Well, it is jubilee year... Queen's 'Greatest Hits' is Britain's best-selling album of past half-century

Kings of camp rock join Beatles with two entries in Top 40 – but the Stones are nowhere to be seen

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The Independent Culture

From soft rock to Noughties pop, a look back at the biggest albums of the past 50 years reveals that the tastes of the British public are nothing if not eclectic. Glam rock stalwarts Queen have topped a list of the best-selling albums in British history, fending off stiff competition from Abba and The Beatles.

Queen's 1981 Greatest Hits collection has sold 5.8 million copies since its release and will be revealed as the chart-topper in a Radio 2 special presented today by Tony Blackburn. The group sealed their domination of the chart with another entry in the Top 10 – a second hits compilation that came out 10 years later and which has sold 3.8 million.

Queen's nearest rival was The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which has sold 5 million. That came just ahead of Gold, Abba's greatest hits album, which has sold 4.9 million, according to figures from the Official Charts Company.

Queen's lasting appeal has been measured in numerous polls and charts over the years. Their six-minute epic "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the third-highest-selling single in UK history. The band is also unrivalled in its number of tribute outfits.

"They have got a such a wide range of music. If you look through the catalogue, there are about 140 to 150 songs, and it ranges from hard rock to dance, funk and almost classical," said Kevin Goodwin, the bass player in a Queen tribute band, The Bohemians.

Conspicuously absent from the Top 40 are the Rolling Stones, but a host of more recent acts have stormed their way on to the list. Adele's 2011 debut 21 stands at No 6, and Leona Lewis's 2007 hit Spirit comes in at No 20.

They will rock you: the top 40 releases

1. Greatest Hits (1981) Queen

2. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) The Beatles

3. Gold (1992) Abba

4. What's The Story (1995) Oasis

5. Thriller (1982) Michael Jackson

6. 21 (2011) Adele

7. Brothers In Arms (1985) Dire Straits

8. Dark Side Of The Moon (1973) Pink Floyd

9. Bad (1987) Michael Jackson

10. Greatest Hits II (1991) Queen

11. The Immaculate Collection (1990) Madonna

12. Back To Black (2006) Amy Winehouse

13. Stars (1991) Simply Red

14. Rumours (1977) Fleetwood Mac

15. Come On Over (1997) Shania Twain

16. Back To Bedlam (2005) James Blunt

17. Urban Hymns (1997) The Verve

18. Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970) Simon and Garfunkel

19. No Angel (2001) Dido

20. Spirit (2007) Leona Lewis

21. Legend (1984) Bob Marley and the Wailers

22. Bat Out Of Hell (1977) Meat Loaf

23. Dirty Dancing (1987) Original soundtrack

24. 1 (2000) The Beatles

25. Talk On Corners (1997) The Corrs

26. White Ladder (1998) David Gray

27. Spice (1996) The Spice Girls

28. Crazy Love (2009) Michael Bublé

29. Life For Rent (2003) Dido

30. Beautiful World (2006) Take That

31. The Fame (2008) Lady Gaga

32. A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002) Coldplay

33. Hopes And Fears (2004) Keane

34. The Joshua Tree (1987) U2

35. But Seriously (1989) Phil Collins

36. Scissor Sisters (2004) The Scissor Sisters

37. Only By The Night (2008) The Kings of Leon

38. The War Of The Worlds (1978) Jeff Wayne

39. The Man Who (1999) Travis

40. x&y (2005) Coldplay