Beatles top all-time singles chart

The Beatles have held off artists such as Elvis Presley and Madonna to be declared the biggest selling singles act since charts began 60 years ago.

The Beatles have held off artists such as Elvis Presley and Madonna to be declared the biggest selling singles act since charts began 60 years ago.

The Fab Four notched up 17 number ones during their relatively brief eight-year chart domination, but split more than 40 years ago.

But performers whose careers have decades longer in some cases – such as Cliff Richard – have failed to outsell them, a new BBC Radio 2 chart reveals.

A countdown to be broadcast today of the all-time biggest sellers since the singles chart began in 1952 – the year the Queen took the throne – shows The Beatles are still unsurpassed.

Presley, who continued to have strong sales in the past decade thanks to a reissue campaign with tracks such as 'A Little Less Conversation', is ranked second.

Cliff Richard, who has had 124 top 40 hits and 14 number ones, finished in third place in the list compiled by the Official Charts Company.

Madonna, who has made the top 40 more than 60 times, is ranked fourth.

There are some surprising entries with Rihanna, who charted for the first time in only 2005 is in tenth place, yet The Rolling Stones – who racked up their first hit in 1963 – make it to only number 13.

However, although the wrinkly rockers have continued to release singles over the years, they have failed to dent the top ten since 1981.

Tony Blackburn will count down the chart from 2pm to 5pm which shows US rapper Eminem (placed 18th) is ahead of enduring chart stars such as Tom Jones and U2.

DJ and producer David Guetta (ranked 49) manages to finish ahead of big names such as Coldplay (60) and Duran Duran (51).

Paul McCartney is listed twice for his Beatles years and his solo career (number 11), and George Michael is similarly in the chart twice, for his own hits (21) and as a member of Wham! (43).

Blackburn, who will play each artist’s biggest hit in the Bank Holiday show, said: “This chart offers a fascinating look at the past 60 years in music and shows the impact that modern stars like Rihanna and Katy Perry have had.

“The list is really varied and will provide something for everyone. There are definitely a few surprises in store – Coldplay being at 60 for one! It is sure to be an interesting listen and will be a great way to spend the Bank Holiday afternoon.”

Radio 2’s head of music Jeff Smith said: “This list is intriguing. Adele is missing and we’ve all forgotten just how huge artists such as Shakin’ Stevens, Boney M and UB40 were in the UK in the Seventies and Eighties.”

The Top 60:

1. Beatles

2. Elvis Presley

3. Cliff Richard

4. Madonna

5. Michael Jackson

6. Elton John

7. Queen

8. Abba

9. David Bowie

10. Rihanna

11. Paul McCartney

12. Kylie Minogue

13. Rolling Stones

14. Rod Stewart

15. Take That

16. Stevie Wonder

17. Oasis

18. Eminem

19. Whitney Houston

20. Spice Girls

21. George Michael

22. Robbie Williams

23. Bee Gees

24. U2

25. Shakin’ Stevens

26. Britney Spears

27. Status Quo

28. Lady Gaga

29. Boyzone

30. Blondie

31. Slade

32. Black Eyed Peas

33. Boney M

34. Westlife

35. Celine Dion

36. Beyonce

37. UB40

38. Olivia Newton John

39. Mariah Carey

40. Tom Jones

41. Madness

42. Police

43. Wham!

44. Phil Collins

45. Diana Ross

46. Jam

47. Bryan Adams

48. Pet Shop Boys

49. David Guetta

50. Adam Ant

51. Duran Duran

52. Frank Sinatra

53. Frankie Goes To Hollywood

54. Prince

55. Katy Perry

56. Wet Wet Wet

57. Everly Brothers

58. Shadows

59. Pink

60. Coldplay

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