A record number of albums made it to Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart in 2020

More albums topped the charts in 2020 than in any other calendar year in history.

2020 marks a record-breaking year on the Official Albums Chart, as 43 different albums made it to Number 1 - more than any other year in UK chart history, new analysis from the Official Charts Company confirms.

The number is significantly up from recent years, compared to 32 chart-toppers in 2019 and just 19 in 2018, not to mention a far cry from the early Albums Charts of the 1950s and '60s which tended to see only a handful of records enjoy the Number 1 spotlight in any given year. Back then, soundtracks such as South Pacific, The King & I, My Fair Lady and Sound Of Music would typically dominate the Number 1 slot for weeks on end, later followed by a steady stream of album releases from The Beatles which would follow a similar trajectory.

Before 2020, the biggest year previously for Number 1 albums was 2015 when a total of 39 records occupied the top spot.

UK Number 1 albums per year

Graph: Volume of Number 1 albums per year on the UK's Official Albums Chart, based on week-ending date of each chart week.

A busy year of Number 1s occurred despite 2020's turbulent backdrop which saw many album release dates being shaken up. When the UK was first placed into lockdown in March, many artists announced they were either delaying or bringing forward their albums to offset some of the uncertainty that came hand-in-hand with a pandemic.

MORE: Every Official Number 1 album ever


Dua Lipa with her Official Number 1 Album Award for Future Nostalgia, one of 2020's biggest new releases.

Albums affected included Lady Gaga's Chromatica (delayed by two months), Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia (brought forward a week), and Haim's Women In Music Part III (delayed by three months); but despite the last-minute switcharounds, they each managed to successfully hit Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart. 

But as we all began to adjust to our new circumstances, so came a flurry of album releases in the latter half of the year - many of which were recorded during the lockdown. One of the most notable came from Taylor Swift, who surprise-released two albums recorded in quarantine: Folklore debuted at Number 1 in August, and its "sister record" Evermore followed in December. Another, Paul McCartney's long-awaited McCartney III, claimed this year's Christmas Number 1 album.


Haim with their Official Number 1 Album Awards for Women In Music Part III

2020 saw many high-stakes chart races - including KSI vs. The 1975 back in May where YouTuber-turned-rapper KSI promised to go bald if his debut album Dissimulation reached Number 1, while December saw Doncaster rocker Yungblud announce plans to melt down his Number 1 album award and turn it into safety pins for his fans as a thank you for playing their part in his journey to the top.

Independent Scottish musician Gerry Cinnamon planted his flag at the chart summit in April with The Bonny - an album released on his own record label Little Runaway. While a huge return for Doves in September saw the Manchester band land at Number 1 with their first new album in more than a decade - The Universal Want. 

Plenty of chart records were broken this year too, from Kylie Minogue with DISCO to Bruce Springsteen, as well as poignant posthumous chart-toppers from Juice Wrld and Pop Smoke.

Plus we witnessed first-time Number 1s for British rappers J Hus, Nines and Headie One, and the first collaborative release from Queen & Adam Lambert proved a hit as Live Around The World shot straight to the top in October.

Take a look back over the biggest year of Number 1s in Official Albums Chart history. 

Every Number 1 album of 2020

DATE TITLE ARTIST WKS AT NO.1
09/01/2020 DIVINELY UNINSPIRED TO A HELLISH EXTENT LEWIS CAPALDI 1
16/01/2020 HEAVY IS THE HEAD STORMZY 1
23/01/2020 DIVINELY UNINSPIRED TO A HELLISH EXTENT LEWIS CAPALDI 1
30/01/2020 MUSIC TO BE MURDERED BY EMINEM 1
06/02/2020 BIG CONSPIRACY J HUS 1
13/02/2020 FOOLISH LOVING SPACES BLOSSOMS 1
20/02/2020 FATHER OF ALL... GREEN DAY 1
27/02/2020 CHANGES JUSTIN BIEBER 1
05/03/2020 MAP OF THE SOUL: 7 BTS 1
12/03/2020 DIVINELY UNINSPIRED TO A HELLISH EXTENT LEWIS CAPALDI 1
19/03/2020 MANCHESTER CALLING PAUL HEATON & JACQUI ABBOTT 1
26/03/2020 HEARTBREAK WEATHER NIALL HORAN 1
02/04/2020 AFTER HOURS THE WEEKND 1
09/04/2020 CALM 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER 1
16/04/2020 FUTURE NOSTALGIA DUA LIPA 2
30/04/2020 THE BONNY GERRY CINNAMON 1
07/05/2020 FUTURE NOSTALGIA DUA LIPA 1
14/05/2020 DARK LANE DEMO TAPES DRAKE 1
21/05/2020 FUTURE NOSTALGIA DUA LIPA 1
28/05/2020 DIVINELY UNINSPIRED TO A HELLISH EXTENT LEWIS CAPALDI 1
04/06/2020 NOTES ON A CONDITIONAL FORM THE 1975 1
11/06/2020 CHROMATICA LADY GAGA 2
25/06/2020 MTV UNPLUGGED LIAM GALLAGHER 1
02/07/2020 ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS BOB DYLAN 1
09/07/2020 WOMEN IN MUSIC PT. III HAIM 1
16/07/2020 ON SUNSET PAUL WELLER 1
23/07/2020 LEGENDS NEVER DIE JUICE WRLD 1
30/07/2020 BRIGHTEST BLUE ELLIE GOULDING 1
06/08/2020 FOLKLORE TAYLOR SWIFT 3
27/08/2020 A CELEBRATION OF ENDINGS BIFFY CLYRO 1
03/09/2020 IMPLODING THE MIRAGE THE KILLERS 1
10/09/2020 CRABS IN A BUCKET NINES 1
17/09/2020 GOATS HEAD SOUP ROLLING STONES 1
24/09/2020 THE UNIVERSAL WANT DOVES 1
01/10/2020 SHOOT FOR THE STARS, AIM FOR THE MOON POP SMOKE 1
08/10/2020 ULTRA MONO IDLES 1
15/10/2020 LIVE AROUND THE WORLD QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT 1
22/10/2020 EDNA HEADIE ONE 1
29/10/2020 CHERRY BLOSSOM THE VAMPS 1
05/11/2020 LETTER TO YOU BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN 1
12/11/2020 POSITIONS ARIANA GRANDE 1
19/11/2020 DISCO KYLIE MINOGUE 1
26/11/2020 POWER UP AC/DC 1
03/12/2020 TOGETHER AT CHRISTMAS MICHAEL BALL & ALFIE BOE 1
10/12/2020 MUSIC PLAYED BY HUMANS GARY BARLOW 1
17/12/2020 WEIRD! YUNGBLUD 1
24/12/2020 EVERMORE TAYLOR SWIFT 1
31/12/2020 MCCARTNEY III PAUL MCCARTNEY 1