List of biggest selling British acts of all time

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This list documents Britain's best-selling music artists alphabetically[1] as well as by record sales. This page lists those artists who have had claims of over 50 million or more records in sales. The list is divided into numerous record-sales brackets within each of which, artists are listed in alphabetical order, rather than by number of records sold. The artists on the list are supported by third-party reliable sources, the sales-figures within which should represent a total number of sold albums, singles, compilation-albums, music videos as well as downloads of singles and full-length albums.

Constraints

Although the criteria for the following list are intended to be expansive (including comparisons for total-sales for all recording artists) there are certain limitations and constraints that may limit the conclusions that can be derived from these data.

Such constraints include:

  • Bias towards acts who have had success in a specific country or region.
  • Bias towards older artists. There is a broader genre spectrum of music to listen to now which limits the number of listeners.
  • Bias towards modern artists. Comparatively fewer successful pre-modern artists will have sold more records, as both global spending power and population have increased. In 1950, the world's population was 2.5 billion; by 2000 it had risen to 6 billion. Also, older artists suffer from bias as their record sales are less likely to have been accurately tracked, and estimates of their early sales are likely to be more vague.
  • Fan sites, press articles and record labels have been known to inflate record sales claims.
  • Inflated claims for artists who performed in different acts during their careers. Sometimes all of the sales data is attributed to an individual artist. For the purposes of this list, an effort is made to separate the individual acts (e.g., the sales figures for The Beatles and Paul McCartney & Wings are mutually exclusive).

400 million or more records

Artist Biggest selling album Period Genre Estimated Sales
The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1960–1970 Pop / Rock 600 million[2]

300 million to 400 million records

Artist Biggest selling album Period Genre Estimated sales
Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1964–present Pop / Rock 350 million[3]
Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV[4] 1968–1980 Hard rock / Heavy metal 300 million[5][6]
Queen Greatest Hits[7] 1970–present Glam rock / Hard rock 300 million[8][9][10]

200 million to 299 million records

Artist Biggest selling album Period Genre Estimated sales
Cliff Richard Always Guaranteed 1958–present Pop / Rock / Rock N Roll / Jazz 260 million[11]
Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon[12] 1964–2014 Progressive rock 200 million[13][14]
The Rolling Stones Hot Rocks 1964-1971 1962–present Rock / Blues rock 200 million[15]

100 million to 199 million records

Artist Biggest selling album Period Genre Estimated sales
The Dave Clark Five 1964–1970 Pop rock / Beat 100 million[16][17]
David Bowie Let's Dance 1964–2016 Rock 140 million[18][19]
Deep Purple Machine Head 1968–present Hard rock 100 million[20][21]
Shirley Bassey The Shirley Bassey Singles Album 1957–present Pop 135 million[22]
Adele 21 2006–present Pop / Soul 100 million[23]
Depeche Mode Violator 1980–present Electro Rock 100 million[24][25]
Dire Straits Brothers in Arms 1977–1995 Rock / Pop 103 million[26]
Fleetwood Mac Rumours 1967–present Pop rock 100 million[27]
Genesis Invisible Touch 1967–present Progressive rock / Pop rock 150 million[28]
George Michael Faith 1981–2016 Pop 100 million[29]
Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast 1975–present Heavy metal 100 million[30][31]
Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace 1957–present Pop rock 100 million[32]
Pet Shop Boys Actually 1981–present Synthpop 100 million[33]
Phil Collins No Jacket Required 1980–present Adult contemporary 150 million[34]
Rod Stewart Out of Order 1962–present Rock / Pop 100 million[35]
Status Quo 12 Gold Bars 1967–present Rock 122 million[36]
The Who Who's Next 1964–present Rock / Hard rock 100 million[37]

50 to 99 million records

Artist Biggest selling album Period Genre Estimated sales
Coldplay A Rush of Blood to the Head 1997–present Alternative rock 90 million[38]
Black Sabbath Paranoid 1968–present Heavy metal 50 million[39]
Culture Club Colour by Numbers 1982–present New wave-pop 50 million
Def Leppard Hysteria 1977–present Hard rock / heavy metal 65 million[40]
Duran Duran Rio 1978–present New wave / alternative rock 100 million[41]
Eurythmics Greatest Hits 1980–present New wave 75 million[42]
Jethro Tull Aqualung 1968–present Progressive rock / hard rock 60 million[43]
Oasis (What's the Story) Morning Glory? 1991–2009 Britpop / Rock 85 million[44]
The Police Synchronicity 1977–present Pop rock / New Wave 50 million[45]
Spice Girls Spice 1996–2000
2007–2008
Pop, Euro Pop 80 million[46]
Supertramp Breakfast in America[47] 1969–present Progressive rock 60 million[48][49]
T. Rex The Slider[50] 1967–1977 Glam rock / Folk rock 58 million[51]
UB40 Labour of Love II 1980–present Reggae 70 million[52]
Robbie Williams I've Been Expecting You 1990–present Pop 55 million[53]

