Adele's '25' Sets Biggest U.K. Opening Sales Week, Most Downloaded No. 1 Album

Alasdair McLellan
Adele photographed in 2015.

Adele has officially rewritten the U.K. chart record books, as confirmation arrives Friday, Nov. 27 from the Official Charts Company that 25 (XL Recordings) has recorded the biggest opening sales week in history. Unavailable on any streaming services, it has also become the most-downloaded No. 1 album ever.

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The album ended the week with sales of 800,307 copies, smashing the previous record of 696,000 created by Oasis' Be Here Now in 1997 -- although it must be added that that disc was released on a Thursday, when the chart sales week ran until a Saturday night, so it reached its mark in only three days.

25 sold more than the next 86 albums on the artist chart combined, and moved 252,423 downloads; the previous best was 95,709 for Ed Sheeran's X last year. The OCC reports that 68 percent of Adele's sale were physical, at 548,000 of the total. 25 thus gets an immediate double platinum certification from British trade body the BPI.

Adele's sales may have dwarfed everybody else's, but the entire market bathed in the glow of her success. Sales of the rest of the top 40 album chart increased by 21 percent over the week before, at a total of 674,000.

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Elvis Presley's If I Can Dream (Sony Music CG), with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, climbed back 3-2 on the new chart, trading places with Justin Bieber's Purpose (Def Jam/Universal). Enya's Dark Sky Island (Warner Bros.) entered at No. 4, her best ranking since her Paint The Sky With Stars compilation reached that number in 1997; One Direction fell to No. 5 with Made In The A.M. (Syco Music/Sony Music) after debuting at the top last week.    

As special editions and compilations begin to invade the chart for the festive market, a new version of Olly Murs' Never Been Better (Syco/Sony) brought the former No. 1 back at No. 9; a repackaging of another former bestseller, Take That's III (Polydor/Universal), gave it a return at No. 11. Now That's What I Call Music 92 (Sony Music CG/Virgin EMI/Universal) entered at No. 1 on the compilation chart.

Bieber breaks a record of his own on the singles countdown, claiming the top two places to become the first artist to achieve the feat since Madonna in 1985. "Sorry" started a second week at No. 1 and "Love Yourself" at No. 2. "What Do You Mean" climbed back 5-4 and "I'll Show You" fell 15-16, among numerous other tracks from Purpose showing in the singles chart.

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Adele's only unspectacular news of the week was the fall of the single "Hello" from 2-3, while former X Factor contestant Fleur East fell 4-5 with "Sax" (Syco/Sony). "Over And Over Again" (Global Music) by Nathan Sykes, formerly of The Wanted, was the highest new entry of the week at No. 8.