Elvis Is The UK's Third Ultimate Pop Star

His music may divide the nation, but the substantial sales of his hundreds of records have secured the Peter Pan of pop, Sir Cliff Richard, another, superlative accolade, that of UK Ultimate Pop Star. The veteran pop singer with 20,969,006 UK sales pipped The Beatles (20,799,632) and Elvis Presley (19,293,118), to the title, as the biggest selling artist of the last 50 years. Last night’s Channel 4 show, The Ultimate Pop Star, crowned Madonna the top female artist, coming in at number four in the list, and the only female in the top ten Ultimate Pop Stars. The show counted down the definitive list of the 50 biggest-selling artists of all time, based on UK singles sales from the past 50 years. Elton John came fifth, Michael Jackson sixth, and Queen seventh.
Source: Google / Updated: Feb 23, 2004 
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Apachee (profilecontact) wrote on Mar 2, 2004report abuse
Seem to me if you are on the charts longer, well i think you would sell more. Does that make sense !! Maybe not. A mere 19 million in single sales for elvis is wrong. Maybe the RIAA counted it. You know how they are. Yes Riaa, 2+2 still makes 4.
forelvisworld (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 26, 2004report abuse
Is a very late o very slow answer: I had a "official account in U.K." in a magazine from the last 15 days from January and Mr. Elvis Presley is in first place over cliff richard and the beatles. The magazine does not print the name but name richard and at last are the beatles. Is not a "coincidence". Probably cliff or the queen paid for this trick. Is the mind for royalty: One "Sir Ciff Richard" loose in front of a "plebeian" like Mr. Elvis Presley...
Or maybe we will not know the exactly sales because you do not forget too that michael jackson is the owner of many songs of Mr Elvis Presley and he will need the money for his defence. And I only like Elvis Presley music and classic music for me, the pop music is rotten music: to hear and to throw
Pharamond (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 25, 2004report abuse
Again RCA BMG give us the exact figures. But that has and is too much to ask. A simple question, just give us the exact sales figures of "rubbernecking" around the world , up to date. I would like to know that. They can not even give us that and we are 2004 That is the way it has allways been.
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 25, 2004report abuse
to answer an earlier question Elvis has 19 number ones in England..When speaking of individual single sale, with all due respect toward cliff richard. 'Are they not including Elvis sales for the last 50 years or only, the 21 years of record sales while Elvis was alive. Because he has probably sold more or at least as much from 1977 to present.
Colin B (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 25, 2004report abuse
Aaron24 - But this wasn't a poll ! This was a list of actual sales over 50 years. We have a right to know the exact period covered & the parameters & source used for the figures. After all, they will be published & quoted all over the world, and it is important that they are accurate.
Jeoliverm (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 25, 2004report abuse
Yeah! Aaron24 I absolutely agree you. Let's enjoy Elvis' music because that's the thing that really matters.
Aaron24 (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 25, 2004report abuse
I disagree that the Beatles being Number Two is a nonsense. Singles sales were generally much higher in the 60's than in the 50's and a lot of early Beatles stuff sold masses. All You Need Is Love is reputed to have had pre-orders of over 2 million singles in Britain alone. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of the Beatles at all and I'm not a particular fan of Cliff either, but I don't have this obsession with Elvis needing to be Number One at everything. Maybe the amount of stick he's taken from the media in the past 25 or so years has turned fans this way, but I love the music and that's all that counts. Elvis' positions in the numerous polls that always seem to be flying about doesn't really matter so much to me.
TonyP (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 25, 2004report abuse
Tony Galvin makes an excellent point and I had actually popped online this evening to share similar information. While leafing through an old Elvis monthly today (Feb 92, No 385 for those who want to grab it), I came across an article by the Phantom which noted that according to the Guinness Book of Hit Singles Elvis had 1,141 weeks on the UK singles charts, Cliff had 998 and The Beatles had 432. Now this would of course be way out of date in relation to Cliff as he has had many more singles released in the last 12 years, but not so the Beatles. I am therefore inclined to believe that while Cliff may well have edged Elvis to the number one spot by now, the Beatles' second place is a total nonsense. I too await C4s response.
