UK Sales: Adele’s ’21’ Outsells Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’

Published: Tuesday 28th Feb 2012 by David

Adele‘s ’21’ really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Yes, just when many believed the LP had broken every record possibly out there, it  continues to  exceed  expectations in ways she couldn’t begin to imagine.

Find out what the project has achieved in the last week below…

With 4,020,000 copies sold in just a year, ‘21‘ has now outsold Michael Jackson‘s ‘Bad‘ by 61,000 copies. This, making it the eight biggest selling album of all time, adding to its record of being the highest selling LP in the 21st century.

Martin Talbot of the Official Charts Company states:

This is another incredible achievement to cap a year of incredible achievements for Adele.

By overtaking Bad, 21 has truly, officially cemented Adele’s place among the all-time greats. Who would bet against her improving further on that achievement, by taking steps towards the all-time Top 5?”

The Official Charts’ Top 10 biggest selling albums of all time are as follows:

01 GREATEST HITS – QUEEN (5,863,000)
03 GOLD: GREATEST HITS – ABBA (4,989,000)
08 21 – ADELE (4,020,000)    
09 BAD – MICHAEL JACKSON (3,959,000)
10 GREATEST HITS II – QUEEN (3,887,000)

Since its January 2011 release, the LP has never left the UK top ten, selling more copies world wide in a week than the many if not all of her contemporaries could sell in two or three years.

Perhaps, much like many a successful product or brand, its sales are being generated by consumer interest, the desire to know what ‘all the hype is about’. So, coupled with the positive press its receiving, its timeless sound is the key motivator for buying it above anything else.

So what do you think, now that it’s outsold ‘Bad’, could it outsell ‘Thriller’?


Let us know!

Posted under:

Comments 58

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Bad February 28, 2012

    FIRST: the list is not right. Where is the special edition of Bad and the sales of Thriller25??? This list is a fraud.

    SECOND: Thanks for not being hyped as the NME. They said Adelle surpassed Michael Jackson, which is not true. Magazine of s***!


  2. aishaaguilerakeys February 28, 2012

    There’s no stopping this b****. Don’t know if she can sell more than Thriller, there’s not that much sales diff between them, if 21 keeps on selling like this, she probably could. Obviously she doesn’t want to just slay singers from this generation, she’s aiming way beyond that. Do ur thing.

  3. TAYLOR SWIFTS NUMBER 1 FAN!!! February 28, 2012

    Wow, this is amazing, soon she’ll beat Thiriller, which is gonna get some people mad on this site!
    In this climate of music piracy, take that out.. she’d be number 1 for sure.
    Shes beating all the so called classic albums…

  4. aishaaguilerakeys February 28, 2012

    But if peeps are curious about it, they can just listen to it on places like Deezer and Spotify. Even YouTube. I think they listen first and then they buy. Least, that’s what I did.

  5. Zoe February 28, 2012

    Martin needs to stop reaching. This a great accompishment for Adele, but it’s not earth shatering.
    Even if Adele gets to the thriller number, so what! Those are the stats for one country, no ww sales, so it’s won’t add her to the greats just yet, except in england.

  6. MISHKA February 28, 2012

    She’s the only woman and michael and her are the only solo acts.

    Good for her, I guess.

  7. Paul February 28, 2012

    This little hermaphrodite @taylorswiftfan needs to shut the f*** up. You talking about “so called greats”. Mostbpeople on that list have sold records go decades!!! There is no “so called” about it!!!
    Why don’t you go listen to that tone deaf bird b**** you Stan for and shut up. Then maybe tie the binky on you head around your throat and kill ya self.

