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Jay-Z Passes Elvis Presley - Now Second On All-Time List Of Most #1 Albums

By September 16, 2009

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When Billboard's new album chart comes out tomorrow, Jay-Z will be sitting at the top with very strong first week sales of 476,000 for his new collection The Blueprint 3. This puts him at a total of a phenomenal 11 #1 albums. He moves one ahead of Elvis Presley to occupy second place on the all-time list behind the Beatles who own 19 #1's. Fittingly, the achievement takes place the same week the Beatles storm the charts with a full reissue of their British album catalog.

Jay-Z's first album to top the charts was his third release Volume 2...Hard Knock Life in 1998. All of his solo releases since have topped the charts meaning nine of his solo albums have hit the top. In addition, two collaborative albums, Unfinished Business with R. Kelly and Collision Course with Linkin Park have been #1 hits. Jay-Z has been no slouch on the pop singles chart either. Seven singles with Jay-Z listed as primary performer have hit the pop top 10 including his current hit "Run This Town" with featured appearances by Rihanna and Kanye West. He has appeared as a featured performer on eight more top 10 hits including the #1 smashes "Heartbreaker" by Mariah Carey, "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce, and "Umbrella" by Rihanna.

Album cover courtesy Roc Nation


September 16, 2009 at 1:29 pm
(1) brian Quinn says:

Jay-Z can have as many number 1 hits as he likes BUT he will never be in the same league as Elvis Presley. I wonder when Jay-Z is going to release a country, gospel, ballad, semi-operatic-jazz-calypso or rock ‘n’ roll record. NEVER. He can only perform in one musical genre. ENOUGH SAID.

February 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm
(2) Big Steve says:

HOV is the man. Elvis made his money being a white dude that sang and danced like a brother.He doesnt hold a candle to Young!!!

March 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm
(3) Catherine Fickling says:

Why are you hating? Are you mad because Elvis died of DRUGS? They all stayed in their same genre of music did the Beatles come out with A GOSPEL ALBUM NO. Shut Up sit back and respect the King (not the one who died on the toilet)

June 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm
(4) sean sean says:

hes a perfessional at spreading culture and cant waste on the releavent

August 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm
(5) Rick says:

Elvis Presley was a thief, at least Jay-z actually created his music.

August 30, 2011 at 3:28 pm
(6) Vin says:

Elvis was undoubtedly great, but why try to knock someone else? That just sounds like fear, weakness and insecurity.

And since when is there a requirement for someone to switch genres to be great? The Beatles are known for being the greatest rock n’ roll band. Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player.

September 16, 2009 at 1:56 pm
(7) Jessica says:

You sound like a HATER….elvis is dead and so is Country Jay is WORLD WIDE….who else is touching this dude in “today” with #1′S? OK ENOUGH SAID go back to your country and shut up.

September 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm
(8) Mike Dreams says:

You sound a little hostile Brian, like you’re one of those guys who hate hip hop already anyway. Elvis Presley was a SINGER. That’s why he could do a country album, gospel album and other stuff.

Rap is different.

But even with that being said, Jay-Z crossed over and did some rock and alternative collabs with Linkin Park, not to mention his jazzy style productions on “Reasonable Doubt” as well as his 300 piece orchestras at concerts, incorportating classical music into to pieces. This new album alone has other genere crossovers, from dance styles to 80s Euro Pop. Heck, on the FUSE Concert he just did Live on TV this past Friday for 9/11, he had John Mayer up there getting his Rock N’ Roll on hardcore on the electric guitar.

Please check out facts first before you jump to conclusions. As an African American man, I like to have an open mind to a lot of music other than hip hop. It seems like others need to stop being so pessimistic because it’s really offensive to someone who tries to give everyone a chance.

September 16, 2009 at 3:00 pm
(9) Hip Hop Lover says:

Brian read the numbers (rock,country,pop) he blows them out of the water and numbers dont lie sorry.

1. Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3 – 476,000 copies sold
2. Miley Cyrus – The Time of Our Lives – 120,000 copies sold
3. Whitney Houston – I Look To You – 88,000 copies sold
4. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2 – 68,000 copies sold
5. Brooks and Dunn – #1s… And Then Some – 55,000 copies sold
6. Trey Songz – Ready – 45,000 copies sold
7. The Black Eyed Peas – The E.N.D. – 44,000 copies sold
8. Boys Like Girls – Love Drunk – 41,000 copies sold
9. Kings of Leon – Only By The Night – 40,000 copies sold
10. Taylor Swift – Fearless – 33,000 copies sold

September 17, 2009 at 4:29 am
(10) charlie says:

When Jay? has 89 gold US albums,like Elvis, he can bragg.

