The British singer Dido, who was little known in her home country until she toured with the notorious American rapper Eminem a year ago, had the most popular album in the world during 2001, figures released yesterday show.
The singer's No Angel, released in the US two and a half years ago, narrowly beat the American band Linkin Park in the survey carried out by the United States music industry magazine Billboard. By December 2000 Dido had taken the States by storm despite being little known in Britain.
A former literary agent from Islington who did her A-levels at Westminster School and studied recorder, piano and violin at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Dido shot to fame when Eminen used a sample from her song "Thank You" on his single "Stan", and featured her in his video.
As well as making her a star in the States, appearing with the rapper then made her name in Britain and No Angel became Britain's top-selling album last year.
Robbie Williams also made the top 20, which is based on the numbers of records delivered to retailers. His album Swing When You're Winning was the only one in the top 20 which has not been released in the United States.
Billboard figures show that 8.6 million copies of No Angel were sent to shops, 100,000 more than Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory, the six-piece band's debut album release.
The shipment information is used because it is the only globally consistent figure available that allows a like-for-like comparison between countries. Both the top albums were debut releases, and six of the top eight were female acts. Survivor, by Destiny's Child, came third.
Madonna is the only act to have two entries in the top 20 with GHV2 at number 14 and Music at 19.
It is the second year running that the most popular album of the year was by a British act. In 2000 the Beatles won the title by shifting 19 million copies of their Greatest Hits Collection 1.
Robbie Williams is at this year's number 17 with 4.4 million copies, one place behind Pink Floyd whose "best of" album, Echoes, shipped 4.8 million copies.
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