List of best-selling albums of the 1970s in the United Kingdom

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Simon & Garfunkel had the biggest-selling album of the 1970s with Bridge Over Troubled Water.
1970s in music in the UK
Number-one singles
Number-one albums
Best-selling singles
Best-selling albums
Summaries and charts
1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
1969 1980
Top 10 singles
1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
1969 1980

The UK Albums Chart is a weekly record chart based on album sales from Sunday to Saturday in the United Kingdom. Albums are defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as being a type of music release that features more than four tracks and lasts longer than 25 minutes.[1] During the 1970s, sales of albums in the United Kingdom were compiled on behalf of the British music industry by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB).[2] Panel sales from approximately 250 (later expanded to 450) representative record stores across the UK were collected each week, and a multiplier figure would then be applied to these panel sales figures to obtain an estimate of the total sales across the country and to compile the weekly chart. Each week's number one was first revealed at 12.45 pm on Thursdays on the lunchtime show on BBC Radio 1, and then moved to 6:05 pm (later 6:30 pm) on Wednesday evenings during the Peter Powell and Bruno Brookes shows.

The official charts of the best-selling singles and albums of the 1970s were compiled by BMRB and published in Music Week in the issue dated 22 December 1979, and the top 100 singles and albums were counted down throughout the day on Radio 1 on 31 December 1979, playing one track from each of the top 100 albums.[3] As the charts had to be compiled before the end of the year, the cut-off date for collection of sales data was 8 December 1979.

The biggest-selling album of the 1970s in the UK was Bridge Over Troubled Water by American duo Simon & Garfunkel. Released on 6 February 1970,[3] it spent a total of 33 weeks at number one, and was the best-selling album of both 1970 and 1971. Originally it was credited with 41 weeks at number one,[4] but this figure includes eight weeks in February and March 1971 when no charts were published due to a postal strike which prevented collection of sales data, and the chart of 30 January 1971 was reused during this period.[5] In 2006 the OCC decided that the rival Melody Maker album chart would replace the missing weeks, with George Harrison's All Things Must Pass at number one during that period.[6][7][8]

Although it was not an immediate big seller at the time and therefore does not appear in this list, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf has since gone on to become one of the UK's best-selling albums. Released in the UK in February 1978, the album only ever spent two weeks in the top ten of the album chart, in 1981 in the wake of Meat Loaf's follow-up album Dead Ringer. However, Bat Out of Hell sold consistently for several years following its release, and has spent more than 500 weeks on the UK album chart, a total that, for a studio album, is bettered only by Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.[9] As of February 2014 Bat Out of Hell is the 19th best-selling album of all time in the UK, and the third best-selling album released during the 1970s, behind Rumours and The Dark Side of the Moon and ahead of Bridge Over Troubled Water in fourth place.[10]

BMRB's methodology and data collection system have been criticised by other chart statisticians.[11] However, while other chart compilers have produced their own versions of the equivalent 1970s singles chart, BMRB's list remains the only chart of the best-selling albums of the 1970s.

