There were Industry music charts before Elvis, but it was not until after him that most countries began to track and there was no one before Elvis who dominated the charts and for everyone afterwards, he was the bar. By changing the chart names, current artists are favoured, while even during Elvis’ life, his chart feats were under-reported.
It was a marketing tool and inter-company bragging rights. At first it was dollars of sales, then sales units; also the charts arose from radio play, jukebox spins and professional musicians performing and recording versions of the same songs – registering copyrights and paying across the writers, musicians and performers.
From Performed Live to Live on Radio, to Live Television, and Taped Radio/TV, to the Discography Boxsets and the Digital Era.
How and what is counted, and how it impacts the public perception of the musical charts.
The Era of Singles that were Collected onto Albums
The first regular column devoted to music appeared in Billboard magazine. Up until then, the publication’s main topics were the outdoor advertising industry and live entertainment at circuses and fairs.
“The Prisoner’s Song” by Vernon Dalhart became country music’s first million-selling record. It charted for 32 weeks, twelve of them at #1, and eventually sold more than seven million copies, the biggest-selling non-holiday record of the pre-1955 era.
The first issue of The Melody Maker magazine went on sale in the UK. Advertised as being for “all who are interested in the production of popular music,” the first issue featured dance band news, a story about ukuleles and how to read music by sight.
January 1 – Billboard magazine issued its first record sales chart, with “Stop! Look! Listen!” by Jazz artist Joe Venuti listed as the number one record.
Billboard’s first Music Popularity Chart is published. The magazine had previously printed best-seller lists submitted by the individual record companies, but the new chart combined the top sellers from all major labels. Their first number one song was “I’ll Never Smile Again” by Frank Sinatra And The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
Capitol Records opens for business, becoming the first major record label based on the US West coast. The company had been established earlier in the year by singer Johnny Mercer and investor Buddy De Sylva as Liberty Records. It was Capitol’s manager, Glenn Wallichs, who invented the art of record promotion by sending free copies of new releases to disc jockeys.
With the number 1 song that week on the Country chart called, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive”; 29 year old Hank Williams died at 29. Williams is regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time. 35 of his singles (five released posthumously) were placed in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, 11 of which ranked at No.1, including ‘Cold, Cold Heart,’ ‘Hey, Good Lookin’, ‘I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,’ and ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart.’
The Spaniels record “Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight”, which will reach the US Top 30 next year despite competition from a Pop-style, Gold record version by the McGuire Sisters. The song became well known again in the late 1970s as the closing song performed by Sha Na Na on their weekly variety show as well as its appearance in American Graffiti and again in the late 1980s after its use in the hit film Three Men and a Baby.
The Crew Cuts reached the top spot of the Billboard Pop singles chart with “Sh-Boom”, a song that many consider to be the premier forerunner of 1950s Rock and Roll. The tune stayed at the top for seven weeks.
The UK’s Top 12 Pop Chart, as published by the New Musical Express, became the Top 20 Chart. The list was compiled by the magazine’s representative who simply telephoned approximately twenty record shops, asking for a list of the ten best-selling songs. Because of its success, other retailers such as Record Mirror and Melody Maker, would soon begin compiling their own charts.
RCA Victor announced that they were dropping the prices of their records in an attempt to spur record sales.
Billboard magazine claims that only two singing stars can be considered guaranteed hit makers these days: Nat King Cole and Country star Webb Pierce. Cole has already placed 7 songs on the Pop chart and will go on to add 22 more. The flamboyant Pierce had achieved 12 number one records on the Country charts and would enjoy a streak of 34 consecutive Top Ten hits running into 1957. His version of “In The Jailhouse Now” topped the chart for 21 weeks in 1955.
The Guinness Book of Records, a collection of world records, both human achievements and the extremes of the natural world, was first published. The book itself holds a world record, as the best-selling copyrighted book series of all time.
Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’ went to No.1 on the UK singles chart for the second time. The single is often cited as the biggest-selling vinyl rock and roll single of all time with sales over 25m.
Elvis Presley accomplished one of the greatest feats in music history. On December 29, 1956 the King had a remarkable 10 songs on the Billboard Top 100 Chart. This feat has not been accomplished since, and given the way musicians nowadays spread out the release of their singles, this is a feat that may never be accomplished ever again.
Songs such as “Hound Dog”, “Love me Tender”, and “Heartbreak Hotel” were among the Elvis hits that swarmed the Billboard charts at the end of 1956. What makes this feat even more incredible is that every single Elvis released between 1956-1958 reached #1 on the charts in the United States, thus monopolizing the top of the Billboard charts for the better part of two years.
Elvis’ single “Old Shep” hit #47 in the U.S.
“Hound Dog” b/w “Don’t Be Cruel.” released – it was the first single that the A and B sides races each other up the chart.
Within a few weeks “Hound Dog” had risen to #2 on the Pop charts with sales of over one million. Soon after it was overtaken by “Don’t Be Cruel” which took #1 on all three main charts; Pop, Country, and R ‘n’ B.
“Don’t Be Cruel” is a song recorded by Elvis Presley and written by Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley in 1956. By the end of 1956 it had sold in excess of four million copies. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1956.
