LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Twenty-five years after his death, Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n Roll, is about to do something he never managed in life -- debut an album at No. 1 on record charts around the world.
According to industry watchers, Presley's "Elvis 30 Number One Hits" compilation, which was released by Bertelsmann AG's RCA Records on Sept. 24, is poised to top the charts in at least 12 countries around the world.
Sales in the United States alone are expected to hit almost 500,000 units in the last week, said a spokesman for RCA, noting it would be the first time an Elvis album ever debuted at No. 1.
There already are more than a dozen Presley greatest hits compilations, but music fans have been anticipating this CD, a broad collection of tunes, thanks largely to a $10 million publicity push aimed at showcasing the King to a new generation.
The collection features songs from each part of Presley's career and includes early hits such as "Don't Be Cruel" and "Jailhouse Rock," as well as later songs like "Return to Sender" and "Burning Love."
This past summer, thousands of fans paid homage to the King on the 25th anniversary of his death as "Elvis-mania" took the world by storm, fueled in part by the success of a new remix of the song, "A Little Less Conversation," which is also on the new CD.
"This has been the biggest marketing push I can think of that has ever been put together for an Elvis compilation," said Geoff Mayfield, director of charts for Billboard, a music trade magazine. "I suspect this will be a big seller into the holiday season."
Mayfield said RCA's marketing blitz was, in part, inspired by the record label's success a few years ago with its CD featuring No. 1 hits by the Beatles.
Presley, the world's top-selling pop star, with more than 1 billion records sold, died of a drug-induced heart attack at the age of 42 on Aug. 16, 1977.
According to music experts, 68 of Presley's singles reached the American Top 20 in his career.
Source: Reuters / Updated: Oct 2, 2002