More than 27 years after he was officially declared dead Elvis Presley is poised to make history by claiming the 1,000th British chart No 1.
Since his death in August 1977 Elvis has been sighted in any number of unlikely places, ranging from burger bars and supermarkets to funeral parlours and sheepdog trials.
He has been a priest, a policeman and a lorry driver. One fan even claimed to have spotted him returning a Dyson cleaner to the John Lewis department store in Welwyn Garden City.
Record company executives are now, however, plotting to resurrect him in the incarnation that won him fame, fortune and iconic status — as a pop star.
Sony BMG hopes that by releasing all of Elvis’s previous chart-toppers he will be able to claim the coveted 1,000th number-one slot early in the new year.
Band Aid 20 became the 997th No 1 with Do They Know It’s Christmas? and it has led the singles chart for four weeks.
The X Factor winner Steve Brookstein has been tipped as the 998th with his single Against All Odds, which has sold 40,000 copies so far, taking the No 2 position and with Band Aid sales expected to slow now Christmas is past.
Elvis’s 18 previous No 1s are being re-released over 17 consecutive weeks from January 3 to April 25, starting with All Shook Up and ending with A Little Less Conversation.
Strict chart rules mean All Shook Up is ineligible because it will come in a collectors’ box, so Jailhouse Rock will be released on the same day. The record label has described the attempt at claiming the 1,000th No 1 for Elvis as “the most ambitious singles release campaign in the history of the UK record industry”. Gennaro Castaldo, an HMV spokesman, said: “With Band Aid 20 currently occupying the top spot, it’s difficult to predict precisely when the 1,000th No 1 will occur. However, there’s a possibility that it could fall to Elvis, which would be a fantastic and truly fitting way to celebrate the landmark.
“Sales of singles around this time of year tend to be at their lowest. So if Elvis fans are out in force to buy his reissued No 1s, there’s every chance this could happen.” The 1,000th No 1 will be one of the last based on sales of singles in the shops alone. In the next few months the chart will be changed to incorporate internet downloads.
Hits for a King:
1 All Shook Up (June 14, 1957)
2 Jailhouse Rock (Jan 24, 1958)
3 One Night/I Got Stung (Jan 23, 1959)
4 A Fool Such As I/I Need Your Love Tonight (April 24, 1959)
5 It’s Now Or Never (Nov 3, 1960)
6 Are You Lonesome Tonight (Jan 19, 1961)
7 Wooden Heart (Mar 9, 1961)
8 Surrender (May 25, 1961)
9 (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame (Nov 2, 1961)
10 Rock-A-Hula Baby/Can’t Help Falling In Love (Feb 1, 1962)
11 Good Luck Charm (May 10, 1962)
12 She’s Not You (Aug 30, 1962)
13 Return To Sender (Nov 29, 1962)
14 (You’re The) Devil In Disguise (July 4, 1963)
15 Crying In The Chapel (May 27, 1965)
16 The Wonder Of You (July 11, 1970)
17 Way Down (Aug 13, 1977)
18 A Little Less Conversation (June 22, 2002)
... and other chart toppers:
The first No 1: Here In My Heart Al Martino (1952)
No 100: Do You Mind Anthony Newley (1960)
No 200: Help! The Beatles (1965)
No 300: Knock Three Times Dawn (1971)
No 400: Don’t Cry For Me Argentina by Julie Covington (1977)
No 500: A Little Peace Nicole (1982)
No 600: China In Your Hands T’Pau (1987)
No 700: Twist and Shout Chaka Demus and Pliers (1993)
No 800: Bootie Call All Saints (1998)
No 900: Lady Marmalade Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink (2001)
Source: Google / Updated: Dec 28, 2004