Queen make history with first album to pass seven million UK chart sales

It is a milestone no UK band has ever achieved – and now Queen can rightly claim to be ‘champions’ of carving out a slice of official music chart history.

The British rock veterans Greatest Hits compilation has become the first album to pass seven million chart sales.

The collection of best tracks recently spent its 1,000th week on the UK album chart.

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Guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor said they were “humbled and honoured” by confirmation of the milestone, which was achieved through a combination of physical sales, downloads and streams.

Freddie Mercury, of the pop band Queen, performing on stage during the Live Aid concert. Picture: PA WireFreddie Mercury, of the pop band Queen, performing on stage during the Live Aid concert. Picture: PA Wire
Freddie Mercury, of the pop band Queen, performing on stage during the Live Aid concert. Picture: PA Wire

The compilation album, recorded in 1981, includes classic tracks such as We Will Rock You, Don’t Stop Me Now, Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are the Champions.

In 2014, it became the first album to pass six million sales in the UK and as pure sales (physical and digital download copies).

A year later, audio streams were incorporated into the calculations, with 1,000 streams counting as one "sale".

The album has 1.26 billion total UK streams to date, with the most-streamed track being Bohemian Rhapsody, which boasts 240 million UK streams and counting.

Queen’s Greatest Hits recently celebrated its 1,000th week in the Official Albums Chart, with the bank becoming the first British act to achieve the landmark milestone.

Speaking to OfficialCharts.com, May and Taylor thanked the public and praised their “infinitely great taste”.

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“We’re here to bring you the joyous news that Queen’s Greatest Hits album has sold seven million copies, which nobody has ever done before,” said May, who celebrates his 75th birthday on July 19.

“No album has done this before in history. Thank you. We appreciate it.”

Taylor added: “The British public and their infinitely great taste have made this the biggest-selling album in history.

“Thank you very much. We’re humbled and honoured. We salute you.”

Martin Talbot, chief executive of Official Charts Company, said: “It really is a fantastic achievement by Queen to become the first act to notch up seven million sales of one album with their legendary Greatest Hits.

“When it was released for the first time in 1981, career-spanning packages such as Greatest Hits were relatively rare, the preserve of only the very biggest acts.

“Queen’s Greatest Hits can claim to be in more than one in four UK households’ record collections today, and there is no doubt that its massive success has done as much as any other release to turn hits packages into the omnipresent album concept that they are today.”

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The milestone was achieved after Queen last month revealed they would a release a previously unheard track featuring vocals recorded by late frontman Freddie Mercury.

The band's back catalogue has already received a massive boost from the release of the Oscar-winning Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018.

On Spotify, Queen are currently the 31st most-streamed act in the world, ahead of other classic artists like The Beatles, who place 44th, and Michael Jackson, who is 68th.

Abba’s Gold is the second highest selling UK album of all time.

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