It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2004, it was listed #197 in Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is currently ranked as the 173rd greatest song of all time, as well as the sixth best song of 1956, by Acclaimed Music
Between them, both songs remained at #1 on the Pop chart for a run of 11 weeks tying it with the 1950 Anton Karas hit “The Third Man Theme” and the 1951/1952 Johnnie Ray hit “Cry” for the longest stay at number one by a single record from late 1950 onward until 1992’s smash “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men.
Elvis Presley’s single “I Want You, I Need You” hit #3 in the U.S.”
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” is a popular song written by Maurice Mysels and Ira Kosloff. It is known best for being Elvis Presley‘s seventh RCA Victor single release. Pre-orders of over 300,000 were the biggest ever in the history of the company. It was released during May 1956, becoming Presley’s second No. 1 single on the country music charts, and peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 100 popular music singles chart, an earlier version of the Billboard Hot 100. Before the creation of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during 1958, there were a number of charts including Jukebox plays, Store charts, and Airplay charts. The song scored No. 1 on the Billboard Top Sellers in Stores chart.
Comics Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman have the number three song in America with a novelty tune called “Flying Saucer”. The premise of the record was two radio news reporters who ask questions which are then humorously answered with snippets from mid-’50s hits. Buchanan and Goodman were sued by 17 different record companies for copyright infringement, but all were dismissed by a ruling that said the parodies did not infringe on the sales of the original hits.
Elvis Presley released “Love Me Tender,” the first single to reach 1 million in pre-orders.
The Lennon Sisters, accompanied by The Lawrence Welk Orchestra, enter the Billboard Top 40 with their version of “Tonight You Belong To Me”, which will peak at #15. Their record was in direct competition with a version by Patience & Prudence who took the song to #4 simultaneously.
Bill Haley equals Ruby Murray’s record set in 1955 by having five songs in the UK Top 30 – “See You Later, Alligator” (#19), “Razzle Dazzle” (#17), “Rock Around The Clock” (#13), “The Saints Rock ‘n’ Roll” (#11) and “Rockin’ Through The Rye” (#4).
Toronto radio station CHUM went to a Top 40 format and published its first hit record chart 50 years ago today, in 1957. The very first song played was “All Shook Up” and at #1 on the first published chart as well. The 1,500th issue of the chart made its appearance on March 14, 1986, making it the oldest surviving radio station chart in North America. The chart was discontinued later in 1986 when CHUM dropped its Top 40 format.
A teenaged Red Robinson was playing rock and roll records on CJOR in Vancouver two and a half years before CHUM switched in ‘57, but that was one program and only for a few hours a day. in 1957, Red Robinson would MC Elvis and in 1964 The Beatles from the Vancouver Empire Stadium Stage.
RCA releases “Teddy Bear”- The song was a U.S. No. 1 for seven weeks on the Pop Chart; while also hitting No. 1 on the R&B Best Sellers List, and No. 1 on the country charts.
“Teddy Bear” entered Billboard’s Top 100 chart at #47 on June 24, 1957, and shot to the top in short order. In its second week, it rose to #4, where it stayed for a second week before taking over the #1 spot from Pat Boone’s “Love Letters in the Sand” on July 15. “Teddy Bear” then settled in at the top of the chart for 7 weeks. (In Elvis’s career, only “All Shook Up,” at 8 weeks, spent longer at #1 than “Teddy Bear.”)
On the flip side, meanwhile, “Loving You” began its own lengthy run on the Top 100. It entered the chart at #81 on June 24 and climbed steadily upward until it peaked at #28 on August 19. Although it never reached the upper tier of the chart, “Loving You” had amazing staying power. It stayed on the Top 100 for 22 weeks, a total exceeded by only eight other Presley songs. In the end, the combined chart runs of “Teddy Bear” and “Loving You” made in the second biggest two-sided hit single in Elvis’s career, behind only “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel.”
RCA releases Elvis’ 5th LP: Elvis’ Golden Records – his first compilation of hits singles, and is widely believed to be the first greatest hits album in rock and roll history; it is the first of five Elvis’ Golden/Gold Records compilations, four of which would be released during Presley’s lifetime. The first disc was certified Gold on October 17, 1961, Platinum on May 20, 1988, 5x Platinum on March 27, 1992 and 6x Platinum on August 17, 1999
Billboard magazine discontinues the Most Played in Jukeboxes chart, as the popularity of jukeboxes was on the decline and radio stations were incorporating more and more Rock ‘n’ Roll into their play lists.
The Everly Brothers had the best selling song in America with “Bye Bye Love”. The tune has been ranked 210th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and has also been recorded by Connie Francis, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Trini Lopez, Ray Stevens and Simon And Garfunkel.
Billboard magazine publishes the Most Played By Jockeys chart and the Top 100 for the final time. They would be combined into the Hot 100 a week later.
Canadian singer, songwriter Paul Anka was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Diana’ . His only UK No.1 as an artist, Anka was the first teenage solo act to reach No.1.
September 2, 1957
The Elvis Presley EP “Loving You Vol II” hit #18 in the U.S.
The Elvis Presley soundtrack EP “Love Me Tender” hit #22 in the U.S.
