The Beatles rule the top of the all-time biggest UK studio albums roost in a new ranking revealed by Official Chart Company on Oct. 13. OCC honored the first-ever National Album Day by compiling and posting a list of the Top 40 biggest albums in UK chart history and it’s not a surprise that an album by the biggest band in British history clinched the top spot.
“Sgt. Pepper’s” was released in 1967 as the psychedelic, experimental eighth studio album by the Fab Four. Fans fiercely embraced the record and it dominated the UK Albums chart for 28 weeks and the U.S. Top LPs chart for 15 weeks. The groundbreaking album reportedly claimed the all-time Top UK Albums position by amassing 5.34 million combined sales. The prestigious UK ranking tallies physical sales, downloads and streams in the UK.
It’s interesting the No. 2 position belongs to Adele and her sophomore studio album, 21. It was released more than four decades after Sgt. Pepper’s, in 2011, with combined sales not that far under the leader, reportedly coming in at 5.11 million units. The “Hello” singer-songwriter notably holds two Top 10 places in the list, with her 2015 follow up 25, landing at No. 10. Michael Jackson also holds two Top 10 entries of his own with Thriller (1982) at No. 5 and Bad (1987) at No. 7.
Coldplay has great reason to be proud as they have the most albums featured in the all-time UK Top 40 with A Rush of Blood to the Head at No. 26, X&Y at No. 33 and Parachutes hitting the last on the list at No. 40. Several acts have two albums in the ranking with Ed Sheeran claiming two Top 20 positions with x (Multiply) at No. 13 and ÷(Divide) ranked at No. 20. The latter album of Sheeran's is notably the youngest in the list, as it dropped less than a year ago, in March of 2017.
Sgt. Pepper’s is the only album from the ‘60s to make the list. However, several albums from the ’70s landed a place, including Pink Floyd’s iconic 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon, which earned the No. 4 all-time spot. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours from 1977 comes in at No. 8.
The ranking also reflects a strong mix of UK and U.S. artists, with Canada and Ireland being the only other countries with albums on the list. Holding two of the four Canadian entries, Michael Bublé is the only artist to log a holiday album on the list with his 2011 album Christmas hitting No. 38. His 2009 chart-topper Crazy Love made the Top 20, at No. 19. Shania Twain bested Bublé by seven places with Come On Over (1997) hitting No. 12. Rounding out Canadian entries, Alanis Morissette’s 1995 hit Jagged Little Pill ranked at No. 34.
Irish rock giants U2’s epic album The Joshua Tree ranked at No. 29 while the only other Irish act on the list, Corrs, bested U2 by four places with Talk on Corners making No. 25.
Circling back around to the chart-crowner, Sgt. Pepper’s, American fans can also note the iconic record also topped renowned U.S. rock journal Rolling Stone’s rank of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and the magazine reveals some fun facts in its album profile. The album took over 700 hours to make and of that time, only three days were spent on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and five days were needed for “A Day in the Life.” Sgt. Pepper's celebrated its milestone 50th-anniversary last year.
In 2016, Official Charts Company named Sir Paul McCartney as “the UK’s most successful albums artist of all time.” Macca's massive music career, which started as a member of The Beatles, then Wings, and then a solo artist has spanned six decades. He recently earned a career-first Billboard 200 chart-topping debut with his 18th studio album, Egypt Station. See the full Official Charts Company all-time best UK albums ranking here.