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The UK’s biggest-selling singles and albums of 2022 revealed

For the first time ever, the 10 most popular singles were all by British artists

By Joe Goggins

Split of Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran
Styles and Sheeran were the year's biggest hitters. (Photos: Lily Redman/Harald Krichel/Wikimedia Commons)

The UK’s biggest-selling singles of 2022 have been revealed, with Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran and Kate Bush among the year’s success stories.

The Official Charts Company have also released data on the most popular albums of 2022, as well as the best-selling vinyl and cassette releases of the year. According to data reported by The Guardian, for the first time in the more than 50 year history of the official charts, the top 10 singles of the year in the UK were all released by British artists. Styles headed up the list with ‘As It Was’, with Sheeran’s ‘Bad Habits’ in second place and his collaboration with Fireboy DML, ‘Peru’, taking third.

Sheeran’s ‘Shivers’ was in fifth, behind Cat Burns’ ‘Go’, which was fourth. Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)’, which enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in popularity over the summer thanks to a pivotal appearance in Netflix’s Stranger Things, came sixth, with Glass Animals’ global smash ‘Heat Waves’ in seventh, the Lost Frequencies and Calum Scott collaboration ‘Where Are You Now’ in eighth, LF System’s ‘Afraid to Feel’ in ninth and Sam Fender’s ‘Seventeen Going Under’ rounding out the all-British top ten.

The UK’s top ten singles of 2022 in full:

  1. Harry Styles – ‘As It Was’
  2. Ed Sheeran – ‘Bad Habits’
  3. Fireboy DML and Ed Sheeran – ‘Peru’
  4. Cat Burns – ‘Go’
  5. Ed Sheeran – ‘Shivers’
  6. Kate Bush – ‘Running Up That Hill’
  7. Glass Animals – ‘Heat Waves’
  8. Lost Frequencies and Calum Scott – ‘Where Are You Now
  9. LF System – ‘Afraid to Feel’
  10. Sam Fender – ‘Seventeen Going Under’

Styles also bested Sheeran in the album stakes, with Harry’s House the most popular UK album the year, ahead of Sheeran’s = in second place. Despite only being released in October, Taylor Swift’s Midnights secured third spot, with The Weeknd’s The Highlights and Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour in fourth and fifth, respectively. Classic compilations were well represented in the top ten, with Eminem’s 2005 Curtain Call: The Hits in sixth, Elton John’s Diamonds in seventh, Fleetwood Mac’s 50 Years – Don’t Stop in eighth and ABBA’s Gold tenth. The top ten was completed by Little Mix’s Between Us, in ninth.

The UK’s top ten albums of 2022 in full:

1. Harry Styles – Harry’s House
2. Ed Sheeran – =
3. Taylor Swift – Midnights
4. The Weeknd – The Highlights
5. Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
6. Eminem – Curtain Call: The Hits
7. Elton John – Diamonds
8. Fleetwood Mac – 50 Years – Don’t Stop
9. Little Mix – Between Us
10. Abba – Gold

The UK’s best-selling physical albums of 2022

Meanwhile, the vinyl revival shows now signs of abating, with wax sales up for a 15th year in succession, to a high of 5.5 million units. Swift’s Midnights, available in a range of colour variants, was the best-selling vinyl album, with Styles’ Harry’s House second, Arctic Monkeys’ The Car third, Liam Gallagher’s C’mon You Know fourth and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours fifth. The renewed growth in cassette sales continues apace, too, with 5.2 per cent growth in 2022 taking total sales to 195,000 units. The most popular album on the format was The Car, with Harry’s House placed second ahead of Florence + the Machine’s Dance Fever in third, Muse’s Will of the People in fourth, and Central Cee’s 23 fifth.