Billboard Change Rules and Cheats Elvis of Ten  more No. 1 Hits
Source: Billboard / ARIA / Various
December 3, 2011 - 8:04:14 PM
Elvis Articles, By David Troedson
Billboard Change Rules and Cheats Elvis of Ten  number one Hits
Billboard have yet again changed the 'rules' applying to the main prestigious Billboard Hot 100 Chart that was first launched on August 4th 1958 removing ten  Elvis Presley's number one hits [Not 11 as some have claimed] from his ledger. Now important to proving that Billboard have indeed changed the rules, something denied even by EPE in a message to Fan Clubs this past week is that in April 2008* they ruled that Elvis' classic double sided number one hit single, Hound Dog / Don't Be Cruel would no longer be counted as two separate number ones despite the fact they had done so since 1956. This made it possible for Billboard to announce that Mariah Carey had surpassed Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most No. 1 singles.
The above mentioned ruling raised anger in the Elvis community but little could it know what was to come in 2011. [This is where the difference is in 10 and 11 hits as mentioned above.]
Over the years Billboard have changed the rules many times : and we have no problem with changes necessary to reflect changes in the way music was sold, which we will go into in more detail later in this article.
But not illogical changes. Billboards latest ruling is based on the fact that the Billboard Hot 100 Chart was first launched on August 4th 1958 and so number one hits counted by other means on differently named charts prior to this date [But still 'the Billboard chart of the day'] should not be counted.
And it should be noted that importantly while the Billboard Hot 100 Chart was a new chart it was also the replacement of the existing main Billboard chart. So a consistency pre and post August 1958 can be argued.
A disingenuous move
Now we acknowledge you can look at this two ways, however as Billboard had no problem including Elvis' [and other artists] number one hits in its new chart after August 4th 1958 though the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and all the way to 2011 as they would have needed to be able to quote new records and generate interest in their companies chart against opposition from 'CashBox' etc : So it is disingenuous to remove them now.
A distortion of music History
The move also distorts the history of the modern era of rock 'n' roll : and there would be very few artists today that would not consider Elvis Presley as a part of the music scene today even though it has evolved. This is not a case of completely different music that was in existence prior to Elvis 'knocking the music world for six' in 1956, changing for ever the type of music that is a popular song.
Via this change Billboard discredit themselves and their chart
It matters not if The Beatles have more number ones, or if Rihanna or Mariah Carey* surpass Elvis as the solo artist with the most number ones, Elvis will always be the King of Rock 'n' Roll' [a label that all pop artists still like to call their music], but to remove him from the established chart in this way is boarding on criminal.
April 2008 : Billboard denies Elvis his famous Double Sided Hit Single Hound Dog / Don't Be Cruel
* It was the announcement by Billboard in April 2008 that Mariah Carey had surpassed Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most No. 1 singles on Billboard's U.S Hot 100 Chart that it was revealed that they had ruled that Elvis' classic double sided number one hit single, Hound Dog / Don't Be Cruel would no longer be counted as two separate number one hits. Billboard removed one number one hit from Elvis, and so Mariah was ahead.
They also announced that Madonna had surpassed Elvis Presley in the number of 'Top Ten' hits with 37 hits.
Billboards Geoff Mayfield : 'Billboard's charts department and the magazine's trivia expert, Fred Bronson, consider those two songs comprise but one single, and thus a singular No. 1 shared by the two songs'.
Both of these claims were disputed by music historian Joel Whitburn and Elvis Presley Enterprises and many Elvis Presley Fan Clubs. Whitburn lists Elvis as having 18 number 1 hits (placing him in a tie with Mariah Carey at that time) and 38 top ten hits (one more than Madonna at that time). EPE claimed Elvis had 40 top ten hits. The differences depend on whether a double-sided hit single is counted as one hit single, or two hit songs.