  8. ANTHONY February 28, 2012

    ya that list is not real…micheal jackson thriller is one of the best selling record with over 10 mlllion alone in the united states

  9. ANTHONY February 28, 2012

    maybe it sold only 4 million in london..bad and thriller but in united states over 10 mlillon u need to google your shyt before posting

  10. JohnVidal (RIPWhitney-true great) February 28, 2012

    Didn´t u post a while ago “21” was the best selling album in history in the UK already??? How is it that now it is “only” the 8th?
    Anyway, amazing, best era of the 00´s, but we had lots of eras like these one in the 80´s and 90´s. Don´t try to put her like the best selling album ever worldwide cos she is far from it
    Also, to be considered among the true greatest sellers ever (and when it comes to talent too) she will need to repeat great success with her future albums, not just one. We´ll see

  11. Tbozfan10 February 28, 2012

    Is this guy above me for real? Thinking “Thriller” has sold only 10 million copies in the U.S.??!! “Thriller” has sold 25 million copies in the U.S. alone!! The biggest selling album of all time.

  12. TAYLOR SWIFTS NUMBER 1 FAN!!! February 28, 2012

    I didnt even mention artists did i.. I said so called ” classic albums” How can you quote me saying “so called greats” which I didnt even say it? It looks like you’re mad.
    I swear people dont like when new artists break old artist record, Get over yourself. This is a good thing.

  13. Geezy February 28, 2012

    Big ups to Adele for slaying everyone without even trying at this point. That only proves that talent will win over gimmicks at some point. Adele has brought hope back to this fading/dying industry.

  14. kitty February 28, 2012

    Thriller has sold 30 million in the USA.

  15. MRB February 28, 2012

    Good job for Adele but SHE WILL NEVER OUTSELL Micheal Jackson! Thriller is like 40 million sold off that ONE album!!!!! She is hot but SHE WILL NEVER see Micheal Jackson’s numbers!!!!!!!

  16. MissImpartial February 28, 2012

    Wow after so many years MJ is still twice in the top ten of the highest grossing tours in UK. Well that should shut up the producer of Madonna saying MJ is not as relevant as before when they still can’t beat his old achievements. He set the benchmark of records and it seems that current artist are still competing with him.

  17. BitchIcantevenspellwelfare February 28, 2012

    I think it’s very possible that “21” could be the biggest selling album of all time in the UK. I repeat, in the UK.

    Thriller has sold 29 million in the United States alone. & the LOW estimate for WW sales is 75 million. Wrap you ahead around those numbers and understand that Adele Laurie Blue Adkins will NEVER see those numbers.

  18. Grammy dammy sammy February 28, 2012

    @bad and others doubting authenticity of the list

    There’s nothing wrong with it. It came directly from the official UK charts website. Go there and see for yourself. They made it pretty explicit its fir sales in UK so what relevance has US sales in this? @tbozfan10

    Rationality goes a long way guys. Look, read, assimilate before catching feelings.

    Toppling one of MJ’s many records is a big deal hence the mention, looks like she’s outsold Madonna’s UK bestseller too but there was no article on that. So MJ advocates, be proud of his legacy 🙂

  19. Leroy Ndabezinhle Dube February 28, 2012

    Congratulations to Adele, numbers do not lie. Being mentioned and compared to Michael Jackson in the article is in itself an honour. Surpassing any one of his UK album sales with only her second album is nothing short of phenomenal.
    This article is about album sales in the UK and nothing else, the numbers are there for anyone to see. Don’t hate, congratulate.

  20. Spunkypoop February 28, 2012

    Congrats! Adele is doing her thing. (Janet voice) But She will NEVER beat M.J. Especially Thriller. I believe there is some trickery going on with those numbers and her stats. I’m not trying to hate but it is suspect, how she selling all these albums with only 3 singles and little to no promotion. Anyway back to reading my book. lmao

  21. JAKE February 28, 2012


    Yes, Adel is talented, but THRILLER has sold over 30 MILLION in the usa……. No album will EVER reach those numbers again!!!!!!!

    People assume that just because she has spent more weeks at number one in the usa, automatically she OUTSOLD everyone!!!!!!!

    In the usa, 21 has spent 22 wks at number one buy ha to sell over 8 million copies…

    Ushers confession spent 8 wks at number one and sold over 10 million copies in less than a year, the same goes for norah jones etc… – so do you see, long weeks t number one doesn’t mean BIG NUMBERS!

    Also, thriller has sold over 60 million copies worldwide – 21 has sold 18 million – she has another 40 Million copies to go!!!

