Before his death on August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley had 16 UK number singles. From his fifth to his fifteenth he had been the record holder. That was until The Beatles caught up and then overtook The King with 1969’s Get Back and The Ballad of John and Yoko.
Then in 1970, Elvis matched The Beatles’ 16 UK No 1s with The Wonder of You.
But it wasn’t until after his death that The King overtook The Fab Four and, to this day, remains the record holder for the most UK No 1s.
In fact, it was 43 years ago today that marked Elvis’ incredible posthumous success.
As is often the case when a big music star dies, their back catalogue dominates the charts.
In the month after Elvis died, he had 27 albums and nine singles in the UK Top 100.
His final studio album Moody Blue, which was released on July 19, just weeks before he died, became UK No 3, while the record’s single Way Down took UK No 1.
This was the moment that Elvis matched The Beatles’ 17 UK No 1 singles, as the track stayed at the top of the chart for five weeks.
Then, in 2002, Elvis became the first artist to have 18 UK No 1 singles with A Little Less Conversation remixed by Junkie XL.
And in 2005, Jailhouse Rock, One Night/I Got Stung and It’s Now or Never all hit UK No 1, taking Elvis to an unbeaten 21 UK No 1 singles.
This is a record The King still holds today and shows no sign of being matched anytime soon, as The Beatles are still on the 17 they reached in 1969.
Of course, in the UK album records, the Fab Four are ahead of The King on 15 No 1s.
And four of those were released after their last studio album, 1970’s Let It Be.
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Meanwhile, Elvis has 13 UK No 1 albums, with five released after his death in 1977.
The most recent two are his Royal Philharmonic Orchestra collaborations in If I Can Dream and The Wonder of You.
If RCA release another three of those, The King could top The Beatles in the UK albums chart too.
Although, Elvis has been matched on 13 albums with Robbie Williams since the latter released his The Christmas Present record last December.
But in terms of the best-selling artists of all time globally, The Beatles are still No 1 with 280.8 million verified units sold.
Elvis is just behind the Fab Four in second place on 226 million, however he remains the best-selling solo artist ever.
Both The Beatles and Elvis have stars next to each other at the start of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The five men met only once, when The King invited them to his LA home in 1965. The Beatles were starstruck but Elvis quickly broke the ice and allegedly they jammed together. Just imagine witnessing that!
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