Adele's 21 outsells Thriller

Adele’s album 21 has overtaken Michael Jackson’s Thriller to become the fifth best-selling album of all time in the UK. In an era of supposed decline in record sales, Adele continues to keep the British music industry solvent pretty much single-handedly.

The record has become a statistical phenomenon in the 15 months since it was released. When this was typed, Adele had sold 4,274,300 copies of 21, but as the record is still selling around 20,000 copies a week, that figure is quickly going to be out of date.

The four albums ahead of Adele have all been in the shops for decades, with the most recent being Oasis’s What’s the Story (Morning Glory), released when Adele was just a warbling toddler.

The top three places are claimed by Queen’s Greatest Hits, The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper and the only non-British act in the top five, Abba, with their Gold collection. Queen’s total of 5.83 million could be overhauled by Adele in less than two years if she keeps selling at the present rate (assuming nobody buys any more Queen albums in the meantime).

The Sunday Times Rich List recently reported that Adele is the wealthiest musician under 30 in the UK, with an estimated fortune of £20 million. The escalating income hasn’t made her entirely contented though. She said that when she saw her last tax bill she wanted to "go and buy a gun and randomly open fire."

She’s not the first star to complain about taxation. George Harrison, the supposedly spiritual member of The Beatles, wrote the petulant whinge Taxman about having to pay for things like education, transport and the NHS.

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