No. Album Artist Record label[nb 1] Released[nb 1] Chart
peak[nb 1]
1 Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon and Garfunkel CBS 1970 1
2 Greatest Hits ABBA Epic 1976 1
3 Tubular Bells Oldfield, MikeMike Oldfield Virgin 1973 1
4 Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits Simon and Garfunkel CBS 1972 2
5 Saturday Night Fever Original Soundtrack RSO 1977 1
6 The Singles: 1969–1973 Carpenters, TheThe Carpenters A&M 1974 1
7 Arrival ABBA Epic 1976 1
8 The Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd Harvest 1973 2
9 Grease Original Soundtrack RSO 1978 1
10 40 Greatest Hits Presley, ElvisElvis Presley Arcade 1974[nb 2] 1
11 20 Golden Greats Beach Boys, TheThe Beach Boys Capitol 1976 1
12 Band on the Run Paul McCartney and Wings Apple 1973 1
13 Rumours Fleetwood Mac Warner Bros. 1977 1
14 The Best of The Stylistics Stylistics, TheThe Stylistics Avco 1975 1
15 Parallel Lines Blondie Chrysalis 1978 1
16 Atlantic Crossing Stewart, RodRod Stewart Riva 1975 1
17 20 Golden Greats Shadows, TheThe Shadows EMI 1977 1
18 20 Golden Greats Diana Ross & The Supremes Motown 1977 1
19 Greatest Hits John, EltonElton John DJM 1974 1
20 ABBA: The Album ABBA Epic 1978 1
21 A Night at the Opera Queen EMI 1975 1
22 The Sound of Bread Bread Elektra 1977 1
23 Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) Eagles, TheThe Eagles Asylum 1976 2
24 Out of the Blue Electric Light Orchestra Jet 1977 4
25 Nightflight to Venus Boney M. Atlantic 1978 1
26 20 Dynamic Hits Various Artists K-tel 1972 1
27 1967–1970 Beatles, TheThe Beatles Apple 1973 2
28 Hotel California Eagles, TheThe Eagles Asylum 1976 2
29 40 Greatest Hits Como, PerryPerry Como K-tel 1975 1
30 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road John, EltonElton John DJM 1973 1
31 A Star Is Born Streisand, BarbraBarbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson CBS 1976 1
32 1962–1966 Beatles, TheThe Beatles Apple 1973 3
33 Forever and Ever Roussos, DemisDemis Roussos Philips 1973 2
34 Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd Harvest 1975 1
35 And I Love You So Como, PerryPerry Como RCA Victor 1973 1
36 Songs in the Key of Life Wonder, StevieStevie Wonder Motown 1976 2
37 Once Upon a Star Bay City Rollers, TheThe Bay City Rollers Bell 1975 1
38 Disco Fever Various Artists K-tel 1977 1
39 A New World Record Electric Light Orchestra Jet 1976 6
40 20 All Time Greats of the 50's Various Artists K-tel 1972 1
41 Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds Wayne, JeffJeff Wayne CBS 1978 5
42 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars Bowie, DavidDavid Bowie RCA 1972 5
43 Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols Sex Pistols Virgin 1977 1
44 Rollin' Bay City Rollers, TheThe Bay City Rollers Bell 1974 1
45 Glen Campbell's Twenty Golden Greats Campbell, GlenGlen Campbell EMI 1976 1
46 Discovery Electric Light Orchestra Jet 1979 1
47 Imagine Lennon, JohnJohn Lennon Apple 1971 1
48 The Very Best of Leo Sayer Sayer, LeoLeo Sayer Chrysalis 1979 1
49 40 Golden Greats Reeves, JimJim Reeves Arcade 1975 1
50 Endless Flight Sayer, LeoLeo Sayer Chrysalis 1976 4


  1. ^ a b c The record labels, dates and chart peaks are those given by the OCC.
  2. ^ 40 Greatest Hits was originally released in November 1974, but due to chart regulations at the time which excluded television-advertised albums, it did not chart until the regulations were lifted in July 1975. The album finally made number 1 on the UK Albums Chart in September 1977, following Presley's death.


General (chart positions)
  • "Albums of the 70's". Music Week (London, England: Spotlight Publications). p. 15. 22 December 1979.
  1. ^ "Rules For Chart Eligibility – Albums" (PDF). London: Official Charts Company. January 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Leigh, Spencer (20 February 1998). "Music: Charting the number ones that somehow got away". The Independent. London, England. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Records of the Decade". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications: 1. 22 December 1979. 
  4. ^ Bronson, Fred (26 July 2011). "Adele's '21' Ties 'Saturday Night Fever' as the Longest-Running No. 1 U.K. Album in 40 Years". Billboard. Los Angeles, USA. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Gambaccini, Paul; Rice, Tim; Rice, Jonathan (1994). British Hit Albums (6th ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: GRR Publications Ltd. p. 32. 
  6. ^ Goodman, Chris (30 July 2006). "How George's No. 1 got lost in the post". Sunday Express. London, England: Northern & Shell. p. 3. 
  7. ^ Lane, Daniel (24 November 2013). "The UK's first 1000 Number 1 albums revealed!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Denham, Jess (18 November 2013). "Who will clinch the title for the UK's 1000th number one album?". The Independent. London, England: Independent Print Media. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "UK Charts > Meat Loaf". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2015-03-04. 
  10. ^ Kreisler, Lauren (10 February 2014). "Queen's Greatest Hits becomes first album to sell 6 million copies in the UK". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Jones, Alan (9 February 1980). "Chartfile". Record Mirror. London, England: Spotlight Publications: 30.