It's been all over the news: January 8 would have been Elvis Presley's 80th birthday, were that he were still alive. It's bizarre that it's rapidly approaching the time when The King will have been dead for as long as he was alive (the star was 42 when he died and it's been 38 years since). Still, 80 has another significance for the bestselling performer of all-time: According to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he also has the most weeks atop the Billboard Pop charts, spending exactly 80 weeks on top between 20 different tracks.
Here are the nine songs (okay, so it's not eight...ties and stuff you know) that contributed the most amount of time to Presley's narrow record over Mariah Carey (at 79 weeks). Ties will be handled in terms on chronological order.
01) "Heartbreak Hotel" (8 weeks)
Many mistakenly assume that "Heartbreak Hotel" was Presley's first single, when in fact he had released a jaw-dropping 16 singles over the previous two years (only "I Don't Care if The Sun Don't Shine" even charted, at no. 74). "Heartbreak" was certainly his breakout single however, charting at no. 1 on the pop charts (then the equivalent of the Hot 100) and staying there for eight weeks, as long as any other single during his entire career. Tough to imagine a song about a guy jumping off of a hotel would do that well today, much less sell 2 million copies.
02) "All Shook Up" (8 weeks)
Presley had released lesser known sexy songs but "All Shook Up" made God-fearing parents long for the days when he was just singing about hotel suicide. One of his first singles of 1957 (performers dropped singles at a higher clip in those days), "Shook Up" took off with a bang, becoming the second and final single from the performer to sit for eight weeks at no. 1. Most performers would kill for one week at no. 1 so we don't mean anything when we point out that he "only" had eight-week runs twice during his career. This song was even more accomplished than "Heartbreak Hotel" in that it topped the pop, country and R&B charts. Good luck ever seeing that happen again.
03) "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" (7 weeks)
"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" hasn't maintained its memorability as well as many of the other tracks on this list but it does boast one special feat: It was the first song featured on an actual full-length Presley record that reached no. 1. The song was featured on his third LP Loving You, which itself spent 10 weeks atop the albums charts. "Teddy Bear" could "only" manage seven weeks atop the pop charts but it was the second of Presley's songs to pull off the no. 1 pop/country/R&B feat.
04) "Jailhouse Rock" (7 weeks)
The last one of Presley's singles to take the triple crown of pop/country/R&B no. 1's, "Jailhouse Rock" dropped a few months after "Teddy Bear" and perhaps solidified 1957 as Presley's most successful year in music. It too managed to spend seven weeks atop the most notable of music charts, the first of Presley's many cinematic songs to take the top spot. Unfortunately the UK doesn't play into the records we're considering, for the single managed to log one week at no. 1 across the pond when it was rereleased as a single during 2005.
05) "Don't Be Cruel" (6 weeks)
Typical singles were (and are still, despite changes in format) released with an A-side and a B-side: The first of which is the obvious radio single and the second of which sometimes but rarely gets attention. With that being the case, the "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" has to be considered among the best overall single packages of all time. The B-side became a no. 1 as soon as its A-side was done. Obviously such a hot two-song 7" was a hot sales item, selling four-million-plus copies...the best-selling single from Presley's career.
06) "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (6 Weeks)
Although Presley remained entertainment industry gold thanks to his many film appearances stacked on top of his music catalogue, the music industry was expanding at perhaps its fastest rate, resulting in much more competition and therefore less weeks at no. 1 for any given single. "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" was Presley's last big stand, spending six weeks at no. 1 on the pop charts. He only topped the charts three times following 1960 and only one of those spent more than a singular week at no. 1.
07) "Hound Dog" (5 weeks)
You already got most of the story when reading about "Don't Be Cruel," but "Hound Dog" could only last five weeks atop the chart although its A-side went to no. 1 for six weeks. We repeat: 4 million copies of the joint record sold. "Hound Dog" would be his best selling overall single, moving another six million copies abroad by itself.
08) "Love Me Tender" (5 weeks)
Following the release of "Hound Dog" as a single, RCA had to be nervous: Presley went three months without another no. 1. Okay, that doesn't seem too bad by modern accounts but understand that the performer released 13 other songs that failed to break no. 76 on the pop charts (although at the time the glory of "Shake, Rattle and Roll" failed to chart, almost entirely because of its sex appeal and the concerned DJ's who failed to give it spins). "Love Me Tender" also managed to go triple-platinum...somewhat reassuring.
09) "It's Now Or Never" (5 Weeks)
Sure, "It's Now Or Never" might not seem too impressive in the shadow of Presley's other collection of smash hits, despite having five weeks atop the U.S. pop charts. One thing that this single can say that the rest of his hits can't: It spent eight weeks at the top of the UK charts, making it Presley's most successful single across the pond.