The Official best-selling female albums of all time in the UK revealed

Adele, Madonna and Whitney Houston have all released some of the biggest albums by women in UK chart history - but who comes out on top?

The Official Top 30 biggest-selling female albums of all time in the UK have been revealed.

Featuring worldwide superstars like Madonna and Lady Gaga alongside homegrown British acts like Adele and Amy Winehouse, The Top 30 was counted down by Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 2 today (October 16) as part of celebrations for National Album Day, which this year has the theme of Women In Music. 

30% of the list is comprised of British women artists, with nine entries from acts hailing from the UK. 

The list is topped by Adele, who reigns supreme with her second album 21. She also ranks fifth with her 2015 album 25, and had a third entry with debut record 19 at Number 19, also meaning that Adele has the most entries of any act on the list. 

There are several other women with repeat entries in the Top 30; Dido has two entries in the Top 10 with No Angel (7) and Life For Rent (10), while Madonna, Whitney Houston, Rihanna and Celine Dion all have two albums each in the Top 30.

You can view the full list below, but first here's a closer look and breakdown of the Top 5:

MORE: The female artists with the most UK Number 1 albums

5. Adele - 25 (2015)
Official Chart peak: Number 1
Sales: 3.36 million
Most-streamed song: Hello, 178 million streams

Adele's third album sticks close to a formula the London singer has perfected. After an album focusing on the birth of her son Angelo was scrapped, 25 re-focuses Adele's gaze back to love-lorn ballads and supersized torch songs. Lead by the gigantic comeback hit Helloboth Adele's most-streamed song ever and the most-streamed song in this list - 25 proved that if it ain't broke...don't fix it.

4. Shania Twain - Come On Over (1998)
Official Chart peak: Number 1
Sales: 3.41 million
Most-streamed song: Man! I Feel Like A Woman, 41 million streams

Before Taylor Swift crossed country boundaries with her blockbuster pop album 1989 in 2014, Shania showed that you could straddle with both genres with ease. Filled to the brim with hits (and ellipsis and exclamation marks), the tracks of Come On Over bristle with dance-pop (That Don't Impress Me Much) and tender acoustic ballads (You're Still The One) while its biggest hit, Man! I Feel Like A Woman is a coquettish ode to being free - no matter who you are. 

3. Madonna. - The Immaculate Collection (1990)
Official Chart peak: Number 1 
Sales: 3.77 million
Most-streamed song: Like A Prayer, 44 million streams

Madonna never did anything by the book, the same goes for her first greatest hits collection. Not just a celebration of her legacy (which by 1990 was already enviable) but a re-invention of it, The Immaculate Collection takes all of Madonna's early-career hits (Holiday, Like A Virgin, Papa Can't Preach) and re-packages them for a new decade. 

2. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black (2006)
Official Chart peak: Number 1
Sales: 3.91 million
Most-streamed song: Back To Black, 71 million streams

Amy Winehouse's second and final album released during her lifetime is a record imbued with shades of light and dark, just like the artist herself. Above all a tribute to the music of 1960s girl groups like The Supremes and The Shangri-Las, Back To Black became Amy's second UK number 1 album, and was also previously named the second-biggest album of the 21st century so far

On both these occasions, Back To Black lost out on the top spot to one album (and one artist) in particular. Can you guess who? It can only be...

1. Adele - 21 (2011)
Official Chart peak: Number 1
Sales: 5 million
Most-streamed song: Someone Like You, 146 million streams

The defining break-up album for a generation, Adele's 21 is officially the biggest female album of all time in the UK. Its most popular track, the piano ballad Someone Like You is not only Adele's biggest song in the UK, it's also the 25th best-selling song in the UK of all time too.

As the world looks ahead to Adele's much-hyped return with fourth album 30 in November, 21 is a timeless reminder of the innate power of Adele's voice and why so many have felt drawn towards her and her stories in the first place.

BBC Radio 2's 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.”

The Official Top 30 biggest-selling female artist albums in UK chart history

POS TITLE ARTIST MOST STREAMED TRACK
1 21 ADELE SOMEONE LIKE YOU
2 BACK TO BLACK AMY WINEHOUSE BACK TO BLACK
3 THE IMMACULATE COLLECTION MADONNA LIKE A PRAYER
4 COME ON OVER SHANIA TWAIN MAN! I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN!
5 25 ADELE HELLO
6 SPIRIT LEONA LEWIS BLEEDING LOVE
7 NO ANGEL DIDO THANK YOU
8 SPICE SPICE GIRLS WANNABE
9 THE FAME LADY GAGA POKER FACE
10 LIFE FOR RENT DIDO WHITE FLAG
11 JAGGED LITTLE PILL ALANIS MORISSETTE IRONIC
12 TRACY CHAPMAN TRACY CHAPMAN FAST CAR
13 COME AWAY WITH ME NORAH JONES COME AWAY WITH ME
14 19 ADELE MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE
15 OUR VERSION OF EVENTS EMELI SANDE BENEATH YOUR BEAUTIFUL (with LABRINTH)
      READ ALL ABOUT IT - PT 3 (SOLO)
16 WHITNEY WHITNEY HOUSTON I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY
17 ROCKFERRY DUFFY MERCY
18 SIMPLY THE BEST TINA TURNER THE BEST
19 FALLING INTO YOU CELINE DION BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME
20 LET'S TALK ABOUT LOVE CELINE DION MY HEART WILL GO ON
21 STRIPPED CHRISTINA AGUILERA BEAUTIFUL
22 LOUD RIHANNA S&M
23 I DREAMED A DREAM SUSAN BOYLE I DREAMED A DREAM
24 GOOD GIRL GONE BAD RIHANNA UMBRELLA
25 CALL OFF THE SEARCH KATIE MELUA THE CLOSEST THING TO CRAZY
26 SONGBIRD EVA CASSIDY SONGBIRD
27 MISSUNDAZTOOD PINK JUST LIKE A PILL
28 LET GO AVRIL LAVIGNE COMPLICATED
29 THE GREATEST HITS WHITNEY HOUSTON I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY
30 RAY OF LIGHT MADONNA FROZEN

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