Top 10 Artists and Albums of All Time on UK And US Album Charts

In 1948, for Columbia, classical music was the main destination of new longplaying records. However, when first album charts started in 1955 in America and 1 year later in UK, it was clear that pop music will be dominant.

The first Number 1 albums in US and UK,respectively, were:

  • 28.05.1955 – US album chart – „Crazy Otto” [Decca, honky-tonk piano];
  • 28.07.1956 – UK album chart – Frank Sinatra – „Songs For Swingin’ Lovers” [Capitol].

OK, in the middle of 2023 year we can look at UK and US album charts from quite a long perspective. It is good to know the lists of longest rivers and highest mountains… And it could be also interesting to create all time lists of top artists and albums. I believe it is different with albums than with singles. I mean sales figures are the most important for singles. So, how many millions of records were sold.

However, in order to measure somehow the long term importance of albums and artists one has much better tool – WEEKS ON CHART. So, how long the respective albums find their buyers.

Taking into consideration the whole period from the 50s till 30.06.2023 and adding weeks on charts, totally, you will find below the 10 top artists and albums ever in UK and US, respectively:

UK Artists

2Fleetwood Mac2057
3The Beatles2039
4Michael Jackson1959
6David Bowie1821
7Elvis Presley1802
9Ed Sheeran1469

US Artists

1The Beatles3236
3Elvis Presley2568
4Frank Sinatra2498
5Taylor Swift2382
7Johnny Mathis2200
8Michael Jackson2046
9The Rolling Stones2030
10Elton John2028

UK Albums

1Abba's Gold – Greatest Hits1110
2Bob Marley & The Wailers' Legend1088
3Queen's Greatest Hits1056
4Fleetwood Mac's Rumours999
5Oasis' [What's The Story] Morning Glory?599
6Michael Jackson's Number Ones586
7Eminem's Curtain Call: The Hits572
8Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon561
9Amy Winehouse's Back To Black535
10Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell530

US Albums

1Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon980
2Bob Marley & The Wailers' Legend788
3Journey's Greatest Hits766
4Metallica [1991]716
5Creedence Clearwater Revival's Chronicle663
6Eminem's Curtain Call: The Hits636
7Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits630
8Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hoologans628
9Nirvana's Nevermind624
10Michael Jackson's Thriller578

British fans have their Official Charts and American ones – Billboard 200. And what about European non-British fans? We are closer to UK chart, however, Billboard 200 cannot be neglected, absolutely. And that’s my „invention” – total weeks on British chart are corrected with a half of weeks on Billboard 200. Why a half? In order to reduce dominance of Billboard 200. I mean US chart includes 200 albums, whereas UK chart – 100 albums only.

Results? Well, thanks to American Queen-scepticism […] Queen is landing on my list at Number 3 „only”. And Number 1 are still The Beatles and Elvis Presley is No. 2, which perfectly illustrates their importance in the history of pop music! On the other hand, thanks to dominating British preferences, „Journey’s Greatest Hits” [nothing against…] are No. 42 „only” on my list… Again, an American Abba-scepticism makes their „Gold – Greatest Hits” No. 4 „only” on my list. These are just a few examples of advantages of those my „clever” lists…

So, top 10 artists and albums ever – from point of view of non-British European fan – are:

Top 10 Artists (UK + 1/2 US)

1The Beatles3657
2Elvis Presley3086
4Michael Jackson2982
5Fleetwood Mac2809
6Elton John2477
8Taylor Swift2359
9Frank Sinatra2318
10David Bowie2249

Top 10 Albums (UK + 1/2 US)

1Bob Marley & The Wailers' Legend1482
2Queen's Greatest Hits1330
3Fleetwood Mac's Rumours1266
4Abba's Gold – Greatest Hits1249
5Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon1051
6Eminem's Curtain Call: The Hits890
7Nirvana's Nevermind747
8Guns N'Roses' Greatest Hits710
9Michael Jackson's Number Ones697
10The Beatles - „1”694

For more – see below! You will find there also, written by small digits, exact number of weeks on UK and US chart, respectively, for each artist and album. OK, the US figures should be obviously multiplied by 2.

By the way, I think my lists of all time should be interesting for all worldwide fans located closer to UK than US. And, obviously, having no their own representative charts in their countries.