Buddy Holly And The Crickets scored their only US number one hit with their first Billboard chart maker, “That’ll Be the Day”. Holly would later reach the Top Ten with “Peggy Sue” and “Oh, Boy!” and crack the Top 20 with “Maybe Baby” and “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”.
The Elvis Presley classic, ‘Jailhouse Rock’ was released. It became his ninth US number one single and stayed on the Billboard chart for nineteen weeks. Rolling Stone magazine included it at number 67 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 2004, it finished at number 21 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. On November 27, 2016, the Grammy Hall of Fame announced its induction, along with that of another 24 songs
Elvis Presley’s soundtrack album “Loving You” hit #1 in the U.S. It spent ten weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. It was certified Gold on April 9, 1968 by the Recording Industry Association of America. It would also #1 in the UK.
Johnny Mathis’s Greatest Hits album reached #1. It remained there for what was then a record 490 weeks (almost ten years.)
Ricky Nelson‘s “Poor Little Fool” enters the US charts, where it will eventually reach number one. The record holds the distinction of being the first number-one song on Billboard‘s newly created Hot 100 chart, replacing the magazine’s Jockeys and Top 100 charts.
The first Gold record album presented by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was awarded to the soundtrack LP, ‘Oklahoma’. The honor signified that the album had reached one million dollars in sales. The first Gold single issued by the RIAA was ‘Catch a Falling Star’ by Perry Como in March of 1958. A Gold single represented sales of one million records.
July 21, 1958
“Hard Headed Woman” by Elvis Presley was the top tune on the Billboard chart. In 1958 it went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and went to number two for two weeks on the R&B chart. It became the first rock and roll single to earn the RIAA designation of Gold Record.
Cuban band leader Perez Prado, often referred to as the King of the Mambo, led his orchestra to the top of the Cashbox Best Sellers list with a song called “Patricia”. It would also be the last record to climb to #1 on the Billboard Jockeys and Top 100 charts, both of which gave way the next week to the newly introduced Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Billboard magazine changed the name of its weekly music chart from the Top 100 to the Hot 100. Their first number one was “Poor Little Fool” by Ricky Nelson, his sixth hit record in the US.
Cashbox magazine expands its record chart to include the top 100 best sellers in America. The publication began in 1942 as a jukebox and industry journal and would continue to publish in the shadow of Billboard until going out of business in October, 1996. In the mid-2000s, Cashbox re-appeared online at CashboxMagazine.com
June 3 Billboard magazine splits its album chart into two separate sections: Best Selling Stereophonic LPs and Best Selling Monophonic LPs.
After nine weeks as the best selling song in America, Johnny Horton’s “The Battle Of New Orleans” is pushed out of the number one spot by Paul Anka‘s “Lonely Boy”.
August 3, 1959
“A Big Hunk Of Love” becomes Elvis Presley‘s fourteenth straight Gold record. Recorded in Nashville while he was still in the Army, it was the first of Presley’s hits that did not include guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black.
the a-side spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 while the b-side peaked at #12. The single was less successful on the Cashbox Top 100 with the a-side peaking at #2 and the b-side at #23. On the UK Singles Chart the a-side peaked at #4, while the b-side did not appear on the chart. The a-side also peaked at #10 on Billboard magazine’s R&B Singles chart
Cliff Richard becomes the first UK artist to have a Rock ‘n’ Roll hit in the US when “Living Doll” makes the Billboard chart, where it will peak at #30.
Bing Crosby was presented with a Platinum disc to commemorate his 200 millionth record sold. The sales figures were a combined total of 2,600 recorded singles and 125 albums. Crosby’s global lifetime sales on 179 labels in 28 countries totaled 400 million records.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected proposals that it set up specific controls over radio and TV programs.
Billboard reports the findings of a Seventeen magazine survey that said the average teenage girl listens to the radio two hours and thirteen minutes a day and plays records two hours and twelve minutes a day.
Chubby Checker‘s “The Twist” is released in the US, where it will become the number one song by mid-September. Record industry history was made when Checker’s original hit recording re-entered the charts in the Fall of 1961 and by January of 1962, was back in the number one position. It was the first record ever to hit number one on two separate occasions.
A Rock ‘n’ Roll oddity took place at the top of the UK chart when “Please Don’t Tease” by Cliff Richard And The Shadows was replaced by “Apache”, an instrumental credited to just The Shadows. Interestingly, Cliff Richard actually appears on the recording, playing a Chinese drum at the beginning and end of the track.
The series “Louisiana Hayride,” known as “The Cradle of the Stars,” presented its last performance on radio station KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana after almost 12½ years on the air.
Tamla Records releases The Marvelettes’ first single, “Please Mr. Postman”. The song will sell over a million copies and become the group’s biggest hit, reaching the top of both the Billboard Pop and R&B charts.
With the American music scene still reeling from the “payola” scandal, the US Federal Communications act was amended to outlaw payments of cash or gifts in exchange for airplay of records.
Hank Ballard and The Midnighters had the honour of being the first group to have three songs in the US Top 100 at the same time. ‘Finger Poppin’ Time,’ ‘Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go’ and ‘The Twist’ all made the Top 30. Ballard refused to perform ‘The Twist’ on a highly rated US TV show, so Chubby Checker picked it up at the insistence of Dick Clark, and Checker’s version of the song was number 1 this week in 1960.
