Published Dec 30, 2009Ever since the Beatles vs. Beach Boys debates of the 1960s, Britain and the U.S. have been battling for pop supremacy. Now, thanks to Billboard's decade-end sales reports, American supporters have a new statistic with which to make fun of their British friends: James Blunt's 2004 album Back to Bedlam is the UK's No. 1 selling album of the decade.
After a slow start, the hit single "You're Beautiful" made Blunt a sensation in 2005, and the album has continued to sell steadily ever since. By 2008, it had sold 3.1 million units, making it Britain's highest-seller of the decade. Dido's No Angel was No. 2, and Amy Winehouse's Back to Black came in at No. 3.
As for in the U.S., the Beatles singles compilation 1 moved the most units, selling 11.5 million [via USA Today]. Unlike the frequently maligned Blunt (Back to Bedlam was named the "worst album" at the 2006 NME Awards), there are few that would argue that the Beatles are worthy of being the top-seller of the decade. Then again, perhaps the joke is actually on the Americans in this case; after all, the Beatles are an English band.
In the U.S., No. 2 was 'N Sync's No Strings Attached with 11.1 million, and Norah Jones's Come Away with Me was No. 3 with 10.5 million.
The overall top-selling artist of the decade was Eminem, whose albums sold a combined 32.2 million, compared to the Beatles' 30 million.