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List of best-selling albums in the United Kingdom

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List of best-selling albums in the United Kingdom

Queen's Greatest Hits is the best-selling album in the UK. Their 1991 follow-up Greatest Hits II is the UK's tenth highest-selling album.

The best-selling album in the United Kingdom is Greatest Hits, a compilation album by British band Queen that was first released in 1981. As of February 2014, it has sold more than 6 million copies, of which approximately 124,000 have been from downloads.[1] Queen's second greatest hits album, Greatest Hits II, has sold approximately 3.89 million copies since being released in 1991, and is the tenth biggest-selling album in the UK.[2] Of the UK's top 40 best-selling albums, more than half are by British artists.[3] Nine are by American artists, with the rest being from Ireland, Canada, Sweden and Jamaica.[4] Five acts—The Beatles, Coldplay, Dido, Michael Jackson and Queen—feature on the chart with more than one album, with Jackson and Queen both featuring twice within the top ten.[2] The most-represented record label is Parlophone with five entries, while the decade that appears the most is the 2000s, with 14 of the entries having been released during that period, despite its "general background of declining sales and internet piracy".[3][4]

According to the British organisation the Official Charts Company (OCC), an album is defined as being a type of music release that features more than four tracks and is longer than 25 minutes in duration.[5] Sales of albums in the UK were first published on 28 July 1956 by the music magazine Record Mirror, who compiled a weekly chart of the country's five biggest-selling records.[6] Record Mirror '​s first number one was Songs for Swingin' Lovers! by Frank Sinatra.[7] Since then, three albums have gone on to sell more than five million copies each: Greatest Hits by Queen, Gold: Greatest Hits by ABBA and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.[8] The top eight best-selling albums have each sold at least four million copies.[9] Since 1994, sales of albums have been monitored by the OCC, who took over compiling the weekly UK Albums Chart.[10]

Sales certifications for UK album sales are awarded by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[11] The BPI began awarding certifications soon after it was founded in April 1973.[12] Initially, certifications were based on the revenue received by the album manufacturers – records that generated revenue of GB£75,000 were awarded silver certification, £150,000 represented gold and £1 million was platinum.[12] Over the following six years, the thresholds for silver and gold certifications both grew twice – the threshold for platinum certification remained at £1 million. In January 1979, this method was abolished, and certifications were instead based on unit sales to retail outlets: sales of 60,000 were awarded silver, gold for 100,000 and platinum for 300,000.[12] Multi-platinum awards were introduced in February 1987;[1] digital downloads have been counted towards unit sales since 2004.[13] Certifications for albums released before April 1973 were retroactively awarded in August 2013 for sales from 1994 onwards, giving Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band triple-platinum status.[14] The highest-certified album is 21 by Adele, which has been awarded platinum certification 16 times.[15]

Best-selling albums

The Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the earliest-released entry on the list.

Michael Jackson features twice in the top ten biggest-selling albums, with Thriller and Bad.

Adele's 21 is the highest-certified album in the UK, having achieved platinum status 16 times.