Chubby Checker‘s version of “The Twist” reached the top of the Billboard Pop chart for a one week stay. The same record would make a return to number one in January, 1962, becoming the first single in history to accomplish that feat. The Fat Boys made No.2 in the UK in 1988.
Connie Francis becomes the first female singer in the Rock and Roll era to have two consecutive number one singles when “My Heart Has a Mind Of Its Own” went to the top of the Billboard chart. It followed “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”.
Patsy Cline reaches number one on the Billboard Country chart and number twelve on the Hot 100 with “I Fall To Pieces”. It was one of the slowest ascending records in music history, taking over six months to peak from when it was first released on January 30th. Although it was a tune that Patsy initially wanted no part of, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at #238 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004.
Elvis Presley started a three-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Something For Everybody’ his sixth US No.1 album.
Elvis Presley had his 12th UK #1 hit with “She’s Not You”. The single, backed by “Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello”, topped out at #5 in the US.
Peter, Paul And Mary‘s version of Bob Dylan‘s “Blowin’ In The Wind” is released. It will enter the Hot 100 two weeks later on its way to #2. In 1999, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2004 it was ranked #14 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Stevie Wonder became the first artist ever to score a US #1 album and single in the same week. Wonder was at the top of the LP chart with “Little Stevie Wonder / The 12 Year Old Genius” and had the #1 single with “Fingertips part 2”, which was also the first ever live recording to lead the hit parade.
The title track from The Beatles‘ movie A Hard Day’s Night topped the record charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The film was originally titled Beatlemania until producers heard an offhanded comment by Ringo Starr as he flopped into a canvas chair and said “It’s been a hard day’s night, that was.”
Roy Orbison started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Oh Pretty Woman’. The title was inspired by Orbison’s wife Claudette interrupting a conversation to announce she was going out; when Orbison asked if she was okay for cash, his co-writer Bill Dees interjected “A pretty woman never needs any money.”
Capitalizing on material it owns, recorded by its two best-selling groups, Vee Jay Records releases the album “The Beatles Vs. The Four Seasons”. The record, which consists of previously released material, stays on the LP chart for just three weeks, reaching only as high as #142.
The Beatles had three L.P.s in the Top 10 of the US albums chart, with “Beatles ’65” (number 1), “A Hard Day’s Night” (number 6) and “Beatles’ Story” (peaking at number 7).
On the last day of a five-day break from their North American tour, The Beatles attended a recording session for The Byrds.
Elvis was visited by the Beatles from 10.00 p.m. at his Perugia Way home until the early hours of the next day.
The Beatles arrived, they stared at Elvis, then, they all jammed on Chuck Berry.
Col Parker and Brian Epstein also had a meeting around the pool table.
Despite the best planning of Parker, a fan at the gate got photos.
Upon leaving the house, John Lennon told Jerry Schilling to make sure Elvis knew that “if it hadn’t been for him, the Beatles would be nothing.” Some of The Beatles and Memphis Mafia members smoked pot. It was the softest drug any of them ever used. The next night, some of the Memphis Mafia when to hang out with The Beatles.
Elvis Presley plays host to The Beatles at his rented home in Perugia Way, Bel Air. The get-together, which included an un-recorded jam session of Chuck Berry songs mostly, lasted four hours. While their clients got to know each other, managers Col. Tom Parker and Brian Epstein played pool in the next room.
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass went to No.1 on the US album chart with ‘What Now My Love’, setting a new American record with four albums in the US Top Ten. The other three were; ‘South of the Border’, ‘Going Places’ and ‘Whipped Cream and Other Delights’.
The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein was found dead of an apparent drug overdose at his home in Belgravia, London, just a few weeks shy of his 33rd birthday. The Fab Four were in Bangor, North Wales at the time, attending a conference by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The death is ruled accidental and the Maharishi tells the Beatles that Epstein’s death, being in the realm of the physical world, is “not important.” The group would later renounce their association with the Maharishi and Epstein is remembered as being the man who took The Beatles from being a rough looking club act to the most successful band in the world.
16 year old Alex Chilton led The Box Tops to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 with “The Letter”. In the UK, it reached #5. The record would go on to sell over four million copies and receive two Grammy nominations for Best Contemporary Group Performance and Best Performance By A Vocal Group, although they lost both to The Fifth Dimension. As for the song, “The Letter”, it’s come back twice since The Box Tops’ version. It was a Top Twenty hit for a group called The Arbours in 1969 and a Top Ten song for Joe Cocker in 1970.
Billboard magazine reported that for the first time albums had outsold singles in the US with album sales reaching over 192 million units.
The Jackson Five signed a one-year contract with Motown Records. They made history in 1970 as the first recording act to have their first four singles to reach No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with the songs being ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘The Love You Save’ and ‘I’ll Be There’.
The Beatles started a five week run at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Yesterday…And Today’, the group’s 8th No.1 album. Issued only in the United States and Canada, the album is remembered primarily for the controversy surrounding its original cover image, the “butcher cover” featuring the band dressed in white smocks and covered with decapitated baby dolls and pieces of meat.
