Queen's greatest hits crowned as UK's biggest-selling album

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With 6.1m copies sold, Queen’s 1981 compilation heads list marking 60 years of the album chart first topped by Frank Sinatra

Queen's greatest hits crowned as UK's biggest-selling album
‘I always thought we showed promise’ … John Deacon, Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen. Photograph: South Coast Press/Rex

Queen’s Greatest Hits has been revealed as the biggest-selling album in the UK.

To celebrate 60 years of the official album chart – “the UK’s official weekly snapshot of popularity” – OfficialCharts.com has unveiled the 60 biggest-selling albums of all time in Britain, with the rock band’s compilation topping the list.

The 1981 album has long been a phenomenon in terms of sales, and in 2014 became the first sell 6m copies of an album in the UK, three decades after it was released. The best-of has now sold 6.1 million copies, with Queen’s Greatest Hits II also shifting enough sales to enter at No 10, with almost 4m copies sold.

“What a great bit of news to wake up to! The most popular album? Well, I always thought the band showed promise, but this is beyond our boyhood dreams!” Queen’s Brian May told OfficialCharts.com.

Queen's greatest hits crowned as UK's biggest-selling album
In at No 2 … Abba. Photograph: Andre Csillag/Rex

Just behind Queen’s compilation is another best-of – Abba’s Gold: Greatest Hits, which is the UK’s second-biggest-selling album, shifting 5.2m units since its release in 1992. At No 3 is the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The success of a new generation of artists is also reflected in the roundup. Ed Sheeran’s X is at No 49, while Adele’s 25 is among the top 30 bestsellers seven months after release. Meanwhile, her 2011 album 21 is at No 4.

Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? caps off the Top 5, with 4.7m sales.

Despite failing to crack the Top 10, Robbie Williams has the most entries – four – of any individual, including his solo albums I’ve Been Expecting You at No 48 and Swing When You’re Winning at No 56, and two Take That bestsellers: Progress (No 57) and Never Forget – The Ultimate Collection (No 59). Coldplay have three entries – A Rush of Blood to the Head (No 31), X&Y (No 40) and Parachutes (No 45), while Michael Jackson, Dido and Fleetwood Mac each have two entries.

The Top 60 chart is part of the Official Chart Company’s month-long anniversary celebrations. The first ever chart was published in the Record Mirror on 22 July 1956, and featured Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Swingin’ Lovers in the top spot.

“In celebration of 60 years of the UK’s official album chart, it is fantastic that we can crown Queen as the kings of the anniversary Top 60,” said Martin Talbot, chief executive of Official Charts. “With seven albums by British acts in the all-time Top 10, and Adele’s 21 now challenging the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper to be the biggest-selling studio album of all time, it is a great list for homegrown talent. And the fact that Adele’s latest album 25 is riding into the overall Top 30, along with Ed Sheeran’s X, underlines the power of the official albums chart in championing great British talent, young and old.”

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