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Albums

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UK Best Sellers by year
UK Best Sellers by decade
Album titles
Artists
Other

Albums

This is a very big subject; this page was created relatively recently, and I have to say that it currently doesn't even scratch the surface. However – the longest journey begins with a single step ...

Best–Selling Albums of the 2010s

The best–selling album of the 2010s, worldwide, and the best–selling album of the 21st century to date (June 2020 – 31 million sales) Click to show or hide the answer
Second and fifth ditto (2nd–best seller in the 2010s, and 5th–best of the century – 27 million sales) Click to show or hide the answer

UK Best Sellers: by year

The UK's best–selling albums, year by year since 2010, were:

Year Artist Title Sales (est.)
2019 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 641,000
2018 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 2,130,000
2017 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 3,400,000
2016 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 753,000
2015 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 2,496,000
2014 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 2,134,000
2013 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 829,000
2012 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 2,208,000
2011 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 4,751,000
2010 Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 2,374,000

Note that the sales figures are for the year in question only.

UK Best Sellers: by decade

The UK's best–selling albums of each decade, since the 1950s, were:

Year Artist Title Year Sales (est.)
2010s Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 2011 5,170,000
2000s Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 2004 3,191,393
1990s Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 1995 4,160,000
1980s Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 1985  
1970s Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 1970  
1960s Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 1967  
1950s Click to show or hide the answer Click to show or hide the answer 1958 

Note that where sales figures are given, they're for the decade of release only.

Album Titles

Fairport Convention album (1971): named after a popular instant pudding (also inspired by the name of the pub local to the house that the band shared) Click to show or hide the answer
AC/DC album, 1980: the first to feature Brian Johnson on lead vocals; became the second best–selling album of all time, behind Michael Jackson's Thriller, and ahead of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon Click to show or hide the answer
Michael Parkinson, John Conteh, James Coburn, Kenny Lynch, Clement Freud and Christopher Lee all appear (along with the three band members) on the front cover of Click to show or hide the answer
The best–selling film soundtrack album of all time (1992 – first to outsell Saturday Night Fever) Click to show or hide the answer
Bruce Springsteen's first UK No. 1 album, released in 1984: also produced two of his three Top Ten hits – Dancing in the Dark, and I'm on Fire, backed with the title track Click to show or hide the answer
Supertramp's most successful album (1979): included their biggest hit singles, The Logical Song and the title track; sold over 20 million copies Click to show or hide the answer
Dire Straits' biggest–selling album (1985): first (by any artist or group) to sell a million copies on CD and the first to outsell its vinyl version Click to show or hide the answer
Oasis's first album (1994) Click to show or hide the answer
1994 Pink Floyd album: named after the means by which members are called to vote in the House of Commons Click to show or hide the answer
John Lennon's last album (Yoko Ono was co–credited) – released three weeks before his assassination – he signed a copy for assassin Mark Chapman, shortly before the fatal incident. Poorly received at first, it became a massive worldwide hit after the assassination and won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1981 Click to show or hide the answer
David Bowie album (1971): immediately before Ziggy Stardust, included the songs Changes, Oh You Pretty Things, Life on Mars, Andy Warhol, and Song for Bob Dylan Click to show or hide the answer
Iconic, self–titled debut album, 1969: opening words "In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man" Click to show or hide the answer
Nirvana's first album (1990) Click to show or hide the answer
Pink Floyd's first album (1967) – title is a chapter title from The Wind in the Willows (by Kenneth Grahame) Click to show or hide the answer
The Who's second rock opera (after Tommy): released as a double album in 1973, and filmed in 1979 starring Phil Daniels in the central role (a young Mod named Jimmy Cooper) Click to show or hide the answer
Fleetwood Mac's first UK No. 1 album: released in 1977, it became one of the best–selling albums of all time; produced the theme tune to the BBC's Formula 1 coverage, and four singles – none of which, surprisingly, made the Top 20 in the UK (everyone must have had the album) Click to show or hide the answer
The Pogues' second album: cover features a slightly altered version of Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa; title comes from a quotation attributed to Winston Churchill: "Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but ... " Click to show or hide the answer
The UK's two best–selling albums of 1978 – both soundtracks (and both featuring John Travolta); the first was the best–selling soundtrack album of all time, until 1992 (see above) Click to show or hide the answer
Click to show or hide the answer
Elbow's 4th studio album (2008): title is the nickname of a character in Damon Runyan's stories of New York gangsters Click to show or hide the answer
U2's 13th studio album (2014): controversially released to all iTunes customers at no cost Click to show or hide the answer
The UK's best–selling album of 1965, 1966 and 1968; and the best–selling album of the 1960s, worldwide (OST) Click to show or hide the answer
Rolling Stones, 1971: cover featured a working zip Click to show or hide the answer
The biggest–selling album ever, worldwide, with 65 million sales up to 2016 (Michael Jackson) Click to show or hide the answer
The Faces' third album, second to be released in 1971, and regarded by many as their best – includes Stay With Me: A Nod's as Good as a Wink ... Click to show or hide the answer
First LP on the Virgin label (catalogue number V2001) Click to show or hide the answer
Joy Division's 1979 debut album: iconic cover artwork by Peter Saville is based on an image of radio waves from the first pulsar to be discovered, created at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico Click to show or hide the answer

Artists (including groups)

Greatest hits album (title Gold, released 1992) overtook Sgt. Pepper to become the UK's second best selling album of all time, in 2013 Click to show or hide the answer
A Year of Songs (2015), Upon a Different Shore (2016) – better known as a comedian and TV quiz show presenter Click to show or hide the answer
British singer–songwriter: released three albums, 1998–2012, under the title Mermaid Avenue, of songs featuring previously unpublished lyrics by Woody Guthrie – after being given access to his personal archive Click to show or hide the answer
Album You Want it Darker released 17 days before his death, aged 82, in 2016, and a posthumous "continuation", Thanks for the Dance, three years later Click to show or hide the answer
A Love Supreme (1965): classic album by Click to show or hide the answer
Birth of the Cool (compilation of 1949 recordings, 1957), Kind of Blue (1959), Sketches of Spain (1960), In a Silent Way (1969), Bitches Brew (1970): classic albums by Click to show or hide the answer
2021 album Certified Lover Boy produced a record ten Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including Way 2 Sexy which reached No. 1 Click to show or hide the answer
Third studio album (18 Months, 2012) produced a record eight Top Ten hits Click to show or hide the answer
Rapper whose 2018 album Damn won the Pulitzer Prize for Music – the first time it had been won by music from a genre other than classical or jazz Click to show or hide the answer
Fourth album was untitled, but became known as 'Four Symbols' because of its sleeve design Click to show or hide the answer
The oldest living artist to have a UK No. 1 album (2009, aged 92, with We'll Meet Again – a Best Of compilation) Click to show or hide the answer
Irish singer: the first artist to have a different album in the UK charts in each of 25 consecutive years (1988–2012); record extended to 33 years as of 2021 Click to show or hide the answer
Greatest Hits album, released in 1981, is the UK's best–selling album of all time (5.9 million up to 2013) Click to show or hide the answer
Come On Over (1977) – one of the top ten best–selling album of all time, worldwide – is by Click to show or hide the answer
The 12 Year Old Genius (1963) was a live album by Click to show or hide the answer

Other

City where David Bowie lived for several years from 1976, and which gave its name to the 'trilogy' of albums Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979) – although only Heroes was mainly recorded there Click to show or hide the answer
The cake that appears on the cover of the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed album (1969) was baked by Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–22