Exactly 40 years after Elvis Presley’s death, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is heading back to the top album slot in world charts. It is Elvis versus Ed Sheeran on the U.K. Official Albums Chart Update this week.
With August 16 marking four decades since the Memphis star’s death, his compilation The 50 Greatest Hits is leading the way in the race for Friday’s No. 1 in Britain as the first country to put him in top spot, with other European nations likely to follow.
Presley came in fourth last year in the Forbes List of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities with $27 million. He has sold more than a billion records of all kinds worldwide, according to this record company.
In the U.S., the current Billboard best-sellers are more contemporary. Arcade Fire and Kendrick Lamar are leading the pack. Still, Elvis’s earnings always surge in the week marking the anniversary of his death. The income stream from music is dwarfed by the cash that still flows in from Graceland, Memphis. Presley died at his Tennessee mansion in 1977 aged 42.
Presley has had literally dozens of compilation albums of his hits, with many tracks in common across them, such as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “All Shook Up,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Trouble,” “It’s Now Or Never,” “In The Ghetto” and “Burning Love.” These singles are all present on the The 50 Greatest Hits collection. Among the most famous of his compilations is ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits, a chart-topper around the world in 2002.
He has always had a special place in British fans’ affection, with some of his albums scoring more highly on the other side of the Atlantic than his homeland – even though he only visited the U.K. very briefly once on a plane stopover.
In Britain, Elvis’s release is less than 200 combined chart sales ahead of Sheeran’s album ÷ (said aloud Divide), an album that has not left the Top 3 since it came out 23 weeks ago. Elvis last featured in the Official Albums Chart Top 5 in August 2016, when his collaborative album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Wonder of You, topped the standings. If The 50 Greatest Hits holds onto the top in Britain, Elvis’s record as the soloist with the most U.K. No.1 albums will be extended to 14.