Adele’s album 21 is the best-selling record by a woman in the UK.
As part of National Album Day, BBC Radio 2 calculated the biggest-selling LPs released by female artists.
The singer-songwriter’s second album topped more than five million sales, according to the Official Charts Company.
And Adele, 33, was also in the fifth slot, with her third album 25, which had more than 3.3 million sales.
In second place was Amy Winehouse‘s Back to Black, with 3.9 million sales.
Madonna‘s The Immaculate Collection was in third with 3.8 million sales, and Shania Twain’s Come On Over was in fourth with 3.4 million.
London-born Adele’s new album 30 is due out next month, six years after 25 was released.
Adele’s 21, released in 2011, was inspired by the breakdown of a relationship and featured songs such as Rolling In The Deep, Someone Like You and Set Fire To The Rain.
It was top of the charts for 23 weeks, and won album of the year at the Grammys, as well as the Brit Award for British album of the year.
Top five albums by women
- Adele – 21 (5,007,000 sales)
- Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (3,912,000)
- Madonna – The Immaculate Collection (3,771,000)
- Shania Twain – Come On Over (3,411,000)
- Adele – 25 (3,364,000)
The debut single from 30, Easy on Me, was released on Friday, and has already amassed close to 50 million views on YouTube.
The singer – real name Adele Adkins – said her new release is written for her nine-year-old son Angelo, to explain her relationship with his father and her ex-husband Simon Konecki.
She told Hits Radio: “It’s like ‘you could be in like discussion or disagreement or a full blown row, if you will, not that me and your dad ever used to do that, but even if you’re the one that’s initiating the discussion, it’s like hang on a minute, go easy on me, you know, it’s not my fault’.”
Announcing the top 30 biggest selling albums by women, DJ Jo Whiley said: “Adele has enchanted us from the very beginning with her voice, her songs and her personality.
“When she writes, she writes from the heart and that’s why her music resonates with so many people.
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“She tells it like it is, whether onstage to thousands of people at Glastonbury or through the songs on her albums, and that’s why she is so loved and a global superstar.
“She sings it like she means it – because she does.”