Tommy James and The Shondells returned to the UK No.1 position for the second time with the single ‘Mony Mony’. In a peculiar twist, in 1987 Billy Idol’s version of the song replaced another Tommy James hit at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 — ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, covered by Tiffany.
August 26, 1969
Elvis Presley released “Suspicious Minds,” his 18th and last lifetime #1 single in the U.S.
Creedence Clearwater Revival scored their only UK No.1 single with ‘Bad Moon Rising’ a US No.2 hit. Also on this day the group started a four-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Green River.’
The Beatles release their 13th album in the UK, “Abbey Road”, which debuts at #1 and will stay there for eleven straight weeks. It is issued in the US a week later and will top the Billboard album chart for twelve weeks. It has since gone on to sell over 31 million copies world wide.
The soundtrack to the 1969 Woodstock concert becomes the first triple-disc album to top the Billboard chart.
After a seven week stay at the top of the UK singles chart, Mungo Jerry‘s “In The Summertime” is finally displaced by Elvis Presley‘s “The Wonder Of You”.
Tamla-Motown Records announces that The Jackson 5 sold 10 million singles world wide in nine months with “I Want You Back”, “ABC” and “The Love You Save”.
Radio Luxembourg aired over seven hours of continuous Beatles’ music to celebrate the group’s tenth year in the music business. Every song played was a single or LP track by The Beatles or from their solo albums.
saw her “Tapestry” album hit number 1 in the US for the first of 15 consecutive weeks. The LP contained such classic tracks as “It’s Too Late”, “I Feel the Earth Move”, “So Far Away”, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” and “You’ve Got a Friend”. The Grammy Award winning disc is considered by many to be one of the best Rock ‘n’ Roll albums of all time. July 21, 1971…Carole King
‘s “Tapestry” album was certified Gold. It eventually was certified Diamond by the RIAA with more than 10 million copies sold.
Elvis Presley’s single “Burning Love” was released; with the B-side “It’s a Matter of Time“, and it reached the Top 40 on the country charts, peaking at #36.
For the week of October 21, 1972, “Burning Love” rose to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, being kept from #1 by Chuck Berry‘s novelty song “My Ding-a-Ling.” However, it reached #1 on Cashbox’s Top 40 Charts for the week of November 11, which gave him 20 US #1 hits. The song was Elvis’s 40th and last Top Ten hit on the US charts
Canada’s Five Man Electrical Band saw their hit single “Signs” peak at #3 on the US Pop chart. It would go on to sell over a million copies and be awarded a Gold Record by the R.I.A.A. A string of other hits followed: “Absolutely Right”, “Money Back Guarantee”, “Moonshine”, “Werewolf”, and “I’m A Stranger Here”, but none could match the band’s earlier success.
Deep Purple received a Gold record for “Smoke On the Water”, which hit #5 in the US on its way to selling over two million copies. It was the band’s biggest success since “Hush”, which also reached #5 in 1968.
It was announced by RCA Victor records that the sales of Elvis Presley records passed the 400 million mark.
Wish You Were here was close to spending one year on the UK chart. Pink Floyd’s ninth studio had been premiered at Knebworth in July 1975, and was released in September that year. It was an instant success, with record company EMI unable to press enough copies to satisfy demand.
Ten Elvis Presley albums re-charted in the USA
The month after his death, Elvis Presley had 27 albums and 9 singles in the Top 100 charts in the UK. ‘Moody Blue’ was the No.1 album while ‘Way Down’ was No.1 on the singles chart, (putting him equal with The Beatles each amassing 17 No.1 hits).
Andy Gibb became the first solo artist in the history of Billboard’s Hot 100 to have his first three releases reach number one when “Shadow Dancing” hit the top of the chart. Since then, Michael Jackson had four number ones in a row and Mariah Carey had five. “Shadow Dancing” would be the best selling single in the US in 1978, but was only a #42 hit in the UK.
‘s latest release, “Living in the U.S.A.” is issued with advance orders of two million units, making it a Double Platinum LP before it even hit the stores.
On the strength of the single “Start Me Up”, The Rolling Stones
album “Tattoo You” started a nine week run at #1 on the Billboard album chart. Primarily composed of out-takes from previous recording sessions, some dating back a decade, it is the last Rolling Stones album to reach the top position of the US charts.
Nine weeks after being released, The Knack
‘s infectious tune “My Sharona” reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 where it would remain for six weeks. Billboard
magazine would name the record as the number one single of 1979. In the UK, it reached number six.
25 years after his first UK #1 single, Cliff Richard
had his 10th chart topper with “We Don’t Talk Anymore”.
scored their eighth UK No.1 single with ‘The Winner Takes It All’. Taken from their ‘Super Trouper’ album. By this time, both couples were divorced.
‘Kids From Fame’ by The Kids From Fame started an eight week run at No.1 on the UK album chart. The American television series was originally produced between 1982 and 1987, based on the 1980 motion picture of the same name. Using a mixture of drama and music, it followed the lives of the students and faculty at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts.
lead vocalist Robert Plant’s solo L.P. “Pictures at Eleven”, is awarded a Gold record. It was his first recorded work since the group disbanded in the wake of the death of drummer John Bonham.
Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” leads the UK chart in the first of a six week stay. The song would also reach the top of the Billboard chart next February and would be Number One in sixteen countries worldwide.
“Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood becomes the biggest selling single of all time in Great Britain, replacing Paul McCartney’s “Mull Of Kintyre” for that honor.
Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” went to #1 on the Billboard album chart for the first of a four week stay. On the strength of seven single releases, the LP would stay in the Top Ten for a remarkable 84 weeks. It eventually reached a 15 Times Platinum certification on April 19, 1995 and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.
Prince started a 24 week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 200 chart with his sixth album, “Purple Rain”. The RIAA lists it as having gone Platinum 13 times over.
George Michael was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with his first solo single ‘Careless Whisper.’ It made George the first person to reach No.1 as a solo artist and a member of a band in the same year. It gave Epic records UK their first UK million seller and the song was No.1 in nearly 25 countries, selling over six million copies worldwide.
Tina Turner‘s comeback album, “Private Dancer” is certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and the single from it, “What’s Love Got To Do With It” is certified Gold. The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart and the single reached #1 on the US singles chart as well as reaching #5 in the UK and the Top Ten in several other European countries.
Four days before its official release date, Michael Jackson’s new album, “Bad” is previewed by an L.A. radio station. Advance orders have already topped 2.2 million.
The largest pre-order of albums in the history of CBS Records occurred as 2.25 million copies of Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ album were shipped to record stores in the US. The LP followed the Jackson album, Thriller the biggest Jackson-seller of all time (over 35 million copies sold). ‘Bad’ went on to sell over 13 million copies.
Michael Jackson started a six-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Bad’. Released nearly five years after Jackson’s previous studio album, Thriller, Bad, went on to become the world’s best-selling album having sold between 30 to 45 million copies worldwide. The album produced five US No.1’s, the first album to do so.
became the first artist to have five number one singles from one album when “Dirty Diana” went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The other four chart-toppers from the L.P. “Bad” were the title track, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Man in the Mirror”.
had his fourth consecutive number one single from the album “Faith”, when “Monkey” climbed to the top of the Billboard Pop chart. It was his eighth US chart topper of the 1980s, a record bested only by Michael Jackson.
Bobby McFerrin’s a cappella tune, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” hit the top of the record charts, not only in the US but in almost every country in the world. The song would go on to win Grammy Awards for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It made #2 in the UK. During his career, McFerrin became ten-time Grammy Award winner.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
changed the requirements for a musical work to achieve gold and platinum status.
CDs started outselling vinyl records for the first time. The dominance of CDs virtually wiped out the 45 RPM single format, as nothing ended up replacing them. The 3 1/2 inch CD single would die out after record companies refused to offer them at a reasonable price.
The Era of Albums that spawned Singles
Elton John started a five-week run at #1 on the UK album chart with “Sleeping With The Past”, his fifth UK chart topper.
Mariah Carey’s started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Vision Of Love’, her debut release. ‘Vision Of Love’ was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 33rd annual ceremony, held on February 20, 1991: Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, winning the latter.
Nirvana’s album Nevermind was released in America, entering the chart at No. 144 on its first week. The album which peaked at No. 1 in January 1992 has now sold over 30m copies world wide.
Members of Boyz II Men receive awards for having the longest running #1 song of the Rock era. “End Of the Road” broke Elvis’ record of 11 weeks, previously held by “Don’t Be Cruel / Hound Dog”
RCA and the RIAA presented Elvis Presley’s estate with 110 gold and platinum records.
Boyz II Men started a 13 week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘End Of The Road’ the group’s first US No.1. Taken from the Eddie Murphy film ‘Boomerang’, it broke the 36-year-old record held by Elvis for the longest run at No.1
Elton John breaks Elvis Presley‘s record for the most consecutive years having a US Top 40 hit when “The Last Song” peaks at number 24, giving him a string of 23 straight hit making years.
Ray Charles made music history when his album “My World” showed up on Billboard’s Hot 200, marking the sixth decade he had a charted LP.
Billy Joel had the number 1 album in the US when “River of Dreams” reached the top on the strength of the title track and “All About Soul”. The L.P. would go on to sell over 4 million copies in America, but the album cover, which was painted by Billy’s then wife Christie Brinkley, was bashed by critics, some calling it the worst album cover of the year. The couple would divorce a year later.
Digital Song, Album and Discographies Era
Michael Jackson went to No.1 on the US singles chart with a song written by R. Kelly ‘You Are Not Alone’. It holds a Guinness World Record as the first song in the 37 year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to debut at No.1.
Because the Charts that Elvis dominated in 1956 through 1958 were no longer counted, and this was where the shift occurred to favour current artists.
It was announced that, “The Beatles were now bigger than The Beatles”. The statement was based on sales so far this year, having sold 6,000,000 albums from their back catalogue and a combined total of 13,000,000 copies of ‘The Beatles Anthology 1’ and ‘The Beatles Anthology 2’. With the release of ‘The Beatles Anthology 3’ a week away, it was anticipated that total Beatles album sales for 1996 would exceed 20 million. A poll showed 41 percent of sales were to teenagers who were not born when The Beatles officially called it quits in 1970.