Until 2008 the Double Sided Single Hound Dog Don't Be Cruel was counted as two No. 1 Hits
Before the age of Compact Discs and digital music downloads, singles were released on vinyl 45 RPM records, with one song on each side (an A-side and a B-side or flip side). Both songs of many Elvis singles became hits and were listed on the charts. Hound Dog / Don't Be Cruel was a double sided hit single that topped the Billboard Sales chart for 11 weeks in 1956. At the time, Hound Dog was listed as the number 1 A-side for the first 5 weeks, and Don't Be Cruel was listed as the number 1 A-side for the last 6 weeks.
We made a strong statement at the time against this move and in compiling a list of all four charts Billboard compiled from November 1955 to August 1958 which you can view here you can see what a big a hit it was and that Don't Be Cruel did chart independently on the 'Best Sellers in Stores', 'Most Played by Jockeys' and 'Top 100' Charts and the combined two songs charted multiple times on all four charts, a monster hit. So Billboard had no right to once again re-write history and strip Elvis of two No. 1's for this single as they did in 2008.
Proof That Billboard have Change The Rules in 2011
Now it is in this 2008 move that proves that Billboard have indeed changed the rules in 2011, despite even the surprising statement from EPE this week to Fan Club Presidents 'So Billboard is in no way changing their system to reflect less number ones for Elvis'. We need EPE [And Sony] to get active on this not just accept it.
Or did they change the rules [and Remove the Other 10 No. 1's] in July 2008?
In proof-reading this document we may have stumbled upon something new.
First we have Billboard publicly announcing Mariah Carey had surpassed Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most No. 1 singles on Billboard's U.S Hot 100 Chart in April 2008.
Then we have a published chart excluding Elvis in July 2008.
When we originally published this article we added text along with a chart image [so as to be balanced in our reporting] showing Billboard had somewhere acknowledged Elvis not being on the chart, however in our proof reading we noticed this chart was from July 2008 and and so that took us by surprise. Putting two and two together as they say, or we think we have, we think Billboard may have in fact removed Elvis' number ones in 2008 and wonder if this was a response to Elvis fans and even EPE disputing the matter and Billboard deciding to rid themselves of any debate? And we have only found out in November 2011 with their announcement on November 04, 2011, 'Could Rihanna Be Bigger Than the Beatles on the Billboard Hot 100?' which announced that 'With the ascension of Love, Rihanna becomes just the seventh artist to notch at least 11 Hot 100 No. 1s, joining the Beatles (20), Mariah Carey (18), Michael Jackson (13), Madonna (12), the Supremes (12) and Whitney Houston (11). Perhaps it does not mater when they did it, we have proven they did it, but what we have found [View new article] suggests they did in fact do so in 2008.
Billboard's Changes to The Hot 100 over The Years : A Brief Overview
During the 1940s and 1950s, popular singles were ranked in three significant charts:
Best Sellers In Stores : ranked the biggest selling singles in retail stores, as reported by merchants surveyed throughout the country (20 to 50 positions).
Most Played By Jockeys : ranked the most played songs on United States radio stations, as reported by radio disc jockeys and radio stations (20 to 25 positions).
Most Played In Jukeboxes : ranked the most played songs in jukeboxes across the United States (20 positions). This was one of the main outlets of measuring song popularity with the younger generation of music listeners, as many radio stations resisted adding rock 'n roll music to their playlists for many years.
Although officially all three charts had equal 'weight' in terms of their importance, many chart historians refer to the 'Best Sellers In Stores' chart when referencing a song's performance prior to the creation of the Hot 100.
Top 100 Chart
Billboard eventually created another singles popularity chart that combined all aspects of a single's performance (sales, airplay and jukebox activity), based on a point system that typically gave sales (purchases) more weight than radio airplay'. On the week ending November 12, 1955, Billboard published The 'Top 100' for the first time. The 'Best Sellers In Stores', 'Most Played By Jockeys' and 'Most Played In Jukeboxes' charts continued to be published concurrently with the new 'Top 100 chart'.
