. So their Billboard chart totals in this comparison are the same as their career totals—62 chart titles, 50 in the top 40, 37 in the top 20, 31 in the top 10, 29 in the top 5, and 20 #1s. Conversely, all of Elvis’s chart records before January 1964 and after July 1970 won’t count in this comparison.

We’ll start with total singles charted during the first 6-year, 6-month, 1-week period of each act’s career. The Beatles have the edge in this category. They put 62 titles in the “Hot 100” between 1964-1970, while Elvis charted 57 sides between 1956-1962.

It’s a push, though, when it comes to records in the top 40 of Billboard’s singles chart. Both had 50 entries in that part of the “Top/Hot 100. ” Moving up the chart, The Beatles hold a slight advantage over Elvis in all other categories: top 20 (37 to 34), top 10 (31 to 29), top 5 (29 to 25), and #1s (20 to 13). His most dominant chart appeared the week of November 17, 1956, when he had 7 titles in the “Top 100. ” “Love Me Tender” led the way that week at #1, followed by “Don’t Be Cruel” at #4, “Hound Dog” at #19, “Anyway You Want Me” at #33, “I Don’t Care If the Sun Don’t Shine” at #82, “Love Me” at #84, and “Blue Moon” at #92.

As impressive as that performance was, however, it can’t come near to matching what The Beatles did on the “Hot 100” the week of April 4, 1964. On that week’s chart, The Beatles held the top 5 spots: #1 “Can’t Buy Me Love,” #2 “Twist and Shout,” #3 “She Loves You,” #4 “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and #5 “Please Please Me. ” In addition, the Fab Four had 7 other sides on the chart that week, giving them an incredible 12 titles on Billboard’s singles chart during the same week.

That puts The Beatles one up on Elvis going into the last tiebreaker. So, the “6-6-1” comparison doesn’t produce a clear-cut winner. The Beatles can claim more chart records and more titles reaching higher levels on the chart, while Presley has more weeks and longevity on the chart on his side.

The title of “The Real King of the Charts,” then, is still up for grabs. Let’s move on to a couple of tiebreakers to see if we can finally determine a winner. Let me then propose a different method of comparing the chart performance of Elvis and The Beatles that would be fair to both sides.

It’s called the “6-6-1” comparison. The first chart record Elvis had during this head-to-head match up with The Beatles was “Kissin’ Cousins. ” In February 1964, when that title tune from one of Presley’s movies debuted on the “Hot 100,” The Beatles already held down the top two spots on the chart (“I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You”).

That’s an indication of how poorly for Elvis this comparison with the Fab Four is going to go. Led by The Beatles, the “British Invasion” of the American charts in the sixties suppressed Presley’s records, along with those of many other American singers, on the singles charts. What little chart success Elvis had during this period came mostly during a brief career resurgence in 1969, which produced “Suspicious Minds,” his only #1 record during the era of Beatle dominance.

Again, for the record, The Beatles three #2 records were “Do You Want to Know a Secret” (1964), “Twist and Shout” (1964), and “Yellow Submarine” (1966). Elvis’s seven runner-up singles were “Hound Dog” (1956), “Too Much” (1957), “Hard Headed Woman” (1958), “A Fool Such As I” (1959), “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (1961), “Return to Sender” (1962), and “Burning Love” (1972).

  • The “Best Single Chart” Comparison The Beatles’ first placed a record on the “Hot 100” on January 18, 1964, (“I Want to Hold Your Hand”) and last appeared on that chart on July 25, 1970 (“The Long and Winding Road”).

    That’s a time span of 6 years, 6 months, and 1 week. I suggest, then, taking the first 6 years, 6 months, and 1 week of Elvis Presley’s chart history and putting it up against The Beatles’ chart run of the same length. Such a comparison would eliminate Elvis’s longevity advantage as well as The Beatles’ head-to-head advantage.

  • Elvis tops Beatles in career chart totals In “Career Chart Totals,” then, Elvis Presley tops The Beatles in nearly every category. Only in the #1 records sub-category can the Fab Four claim an advantage over the King of Rock ’n’ roll. Of course, Beatle fans will contend that comparing the group’s career chart totals with those of Elvis is clearly unfair.

