25 Factoids We Gleaned From The UK Official Charts Company’s List Of Biggest-Selling Albums Ever

The Official Charts Company has today (July 5) released a list of the 60 biggest selling albums in the UK ever. Queen’s ‘Greatest Hits’ came first, and many of the entries look like the contents of a Tesco bargain bin, but there are some absolute gems in here – and there are also a load of interesting factoids that we’ve gleaned by looking into them. Here is some lovely trivia for you to enjoy:

1. Dido’s 2000 debut, ‘No Angel’, has sold more copies than any individual Coldplay album.

2. Meat Loaf’s second album, 1977’s ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, is the slow-burner of the list, reaching a peak of Number 9 in the UK in the ordinary UK Album Chart – but still placing 19th on this list of biggest selling albums.

3. The oldest album on the list is the soundtrack for The Sound of Music, which was released in 1965 and comes in at Number 52.

4. The newest album, predictably, is Adele’s ‘25’. It was only released seven months ago but it’s already the 27th best-selling album ever in the UK.


There are three Take That albums on this list – while the likes of The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Abba and Michael Jackson only have two.

6. There are also two Robbie Williams albums, but there’s no Radiohead 🙁

7. Britain’s favourite Beatles album is ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, which comes in at Number Three on the list. Their only other album here is ‘1’, their compilation album, which sits at Number 20.

8. The most successful years in the list are 1987 and 2000: in both of these years, four albums that made the list were released. 1987 brought us Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’, the Dirty Dancing OST, U2’s ‘Joshua Tree’ and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tango In The Night’. 2000, meanwhile, produced The Beatles’ ‘1’, Dido’s ‘No Angel’, Coldplay’s ‘Parachutes’ and Eminem’s ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’.


9. Adele has beaten some of the most iconic artists in history by reaching Number Four in the list with her 2011 album ‘21’: these include Oasis, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Madonna, Amy Winehouse, Spice Girls, Coldplay, George Michael… and many more.

10. The 57 albums that aren’t soundtracks come from 45 different artists. The most prolific artists to make the Top 60 are Coldplay and Take That: both of them have three albums on the list that were released within a space of six years – Coldplay between 2000 and 2005, and Take That between 2005 and 2010.

11. Excluding the soundtracks, two thirds (66.66%) of the albums are by male-only acts. That imbalance is even sharper in the Top 10, where there are only two artists that aren’t made up of just men: Abba, whose ‘Gold – Greatest Hits’ comes in at Number Two, and Adele, whose ‘21’ is at Number Four.

12. Less than a quarter of the albums (22.8%) are by female-only acts. The only girl group on the entire list is Spice Girls.


13. Just over a tenth of the albums (10.5%) come from mixed bands: The Corrs, Abba, Fleetwood Mac and Scissor Sisters.

14. The only instrumental album on the list is Mike Oldfield’s 1973 prog masterpiece ‘Tubular Bells’.

15. There’s one X Factor winner on the list: Leona Lewis, with her 2007 debut ‘Spirit’.

16. The are three soundtracks on the list: Dirty Dancing, Grease and The Sound of Music.

17. There’s an almost equal split between bands – who account for 30 of the list’s albums – and solo artists, who account for 27 of them. (The other three are the soundtracks, obviously).

18. Keane’s 2004 debut (at Number 35) has sold more in the UK than both U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’ and Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’.


19. The shortest album names on the list come from Ed Sheeran, whose 2014 album ‘X’ comes in at Number 49, and The Beatles’ ‘1’, at Number 20.

20. Out of the artists that have two or more albums on the list, The Beatles have the greatest longevity – the first album of theirs on it is 1967’s ‘Sgt Pepper’s…’, and the last is their 2000 compilation ‘1’. That’s a stretch of 33 years.

21. Shania Twain’s 1997 album ‘Come On Over’ has been phenomenally successful, beating albums like Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, Spice Girls’ ‘Spice’, all of Take That’s… oeuvre.

22. Seven of the albums (11.6% of the list) are Greatest Hits compilations.

23. There are only three artists with alliterative names on the list: Leona Lewis, Scissor Sisters and Take That.


24. There are no albums that start with the letters F, K, M, Q, V, Y or Z on the list.

25. The most successful decade is the ‘00s, when 20 of the albums – a third of those on the list – were released.

You can see the top 10 below, and the full list on the Official Charts Company’s website.
1) Queen – ‘Greatest Hits’
2) Abba – ‘Gold: Greatest Hits’
3) The Beatles – ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
4) Adele – ‘21’
5) Oasis – ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’
6) Michael Jackson – ‘Thriller’
7) Pink Floyd – ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’
8) Dire Straits – ‘Brothers In Arms’
9) Michael Jackson – ‘Bad’
10) Queen – ‘Greatest Hits II’