See also

References

  1. ^ List of best-selling music artists
  2. ^ "Beatles' remastered box set, video game out". CNN. 
  3. ^ [1] on Elton John
  4. ^ 25 Best-Selling Albums of All Time. HowStuffWorks.
  5. ^ Gibson, Owen (16 October 2007). "Led Zeppelin to release songs digitally for the first time". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  6. ^ Sorel-Cameron, Peter (9 December 2007). "Can Led Zeppelin still rock?". CNN. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  7. ^ http://www.nme.com/news/queen/25093: Queen Score 'best selling album ever'
  8. ^ "ROGER TAYLOR BBC BREAKFAST NEWS VIDEO INTERVIEW". BBC NEWS. 6 November 2009. Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  9. ^ "British rock legends get their own music title for PLAYSTATION3 and PlayStation2". EMI Group. 
  10. ^ "Queen's Greatest Hits is first album to sell 6 million UK copies". The Daily Telegraph. 
  11. ^ Sir Cliff Richard told to demolish conservatory by planners. The Times.
  12. ^ http://fhsblazer.com/2015/11/dark-side-the-light-show/
  13. ^ Fresco, Adam (11 July 2006). "Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett dies at home". Times Online. London. Archived from the original on 8 October 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  14. ^ "Floyd 'true to Barrett's legacy'". BBC News. 11 July 2006. 
  15. ^ Holton, Kate (17 January 2008). "Rolling Stones sign Universal album deal". Reuters.com. Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  16. ^ Gundersen, Edna (6 March 2008). "For Dave Clark Five, the accolades finally arrive". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  17. ^ "Dave Clark Five singer Smith dies". BBC News. 29 February 2008. 
  18. ^ Thompson, Jody (8 January 2007). "Sixty things about David Bowie". BBC News. 
  19. ^ "David Bowie". About.com. 
  20. ^ "Deep Purple". EMI Music Publishing. 
  21. ^ "Russia's Medvedev meets Deep Purple". USA Today. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  22. ^ "Happy 80th Birthday, Dame Shirley Bassey". BBC News. 8 Jan 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-08. 
  23. ^ "Tickets to see Adele in Birmingham up for sale for jaw-dropping £1,300 EACH". Birmingham mail. 
  24. ^ "Depeche Mode reveal tour details". ITN.co.uk. ITN. 7 October 2008. Archived from the original on 10 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  25. ^ "Depeche Mode mit Weltpremiere beim ECHO". ITN.co.uk (in German). Bundesverband Musikindisrtie-IFPI Germany. 3 February 2009. 
  26. ^ "With Dire Straits no more, Knopfler sails solo". CNN. 13 October 2000. 
  27. ^ "Fleetwood Mac". Rolling Stone. 
  28. ^ Lee, Marc (30 May 2008). "Final chapter in the book of Genesis?". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  29. ^ "Michael seeking 'a quieter life'". BBC News. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  30. ^ NME.COM. "The biggest selling UK acts of all time". NME.COM. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  31. ^ "Iron Maiden Star Gets Airline Boardroom Gig". Sky News. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  32. ^ "Biography: Paul McCartney" (in German). MTV Germany. 
  33. ^ "Pet Shop Boys: Biografie". Warner Music Germany (in German). Archived from the original on 18 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  34. ^ "Phil Collins' fans rejoice: Artist announces end of retirement". CNN. October 29, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Stewart show backed by public cash". BBC News. 11 April 2002. 
  36. ^ The Times on Status Quo
  37. ^ The New York Times on The Who
  38. ^ Alpad, Christina (April 3, 2017). "The ‘adventure of a lifetime’ for Coldplay fans". The Manila Times. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  39. ^ "Ozzy Osbourne Goes 'On the Record'". Fox News. 25 May 2007. 
  40. ^ "Def Leppard, Poison coming to White River Amphitheatre in Auburn". The Seattle Times. 26 June 2009. 
  41. ^ "Duran Duran To Get Brit Award Honor". Billboard. 
  42. ^ "Eurythmics". Sony Music Germany (in German). Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  43. ^ "Interview with Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson". BBC Wiltshire. 
  44. ^ "Some might say Oasis are still world beaters after Slane gig". Belfast Telegraph. 
  45. ^ Robb, Stephen (28 May 2007). "Police fan bands go on patrol". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  46. ^ "This Day in Music: Spice Girls". This Day in Music. July 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-23. 
  47. ^ Doran, John. Supertramp: Breakfast in America review. BBC. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  48. ^ Wuensch, Yuri. "Roger Hodgson returns with solo tour". CANOE. 21 November 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
  49. ^ Heatley, Michael. "Indelibly Tramped". Record Collector. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  50. ^ "T Rex - Electric Boogie plus Weeley Festival". Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. 
  51. ^ "The death of a glam rock idol". Chronicle Live. 15 September 2007. 
  52. ^ Sherwin, Adam (30 April 2008). "UB40 reveal new lead singer: Ali Campbell's brother Duncan". Times Online. London. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  53. ^ Amanda Andrews and Adam Sherwin (9 January 2008). "Shake-up starts at EMI with departure of UK chief". London: Times Online. 
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