The Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2021

The UK's top albums of 2021 featuring chart-topping records by Adele, ABBA and Olivia Rodrigo.

Adele's 30 was officially the biggest album of 2021 in the UK, the Official Charts Company can confirm today. 

The long-awaited comeback record from one of the country's most popular music exports proved worth the wait. 30 became the fastest-selling album of the year in the UK upon its release, shifting 261,000 chart sales - breaking the 2021 record previously set by ABBA's Voyage.

Topping the Official Albums Chart for five consecutive weeks, Adele's 30 also tied with Olivia Rodrigo's Sour for the longest-running Number 1 album of the year. 

30 comes out top of our year-end list too, with combined chart sales in excess of 600,000 - and with over half a million (502,000) of those being pure sales (448,000 physical, 53,000 downloads), Adele's 30 was the best-selling record of the year too, undoubtedly making it into many a Christmas stocking. See where all of Adele's hit singles and albums charted.

The news comes as music industry body BPI revealed a rise in music consumption in the UK in 2021 of 2.5%, based on analysis of Official Charts Company data. This included the equivalent of 159 million albums, up for a 7th year. The UK is also experiencing a renaissance in the sales of physical records; being lead by vinyl

MORE: The Top 40 biggest songs of 2021

Coming in at Number 2 is Ed Sheeran's = (Equals), with total chart sales in excess of 432,000 in 2021. Ed experienced great success with Equals this year; the album birthed two UK Number 1 singles; Bad Habits and Shivers - and = was the fastest-selling album of the year when it debuted on 139,000 sales, although it was overtaken just a few weeks later by Adele’s 30.

Ed Sheeran with his Number 1 Award for =
Ed Sheeran with his Number 1 album award for =

In third place are ABBA with their first album of new material in 40 years, Voyage, which has shifted 400,000 chart sales in 2021, validation for one of the most exciting comeback campaigns of the year. ABBA are second only to Adele in terms of pure sales - 387,000 sales makes Voyage the second best-selling album of 2021. Don't Shut Me Down, the biggest hit from Voyage, became ABBA's first Top 10 single since One Of Us in 1982. It was streamed 2.3 million times in its opening week.


Image: ABBA pictured by Baillie Walsh

MORE: Iconic albums turning 20 in 2022

The biggest debut album of the year is Olivia Rodrigo's Sour, with combined chart sales in excess of 395,000. Riding the crest of a wave thanks to breakout Number 1 singles Drivers License and Good 4 U, Sour topped the UK charts for five non-consecutive weeks this summer.

Rodrigo became the youngest solo artist to score the chart double in May when Sour and Good 4 U took up pole position on the Official Singles and Albums Chart the same week. Rounding off the year in style, Sour is confirmed as the UK's most-streamed album of 2021, with streams accounting for 83% of its total to date.

Big 2021 Number 1 albums

More chart-topping albums from this year to have made the Top 40 include Dave's acclaimed second album We're All Alone In This Together (10), Coldplay's super-charged pop project Music of the Spheres (14), Rag'n'Bone Man's second album Life By Misadventure (20) and Billie Eilish's languid Happier Than Ever (26).

Several greatest hits also make the year-end Top 40; including Queen's Greatest Hits (5) and Elton John's Diamonds (8) in the Top 10, as well as The Weeknd's The Highlights (11), ABBA Gold (13) and The Beatles' 1 (34) in the wider Top 40.

MORE: See list of every UK Number 1 Album



LA singer/rapper Doja Cat (18) earns a Top 20 placing on the year-end chart - Planet Her is third most-streamed album of 2021 by a female in the UK, behind Olivia Rodrigo and Dua Lipa.

Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2021

Position Title Artist
1 30 ADELE
2 = ED SHEERAN
3 VOYAGE ABBA
4 SOUR OLIVIA RODRIGO
5 GREATEST HITS QUEEN
6 FUTURE NOSTALGIA DUA LIPA
7 DIVIDE ED SHEERAN
8 DIAMONDS ELTON JOHN
9 50 YEARS - DON'T STOP FLEETWOOD MAC
10 WE'RE ALL ALONE IN THIS TOGETHER DAVE
11 THE HIGHLIGHTS WEEKND
12 FINE LINE HARRY STYLES
13 GOLD - GREATEST HITS ABBA
14 MUSIC OF THE SPHERES COLDPLAY
15 SHOOT FOR THE STARS AIM FOR THE MOON POP SMOKE
16 DIVINELY UNINSPIRED TO A HELLISH EXTENT LEWIS CAPALDI
17 RUMOURS FLEETWOOD MAC
18 PLANET HER DOJA CAT
19 CURTAIN CALL - THE HITS EMINEM
20 LIFE BY MISADVENTURE RAG'N'BONE MAN
21 JUSTICE JUSTIN BIEBER
22 CERTIFIED LOVER BOY DRAKE
23 TIME FLIES - 1994-2009 OASIS
24 AM ARCTIC MONKEYS
25 F**K LOVE KID LAROI
26 HAPPIER THAN EVER BILLIE EILISH
27 25 ADELE
28 WHAT'S THE STORY MORNING GLORY OASIS
29 NUMBER ONES MICHAEL JACKSON
30 LEGEND BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS
31 EVERMORE TAYLOR SWIFT
32 RED (TAYLOR'S VERSION) TAYLOR SWIFT
33 WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO BILLIE EILISH
34 1 BEATLES
35 HIGH EXPECTATIONS MABEL
36 LEGENDS NEVER DIE JUICE WRLD
37 DUA LIPA DUA LIPA
38 FOLKLORE TAYLOR SWIFT
39 THE LOCKDOWN SESSIONS ELTON JOHN
40 CONFETTI LITTLE MIX


©2022 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.

Official Top 10 most-streamed albums of 2021

Position Title Artist
1 SOUR OLIVIA RODRIGO
2 FUTURE NOSTALGIA DUA LIPA
3 50 YEARS - DON'T STOP FLEETWOOD MAC
4 DIVIDE ED SHEERAN
5 DIAMONDS ELTON JOHN
6 THE HIGHLIGHTS WEEKND
7 SHOOT FOR THE STARS AIM FOR THE MOON POP SMOKE
8 GREATEST HITS QUEEN
9 DIVINELY UNINSPIRED TO A HELLISH EXTENT LEWIS CAPALDI
10 PLANET HER DOJA CAT

©2022 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.