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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Beatles vs Elvis: Who is number one?
Elvis and The Beatles
The acts shared the UK record for 25 years

Elvis Presley and The Beatles represent the two poles of pop music superstardom.

On one side, the patriotic American truck driver with a voice that conquered the world over a two-decade career - and on the other, the four sharp-tongued Liverpudlians who came and went with the 60s but changed pop history.

Both acts have huge, devoted followings - and both have, for more than two decades, tied for the honour of having the most UK chart-topping singles - 17.

The Beatles
The Beatles' compilation '1' was another huge seller
But on Sunday Elvis clinched a new number one with A Little Less Conversation and pulled ahead, to 18 number ones.

Elvis's impressive total has made history - but Beatles fans might point out it took him a long time to do it.

His first 17 number ones were amassed over the twenty years from All Shook Up in June 1957 to Way Down at the time of his death in August 1977.

And his 18th chart topper means that he has taken exactly 45 years to break The Beatles' record.

The Fab Four's number ones came between April 1963 - From Me To You - and June 1969 - The Ballad Of John And Yoko - just over six years.

And the Beatles' solo efforts have resulted in a further seven UK number ones since the band split in 1970.

Elvis Presley
Elvis's last number one - until 2002 - came in 1977
There is another point that Beatles fans like to make.

Many dispute the number two placing of the group's second single, Please Please Me, in 1963.

Chart watcher David Stark of Songlink magazine told BBC News Online: "Technically they had 17 number ones, but Please Please Me was number one in every chart except that of Record Retailer, now Music Week, which is seen as the chart of record.

"So in my opinion Elvis has just equalled them.

"But it's a great record - and it's definitely the longest period between an artist's first and last number ones."

But, Mr Stark added: "Andy Williams had his first number one, Butterfly, in April 1957.

"So if his new record with Denise Van Outen - a version of Can't Take My Eyes Off You - hits number one, records could tumble again."



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