    And I’m not mad – but the uk holds a small population – uk sales isn’t the same as usa sales!!!

  22. Popeater February 28, 2012

    Okay, this is just the UK edition, not overall worldwide sales.

    Love Adele!!!!! Keep going!

  23. Jak February 28, 2012

    That’s very good lol I mean, Adele will never outsell MJ’s Thriller (in overall sales) BUT a great accomplishment nonetheless

  24. Bey Fan February 28, 2012

    That damn Adele…..

    I always thought the album was great, but l never imagined it would sell like this. Mainly because so many good albums have not been selling. But glad to see Adele doing her thang………. EFFORTLESSLY

    I still dont know who’s still buying this album… lol. I wonder if she plans on releasing another single?

  25. Bey Fan February 28, 2012

    has Adele went Diamond in the US???

  26. Bey Fan February 28, 2012


    Ohhh you answered my question….. it has 2 million to go. Cool….

  27. MK February 28, 2012

    Very impressive, especially nowadays where everyone downloads everything

  28. JAKE February 28, 2012



    And, OVER 33 MILLION COPIES in the usa!!!

    And those probably aren’t even the official numbers, because according to music industry stats – at least 10 million + people within every country worldwide owns a copy of thriller – so it has probably sold more than 135 million worldwide according to Billboardbiz, RIAA etc…

    And y’all say 21 will beat that! LOOOOOOL!

    But great nonetheless in today’s Market – I do love adele, but I suspect something!!!

  29. JohnVidal (RIPWhitney-true great) February 28, 2012

    Like I said there are too many albums “21” would have to surpass first and she´s far from it. Apart from Thriller there are too many, Bodyguard´s soundtrack sold 17 million in the USA alone by the end of the 90´s decade. So now more and imagine worldwide. But there are many, really
    This is not shading Adele. It´s amazing and she just had the biggest era for an act in this last decade. Specially in the current climate. My problem is more with TGJ who always try to make it seem like she is near Thriller sales or something…

  30. realLIST February 28, 2012

    This list seems suspect and as someone stated earlier, its not World wide so it really doesnt matter. Get off Adele’s d*** GrapeJuice

  31. Jordan February 28, 2012

    The UK’s sales are extremely low compared to the US, so strange.

  32. MissImpartial February 28, 2012

    Best selling albums not tours. My mistake.LOL

  33. Eva February 28, 2012

    I like Adele, but I think she’s selling so well in the UK simply because she’s their hometown girl. People like to see one of their own do well. I like 21, but it’s no Bad. I still listen to Bad all the time and it’s decades old. I’ve listened to 21 maybe 5 times since I bought it.

  34. Realtalk 101 February 28, 2012

    Get real people, 21 is a good cd not a great cd!!! Katy Perry also supposedly broke a MJ record. Adele has more Grammys than the greatest female singer of all time Whitney Houston. All that says is a Grammy should now be called a Shammy. Taylor Swift is also breaking records every where what does that say? I like Adele but she’s not capable of making a record that remotely compares to MJ’s Dangerous album or Whitney’s first record I wouldnt care if she supposedly sold a billion records. It’s quality not quantity.

  35. Julie February 28, 2012

    Bad is way better.

  36. Kareem February 28, 2012

    F*** this fat h** she will never be better then MJ!

  37. tripleA February 28, 2012

    Those numbers are just from the UK ALONE..not WW. Get it straight..never mind..I will for you.

    The album was released 31 August 1987.[12] By 26 September it had debuted at number one on the Billboard 200,[13] remaining there for the next six weeks.[14] The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified Bad eight time platinum for having sold eight million copies in the United States alone.[15] Though Jackson furthered his stance as a global pop superstar, in the United States Bad failed to match the sales of Thriller, causing some in the media to label the album a “disappointment” in comparison.[8][16]