On June 17, 1957, Billboard discontinued the 'Most Played In Jukeboxes' chart, as the popularity of jukeboxes waned and radio stations incorporated more and more rock-oriented music into their playlists. The week ending July 28, 1958 was the final publication of the 'Most Played By Jockeys' and 'Top 100' charts, both of which had Perez Prado's instrumental version of Patricia ascending to the top.
On August 4, 1958, Billboard premiered one main all-genre singles chart: the 'Hot 100'. Although similar to the 'Top 100', the first 'Hot 100' chart reset all songs' 'weeks on chart' status to '1'. The 'Hot 100' quickly became the industry standard and Billboard discontinued the 'Best Sellers In Stores' chart on October 13, 1958.
The Billboard 'Hot 100' is still the standard by which a song's popularity is measured in the United States.
* Elvis had only seven number one hits on the short lived 'Top 100' chart. But it is the 'Best Sellers In Stores' chart that has always been used to calculate the hits from 1956 too August 1958 through the years including in 2008 when they removed one hit from Elvis' tally. This comes from a book compiled by Joel Whitburn who has used the 'Best Sellers in Stores' chart a consistent source, and one based on sales, which I think is perfectly acceptable and with only a bit of a question over if Elvis' tally should come from the 'Top 100' or 'Best Sellers in Stores' chart, I consider either flows as evolution into the Hot 100, probably more so for the Top 100 however due to the fact that Billboard themselves have quoted up until at least 2008 charts complied from the 'Best Sellers in Stores' chart, I think it not only can be but must be counted when quoting Hot 100 records.
However There Is A problem with the Top 100 Chart
Another possible and good reason why Joel Whitburn ignored the 'Top 100' chart is [From Wikipedia] 'Most Played In Jukeboxes' : ranked the most played songs in jukeboxes across the United States (20 positions). This was one of the main outlets of measuring song popularity with the younger generation of music listeners, as many radio stations resisted adding rock 'n roll music to their playlists for many years and in doing so the fact that the 'Top 100' Chart included radio play distorted the 'modern era' of music chart he was compiling which I would say is 1956 to today by including too many of the 'pre-rock era' style songs. Also of note is that Billboard discontinued the 'Most Played In Jukeboxes' chart on June 17, 1957.
It would also be true that as each year passed and especially as we entered the next decade radio would have 'caught up' and be more balanced, and so the 'Hot 100' better balanced.
However with the two big problems we have discovered with the Top 100 we can only conclude Joel Whitburn's method correct. So the system that has been in place up to 2008 and even into this year is the best.
Today there are several component charts that contribute to the overall calculation of the Hot 100.
The most significant ones are shown below.
Hot 100 Airplay : radio stations, 'composed of adult contemporary, R&B, hip-hop, country, rock, gospel, Latin and Christian formats, digitally monitored, seven days a week. Charts are ranked by number of gross audience impressions, computed by cross-referencing exact times of radio airplay with Arbitron listener data'.
Hot 100 Singles Sales : (per Billboard) 'the top selling singles compiled from a national sample of retail store, mass merchant and internet sales reports collected, compiled, and provided by Nielsen SoundScan'.
Hot Digital Songs : Digital sales are tracked by SoundScan and are included as part of a title's sales points.
For many years, a song had to be commercially available as a single to be considered for any of Billboard's charts. At the time, instead of using SoundScan or BDS, Billboard obtained its data from manual reports filled out by radio stations and stores. Prior to the official implementation of Nielsen SoundScan tracking in November 1991, many radio stations and retail stores removed songs from their manual reports after the associated record labels stopped promoting a particular single. Thus songs fell quickly after peaking and had shorter chart lives. In 1990, the country singles chart was the first chart to use SoundScan and BDS. They were followed by the Hot 100 and the R&B chart in 1991. Today, all of Billboard's charts use this technology.
Airplay alone gets a single on the Chart
In December 1998, the policy was further modified to allow tracks to chart on the basis of airplay alone without a commercial release. This change was made to reflect the changing realities of the music business.
