Billboard are wrong : Elvis Presley Record Chart Statistics Clarification

By: David Troedson
Source: Elvis Australia
April 8, 2008

This week it has been reported that Mariah Carey has surpassed Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most No. 1 singles on Billboard's U.S pop chart. EPE (and Elvis Australia) claim that Elvis had, in fact, 18 No. 1 singles, meaning Carey would have simply tied with Elvis. 

We also think that arguably Billboard should not be counting three Mariah Carey duets - one of which was with Boyz II Men.

Mariah Carey's 'Touch My Body' went to No. 1 on this week on Billboard's Top 100 chart. Billboard claims this gives the singer her 18th No. 1 and as such she has surpassed Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most No. 1 singles on Billboard's U.S pop chart.

EPE (and Elvis Australia) claim that Elvis had, in fact, 18 No. 1 singles, meaning at best (see below) Carey has only tied with Elvis.

The confusion lies with the 1956 chart-toppers Don't Be Cruel and Hound Dog. EPE (correctly) lists the two songs as separate No. 1 singles. [Billboard states 1958 for the singles - so they can't even get their dates correct]

Geoff Mayfield from Billboard magazine disagrees that these can be claimed as separate No. 1's pointing out that when 'Don't Be Cruel' and 'Hound Dog' topped the chart, they did so as one double-sided release.

Mayfield says, 'Billboard's charts department and the magazine's ranking trivia expert, Fred Bronson, consider those two songs comprise but one single, and thus a singular No. 1 shared by the two songs'.

Elvis Australia : Billboard are wrong.

In the 1950's and 1960's Billboard counted record sales (What was asked for at the counter) and Jukebox plays of both sides of a single.

Also in the case of Hound Dog and Don't Be Cruel there were two different covers issued allowing for which ever was asked for at the counter. One had Hound Dog / Don't Be Cruel the other the reverse  Don't Be Cruel / Hound Dog. So both are valid No. 1 hits. To say otherwise is wrong.

(The same or similar concept was tried with Love Me Tender where four different covers were released.)

How many No. 1's has Elvis Had?

There is also confusion with some Elvis fans who have the belief Elvis had more than 18 No. 1 hits - this would probably come from the fact that Sony BMG released the box set Elvis Presley USA 20 #1 Singles - in doing so, Sony BMG also used the Cash Box chart to claim a No. 1 hit for Burning Love for example, that peaked at #2 on Billboard. Also with the success of A Little Less Conversation (see below).

Mariah Carey's No. 1 singles not all Solo !

There are three No. 1's that Mariah Carey arguably can't lay claim to being solo No. 1's. I'll be there was a duet between her and a little known singer by the name of Trey Lorenz. One Sweet Day was a popular duet between her and the biggest male vocal group in the 1990's Boyz II Men. The third duet was Thank God I've Found You. So arguably, as a solo artist Mariah Carey has only 15 No. 1's. Elvis Presley has 18.

Checking with Sony BMG today we are informed that the record industry today does regard these duets as legitimate hits as they all appeared on Mariah Carey's albums.

This all looks more like a lot of self promotion on behalf of Billboard which is very sad to see. Also the current system of taking into account radio airplay borders on being corrupt. They manipulate the system so as to promote today's artists. The one's that are played on certain radio stations. Unlike the following ...

Elvis Vs JXL

A Little Less Conversation was No 1 on the Billboard's Sales Chart, not the chart which is given the most credence - the Billboard Hot 100 chart which also takes into account radio airplay. But it was the #1 selling song In the USA during it's release.

At the end of the day though these are just numbers, and all records are destined to be broken at some point. Elvis is still the King regardless!

The Digital Era (Tom Alderman from Huffington Post)

Elvis and the Beatles sold their music in the mostly vinyl 45 & LP era where customers schlepped through city streets and malls to stores called Tower, Rose and Goody. Tower Records doesn't have stores anymore. Rose is gone and Sam Goody has no New York or Chicago location and its only Southern California outlet is in San Diego, California's second largest city.

Ms. Carey's time is the steroidal, digital download era where music is just a 99 cent click away, in-between meetings at the office. Digital downloads have created a tsunamical change in the music business. It's a given that many more record sales will be eclipsed in the download era. Ms. Carey can be proud she is among the first to demonstrate the power of digital sales. But to imply she's in the Elvis and Beatles sales league is like comparing Barry Bonds to Hank Aaron. Billboard might want to accompany Ms. Carey's success with an asterisk.

From the EPE site:

Elvis Presley Record Chart Statistics Clarification

Elvis Aaron Presley had 149 songs to appear on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Chart in America. Of these, 114 were in the top forty, 40 were in the top ten, and 18 went to number one. His number one singles spent a total of 80 weeks at number one. He has also had over 90 charted albums with ten of them reaching number one. These figures are only for the pop charts, and only in America. He was also a leading artist in the American country, R&B, and gospel fields, and his chart success in other countries was substantial.

It is estimated that Elvis Presley has sold over one billion record units worldwide, more than anyone in record industry history. In America alone, Elvis has had 150 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), with more certifications expected as research into his past record sales continues and as current sales go on. Research is also underway to document his record sales achievements in other countries. It is estimated that 40% of Elvis' total record sales have been outside the United States.

Elvis Presley Billboard Chart Statistics: #1 hits:


1. Heartbreak Hotel
2. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
3. Don't Be Cruel
4. Hound Dog
5. Love Me Tender


6. Too Much
7. All Shook Up
8. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
9. Jailhouse Rock
10. Don't


11. Hard Headed Woman


12. A Big Hunk O' Love


13. Stuck On You
14. It's Now or Never
15. Are You Lonesome Tonight?


16. Surrender


17. Good Luck Charm


18. Suspicious Minds

Compiled from various sources.

Elvis Presley News  Billboard Change Rules and Cheats Elvis of Ten [10] more No. 1 Hits

Articles about Elvis Presley Lifting the Lid on the King's record sales
Articles about Elvis Presley Australian Album Charts
Articles about Elvis Presley Australian Singles Charts
Articles about Elvis Presley Elvis' Australian Chart Facts

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