    Internationally, Bad was commercially successful. In the United Kingdom, the album sold 500,000 copies in its first five days of release, and as of 2008 is certified 13× platinum, for sales of 3.9 million, making it Jackson’s second biggest-selling album in the United Kingdom.[17] Bad peaked at number one in 25 countries [18] including Canada,[19] Japan,[20] the United Kingdom,[21] Swiss,[22] New Zealand, Austria, Sweden and Norway.[23] The album charted at number three in Italy and number thirteen in Spain, Mexico and Australia, as well as number twenty two in Puerto Rico.[23] Bad has received various certifications worldwide. Bad was certified 7× platinum for the shipment of over 700,000 units in Canada by the Canadian Recording Industry Association.[24] In Europe, Bad was certified platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for the sales of one million units.[25] The album was also certified platinum by the IFPI for the shipment of over 20,000 units in Hong Kong.[26] Globally, Bad is Jackson’s overall third best-selling album, behind Thriller and Dangerous, with a reported sales of 30 million units.[27]


    Thriller (album)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    For other uses, see Thriller (disambiguation).Thriller

    Studio album by Michael Jackson
    Released November 30, 1982
    Recorded April 14 – November 8, 1982
    Westlake Recording Studios
    (Los Angeles, California)
    Genre Pop rock,[1] R&B,[1] post-disco,[1][2] funk[1]
    Length 42:19
    Label Epic
    Producer Quincy Jones
    Michael Jackson (co-producer)
    Michael Jackson chronology
    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
    (1982) Thriller
    (1982) Farewell My Summer Love

    Singles from Thriller
    “The Girl Is Mine”
    Released: October 18, 1982
    “Billie Jean”
    Released: January 3, 1983
    “Beat It”
    Released: February 14, 1983
    “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”
    Released: May 8, 1983
    “Human Nature”
    Released: July 3, 1983
    “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”
    Released: September 19, 1983
    Released: January 23, 1984

    Thriller is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was released on November 30, 1982, by Epic Records as the follow-up to Jackson’s critically and commercially successful 1979 album Off the Wall. Thriller explores similar genres to those of Off the Wall, including pop, R&B, rock, post-disco and adult contemporary music.[1][2][3]

    Recording sessions took place between April and November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California, with a production budget of $750,000, assisted by producer Quincy Jones. Of the nine tracks on the album, 4 of them were written by Jackson himself. Seven singles were released from the album, all of which reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life” were the only tracks that were not released as singles. In just over a year, Thriller became—and currently remains—the best-selling album of all time, with sales estimated by various sources as being between 65 and 110 million copies worldwide,[4][5] and is also tied for the best-selling album in the United States.[6] The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards at the 1984 Grammys.

    *****NOTE IT SAYS SOLD 65-110 COPIES WW.

  38. Jade February 28, 2012

    She can sell more then thriller. Who gives a s*** ? Michael jackson albums will forever be superior.

  39. tripleA February 28, 2012


  40. robert February 28, 2012

    Eat s*** ! MJ SOLD 110 COPIES. How much did 21 sell all together?

  41. Onyx February 28, 2012

    I think people is giving her to much credits like if “21” is the best album of all times, i think is good but c’mon is not “The Bodyguard”, is not “Falling Into You”, is not “Music Box”, is not “The Immaculate Collection” and is not “Thriller”

    “21” has sold 17 million copies worldwide is near the the lowest of the best selling album 20 million copies, hell Britney Spears “…Baby One More Time” sold 26 million copies just to name one.

  42. mel February 28, 2012

    Thriller sold 30 million in the U.S. and 110 million WW. It’s 29x Multi-Platinum. No one will EVER pass that not even ADELE. I love adele but it seems like record companies and certain people in the business is really trying to surpass Michal Jackson for some reason.

    Bad sold 30 million copies WW. and Michael did sell only 10 million in the U.S. with Bad. S*** people need to stay in their own lane, curve their own lane stop trying to out do the icons. Is that what music come to now? Adele album is gone but it’s not life changing or great. They’re overrating her.

  43. jill February 28, 2012

    Adele have sold 7.3 in the U.S so far.

  44. mel February 28, 2012

    gone= *good*

  45. austin February 28, 2012

    Overrated because she has the only great album out now so yes it will sell alot. Everyone else is autotune pop trash. People don’t make great pop anymore like in the 60s 70s and 80s.

