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Olivia Rodrigo claims UK’s biggest song and album of 2021 so far

Written by on 07/07/2021

Olivia Rodrigo cements her status as the year’s biggest breakthrough star as she claims the UK’s biggest song and album of 2021 so far.

As we pass the halfway mark of the year, the US singer-songwriter dominates the year-to-date charts after a record-breaking run of success with Drivers License (song) and Sour (album).

Six weeks after its release – three of which were at Number 1 – Olivia’s debut album Sour has racked up 170,000 chart sales, according to Official Charts Company data. The record is performing best on streaming, with 79% of its total figure comprising streaming equivalent sales, while the remaining 21% is made up of CD and cassette sales (18%) and downloads (3%). Sour is released on vinyl on August 20.

Sour has already celebrated several huge achievements, including the biggest opening week of 2021 so far (51,000 chart sales), and Olivia being the youngest solo artist to achieve the Official Chart Double, with her song Good 4 U also topping the singles chart that week.

Meanwhile, Olivia’s debut single Divers License is the UK’s biggest song of 2021 so far, having now tipped the 1 million chart sales mark (1.03m), including 123m streams. The track’s nine-week stint at the summit was the longest for a debut single in 15 years, since Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy in 2006.

Solidifying her place as the year’s biggest new artist, Olivia’s two other singles released this year also feature in the Top 40: five-week Number 1 Good 4 U places at 10, while Top 5 hit Deja Vu is at 32.


In second place is another debut single, Wellerman, by Nathan Evans (713k). The Scottish postman-turned-viral-sensation scored a worldwide hit with his rendition of the sea shanty, securing two weeks at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart in March/April.

Dutch DJ Tiesto has the UK’s third biggest song with The Business (640k), which peaked at Number 3 in March and logged 22 weeks in the Top 40 between January and June. Close behind in fourth is Lil Nas X with Montero (Call Me By Your Name) (638k), which spent five weeks at Number 1 across April/May, while The Weeknd’s Save Your Tears completes the Top 5 (637k). The track made its Official Chart debut in January and has enjoyed Top 40 success all year, boosted by a remix featuring Ariana Grande released in April.

Other big hits this year featuring in the year-to-date Top 10 include club smash Friday by Riton, Nightcrawlers, Mufasa and Hypeman at 7 (629k), and Tion Wayne & Russ Millions’ Body at 8 (626k) – the UK’s first drill Number 1 in May and the second most-streamed song of the year on 92.5m plays.

Big breakout hits
As well as Olivia and Nathan, 2021 has seen several new artists enjoy big breakout success in the UK. Australian rapper/singer The Kid Laroi places at 9 on the year-to-date Top 40 with Without You (613k), while TikTok stars A1 & J1 are at 15 with their debut single Latest Trends.

More hits from newcomers this year include A Little Bit Of Love by singer-songwriter Tom Grennan (17), which became his first Top 10 single in April, plus Top 10 smash Get Out Of My Head by Irish DJ/producer Shane Codd (22), Heat Waves by Oxford band Glass Animals (26), and You Broke Me First by Canadian artist Tate McRae (39).

Dance tracks dominate
Club-friendly dance pop tracks make up around a quarter of the Top 40, including two entries for Joel Corry – 2020 chart-topper Head & Heart places at 12, followed by his latest hit Bed with Raye and David Guetta at 13. A dance mix of Travis Scott’s Goosebumps by HVME (18), ATB, Topic & A7S’ Your Love (9pm) (19), and Paradise by production trio Meduza ft. Dermot Kennedy (20) all rank within the Top 20 of 2021.


Behind Olivia, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia remains a hugely popular following its release in 2020, placing second after racking up 143,500 chart sales this year (409k in total). A combination of hit singles Levitating and We’re Good, plus a deluxe Moonlight Edition of the record, have boosted its sales this year, holding a spot in the Top 10 every week since the last week of February.

Harry Styles’ Fine Line continues to enjoy success one-and-a-half years on from its release, currently the UK’s third biggest album of the year (109k), while Queen’s Greatest Hits (106k) ranks fourth as the band celebrate their 50th anniversary. Best-of albums dominate the year-to-date Top 40 – 12 in total – including two more in the Top 10: Fleetwood Mac’s 50 Years – Don’t Stop (6) and Elton John’s Diamonds (9).

Pop Smoke’s posthumous debut, Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon completes the Top 5 with 104,000 chart sales in 2021. A second self-titled posthumous collection from the rapper arrives on July 16.

2021’s big pop albums
As well as Olivia, The Weeknd’s retrospective The Highlights, which debuted at Number 2 in February following his Super Bowl Half Time Show, places seventh, and Rag’n’Bone Man’s chart-topping Life By Misadventure is at 11 but and claims the most physically-purchased (CD and vinyl) album of the year to date.

Elsewhere, Justin Bieber’s latest album Justice, released in March, is 12th, and Little Mix’s 2020 album Confetti is at 18, enjoying continued success this year thanks to their BRIT Award win for Best Group, plus January’s Number 1 hit Sweet Melody and Top 10 title track.

Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over The Country Club is at 32 after earning the US singer-songwriter her fifth Number 1 back in April, and soul-pop newcomer Celeste is at 33 with her chart-topping debut collection Not Your Muse.

Top rock albums
Flying the flag for rock are Foo Fighters, whose latest album Medicine At Midnight is at 13 after becoming their fifth UK Number 1 in February. Further down, indie-pop trio London Grammar rank at 34 with their chart-topping third album Californian Soil, just ahead of British rock duo Royal Blood, who place at 37 with Typhoons, which became their third consecutive Number 1 studio album in May.

Rap stars
While Pop Smoke claims the UK’s biggest rap album of 2021 so far, other popular rap records this year include posthumous Juice Wrld album Legends Never Die at 21, and debut mixtapes F**k Love from Australian rapper/singer The Kid Laroi at 22), and Wild Westby British star Central Cee at 24.

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