The Official Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales and (from March 2015) audio streaming in the United Kingdom. It was published for the first time on July 28, 1956 and is compiled every week by the Official Charts Company (OCC) on Fridays (previously Sundays). It is broadcast on BBC Radio 1 (top 5) and published in Music Week magazine (top 75), and on the OCC website (top 100).
The first official number one album in the UK was Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! It went to the top spot twice in 1956 for a total of three weeks. The Carousel soundtrack album also was twice a No 1, spending a total of six weeks there. The real winner of 1956 (and, in fact the 50s into the 60s) was The King and I soundtrack. It was No 1 three times that year, for a total of 18 weeks and starting 1957 at the top.
Frank Sinatra was undoubtedly a feature of 1957. Firstly, the soundtrack from his movie High Society knocked The King and I off the top spot and then, one week later, his This is Sinatra! album took over for the first of four visits for that release that year, spending a total of four weeks there. Not surprising, it vied on and off with The King and I, which took the No 1 position a further seven times and adding another 29 weeks to its tally. Oklahoma! briefly returned to the top and Nat “King” Cole also spent a week there that year. Tommy Steele’s soundtrack to his film The Tommy Steele Story was twice at the top for a total of four weeks. Elvis’ Loving You only spent three weeks at No 1 over two visits. Ol’ Blue Eyes returned to No 1 with A Swingin’ Affair! for seven weeks.
1958 and 1959 were the years of the soundtrack album. Just as he started 1957, Frank Sinatra started 1958 with a soundtrack album, Pal Joey this time, for seven weeks. The King and I made its shortest appearance at No 1, being knocked off after one week by the return of Pal Joey, adding a further four weeks at the top. Tommy Steele was also back at No 1, this time with The Duke Wore Jeans soundtrack. My Fair Lady was No 1 for 19 weeks, followed by a return by Elvis Presley with King Creole. But was the cast recording of South Pacific that began the most astonishing run of 70 weeks, dominating the top spot from the end of 1958, through the whole of 1959, and into September 1960! It would also dominate 1961, collecting a record breaking total of 115 weeks at No 1.