Alanis Morissette started a second run at No.1 on the UK album chart with Jagged Little Pill which stayed at the top for eight weeks. Overall, the album has sold over 33 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the most successful albums in music history.
Oasis went to No.1 on the UK album chart with their third album ‘Be Here Now.’ The album had sold over a million copies on the first day of release. At that point, Oasis were at the height of their fame, and ‘Be Here Now’ became the United Kingdom’s fastest selling album to date.
While an estimated 2.5 billion people watched on television, Elton John sings a re-worked version of “Candle In The Wind” at the funeral of England’s Princess Diana. After the song is re-recorded and released as a single, it would become the largest selling record in history since UK and US singles charts began in the 1950s, with sales topping 33 million.
|2000, Madonna started a two-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘Music’, the singers seventh UK No.1 album.
The Dixie Chicks sued their record company, Sony Music Entertainment, for allegedly defrauding the trio of $4 million in royalties. They also sought termination of their contract with Sony. The dispute was settled privately with the Chicks awarded their own label, Open Wide Records, distributed by Sony.
46 years after his first hit, Elvis Presley started a four week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘A Little Less Conversation’, (Elvis vs. JXL), giving Elvis a total of 18 UK No.1 singles, the most by any artist in chart history. This also set a new record for the longest span of No.1 hits with 44 years, 11 months and 9 days. His first UK No.1 single was ‘All Shook Up’ in 1957.
The album “Elvis – 30 #1 Hits” was released on CD and Audio DVD. It was the first Elvis Presley album to debut at the top of the U.S. charts. The album also set a record by debuting at #1 in 17 territories.
Janis Ian, who scored her first hit, 1967’s “Society’s Child” when she was just sixteen years old, married her lesbian partner, Patricia Snyder in Toronto, and is iconic for “At Seventeen”; it’s the second marriage for both.
The Guinness World Records released figures that showed that Status Quo have had more hit singles on the UK chart than any other band history. The group made the chart 61 times, dating from “Pictures of Matchstick Men” in 1968 to “You’ll Come Around” in 2004. Queen was second with 52 hits, while The Rolling Stones and UB40 had 51 hits each.
January 1, The copyright on songs recorded in 1954 and earlier expired in most of Europe, including Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” and “Only You” by The Platters. In the UK, Elvis’ 1950s singles would be re-issued and re-chart.
January 9, “Jailhouse Rock” entered the UK singles chart at #1, the day after the King would have turned 70 years old. The song became the 999th #1 in the history of the British chart, having also been the 67th in January 1958, when it was the first disc to enter the survey at #1.
Mariah Carey became only the fifth act ever to hold the top two positions in the US singles chart. The singer’s ‘We Belong Together’ notched a 10th consecutive week at No.1 on the Billboard chart while ‘Shake It Off’ jumped two places to second place. The feat put Carey in a select group of acts to hold the top two with Nelly, OutKast, The Bee Gees and The Beatles. ‘We Belong Together’ was Carey’s 16th number one, giving her the third highest number of chart-toppers in the US behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
Barry Manilow‘s TV special Barry Manilow: Music and Passion was presented with an Emmy Award for Best Individual Variety Performance. The following day Manilow underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in both hips and faced a six week recovery.
The Rolling Stones played at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield, England on their A Bigger Bang world tour.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reported that the number of music downloads sold in the UK in the final week of 2007 was double the total of 12 months earlier. In total there were 2.95 million downloads in seven days, the highest ever recorded for any weekly period. And when the whole of the year was taken into account, 77.5 million downloads were sold in the UK in 2007.
Although the number of viewers dropped for the third straight year, Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve With Ryan Seacrest was still the most-watched New Year’s Eve countdown special in America with an 8.5 rating. Primary competitor, New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly, earned a 5.0 rating during its telecast.
92-year-old Vera Lynn, who made her name by entertaining troops in World War II, became the oldest living artist to have a UK number one album. “We’ll Meet Again – The Very Best of Vera Lynn” took the top spot in the British charts, even outselling much-hyped re-mastered versions of the Beatles’ back catalogue, according to the UK’s Official Charts Company. The previous oldest living artist to top the charts was Bob Dylan, who at 67 saw his album “Together Through Life” become number one in the UK earlier in the year.
14 re-mastered Beatles albums and boxed sets sold more than 2.25 million copies during the first five days they were on sale in North America, Japan and the UK, prompting EMI Music CEO Elio Leoni-Sceti to declare that “Beatlemania has returned.”
Tom Jones‘ representatives denied reports that the singer suffered heart problems prior to a show in Monte Carlo, Monaco a few days before, insisting he was simply dehydrated
The Beach Boys‘ first album of all-new material since 1992, “That’s Why God Made the Radio”, raced up the Billboard 200 chart to number 3. Their span of Billboard Top Ten LPs stretched to 49 years and one week since they first graced the chart with “Surfin’ U.S.A.” the week of June 15, 1963.
The Beatles were headed back to the Top 40 of the Billboard 200 albums chart with the iTunes-exclusive compilation “Tomorrow Never Knows”. The set includes 14 classic songs by the band and marked the first time The Beatles released an album exclusively to iTunes that had never been previously issued.