While we agree it was necessary to change the rules to 'airplay' as we will explain below, this must be one of the most unacceptable ways in which to record the success of a song. However it was necessary and was not in any way a conspiracy to advantage today's artists over say Elvis as many have suggested.
So always changes.
[Now with this change to airplay alone, could it not be said the chart has changed and say The Beatles be removed? We think not but it would be somewhat consistent with what they have done with Elvis]
Billboard has also changed its Hot 100 policy regarding 'two-sided singles' several times.
A Little Less Conversation
Even with Elvis' worldwide smash hit A Little Less Conversation many incorrectly claim Elvis was robbed of a number one hit in the USA because of Billboards airplay counting system, this is wrong because the change was made as singles sales started to die and in fact did basically become extinct. It has been quite sometime since music stores have carried CD singles and years since they were a dominant force of customer interest.
So Billboard, and for example ARIA in Australia had to find a new way to count Sales
Just on A Little Less Conversation, yes it was the biggest selling single in the United States in 2002, but be honest how much competition did it have? With the single dying and record companies preferring to sell albums it could be argued that Elvis may not have been number one if the industry was still strong on physical sales. Truthfully we will never know, but the fact is the charts are calculated in a certain way today and A Little Less Conversation did not make it to number one. So Elvis was not 'robbed' here.
The Comeback of the Single
By the way, the 'single' is making a comeback via downloads, iTunes etc and we will surely wee a return to at least a more balance method by counting actual sales before too long.
And again Billboard will change its rules !!!!!
How the Billboard move came to our attention
Earlier this month Billboard announced 'With the ascension of Love, Rihanna becomes just the seventh artist to notch at least 11 Hot 100 No. 1s, joining the following acts ....
[This lead to articles with headings like 'Could Rihanna Be Bigger Than the Beatles on the Billboard Hot 100?']
The Billboard Hot 100 as it stands today
- The Beatles (20)
- Mariah Carey (18)
- Michael Jackson (13)
- Madonna (12)
- The Supremes (12)
- Whitney Houston and Rihanna both with (11)
Elvis should be sitting in the second place but he is no longer even in the top 10.
Elvis has dropped from a total of 17* No. 1s to just seven  in the United States
A Big Hunk O' Love
Stuck On You
It's Now Or Never
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Good Luck Charm
The following are no longer officially Billboard U.S. No. 1s
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
Don't Be Cruel*
Love Me Tender
All Shook Up
Hard Headed Woman
The following are Elvis' No. 1's on the short lived Top 100 Chart
Don't Be Cruel
Love Me Tender
All Shook Up
(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
Billboard is mainly aimed at distributing information to radio stations as a feedback as to what is popular today [currently mainly as told to them by the same said radio stations] and their interest lie in promoting themselves and the companies that advertise in the magazine and we know that Sony do not have a huge budget to advertising Elvis which is an annoyance to some fans but a commercial reality if the truth be told.
As the 2008 announcement that Mariah Carey had surpassed Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most No. 1 singles and 2011's 'With the ascension of Love, Rihanna becomes just the seventh artist to notch at least 11 Hot 100 No. 1s, joining the following acts ....' Billboard get to promote themselves via the media reporting on the story. So it does seem very much that first they removed one of Elvis' hits in 2008 by deciding that no longer counting double sided hits would be a good way to make way for Mariah Carey but then that proved to be insufficient so they went further and dumped Elvis' hits prior to August 4, 1958.
The question must be asked, why the rush? Could it be that they fear with downloads bringing the potential for single chart data to be once again based on sales that somehow they would miss there chance to make these announcements? Whatever it is : we conclude Billboard are only interested in themselves and those that fund them in advertising more than being an accurate chart company. Bring back Cashbox anyone?
Is it possible that after Billboard removed one number one from Elvis and after the strong Elvis fan reaction to this they decided to remove Elvis altogether, and his fans?
As it stands today we think music history is being distorted by Billboard to suit corporate greed.