Brian Quinn (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 24, 2004report abuse
It is apparent that this 'sales' list is flawed. First, there is no official body in the UK which has access to such information going back to 1952. Since POS (point of sale) machines (which read barcodes) were introduced a few years ago it has been possible to do this but not until then. Bearing this in mind, and BMG company policy of not releasing record sale information then I would dearly like to know the 'source'. I would also like to know the actual sales of each single, according to the 'source'. I fully agree with Tony Galvin's comments below and await the Channel 4 revelation of the 'source'.
Jim Semple (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 24, 2004report abuse
You don't need to be a Rocket Scientist to work out that they have got Elvis's sales figures completely wrong. He by far exceeded that total.
Katelouise (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 24, 2004report abuse
I think that 3rd is a fantastic position to be in. I mean the man has been dead almost 27 years! What an achievement. I think if he were here today he would have a great amount of respect for Cliff Richard for his achievements. I am very proud to be an Elvis fan and he will always be a number 1 achiever in my heart.
tgalvin (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 24, 2004report abuse
when I first read about this new factual survey I finally thought that Elvis would get his due but as usual with these things, the goalposts were moved probably to insure a British victor. It would appear from the sales figures given that only tracks that made the top ten were used in collating the overall figures. I base this on having gathered Elvis' sales figures for the last thirty years from the likes of NME, RECORD MIRROR, fan club publications and the music trade magazine MUSIC WEEK. ( I've worked in a shop with a record dept. for the last 23 years and BMG/RCA would also give sales data to promote a new release) With most Elvis single releases, the initial sales figures are available and from the data I have which is reasonably accurate (plus or minus fifteen per cent), I would put Elvis' UK single sales at above thirty million. It is possible that as many as seventy Elvis single releases were not included in this survey. The only person that could come any near this figure is CLIFF who would also have had many of his releases not counted. The main benificiary of this policy is the BEATLES who have had all of their singles taken into account.Another interesting reference point is the GUINNESS BOOK OF HIT RECORDS which collates all UK chart figures. REmember the UK charts unlike the USA are based solely on sales and the major point here is that Elvis has just under three times the number of weeks on the chart in comparison to the BEATLES and is also well ahead of CLIFF. He would have double the number of weeks in the UK top twenty over the BEATLES and over a third more in the top ten. While this does not gaurantee a sales lead, it is a solid indicator that all is not what it seems to be with this survey. I've e-mailed CHANNEL FOUR to see if they could check with the programme makers to see what the criteria they used in tabulating the sales but have not yet received a reply.
Alang (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 24, 2004report abuse
As regards to elvis being third ultimate popstar surely that it should not count pop groups as thetitle say's popstar meaning one individule, so pop groups should have there own ultimate section.so in fact elvis would be second ultimate popstar & not third
Jeoliverm (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 24, 2004report abuse
Wonderful and surprising news. But not so surprising. The first and the second(s) are Brits and I think that maybe in all the countries of this world such a list will be headed by a national artist. Here in Spain I bet they will be Mecano (terrible but ...) or another group of that kind. For sure here Elvis wouldn't appear in the top ten.
And, gribz, USA is so important in this world, but, pleeeeeeeeeeeease, you need to be more sensitive when you say/write things like that unless you want to hurt some people feelings: lots of people never made it in the USA and are giants in their carrers. Of course they (probably) won't be known in many places but this list was made it in UK and that's what really counts in this news.
TonyP (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 24, 2004report abuse
Just assuming the figures are accurate, it really does show what a long term impact the mid 60s slump had. Imagine how easily Elvis could have been number one without the three or so years in the wilderness and appalling single choices such as Do the Clam, Long Legged Girl and The Love Machine?
Abidaslam1 (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 24, 2004report abuse
What really annoyed me about channel 4's program was that they just skimmed over Elvis's career, concentrating more on his image (with the ever present impersonators and hinting that most of his fans believe he is alive). However with the Beatles piece they concentrated more on the music and their achievements. Sometimes I just despair that the Elvis image has suffocated the music and artistry of the man.
Colin B (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 24, 2004report abuse
Whoever you support, these figures are highly suspect! RCA don't give out sales figures, so what is the source? And what is the period covered? OK 'the past 50 years' - but if it's 1951-2001 then it excludes 'ALLC' & 'Rubberneckin. Even 1952-2002 will exclude 'Rubberneckin'. His competition haven't had major hits in those years.