Just as his new album, “The Singer” was being released, Art Garfunkel announced that he had regained his voice after being sidelined since 2010 with vocal paresis. The condition had caused the cancelation of a planned Simon And Garfunkel North American tour and although no further reunion talks were scheduled, Garfunkel said he was still open to the idea.
The Website Celebritynetworth.com named Ringo Starr as the world’s richest drummer, with an estimated fortune of $300 million. Phil Collins was ranked second with $250 million, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl was third with $225 million, The Eagles’ Don Henley came in forth with $200 million and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich rounded out the top five with $175 million. Also making the top ten were U2 star Larry Mullen and The Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts.
Rapper Little Wayne became the new king of the Billboard Hot 100 by placing his 109th song on the chart. Elvis Presley, with 108 entries, held the clear title of for 45 years, with his last appearance, “Rubberneckin’”, reaching #100 in 2003. However, not only are Elvis’ early hits on earlier charts counted, but of Little Wayne’s charted songs, only 42 were led by Lil Wayne; he was the featured act on 67 of them; Elvis remains as the Solo Artist King of the Charts
Black Sabbath established a new UK chart record for the longest gap between No.1 albums when their new release, 13 debuted at the top of the charts, 42 years and 8 months after their second album Paranoid reached No.1.
Nielsen SoundScan reported that US album sales totaled 4.68 million for the week ending July 28, the lowest weekly total since the tracking system was formed in May, 1991.
Classic Beatles albums finally went platinum after the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) changed its sales award rules. Gold or platinum status has become synonymous with record success but the system has only been in place since 1973. This made Sgt. Pepper’s a triple-platinum album, having sold more than 900,000 copies since 1994. In total, the album is estimated to have sold 5.1 million units in the UK since its 1967 release. The albums Revolver, Help, Rubber Soul, Revolver and The White Album also now had platinum status.
With only 15.66 million digital songs sold in the US during the previous week, the music industry saw its lowest weekly sales since December 2007 when just 15.64 million units were sold. Live music was another matter, as ticket sales for concerts across America were up 5.6% in the first eight months of the year.
Adele was at No.1 on the US album chart with her third studio album 25. The album was a massive commercial success, debuting at No.1 in more than 25 markets and broke first-week sales records in multiple countries, including the United Kingdom and United States; in the US, the album sold 3.38 million copies in its first week of release, marking the largest single-week sales for an album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking point-of-sale music purchases in 1991.
The limited edition vinyl pressing of the David Bowie album ChangesOneBowie was at No.1 on the UK’s Official Vinyl Album Chart. Bowie had four other vinyl albums on the chart; Blackstar at No.14, Hunky Dory at No. 17, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars at No. 18 and Nothing Has Changed – The Very Best of David Bowie at No.23. Sales of vinyl records were up 32% to $416 million, their highest level since 1988, according to the RIAA.
2016, Canadian rapper and singer Drake was at No.1 on the US chart with his fourth studio album Views. With Views, Drake also joined Adele, Michael Bublé and Taylor Swift as the only artists in the 2010s decade to have an album remain at No.1 on the Billboard 200 for six consecutive weeks.
Barbra Streisand extended her US chart record after she scored her 11th US No.1 album with her Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. The star had already notched up more chart toppers than any other female artist, and now extends her lead over Madonna, who has eight. She also overtook Elvis Presley, who has 10*, to tie with Bruce Springsteen.
*Because the charts from 1956 to 1958, the years Elvis dominated the charts are no longer counted.
According to the Music Business Association, playlists were now a more popular way to listen to music than albums. The report said playlists accounted for 31% of listening time across all demographics, while albums lagged behind on 22%. But single tracks remained the dominant format, according to the study, accounting for 46% of music played.
Incredible 431-week Billboard streak: Drake has had at least 1 song on the Hot 100 every week for more than 8 years, starting in 2009.
The Official UK Top 40 Albums Chart Top 5:
- Ed Sheeran – Divide (with 15,343 copies sold)
- 50 Elvis Presley – The 50 Greatest Hits (with 15,308 copies sold)
- Glen Campbell – Adios
Elvis at UK Number Two & Scottish Number One!: In an incredible race up the UK Official Charts, Ed Sheeran just piped Elvis Presley to the Number 1 Album in one of the year’s closest chart races
The Top 2 on this week’s UK Official Albums Chart were separated by just 35 combined sales, and it is Ed Sheeran who scoops his 16th (non-consecutive) week at Number 1, denying Elvis Presley an extension of his Official Chart record.
In the Scottish Official Album Charts Elvis’ “The 50 Greatest Hits” was NUMBER ONE ahead of Glen Campbell’s final album ‘Adios’ with Ed Sheeran at #3.
Ed’s third studio album and the reissued Elvis compilation “The 50 Greatest Hits” were neck-and-neck all week, but Ed has pipped Elvis to the post at the final whistle.
Elvis’ collection, re-released in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of his death, reaches a new peak of Number 2 following its previous best of Number 8 achieved in 2000.
Elvis holds the record for the most Number 1 albums ever achieved by a solo artist; he topped the Official Albums Chart last year with his 13th Number 1 album The Wonder Of You, his collaborative collection with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
On this Day – Elvis Presley