NME.COM

The biggest selling UK acts of all time

  • 20) The Who. Number of units sold: 100 million. Despite their incredible success, The Who never had a Number One single, although 'My Generation' got to Number Two.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 25 May 2011

  • 19) Rod Stewart. Number of units sold: 100 million. His classic 'Maggie May' was first released in 1971 as a B-Side to Tim Hardin's 'Reason To Believe'.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 23 Mar 2012

  • 18) Phil Collins. Number Of Units Sold: 100 million. Collins quit touring in the early noughties, but reunited with Genesis in 2007 to play live. He refused to call it a 'tour' however and referred to them as "a selection of shows".

    Photo: PA

    Added: 12 Nov 2010

  • 17) Pet Shop Boys. Number Of Units Sold: 100 million. Although not recognized as part of the genre, 'West End Girls' was the first single containing a rap to go to Number One in the UK.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 04 May 2011

  • 16) Paul McCartney. Number Of Units Sold: 100 million. Although Michael Jackson famously owned the rights to The Beatles songs, Macca owns the publishing rights to Buddy Holly's catalogue.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 23 Mar 2012

  • 15) Iron Maiden. Number Of Units Sold: 100 million. Only two members have remained members of Iron Maiden from its inception in 1975 to now. They are bassist Steve Harris and guitarist David Michael Murray.

    Photo: Alyson Blanchard/NME

    Added: 23 Mar 2012

  • 14) George Michael. Number Of Units Sold: 100 million. His 1991 duet with Elton John 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me' was the only live song of that decade to hit the top spot.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 11 May 2011

  • 13) Fleetwood Mac. Number Of Units Sold: 100 million. Throughout their lifetime the band have had a total of 16 different members including three (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Peter Green) who have had multiple stints with the group.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 14 Mar 2011

  • 12) Dire Straits. Number Of Units Sold: 103 million. Their 'Brothers In Arms' album was key in turning the CD into the format of choice.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 23 Mar 2012

  • 11) Englebert Humerdinck. Number Of Units Sold: 120 Million. His name is actually Arnold Dorsey, his stage name is taken from a 19th century opera composer.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 19 Mar 2012

  • 10) Status Quo. Number Of Units Sold: 120 Million. In 1982 The Quo were the first rock band to perform for royalty when they played the Prince's Trust charity gig.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 23 Mar 2012

  • 9) David Bowie. Number Of Units Sold: 140 Million. Bowie claimed ownership of the Moonwalk. He wrote on his official website that choreographer Toni Basil taught him a type of Moonwalk for his 1974 Diamond Dogs tour.

    Photo: Phil Wallis/NME

    Added: 09 Jun 2011

  • 8) Genesis. Number Of Units Sold: 150 Million. When the song 'Invisible Touch' topped the US Billboard chart it marked the first moment when a group followed an individual band member to the pole position.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 18 Aug 2011

  • 7) Rolling Stones. Number Of Units Sold: 200 Million. One of the cameramen on the 1970 documentary film about the Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter, was none other than legendary film director George Lucas.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 07 Jan 2011

  • 6) Pink Floyd. Number Of Units Sold: 200 Million. The inflatable pig on the cover of the 1977 album 'Animals' escaped its tethers during the photo shoot for the artwork, flew into flight lanes of Heathrow Airport and made planes land in a field in Kent instead.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 15 Mar 2011

  • 5) Elton John. Number Of Units Sold: 250 Million. Elton is godfather to Sean Lennon, he was good friends with father John.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 23 Mar 2012

  • 4) Cliff Richard. Number Of Units Sold: 260 Million. His biggest single was 'We Don't Talk Anymore' which sold 5 million copies in 1979.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 23 Mar 2012

  • 2) Led Zeppelin. Number Of Units Sold: 300 million. Jimmy Page was a session musician from 1963-1966. He worked with Cliff Richard, Burt Bacharach, The Kinks, The Who, and Donovan.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 12 May 2011

  • 1) The Beatles. Number Of Units Sold: 1 billion. The Beatles earned $90,000 in 35 minutes for their Minneapolis show in August 1965.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 24 Oct 2011