The Official Charts Company have unveiled an all new chart this week: the Official Progressive Albums chart. Every month it’ll run down the most popular prog LPs. Tame Impala have topped the first chart, but what are the top selling prog acts since 2000? Well, the Official Charts Company have revealed them. So why not peruse the best-selling list of the century so far and ask yourself: are you secretly a prog-head?
10. The Flaming Lips – biggest album: ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’ (2002)
Bar a sci-fi leaning, there’s no thematic or conceptual thread to 'Yoshimi...'. But if you’re going to split your title track into two halves and include psychedelic songs called ‘In The Morning Of The Magicians’ and ‘Approaching Pavonic Mons By Balloon (Utopia Planitia)’, expect to be tarred with the Wakeman wand.
9. Genesis – biggest album: ‘Selling England By The Pound’ (1973)
A prog rock mainstay and home to the Gabriel-era’s biggest hit in ‘I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)’, this pastoral tribute to decaying olde English folk traditions is - perhaps surprisingly - outselling their double album opus and prog benchmark ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’.
8. Mike Oldfield – biggest album: ‘Tubular Bells’ (1973)
Made famous when its opening piano solo was picked up as the spooky soundtrack to The Exorcist, ‘Tubular Bells’ has been a consistent huge seller since being the first album released on Richard Branson’s Virgin label, going on to sell up to 17 million copies worldwide.
7. Sigur Rós – biggest album: ‘Takk’ (2006)
Shifting time signatures, scat-language lyrics in an invented gibberish language called Hopelandic, a running time hitting 65 minutes – yup, can’t argue with the progitude of Sigur Rós’ fourth album.
6. Air – biggest album: ‘Moon Safari’ (1998)
You might point to the all-out pop tunes of ‘Sexy Boy’ and ‘Kelly Watch The Stars’ as proof that Air’s 1998 debut was more of an ambient pop confection than a doper’s dream, but the sonic soothsayers say otherwise.
5. Jeff Wayne – biggest album: ‘The War Of The Worlds’ (1978)
The chances of anything claiming that the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million-to-one coming in at Number One are a million-to-one, but still Jeff Wayne’s sci-fi HG Wells epic makes a decent showing. Now a touring stage show spectacular, occasionally starring Ricky Wilson.
4. Kate Bush – biggest album: ‘Aerial’ (2005)
Split, like ‘Hounds Of Love’, into a first half of separate songs and a second ‘song cycle’ half, Bush cemented her long-awaited comeback album’s prog legacy by performing the ‘A Sky Of Honey’ piece in full during her Hammersmith Apollo run of live shows.
3. Radiohead – biggest album: ‘OK Computer’ (1997)
Introduced with a six-minute-plus single hailed as the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ of the ’90s, Radiohead’s leap into the technological (dark) ages became a modern prog classic, introducing a new generation to the art of the lengthy tune-avoiding meander.
2. Pink Floyd – biggest album: ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ (1973)
The daddy. Having shifted 50 million copies and barely left the charts since 1973, Pink Floyd’s defining prog monolith of madness, war and greed bestrode the ’70s like a seriously stoned Collosus and still racks up significant sales today as new rafts of astral travelers sink into herbal stasis and blast off for the dark side.
1. Muse - biggest album: 'Black Holes And Revelations' (2006)
Who could possibly outsell the Floyd? Only the 21st Century’s greatest prog/pop/metal/general mayhem titans Muse, obviously. Boasting Cydonian knights, gigantic space phenomena and general interstellar antics, ‘Black Holes…’ definitely qualifies as a contemporary prog masterpiece.