It was 60 years ago this month that Britain’s Official Albums Chart launched with Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Swingin’ Lovers landing the first No. 1 ranking during the week of July 22, 1956. In the interim, 1,100 albums have made it to the top spot, but which album is the top-seller of all time in the UK?
According to the Official Charts tally Queen‘s 1981 Greatest Hits album is far and away the best seller as well as the only one to have sold more than six million copies in the UK (6.1 million in fact), with four weeks at No. 1 and 158 weeks in the top 40. The band’s second hits collection, Greatest Hits II made it into the top 10 as well at No. 10 with nearly four million sold.
“What a great bit of news to wake up to!” Queen guitarist Brian May told OfficialCharts.com. “The most popular album? Well, I always thought the band showed promise, but this is beyond our boyhood dreams! Thanks folks!”
ABBA – Gold: Greatest Hits was the second-best seller with nearly 5.2 million units shifted since its release in 1992, followed by the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the best-selling studio album and the only other release to break the five million mark (5.1 million). Adele’s 21 also made it into the top 5, landing at No. 4, just ahead of Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? at No. 5 on sales of 4.7 million.
Michael Jackson lands at No. 6 and No. 9 for, respectively, Thriller and Bad, while Pink Floyd’s chart perennial, The Dark Side of the Moon, snags the No. 7 spots, though it is the only record in the top 10 that never hit No. 1 (peaking at No. 2). The top 10 is rounded out by Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms, which takes No. 8.
Robbie Williams had the the most appearances by an individual in the top 60 with four, counting two solo releases and two albums with his former band, Take That, who also have a third entry thanks to their first album post-Robbie, Beautiful World. Coldplay also scored three entries in the top 60, with Michael Jackson, Queen, the Beatles, Adele, Dido, ABBA, Paul Simon and Fleetwood Mac all landing two each.
Other acts in the top 20 include: Madonna, Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, the Verve and Meat Loaf. Adele’s 25 snuck in at No. 27 after just seven months of release and Ed Sheeran’s X landed at No 49. Click here to see the full list.