List of best-selling albums of the 1980s in the United Kingdom

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Dire Straits had the best-selling album of the 1980s in the UK with Brothers in Arms.

The UK Albums Chart is a music chart that calculates the best-selling artist albums of the week in the United Kingdom. For the purposes of inclusion in the chart an album is 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]

At the beginning of the 1980s, sales of singles and albums in the United Kingdom were compiled on behalf of the British music industry by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB). This continued until the end of 1982, when the contract to compile the UK charts was won by Gallup, who took over on 4 January 1983, the first working day of 1983.[2] Gallup continued to compile the UK charts throughout the 1980s until January 1994.

At the end of 1989 Gallup compiled the list of the best-selling singles of the 1980s, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 1, and published in the music magazine Record Mirror and later in the book Guinness Hits of the 80s. No detailed equivalent list for the best-selling albums of the decade was produced. However, two weeks before the end of the decade, chart compiler Alan Jones published an "exclusive recap" of the top ten in his regular "Chartfile" column in Record Mirror.[3]

The biggest-selling album of the 1980s in the UK was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, which had sold more than 3.2 million copies by the end of 1989[3] and was the first album in the UK to sell a million copies on CD alone.[4] Michael Jackson had the second and third best-selling albums of the 1980s, with Bad just overtaking Thriller by the end of the decade. In fourth place was Greatest Hits by Queen, which had sold over 1.9 million copies by 1989[3] and would go on to become the UK's biggest-selling album of all time.


Best-selling albums of the 1980s in the UK[3]
No. Title Artist Record label[a] Year[a] Peak
1 Brothers in Arms Dire Straits Vertigo 1985 1
2 Bad Michael Jackson Epic 1987 1
3 Thriller Michael Jackson Epic 1982 1
4 Greatest Hits Queen Parlophone 1981 1
5 Kylie Kylie Minogue PWL 1988 1
6 Whitney Whitney Houston Arista 1987 1
7 Tango in the Night Fleetwood Mac Warner Bros. 1987 1
8 No Jacket Required Phil Collins Virgin 1985 1
9 The Joshua Tree U2 Island 1987 1
10 True Blue Madonna Sire 1986 1


  1. ^ a b c The record labels, years and chart peaks are those given by the OCC.[5]


  1. ^ "Rules For Chart Eligibility – Albums" (PDF). London: The Official UK Charts Company. January 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Key Dates in the History of the Official UK Charts". The Official UK Charts Company. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Jones, Alan (16 December 1989). "Chartfile". Record Mirror. Spotlight Publications. p. 45.
  4. ^ Firth, Niall (17 August 2007). "25 years of the CD". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 9 September 2011. ... Dire Straits' classic album 'Brothers in Arms' was the first CD to sell one million copies ...
  5. ^ "Artist Chart History". London: Official Charts Company. 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.