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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
|2||A HEAD FULL OF DREAMS||COLDPLAY|
|3||TOGETHER||MICHAEL BALL & ALFIE BOE|
|5||THE WONDER OF YOU||ELVIS PRESLEY|
|7||GLORY DAYS||LITTLE MIX|
|9||I CRY WHEN I LAUGH||JESS GLYNNE|
|10||BEST OF BOWIE||DAVID BOWIE|
|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|
|19||CHAOS AND THE CALM||JAMES BAY|
|21||ALL OVER THE WORLD - THE VERY BEST OF||ELO|
|22||IF I CAN DREAM||ELVIS PRESLEY|
|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|
|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|
|39||NINE TRACK MIND||CHARLIE PUTH|
|40||NOTHING HAS CHANGED - THE VERY BEST OF||DAVID BOWIE|
©2016 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
Take a look at the biggest selling albums of every year since the Official Albums Chart began in 1956 in our gallery:
Main article image: Rex/Shutterstock