    After all, Presley had 22 years in which to accumulate his totals, while The Beatles had less than 7 years. Head-to-head, then, from 1964-1970, The Beatles had more chart records (62 to 46), more in the top 40 (50 to 29), more in the top 20 (37 to 16), more in the top 10 (31 to 6), more in the top 5 (29 to 4), and a whopping 20 to 1 advantage in #1 singles. Beatle titles racked up 533 weeks on the “Hot 100” compared to Elvis’s 345 weeks during the same period.

    Using a system which assigns points to each chart record based on its highest position on the “Hot 100,” The Beatles’ 62 chart titles accumulated 4,012 points compared to just 2,846 points for Elvis. Another way of assessing the relative career chart performance of Elvis and The Beatles is to use a points system. For instance, one method would be to assign from 1 to 100 points to each chart record based on the highest chart position it reached.

    A single that reached #1, such as “Jailhouse Rock” for Elvis and “I Feel Fine” for The Beatles, would be awarded 100 points. Sides that peaked at #2, such as Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” would earn 99 points. As songs peaked further down the chart, fewer points would be assigned.

    A record that barely made it into the “Top/Hot 100” at #100, but rose no higher, would receive just 1 point. Beatle advocates might ask for a “head-to-head” comparison. After all, the careers of the two iconic acts did overlap. Let’s compare, then, the chart performance of Elvis and The Beatles from January 18, 1964, through July 25, 1970, when both were putting platters in the “Hot 100. ” The first 6 years, 6 months, and 1 week of Presley’s career started on February 22, 1956, when “Heartbreak Hotel” first made the “Top 100,” and ended on August 29, 1962, when “She’s Not You” was Elvis’s current hit.

    So let’s compare Presley’s chart performance during that time span with the totals accumulated by The Beatles over the same amount of time, beginning in January 1964. The winner will be proclaimed “The Real King of the Charts. ” Although the “6-6-1” comparison seems to be a near sweep for The Beatles, it’s not quite that simple.

    In the first 6 ½ years of his chart history, Elvis’s 57 tunes spent a total of 684 weeks on the “Top 100,” easily exceeding the 533 weeks The Beatles accumulated with their 62 chart songs. And in the points system based on highest chart position of each record, Elvis wins again with 4,855 points to 4,716 for The Beatles. The Beatles, then, clearly win the chart “head-to-head” competition with Elvis.

    But as the Beatle faithful might protest that Elvis’s advantage in “total career chart performance” was unfair to their boys, so could Presley fans claim the same of the “head-to-head” comparison. Longevity is the key to Billiboard chart supremacy, they might contend, pointing out that Elvis worked the “Top/Hot 100” for 22 years, while The Beatles were mere “flashes in the pan” for a mere 7 years.

  • Points system is another way to compare The “Top/Hot 100” chart has been published weekly in Billboard since 1955.

    Between Elvis and The Beatles, which one had the most dominant single weekly chart during their recording careers? In an interesting turnabout, however, Elvis actually spent more weeks atop Billboard singles chart than The Beatles, even though he had 6 fewer titles reach the top spot

    . Elvis’s 14 chart-toppers spent a combined total of 62 weeks at #1 on the “Top/Hot 100,” while The Beatles’ 20 #1s spent a total of 59 weeks in the top slot. In The Beatles defense, for whatever reason, single records in the late 1950s, when Elvis was at his chart peak, tended to stay atop the Billboard chart for a longer period of time than in the mid-sixties, when The Beatles dominated the chart.

    For example, in 1956-1957, only 25 single records reached #1 on the “Top 100,” while in 1964-1965, a total of 48 titles topped the “Hot 100. ” Beatles #3s were “Please Please Me” (1964) and “Nowhere Man” (1966). Peaking at #3 for Elvis were “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” (1956), “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” (1958), “Devil in Disguise” (1963), “Crying in the Chapel” (1965), and “In the Ghetto” (1969).

    Under that points system, all of Elvis’s chart records between 1956-1977 earn 9,844 points. The Beatles’ point total for their chart output from 1964-1970 comes to 4,716, a little under half of Presley’s total. Again, the length of Elvis’s career would seem to give him an unfair advantage over The Beatles in that comparison.

    But that turns out not to be the case, since the average highest position reached by Presley’s 134 “Top/Hot 100” entries was #27, while The Beatles’ 62 chart sides averaged a high water mark of #36. The Beatles may have had six more #1 records than Elvis, but Presley more than made up for that deficit in the point system by having more #2s (7 to 3) and #3s (5 to 2) than The Beatles.

  • The “6-6-1” Comparison.