BBC Music is changing. Find out more

Recently, the Official Chart Company revealed the latest list of the all-time best-selling albums in the UK. To anyone who has read such a list before, the Top 10 will come as no surprise. There are two Queen greatest hits compilations and one by ABBA; two Michael Jackson albums and one by The Beatles, with familiar titles by Adele, Oasis, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits filling in the gaps.

Things become more interesting further down the list. Peppered among the classics are albums that sold in huge quantities at the time of release, but no longer form part of the national conversation about what is and isn't popular music. They're the forgotten No.1s by artists whose CDs you're now more likely to find in charity shops than on the cover of music magazines.

So, partly to rectify this, here are seven wildly popular albums that appear to have failed the fabled test of time, and it doesn't matter a jot.

Stars by Simply Red (14th biggest-selling album ever in the UK)

[WATCH] Mick Hucknall on the Simply Red sound

A lot of fuss is made by British rockers about singing with soul. Richard Ashcroft talks about it a lot, as do Liam Gallagher, Ian Brown, and Paul Weller. And yet Mick Hucknall, the man with arguably the best white soul voice in British music history is largely critically uncelebrated, sidelined by one too many jibes about red hair and disdainful digs about his press reputation as a ladies man. Despite all this, Stars - the best-selling album of both 1991 AND 1992 - remains a warm, life affirming and (yes) deeply soulful record.

Spirit by Leona Lewis (23rd)

[WATCH] Leona Lewis - Highlights from Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend

It's pretty clear that Leona Lewis was as much of a surprise to the producers of The X Factor as she was to the viewers. A genuine, startling talent of the sort that generally tends to find its own way to the top, she effectively validated the TV talent show at the point at which cynicism had begun to set in (i.e. she actually had the "X factor"). Correspondingly, some of pop's greatest songwriters and producers - Ryan Tedder, Max Martin, StarGate - raised their game on Spirit, providing Leona with the material she needed to take that infinite power and tenderness to the top of the American charts.

Swing When You're Winning by Robbie Wiliams (56th)

This potted biography of Robbie Williams offers a revealing slant on the second best-selling album of his career (1998's I've Been Expecting You is his biggest). It's not the momentary indulgence of a star who could well afford to play Rat Pack Stars in their Eyes, it's the moment at which he finally lets his insecurities go, and takes being a singer and entertainer seriously. 2001's Swing When You're Winning is the high watermark of Robbie as an unpredictable pop star. In its wake came a return to normal pop business with Escapology, a limp retread of the same ground by Westlife (the appallingly-titled Allow Us to Be Frank) and even a sequel, 2013's Swings Both Ways.

No Angel by Dido (25th)

[WATCH] Dido - Thank You (Live on Appeal Night 2013)

It may be tempting to write Dido's success off as a by-product of Eminem sampling Thank You for the tense and heartbreaking fan fable Stan, but that endorsement can't fully account for the fact that she went on to release two of the best-selling albums in British music history - No Angel and Life For Rent. Nor does it explain why hers was the song he chose in the first place. A more simple version of events is that she wrote emotive, plainly spoken songs about love and hope, and sang them in a calming, unshowy voice that reassured her audience that the worrying developments in their lives might turn out alright in the end.

White Ladder by David Gray (26th)

Singer-songwriters very rarely get as much credit as their successes deserve, largely because it's an overcrowded field and not everyone has diary entries that are worth putting to music. And yet if anyone is a role model for the global success of Ed Sheeran - the plucky young upstart creating his own fanbase one gig at a time while writing passionate, funky songs on a beaten-up acoustic - it's David Gray. His breakthrough album White Ladder is as much a showcase for his tempered roar of a voice as it is for his finely-honed powers of social observation. His wit's-end ballad This Year's Love proved that it is often the most simple emotions that hit the hardest.

Come Away with Me by Norah Jones (50th)

Writing and performing music that is bereft of sharp edges and naked aggression, and yet still manages to snag the attention of millions of listeners is no mean feat. Come Away with Me casts a strange and welcoming spell, in which Norah Jones's warm, enveloping voice and unflustered songs slow time, pummel stress from tired muscles, ease headaches and generally cast a warm glow around a cold world. It did saddle her with a wholesome reputation that she later tried to throw off (including with a cameo in the Seth MacFarlane movie Ted), but a musical hug is not something anyone should feel embarrassed about enjoying.

Eyes Open by Snow Patrol (58th)

Big reverberant stadium-filling indie rock bands are somewhat thin on the ground these days. Where once strode the mighty colossi of Keane, Embrace and Travis (whose The Man Who is another uncelebrated best-seller), we now have only Coldplay and Muse left standing - Radiohead having long since left the field in an artistically satisfying puff of beats and glitches. Snow Patrol's Eyes Open is a perfect encapsulation of the big indie rock band's art of writing emotive songs that start whispery and small and suddenly swell up into landscape-wide avalanche of feeling. And while anyone who can write as ubiquitous a song as Chasing Cars can hardly be said to be uncelebrated, their absence from public life (there's a new album on the way soon, apparently) has not been overly pondered either.

Bubbling under:

There is hope for all the albums on this list, in that sometimes surprising things pop up to resuscitate a long-forgotten masterpiece. Tracy Chapman's debut album is now ripe for reappraisal, thanks to the recent hit trance cover of Fast Car by Jonas Blue. James Blunt's Back to Bedlam may not currently be the hipster's choice, but his sharply comic tweets have rehabilitated his popular reputation in a way that endless replays of You're Beautiful haven't quite managed. And Talk On Corners by The Corrs would definitely have made the list, had the band not reformed recently, playing BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park in 2015 and generally picked things up where they left off.

Related links:

Added item image
"
"
Added, go to My Music to see full list.
More from