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UK’s top selling albums of the 21st century revealed

By | Published on Monday 14 October 2019


As part of the National Album Day celebrations on Saturday (you all celebrated, right?), BBC Radio 2 unveiled the UK’s Top 40 biggest selling albums of the 21st century so far.

Compiled by the Official Charts Company, the rundown was aired as part of a special edition of Paul Gambaccini’s ‘Pick Of The Pops’ show. It’s based on physical sales, downloads and streams since 1 Jan 2000 – with all but one album on the chart originally released during that time.

The only exception is David Gray’s ‘White Ladder’, which was first released independently in 1998, but later re-issued by Warner Music in 2000. Gray’s album sits at number ten, with all but one of the other artists above him being British. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Adele, Amy Winehouse and Ed Sheeran take all of the top five slots.

“It’s heartening to see so many British artists in the chart, proving that home-grown music is still as popular as ever”, says Radio 2 Head Of Music Jeff Smith.

Commenting on how the rise of streaming has affected the numbers across the full Top 40, Gambaccinni notes: “Even with streams factored in to what is called equivalent sales, the first decade of the century has outperformed the second by 28 albums to eleven”.

What exactly does that tell us? Probably something. Although maybe nothing. How about we just have a look at the top ten in this chart and move on:

1. Adele – 21 (2011)
2. Amy – Back To Black (2006)
3. Adele – 25 (2015)
4. Ed Sheeran – Multiply (2014)
5. Ed Sheeran – Divide (2017)
6. James Blunt – Back To Bedlam (2004)
7. Leona Lewis – Spirit (2007)
8. Michael BublĂ© – Crazy Love (2009)
9. Dido – No Angel (2000)
10. David Gray – White Ladder (1999)

View the full top 40 here.

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