BBC Radio 2’s Official All-time Female Artist Chart today reveals Adele’s album 21 is the biggest selling UK album of all time.
The chart of the Top 30 best-selling albums by women are based on UK sales and downloads as compiled by The Official Charts Company. Jo Whiley announced the results in a Top 30 countdown on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds (Saturday 16th October, 1-3pm) as part of the network’s celebrations for National Album Day, which this year has the theme Women In Music. From 6am to midnight, Radio 2 is also dedicating the whole day to album tracks by women with an all-female playlist from Sounds of the 60s all the way through to Craig Charles’ House Party. Listen back to all the shows on BBC Sounds.
The Top 5 are:
Adele – 21 (5,007,000 sales)
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (3,912,000)
Madonna – The Immaculate Collection (3,771,000)
Shania Twain – Come On Over (3,411,000)
Adele – 25 (3,364,000)
Jo Whiley said: “Adele has enchanted us from the very beginning with her voice, her songs and her personality. When she writes, she writes from the heart and that’s why her music resonates with so many people. She tells it like it is, whether onstage to thousands of people at Glastonbury or through the songs on her albums, and that’s why she is so loved and a global superstar. She sings it like she means it – because she does. She also has a phenomenal voice and hasn’t changed from the very first Live Lounge I did with her at Radio 1 to when I spoke to her just before she headlined Glasto. Always honest, down to earth, a superstar and very very funny.”
Laura Busson, Commissioning Executive for Radio 2, said: “Radio 2 is proud to support National Album Day by celebrating this year’s theme of Women in Music playing tracks from female artists all day. The Top 30 chart is a wonderful reminder of the incredible contribution women have made – and continue to make – to the music industry, and congratulations to Adele on topping the chart.”
21 was English singer-songwriter Adele’s second album, released in January 2011. She was inspired to write it following a break-up with a former boyfriend. It followed her debut – called 19 – with all her albums famously named after whatever age she was during their production. 21 is the UK’s fourth best-selling album of all-time, with only Queen’s Greatest Hits, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abba’s Gold have sold more. It was the longest-running UK No. 1 album for 45 years, spending a total of 23 weeks in the top spot; and was the world’s biggest album for two years running, selling 18 million copies globally in 2011 and 8.3 million the following year. The first two singles released from it – Rolling In The Deep and Someone Like You – both sold over two million copies, followed by Set Fire To The Rain and Turning Tables / Rumour Has It. Across her career to date Adele has sold over 120 million records and won numerous awards, including 15 Grammys, nine Brits, the Best Song Oscar for Skyfall (2013), a Golden Globe, 18 Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards and two Ivor Novellos. Her latest album, 30, is due to be released soon and the first single, Easy on Me, was released on Friday 15th October.
Nine of the artists in the chart are from the UK, and Adele not only has two albums in the Top 5, she also has a third – 19 – at No. 14. Dido has two albums in the Top 10 – No Angel at No. 7 and Life for Rent at No. 10. The other female stars with two albums in the Top 30 are Madonna, Whitney Houston, Rihanna and Celine Dion.
The full Top 30 are as follows:
Adele – 21 (released 2011)
Amy Winehouse – Back To Black (2006)
Madonna – The Immaculate Collection (1990)
Shania Twain – Come On Over (1997)
Adele – 25 (2015)
Leona Lewis – Spirit (2007)
Dido – No Angel (1999)
Spice Girls – Spice (1996)
Lady Gaga – The Fame (2008)
Dido – Life for Rent (2003)
Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Tracey Chapman – Tracey Chapman (1988)
Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (2002)
Adele – 19 (2008)
Emeli Sandé – Our Version Of Events (2012)
Whitney Houston – Whitney (1985)
Duffy – Rockferry (2008)
Tina Turner – Simply The Best (1989)
Celine Dion – Falling Into You (1996)
Celine Dion – Let’s Talk About Love (1997)
Christina Aguilera – Stripped (2002)
Rihanna – Loud (2010)
Susan Boyle – I Dreamed A Dream (2009)
Rihanna – Good Girl Gone Bad (2007)
Katie Melua – Call Off The Search (2003)
Eva Cassidy – Songbird (1998)
Pink – Missundaztood (2001)
Avril Lavigne – Let Go (2002)
Whitney Houston – The Greatest Hits (2000)
Madonna – Ray Of Light (1998)
The Official All-Time Female Artists Album Chat is a 7digital production.
BBC Radio 2 is the UK’s most listened to radio station, with a weekly audience of 14.4 million (RAJAR Q1, 2020), and won Station Of The Year at the Music Week 2021 awards. The network’s presenters include Michael Ball, Zoe Ball, Tony Blackburn, OJ Borg, Rev. Kate Bottley, Ken Bruce, Craig Charles, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, Fearne Cotton, Sara Cox, Jamie Cullum, Gary Davies, Vanessa Feltz, Paul Gambaccini, Bob Harris, Ana Matronic, Cerys Matthews, Jason Mohammad, Trevor Nelson, Paul O’Grady, Dermot O’Leary, Mark Radcliffe, Rylan, Liza Tarbuck, Jeremy Vine, Johnnie Walker, Jo Whiley, Claudia Winkleman and Steve Wright.