perry’s “Firework.”
The 20-year-old is just the second gay man to join the exclusive club. Elton John claimed the first-ever Diamond single in 1997,with the double side of “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” and “Candle in the Wind,” the latter a 1973 song rewritten following the late Princess Diana’s death.
But both Elton and Lil Nas X have a long way to go if they hope to catch up with the all-time best-selling single. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” has sold an estimated 25 million copies since its 1941 release, many of which were physical units in the pre-streaming era. Because the song debuted 17 years before the Billboard Hot 100 era, it was ineligible at the time for Diamond status.
(Fun fact for your next trivia night: The first-ever no. 1 on the Hot 100 was Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool,” which topped the charts on August 4, 1958.)
But even if Lil Nas X never catches up to Crosby — who only got a 78-year head start — he can console himself with the fact that “Old Town Road” made him the first LGBTQ+ musician to win the MTV VMA for “Song of the Year.”
Lil Nas X is also expected to be a strong contender for “Record of the Year” at the Grammys, where prognosticators forecast that he will face off against presumed frontrunner Billie Eilish (“Bad Guy”). Although nominees won’t be announced until Nov. 20. he could be the first Black gay artist to take home a trophy in the category.