  46. dezi February 28, 2012

    Adele out-sell thriller? 110 million copies world wide is pretty steep but good luck adele.

  47. aynon February 28, 2012




    how some artists now have more grammys than whitney did in her whole career escapes me.

    even the beyonce’s and alicia keys of the world.

  48. gaaglooo! February 28, 2012

    Sam stop over hyped her, i do love and i will always respect people with talent, but i’m not maso, this album really make me saaaad!!

  49. BlindPeople. February 28, 2012

    What the hell? Are you people blind? read below the list! They are talking about sold in 1 week! (7 days) THATS WHAT THE LIST IS ABOUT!!!! LOL.. Are you guys stupid? WTF lol.

  50. Saetana February 29, 2012

    Its quite clear in the article that these figures are for SALES IN THE FIRST YEAR of an album being released – it does not say they are total sales, obviously as most of these albums are decades old so have obviously sold more than 21 overall. Still, its something that she managed to sell more of her album in a year than MJ with Bad ;o)

  51. TAYLOR SWIFTS NUMBER 1 FAN!!! February 29, 2012

    It is the total sales… what the hell is wrong with the last 2 people who’ve commented

  52. bigkix March 1, 2012

    she’s good…BUT she can NEVER surpass Micheal. Micheal is un-comparable. A legend. From Congo to Mongolia to the Island of Fiji Micheal is #1, known, and loved. Ask them who Adele is, and they will stare at you blankly. But mention Micheal and their eyes lit up. Adele has a looooooooooooooooooong loooooooooooooooong way to go.

  53. Elke Hassell March 2, 2012

    It becomes more and more a mystery to the media is trying so hard in these days to outdo MJ by each and every non discrept artist out there. This is the third article today that is targeting Michael Jackson. Can Mr. Jackson not even in death get any peace from the frigging tabloids and media news??? What is it that you are all so hell bend to put him down, or trying to fool the world with your phoney articles. The reason why Adele is popular right now is because there are not that many good records and artists out there right now, so she is benefiting from the lack of true competition out there. Her music is o.k., is it inspirational or different, no way!! Singers of her style of music were there before her, one or two come straight to mind, Sade and Anita Baker! There is nothing brilliant about Adele’s music, I feel its just the desperate longing by the public of some real vocals for a change and no auto tune crap. But to even consider for one minute that she will be better than MJ or even reach his overwhelming record sales is just mind blowing stupid. Do me a favour Media and leave the True Legends untouched with your false and offending articles. Earlier this year it was officially announced that Mr. Michael J. Jackson has broken the 1 Billion Sales Record, and Thriller is still the Most Sold Record Worldwide and will not be surpassed, not in my lifetime nor anybody elses in the near future. I also do not trust the record keeping of certain albums, it seems to me its being switched a lot to use for certain agendas. I like some of these good folks up there am still listening to each and every record that is on the Bad album, but I have yet to listen voluntarily to any of Adele’s 21 records, the only way I did was when I hear it on the radio over and over and over and over again, until I got so sick of hearing it that I now drive around with my radio switched off. Stop thrusting these artists like Adele, Bieber, Gaga and the likes in our throats, by overselling and overrating their capabilities and your constant false impression of making them the new successors of Michael Jackson. Find somebody else to compare them with, but leave Mr. Jackson out of the convo. You are making yourself look pathetic.

  54. cl May 4, 2012

    you adel you will never beat michael jackson dream on. mj sold 50million cds and you rubish adel sold 30 million records in world wide so dream on.

  55. cl May 4, 2012

    stay away from michael jackson adel you cant beat him b****.adel you will see me when im 12 next year singing and dancing and i will beat you and ill help michael jackson beat you . yea thats right people. you will see me on my name world wide saying christian lima. and i will be on britans got talen. comment me.

  56. M1ssie_192 June 11, 2012

    Yea right. Noone has outsold MJ and there will never be noone who could. GTFOHWTBS!!!!!

Recommended Posts
.. **