The Official Top 40 Biggest Albums of 2016

From Bieber, to Beyoncé and Bowie - check out the biggest albums of the year...

The Official Top 40 Biggest Albums of 2016

Adele was top of the mountain in 2015 and it is a similar story in 2016 – the much-loved megastar has hiked her way to Official Albums Chart supremacy for the second year in a row.

Adele’s third studio album 25 is the biggest record of 2016 when sales and streams are combined, notching up a combined total of 753,000 in the last 12 months. 95% of 25’s chart sales total was made up of physical and digital purchases.

Discounting streams that 25 has amassed since it was added to Spotify and Apple Music in June, the album has passed the 3 million sales mark, becoming one of only 26 albums in history to do so. The album has also never left the Official Albums Chart Top 40 since its release in November 2015.

MORE: The UK's Official Top 40 biggest songs of 2016

25 is already in the Top 30 of the UK's best selling albums of all time, as revealed in July as part of the Official Charts Company's celebrations for the Official Albums Chart's 60th anniversary. The album has gone 10x Platinum in the UK and was this year certified Diamond in the US for shifting over 10 million units.

Official figures released by the UK labels' association the BPI revealed that a total of 123 million albums or their equivalent were either streamed, purchased on physical format, or downloaded by UK music consumers in 2016 - a 1.5% rise on 2015. However, sales of CDs declined by over a tenth in 2016 (-11.7%), though the format remains relatively resilient with many of us still drawn to its collectible or gift appeal, particularly with deluxe box-set packages.  

MORE: Look back at every Official UK Number 1 album EVER

Another 2015 release finishes in second place - Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams, with combined sales of just over 512,000. Coldplay’s seventh studio album didn’t manage to hit Number 1 last year, but climbed to the top in February 2016, continuing their unbroken streak of Number 1 studio albums. Only Oasis match Coldplay’s 100% career sprint of back-to-back chart topping albums.

Michael Ball & Alfie Boe’s Christmas Number 1 album Together is the third biggest collection of 2016. With combined chart sales just shy of 512,000, the album is the biggest selling album released in 2016, an surprise success story amongst the busy Q4 release schedule that included releases from Emeli Sande, Robbie Williams and Lady Gaga.

MORE: The UK's Official Top 40 best-selling compilation albums of 2016

Finishing fourth place is Justin Bieber’s album Purpose, racking up chart sales of 478,500. Sitting in the Top 10 for 33 weeks in total (27 of which were in 2016), the album is the most streamed YTD with 313,500 streaming equivalent sales. Despite a strong performance, Purpose never hit Number 1, and actually peaked at Number 2 twice, behind One Direction in 2015 and Adele in March 2016.

In fifth place is Elvis Presley with his second classical album in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Wonder of You, which ends the year with combined sales of 458,000. The album is The King’s 13th Number 1 LP in the UK, and means Elvis has more Number 1 albums than any other solo artist.

David Bowie’s Blackstar ends the year as the sixth biggest album, with total chart sales amounting to 410,000. David’s 25th and final studio album was the fastest-selling of 2016, achieving 146,168 chart sales in its first week of release during the aftermath of his shocking death. In addition to Blackstar, David’s Best of Bowie greatest hits is at 10 with 328,500 chart sales across all formats, while his Nothing Has Changed compilation ranks at 40.

MORE: The UK's best selling vinyl albums and singles of 2016

Elsewhere in the Top 10, Little Mix's Glory Days is seventh (409,000), and Drake’s Views lands at 8 (387,000). Little Mix's previous album Get Weird also makes this year's Top 20 at Number 15.

Just missing out on the end-of-year Top 10 is Beyonce, whose Lemonade album finishes 11th (328,000), followed by Olly Murs' 24 HRS at 12 (304,000). 

The Official Top 40 Biggest Albums of 2016 so far are...

1 25 ADELE
2 A HEAD FULL OF DREAMS COLDPLAY
3 TOGETHER MICHAEL BALL & ALFIE BOE
4 PURPOSE JUSTIN BIEBER
5 THE WONDER OF YOU ELVIS PRESLEY
6 BLACKSTAR DAVID BOWIE
7 GLORY DAYS LITTLE MIX
8 VIEWS DRAKE
9 I CRY WHEN I LAUGH JESS GLYNNE
10 BEST OF BOWIE DAVID BOWIE
11 LEMONADE BEYONCE
12 24 HRS OLLY MURS
13 NOBODY BUT ME MICHAEL BUBLE
14 THE HEAVY ENTERTAINMENT SHOW ROBBIE WILLIAMS
15 GET WEIRD LITTLE MIX
16 THIS IS ACTING SIA
17 BLUE & LONESOME ROLLING STONES
18 50 RICK ASTLEY
19 CHAOS AND THE CALM JAMES BAY
20 X ED SHEERAN
21 ALL OVER THE WORLD - THE VERY BEST OF ELO
22 IF I CAN DREAM ELVIS PRESLEY
23 CHRISTMAS MICHAEL BUBLE
24 24K MAGIC BRUNO MARS
25 I LIKE IT WHEN YOU SLEEP FOR YOU ARE SO 1975
26 LONG LIVE THE ANGELS EMELI SANDE
27 BLURRYFACE TWENTY ONE PILOTS
28 A MOON SHAPED POOL RADIOHEAD
29 THE SINGLES PHIL COLLINS
30 BACK FROM THE EDGE JAMES ARTHUR
31 LEGEND BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS
32 ANTI RIHANNA
33 CHALEUR HUMAINE CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS
34 COMMUNION YEARS & YEARS
35 UPON A DIFFERENT SHORE ALEXANDER ARMSTRONG
36 WALLS KINGS OF LEON
37 BEAUTY BEHIND THE MADNESS WEEKND
38 DELIRIUM ELLIE GOULDING
39 NINE TRACK MIND CHARLIE PUTH
40 NOTHING HAS CHANGED - THE VERY BEST OF DAVID BOWIE

©2016 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.

Check out the Top 100 Official Biggest Albums of 2016 in full

>Check out the Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2015

>Check out the Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2014

>Check out the Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2013

>Check out the Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2012

Take a look at the biggest selling albums of every year since the Official Albums Chart began in 1956 in our gallery: 

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The biggest selling album of every year since 1956

Main article image: Rex/Shutterstock