Billboard are wrong and both EPE and Sony need to be active about correcting this.
Published November 20, 2011
Updated November 21. November 22. November 23.
Well done David for researching this matter so thoroughly and I hope that EPE/Sony take action.I wonder if given his current contact inside Sony Brian Quinn might help out here.This contact is an Elvis fan who has been pushing Sony successfully into getting the RIAA to certify yet more gold discs.
It is clearly outrageous for Billboard to change the rules like this after all these years. Here the company which runs the Official UK/BBC charts has always for the last 50 years used the NME charts for the period prior to 1960 when the UK/BBC chart first started. So if they copy Billboard's example I guess we can expect to be told that all Elvis' fifties number ones no longer count !!
As you know from my previous articles the main Billboard chart has always disavantaged Elvis since it is not based on sales. If it had been Elvis would have remained automatic top ten right through to late 1966 and indeed would very likely have had top ten hits in every year until he died. All UK charts are sales based and always have been even if their method of compiling varies and can produce some contradictory results. It was downright weird of Billboard to start producing sales charts only after -long after -singles had stopped selling in any numbers.Billboard appear to be a law unto themselves.
This is the worst news I have ever heard.
Thank you for your information.
If there is anything I can do to make it right, please let me know.
thank you so very much for all this your work concerning billboard.
Weird tactics or whatever it is they want to apply now there.
Most people in the music business know that Elvis Presley is the number 1 recording artist of all time and that his records sold when teenagers did not have itune to down load music or music store in shopping centres for that matter even in the local 7 eleven stores petrol station and any big department store if they wanted to purchase a record first you had to save up for a month then get to a record stores that hopefully sold it. As for EPE or Sony I cannot see them taking up the challenge to reinstate those songs back on Billboard where they rightfully belong and anybody who knows music history will agree.
I have been FURIOUS about this issue since the second I read about it, and did not know what could be done so Ive emailed EVERY exec at Billboard, twice, and gave them a very blunt piece of my mind!!I figured a worldwide petition might do some good but didnt know how to go about getting that ball rolling.
I have just now seen on another Elvis site, Elvis-Express.com, that they have begun what will hopefully turn out to be a worldwide petition. I have just signed it and am trying to inform as many sites as I can about it in hopes that we Elvis followers can 'snowball' this issue before IT'S TOO LATE!!!
Was thinking maybe you could start one here or link to the other one to keep this 'Elvis train' rolling!!
If there is some other way that I could personally help, I'd love to, so please let me know.
I see EPE was absolutely NO help whatsoever, in as that they just seem to be going right along with it!!! I'm pissed at them for this also!! So let me know if I can help, thanks, let's kick 'em, (Billboard), in the ass!!
Thank you very much for the investigation you have done in this matter. Personally, I think Billboard's actions are STUPID (sorry, I can't think of a more descriptive word). I am particularly disgusted with the EPE response. I don't pretend to understand Billboard's motives in all this. I just know it is wrong to, in some 'executive decision', wipe out from its list all the records Elvis amassed. After all, Elvis started it all. Before Elvis, we were all listening to songs such as 'How Much is that Doggie in the Window?' (a nice song, but nothing like Elvis' 'Hound Dog'). I do remember everyone being shocked at the time and making so much of the fact that Hound Dog went No. 1, only to be replaced in the No. 1 spot by the flip side of the same record, Don't Be Cruel. It appears too bad that Billboard has erased its memory of this never-before-done charting.
I don't pay attention to these lists or, in fact, to new artists. I find none measure up to Elvis, so I just don't bother. It does make me angry when people try to change history, in this instance and others.
Thank you again for all your efforts. Your information is much appreciated.
Hi, I've read and taken note of your messages relating to this most disturbing matter, ever since you posted the first message. The only thing that can be done is to exert pressure on Billboard to SIMULTANEOUSLY publish a similar list showing those artists who hit number 1 since the rock era began, which according to every source under the sun started when 'Rock around the Clock' hit number 1 in 1955. The fact that they rely EXCLUSIVELY on the HOT 100 is what bothers me the most, since that decision precludes any of Elvis' prior hits to be even mentioned, since that chart did not exist, as such, prior to the 1958 date.