TonyP (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
I wasn't suggesting 14 No 1s wasn't a great amount Lex, just making the distinction that he's outsold Elvis and the Beatles without getting as many number ones. As I said, I have no problem with Cliff at all. Actually I admire his longevity and like a lot of his records - particularly 50-70s output.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
Tony, "only" 14 #1 Hits?? I think that is quite an achievement! Anyway, I don't understand the insecurity of the average Elvis fan... why bash other successful artists? Being it The Beatles, Cliff Richard or Tom Jones (who came out of nowhere because of somebody's frustration)... they all have their own right to success... unlike those DJ's screwing Elvis' music today... they will be forgotten after a few years (if they'll make it that long).
TonyP (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
I have nothing against Cliff and it's true to say he never misses an opportunity to give credit to Elvis when interviewed. I'm not surprised that for singles sales Cliff has the highest sales as he has released considerably more singles than everyone else and for the most part they have been successful. He still only has 14 number ones compared to Elvis' 18 and the Beatles 17 though. Having said that the result doesn't surprise me, it doesn't 100% convince me either. The figures are so specific and I certainly don't believe that Elvis' tally has been that accurately recorded.
joemin (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
Anyone know where the data was taken from? I would have expected both Elvis and Cliff to have been much higher. It would seem that sales were very low prior to 1964....
Loesje (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
Sometimes I really feel ashamed for being an Elvis fan too... reading most of the comments here :-( Isn't it possible for you guys to love Elvis' music without calling other artists names? It's always the same overhere... Elvis is not #1 in your eyes, he is the only one?? For the record: I am a huge Elvis' fan, but I can appreciate Tom and Cliff's music as well. And even TJ has admitted more than once he was a big fan of Elvis as well. As a matter of fact: they were close friends.
dismas (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
Being an American, Sir Cliff's career is a bit of an unknown to me. Unlike gribz, however, I'll be glad to acknowledge his hit singles streak in America during the late '70s/early '80s. I also remember some '60s airplay for his remake of "It's All in the Game" in the early '60s. Compared to Elvis and the Beatles, he's something of a nonentity on these shores. One question: Since all 40-plus years of Mr. Richard's career span is included, did they do the right thing by the Beatles by including the four fabs' solo sales in the tally? Regardless, without the Big Bang known as E-L-V-I-S, there would never have been a Cliff Richard or the Beatles. As John Lennon so succinctly put it all those years ago, "Before Elvis, there was nothing."
Eddie White (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
If Cliff Richard is a laughing stock then he's laughing all the way to the bank. Like Elvis, he has everlasting appeal amongst the British record buying public. The only thing I would agree with is that Elvis sales excluding ALLC were amassed in 21 years compared to Cliff's 44 years. As a footnote, my brother was in Portugal last year wearing an Elvis t-shirt when he bumped into Cliff. After a brief conversation Cliff said " I would not be who I am today without Elvis". Would Tom Jones have said that? I don't think so. Atleast Cliff Richard is not on a bifg ego trip!
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
One or two more super mixes and Elvis will be at number 1.. So don't worry.. Besides, Elvis is the alltime greatest recording artist,Globally. That has ben proven already. I think Cliff Richard sold about 350 records in the USA,,, AND that is where it really counts.. If you don't make it in the USA nobody really knows who you are outside of your own country, so keep your head up folks..
tangerinebull (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
cliffs a joke, we all know our man is no. 1,buy the way who has eighteen no.1s
Jim Semple (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
I wouldn't worry too much, Cliff Richard is viewed upon as a laughing stock these days by Music Critics. Generally, his music has been appalling for the last 15 years or so. And who can forget the worst single of all time, The Millenium Prayer ???!!! PS - And he has had 30 years extra than Elvis to achieve these figures.
Null (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
Considering Elvis had a mere 21 years in the UK charts while alive, I think this is a very good result. Madonna has had a 20 year career and she was lower than Elvis, despite all of the hype surrounding modern artists outselling past acts.
Albert (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2004report abuse
WOW! Although the figures suprice me, it's very promising. Just 1.5 million between Elvis and the number 1. That must be an easy target for the next 5-10 years.

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