Sir Cliff has had a top 10 hit in every decade since the 1950s
Sir Cliff Richard has lost out to US rockers Kings of Leon in his attempt to score a UK number one single in each of six consecutive decades.
The Tennessee band's Sex On Fire topped the chart, followed by Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl, with Sir Cliff at number three with Thank You For a Lifetime.
While the 67-year-old did not reach the top spot, he has still enjoyed a top 10 single in every decade since the 1950s.
Metallica topped the album chart after fending off a challenge from Glasvegas.
Death Magnetic, the 12th album from the hard rock band, was due to be made available on Friday, but the release date was brought forward after some retailers broke a sales embargo.
Glasvegas had to settle for number two with their self-titled debut, with Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad - released more than a year ago - at number three.
UK TOP THREE SINGLES
1. Kings of Leon (pictured) - Sex On Fire, 44,943 copies sold
2. Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl, 37,902 copies
3. Sir Cliff Richard - Thank You For a Lifetime, 33,376 copies
Source: Music Week/EMI
Last week's number one, The Verve's Forth, fell to number four.
Sir Cliff, who had his first number one single in 1959 with Living Doll, sold 33,376 copies of Thank You For a Lifetime.
But that was more than 11,500 behind Kings of Leon.
Of Sir Cliff's total, 95% were bought on CD single from Woolworths branches after he struck a deal with the chain to stock the song.
He sold more CD singles last week than the rest of the top 75 put together.
But the fact he could still not reach the top spot highlights the dominance of downloads in today's UK singles chart.
Speaking to BBC News earlier this week, he said "it would be nice" if he topped the charts, but admitted he was not sure if he could do it.
"I can't say I'm confident because how can you be confident about anything any more?
"I've had number ones in five decades. Who's going to do that?
"First of all, they've got to be around for five decades. Many of them barely make five years."
Sir Cliff's last UK number one hit Millennium Prayer in 1999.