From a Top Ten in 1956, the album chart has grown in both size and stature over the years. Increased to a Top Twenty in 1960, the chart grew to a Top 30 by 1966, a Top 40 later that year, a Top 50 in 1971, a Top 75 in 1978 and a Top 100 in 1981. By 1989, when compilation albums and soundtracks were a major factor in the chart, a decision was taken to produce two charts; a Top 75 artist chart and a Top 20 compilation chart. Every single entry on all these charts is included in Collins 'Complete UK Hit Albums'.
3,180 acts have registered just over 11,300 hit albums; also listed are the approximately 3,500 soundtracks and compilation albums that have also hit the charts. The layout of 'UK Hit Albums' follows exactly that of its companion volume 'UK Hit Singles': a brief biography of each of the 3,180 or so artists who have had hit albums, details of BPI awards, Platinum Europe awards and RIAA Diamond awards and details of BRIT, Grammy awards and US Number Ones. Just as with the single chart, the album chart is not without its peculiarities and so you will learn of the album that took nearly four years to hit the number one spot, the album by Sigur Ros that had no title as opposed to that by Fiona Apple which registered the longest title (all 89 words), the artists whose chart career consists of a single week at position 100 as opposed to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours which has spent 477 weeks on the chart, including one week at number one.