BBC Radio 2 today announces the UK’s biggest debut albums of all-time to celebrate National Album Day 2022 - which celebrates the art form of the album - on Saturday 15th October. The chart has been compiled exclusively by The Official Charts Company in partnership with National Album Day.

In The Official All-time Debut Albums Top 20, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell, released in 1977, is revealed as hitting the top of this prestigious chart - which is based on UK sales and streams combined since records began in 1956. James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam at No. 2 is the biggest ever debut album by a British artist, and Leona Lewis at No. 3 is the biggest debut by a UK female artist with her album, Spirit.

Steve Wright announces the Top 20 countdown in The Official All-time Debut Albums Top 20 on Radio 2 (Saturday 15th October, 1-3pm) and available on BBC Sounds from Friday 14th October - as the network celebrates National Album Day, which this year takes debut albums as its theme. Steve also presents the countdown from 40 to 21 in The Official All-time Debut Albums Top 40 which is available exclusively on BBC Sounds here. Both programmes are 7digital productions.

Steve Wright said: “Bat Out Of Hell reaching Number One as the UK’s biggest debut album of all-time might be a surprise to some, but it is a truly brilliant debut album and one which reached a whole new audience following the sad passing of Meat Loaf earlier this year. You’re in for a treat with the full chart so do tune in for a fantastic nostalgia trip with some of the most brilliant songs you’ll ever hear.”

Laura Busson, Commissioning Executive for Radio 2, said: “Radio 2 is proud to support National Album Day by celebrating this year’s theme of debut albums. This chart is a wonderful reminder of the powerful records that launched so many stellar careers and are much-loved by our listeners.”

Bat Out Of Hell paired Meat Loaf with songwriter Jim Steinman. A number of the late US rock star’s best-loved recordings are on the album, including You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad and the extraordinary title track which clocks in at almost 10 minutes. Its UK sales have topped 3.5 million, and it has spent more than 500 weeks on the Official Albums Chart despite only ever climbing as high as No. 3, which it reached in January this year after Meat Loaf passed away.

In the No. 2 spot, and the leading UK artist in the chart, is James Blunt with his 2004 debut, Back To Bedlam. Including his global hit You’re Beautiful, which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, the album spent 10 weeks at No. 1 in the UK and was not only the top album of that year, but the biggest seller of the 2000s.

On discovering that Back to Bedlam is the biggest debut album in the UK by a British artist James said: “Are you sure? There must have been some kind of mistake.”

At No. 3, Leona Lewis leads a strong contingent of female artists with her debut, Spirit (2007), one of the three albums by female artists in the Top 5. Released the year after she won The X Factor, the album includes the No. 1 singles A Moment Like This and Bleeding Love as well as her chart-topping cover of Snow Patrol’s Run.

At No. 4, Lady Gaga’s album, The Fame (2008), includes her first two UK No. 1 hits Just Dance and Poker Face.
Dido’s slow-burning debut, No Angel (1999), is at No. 5, taking 20 months after its release to top the Official Albums Chart, with hits including Here With Me and Thank You.

At No. 6, Spice Girls’ Spice (1996) is the highest-ranked album from a group, with five of the record’s 10 tracks topping the Official Singles Chart, including their first three singles Wannabe, Say You’ll Be There and 2 Become 1, while the album spent 15 weeks at No. 1 in the UK.

Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill was the UK’s top seller of 1996 and includes Ironic and You Oughta Know, plus debuts by Keane, Sam Smith and Coldplaycomplete the Top 10. Keane’s debut features Everybody’s Changing and Somewhere Only We Know, while Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour contains their No. 1 singles Money On My Mind, Stay With Me and Lay Me Down. Coldplay’s Parachutes contained their early classics, Yellow and Trouble.

Twelve of the Top 20 debut albums are by UK artists, including Dido (No. 5), Spice Girls (No. 6), Keane (No. 7), Sam Smith (No. 9), Coldplay (No. 10), Mike Oldfield (No. 11), Ed Sheeran (No. 14), Adele (No. 16), Emeli Sandé (No. 18), and Oasis (No. 19).

The UK’s Top 20 debut albums of all time:

Bat Out Of Hell - Meat Loaf (1977)
Back To Bedlam - James Blunt (2004)
Spirit - Leona Lewis (2007)
The Fame - Lady Gaga (2008)
No Angel - Dido (1999)
Spice - Spice Girls (1996)
Hopes And Fears - Keane (2004)
Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette (1994)
In The Lonely Hour - Sam Smith (2014)
Parachutes - Coldplay (2000)
Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield (1973)
Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters (2004)
Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman (1988)
+ - Ed Sheeran (2011)
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones (2002)
19 - Adele (2008)
Appetite for Destruction - Guns N’ Roses (1987)
Our Version of Events - Emeli Sandé (2012)
Definitely Maybe - Oasis (1994)
Hot Fuss - The Killers (2004)

BBC Four celebrates National Album Day tonight (Friday 14th October) with programming featuring some of the artists who are featured in the chart - Meat Loaf: In and Out of Hell, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, and Sam Smith’s Radio 2 In Concert from 2015. Also tonight is Unfinished: The Making of Massive Attack.

Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More is at No. 35 in the chart) performed on Later… with Jools Holland (BBC Two, 8th October), which is now available on BBC iPlayer, along with a BBC iPlayer collection of programmes for National Album Day which includes Kylie at the BBC, Kylie Minogue: Reel Stories and Kylie Minogue Live in Hyde Park (from Radio 2’s Festival In A Day in 2018); and Robbie Williams: Reel Stories, Robbie Williams: One Night At The Palladium and TOTP2: Robbie Williams Special.