Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, in his Graceland mansion located in Memphis, Tennessee. Nicknamed the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Elvis left an indelible mark on popular culture that endures to this day.
He also permanently changed popular music with his unique combination of genres such as blues, country, and gospel. While Elvis wasn’t the first to perform music of this kind — Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around The Clock” was recorded months before Elvis’s version of “That’s All Right (Mama)” — he is widely regarded as the best to ever do it. His music, style, and attitude paved the way for the cultural revolution of the 1960s and all that followed.
The music of Elvis has been popular since the 1950s. It is estimated that he has sold more than 1 billion albums worldwide. He also sent 109 songs to the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, even though the chart began about four years after he started releasing music. While he doesn’t have the most chart topping hits, he certainly ranks among the artists with the most. These are the artists with the most No. 1 hits.
In honor of the King’s legacy, 24/7 Tempo has identified his most popular songs, based on album sales and Billboard performance. Many of these songs were released during Elvis’s hot streak during the late 1950s. However, some of his most beloved recordings came out as late as the 1970s — a testament to his staying power as an artist.
To determine the most popular Elvis Presley songs, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on two metrics: the number of singles sold as reported by the Recording Industry Association of America and performance on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. As the Hot 100 did not begin until August 1958, some Elvis Presley songs did not have the opportunity to chart upon their release — these songs were not penalized in the ranking. Editorial discretion was used in rare instances where a song had a greater cultural impact than reflected by its sales and chart performance in relation to other songs.