As of 10 February 2014:[2]
Key
Released before UK music recording certifications were introduced in April 1973
Best-selling albums in the UK
No. Album Artist Record label[2] Released[2] Chart
peak[2]
Number of times
certified platinum[3]
1 Greatest Hits Queen Parlophone October 1981 1 11×
2 Gold: Greatest Hits ABBA Polydor September 1992 1 14×
3 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Beatles, TheThe Beatles Parlophone June 1967 1
4 21 Adele XL January 2011 1 16×
5 (What's the Story) Morning Glory? Oasis Creation October 1995 1 14×
6 Thriller Jackson, MichaelMichael Jackson Epic November 1982 1 11×
7 Dark Side of the Moon, TheThe Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd Harvest March 1973 2
8 Brothers in Arms Dire Straits Vertigo May 1985 1 13×
9 Bad Jackson, MichaelMichael Jackson Epic August 1987 1 13×
10 Greatest Hits II Queen Parlophone October 1991 1
11 Immaculate Collection, TheThe Immaculate Collection Madonna Sire November 1990 1 12×
12 Rumours Fleetwood Mac Warner Bros. February 1977 1 11×
13 Back to Black Winehouse, AmyAmy Winehouse Island October 2006 1 11×
14 Stars Simply Red East West September 1991 1 12×
15 Come On Over Twain, ShaniaShania Twain Mercury March 1998 1 11×
16 Back to Bedlam Blunt, JamesJames Blunt Atlantic November 2004 1 10×
17 Urban Hymns Verve, TheThe Verve Hut September 1997 1 10×
18 Legend Bob Marley & The Wailers Island/Tuff Gong May 1984 1
19 Bat Out of Hell Meat Loaf Epic October 1977 9
20 Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon & Garfunkel CBS January 1970 1
21 Spirit Lewis, LeonaLeona Lewis Syco November 2007 1 10×
22 Dirty Dancing Original soundtrack RCA August 1987 4
23 No Angel Dido Cheeky October 2000 1 10×
24 1 Beatles, TheThe Beatles Apple November 2000 1 10×
25 Crazy Love Bublé, MichaelMichael Bublé Reprise October 2009 1 10×
26 White Ladder Gray, DavidDavid Gray IHT/East West November 1998 1
27 Talk on Corners Corrs, TheThe Corrs Atlantic October 1997 1
28 Spice Spice Girls Virgin November 1996 1 10×
29 Fame, TheThe Fame Lady Gaga Interscope January 2009 1
30 Life for Rent Dido Cheeky September 2003 1
31 Rush of Blood to the Head, AA Rush of Blood to the Head Coldplay Parlophone August 2002 1
32 Beautiful World Take That Polydor November 2006 1
33 Only by the Night Kings of Leon Hand Me Down September 2008 1
34 Hopes and Fears Keane Island May 2004 1
35 Joshua Tree, TheThe Joshua Tree U2 Island March 1987 1
36 Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters Polydor February 2004 1
37 ...But Seriously Collins, PhilPhil Collins Virgin November 1989 1
38 X&Y Coldplay Parlophone June 2005 1
39 Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of
The War of the Worlds
Wayne, JeffJeff Wayne CBS June 1978 5
40 Jagged Little Pill Morissette, AlanisAlanis Morissette Maverick June 1995 1 10×

Notes

  1. ^ As an example, a 2× Platinum certification would reflect 2 × 300,000 = 600,000 sales.
  2. ^ a b c The record labels, dates and chart peaks are those given by the OCC.[16]
  3. ^ The certifications are those given by the BPI as of 3 September 2013.[15]

References

General (chart positions)
  • Kreisler, Lauren (11 February 2014). "Queen's Greatest Hits becomes first album to sell 6 million copies in the UK".  
Specific
  1. ^ "Queen reach six million album sales in UK".  
  2. ^ a b c Kreisler, Lauren (11 February 2014). "Queen's Greatest Hits becomes first album to sell 6 million copies in the UK".  
  3. ^ a b  
  4. ^ a b "Queen retain UK album sales crown".  
  5. ^ "Rules For Chart Eligibility – Albums" (PDF).  
  6. ^ Mawer, Sharon (2008). "1956".  
  7. ^ "Albums chart: 50 chart facts.".  
  8. ^ Kreisler, Laura (18 May 2012). "ABBA join The Beatles and Queen in 5 million sellers' club".  
  9. ^ "Adele overtakes Dire Straits to become UK's sixth biggest selling album of all-time".  
  10. ^ "Official UK Albums Top 100".  
  11. ^ "About Us".  
  12. ^ a b c "Certified Awards – A Timeline" (PDF).  
  13. ^ "Certified Awards".  
  14. ^ "Beatles albums finally go platinum".  
  15. ^ a b "Certified Awards".  
  16. ^ "Artist Chart History".  

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