Great article of yours about Billboard cheating Elvis. I'm very positive they did it for financial reasons, to promote the newer artists they receive the most advertising money for. The music industry has some problem with Elvis still being the benchmark for success 35 years after his death. So, they simply change the rules, don't make any fuss about it and by doing so establish 'facts'.
Nevertheless, there are Joel Whitburn's chart statistic books - they are very convincing (I know, because I purchased them), more convincing because of the extensive research behind them than anything 2 editors of Billboard magazine like to publish. According to Whitburn Elvis is the leading artist of Billboard's Pop Charts since 1955 - and he is way up front. This is not only about number ones, this is about the whole picture. And anybody in the music industry who has about two cents knows it :-) .
Anyway, did Billboard magazine react in any way to your article? [Not yet]
If hits or number 1's are omitted for older artists from the billboard charts because they appeared on the same single, which was the sales form of that period then the same should apply to no1's or hits of the last 25-30yrs if they appeared on the same album, as albums not singles were the sales form of this period. Now that downloads count in the charts there is no valid reason not to include past hits or no1's even though they appeared on the same single. It will now be harder for record companies to pay off dj's or radio stations for airplay time on songs for a hit or no1. It will probably go back to a sales format and albums will become irrelevant. A more genuine measure of a songs popularity. Unfortunately it's only a matter of time before they justify reasons to omit the Beatles from the charts as well, all to promote today's and future artists for profiteering by the relevant record companies and other music bodies, as fan bases age or die off. That doesn't mean we should allow history to be distorted. Keep arguing your case
This makes me so sick, it is like a conspiracy against Elvis it is a joke!
We need to email them write them boycott!!
Thank you for bringing this fact to light. I have been an Elvis fan since I heard of his death. I was 8 years old then. I grew up and none of my friends were Elvis fans. Then there was a resurgence of Elvis' music with 'A Little Less Conversation' and Elvis 30 #1 Hits. Elvis has never really received the credit he deserves. He has more gold and platinum albums then anyone, recorded more hit songs then any other artist, changed the culture of the last half of the 20th Century. He was polite, showed good will towards all, and was an amazing entertainer. Then when his life faced trouble, the industry abandoned him. His fans will never -- they are his legacy. For me he doesn't need any title. I know his talent was amazing. As the years pass, history gets re-written. However, I believe truth will win out. I looked on Elvis.com and they still list the hits. Let's hope they always will. I wish I knew how to help.
first of all if no1 hits or hit singles of past artists aren't counted because they are double sided singles then no1's and hits from the same album shouldn't be counted for artists of the last 30 years when albums became the mainstream.anyway its obvious billboard at some stage will find justification to remove the Beatles and other artists hits to promote present and future artists even though its an obvious distortion of history. keep the pressure on them to correct this injustice.as far as elvis no1's and other hits being erased that happened in 2008 when they announced elton john the most successful billboard charted artist on their 50th anniversary.i think in time billboard will become irrelevant and readers will lose interest if they keep on this track.
It sounds good and I agree with you.
Joel Whitburn and thousands of other music historians are correct: the rock era begins in 1955 with Bill Haley's multi-million selling 'Rock Around the Clock'. Of course the chart and much of radio wasn't all rock and roll until much later, but this methodology short-changes Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Everly Brothers, Rick Nelson and many others. Of course the Top 100 and the 1955 Best Selling charts should be included. To do anything different completely distorts and destroys an important part of rock and music history. Let's hope Billboard and the other music historians correct this insanity!
EPE and Sony should be at the forefront of this fight.
The single was the dominant format in the late 50s and early 60s. If one discounts a double-sided single, then by the same logic, Michael Jackson''s multiple number 1s from the same LP should not be counted.
Elvis Presley Single and Album Charts
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The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.