For the first time, Billboard has ranked the top albums and artists ever on their signature Billboard 200 albums chart.
Adele’s blockbuster 21 tops the Billboard 200’s all-time albums ranking, fueled not only by the set’s 24 nonconsecutive weeks atop the list (the most weeks at No. 1 for an album by a woman), but also its lengthy chart run in the upper reaches of the tally.
21 debuted on the chart dated March 12, 2011 and spent its first 78 weeks in the top 10 (and then returned for three more frames … so far). The album has yet to leave the list since its release, and has lingered on the tally for more than 245 consecutive weeks.
Below Adele’s 21 on the Billboard 200 recap is the soundtrack to The Sound of Music, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015. The album, led by the film’s star Julie Andrews, spent two weeks at No. 1 on the weekly Billboard 200, and earned a record 109 weeks in the top 10. The album was so hot that it was in the weekly top 10 from the May 1, 1965-dated chart through July 16, 1966. It was a regular (but not quite weekly) presence in the top 10 off and on through early 1968.
At No. 3 on the all-time list is Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which clocked 37 weeks at No. 1 on the chart in 1983-84. In total, the set (which would also be the first to spawn seven top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart) would spend 78 weeks in the top 10.