Queen has become the first band in the UK to reach six million total sales on one album. The Greatest Hits album has been the number one selling album for some time now and is now widening the gap. The two behind the band are Abba’s Gold – Greatest Hits and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club with around 5.1 million sales each.
The album includes all of the most famous hits from the four-piece band, such as We Will Rock You and Under Pressure. According to the Official Charts Company, a third of all households have a copy of this album, which was first created in 1981.
Most of the albums in the top five are from 1995 or before; however, UK singer Adele is catching up. Her album 21 has been on the market for three years and is already in fourth place with 4.7 million copies sold.
According to The Official Charts Company, there are thousands of copies of the Greatest Hits album sold on a weekly basis. Most of Queen’s sales are around Christmas time. Maybe not so surprisingly, most of the sales have been on cassette, CD and vinyl. Out of the six million copies, just 124,000 are from downloads.
Chief executive of the Official Charts Company, Martin Talbot commented on the tracks on the Greatest Hits collection. There is a mixture of classic rock and pop, with various other styles added to the mix. It has helped Queen diversify its audience and reach the six million sales in the UK on just the one album. Talbot believes it could possibly be “the definitive greatest hits album” due to the range of tracks.
It is not just in the UK where it is doing well. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) states that the album has sold eight million copies in total since its release, and is the biggest selling for the band.
The compilation is not the only album in the top 10 for the UK. The second greatest hits compilation is number 10 with 3.9 million copies sold so far. This album was released in 1991 shortly before the death of the band’s singer, Freddie Mercury. Mercury died of AIDs in November 1991, but was well-known for dancing around on stage and his beautiful piano playing during Bohemian Rhapsody. However, he always dreaded performing the song on stage because he never rated himself as a piano player. As the years went by, he wrote songs that didn’t involve the piano as much so that he could concentrate on the dancing around the stage and having fun.
When hearing about the news of the album sales, Brian May created a video to thank everyone for their support. He said how incredible it was to reach that number of sales. May was the guitarist in the four-piece band and sometimes appears in the London stage show We Will Rock You, which was co-written by Ben Elton and uses a range of the band’s greatest hits. Many of those songs appear on the Queen album that has just reached six million sales in the UK.
By Alexandria Ingham