September 17, 2009 at 9:50 am
(11) Jim Burrows says:

Notice how, as years and decades pass on, Presley’s untold records keep being broken, BUT by different people?

This June, it was Jackson’s death that triggered some talk about their respective sales. Just a couple of years ago, it was Mariah Carey, then Madonna, both simultaneouly, that hit the wires all over the world because of it. The same when John Lennon, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Eddy Arnold, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra died. Garth Brooks was also on the news because of his album sales. Twenty years ago, in fact, a lot was said about Boyz to Men breaking one of his most important records. In the sixties, the Beatles took care of at least five of them. of them. To “add insult to injury”, people as big as Sinatra, Chuck D, even Jay Z, who at at one point or another had derided Presley’s image, ended up retracting themselves, calling Presley what he is, a true, ever lasting musical icon and inspiration.

In short, we (not just the press, but bloggers throughout the world…), keep coming back to Presley, no matter what.

The funny thing is that these artists all end up having to explain, on the record, not just that they loved Presley, but that he is still the guy to beat.

Try a Elvis google news search, on any day, then compare it to the count which he yields everytime a superstar dies. On the days and weeks after Michael Jackson’s passing there were, at the peak, 156,000 Michael Jackson return hits, 25,000 of which mentioning Presley.

September 17, 2009 at 10:03 am
(12) Jim Burrows says:

Just that people ‘s minds are brought back to reality, here are just four of Presley’s “records” which are still for grabs (in music, that is…LOL)

i) Most records sold, worldwide, period.
ii) Most singles sold, worldwide, period.
iii) Most charted albums in the the US and the UK, the two biggest markets.
iv) Most charted singles in the US and the UK, the two biggest markets.

In other words, the four most important in terms of both auirplay and sales, not just of albums, but of singles as well.

And you can take that to the bank, as SUN, RCA, BMG and most recently, SONY, have been able to do…

September 17, 2009 at 12:34 pm
(13) Onto the next one....a NEW ALBUM that is says:

You still on that old sh%#? As Jay says: “We onto the next one!” (another #1 new album that is) When do EVER here Elvis played anymore? WOW LOL that is a joke that crap is old and washed up go listen with grandma on her record player old man.

September 17, 2009 at 1:01 pm
(14) Dan Rod says:

Well…i like hip hop, but just eminem and coolio…for me the others rap singer, their songs about sex and violence on the street…i respet hip hop but i dont see it more that comercial, the are people who came out of the street, and i dont see one singing to tell the young kids that study and be workers men…is all about sex violence a good sound and songs to fight with anothers rap singers…that is why i dont like to much hip hop, i love rock men, i see it like a really good music that give a message to the people, well not all the bands, but alot…if Jay-Z pass The Beatles men…is like pass Jhon lennon… just pass it because he did an album with great sounds, just that, not because he move a generation, he give message, he give hope with songs…it will be like pass Imagine, a really good song…he maybe pass then from the sales, but NEVER will be such a good write, person and muscician like The beatles, Jhon Lennon, The rolling Stones…Or nirvana men…Never…even if he sells 1 million in 1 weeks, that is just money, poeple who like the sound and buy it, nothing more, just comercial money…nothing about a feeling or real pasion or messages…

September 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm
(15) Mike says:

Dan Rod, there are plenty of rappers who highlight important social issues (not just Eminem and Coolio). As for “Imagine”, Jay-Z has written some incredible songs (none recently though), and I’m not sure if you know this but he used to freestyle entire albums. If you like Lennon, you should listen to Bob Dylan and Rakim – two great lyricists.

The first poster doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Rap is completely different to gospel, pop, country etc… In terms of lyrical skill, there is no other genre that even comes close to 80′s rap (when it was real). And this is coming from a Dylan fan. There’s more to it than the garbage you see on MTV.

September 17, 2009 at 4:34 pm
(16) Gina A. says:

Jay-Z is one of the most talented artists of all time. He is extremely creative and he has managed to gain universal respect. I typically don’t listen to hip hop, I prefere classic rock, with that being said I LOVE Jay-Z. I remember years ago watching a concert of his and every song he did there was a young lady who played the violin. I also saw the 9/11 free concert. It was amazing!! As Jay-Z said in his latest interview that he likes all kinds of music, and all kinds of music inspire him. If you have listened closely to his rap music,you would find that it is influenced by all kinds of music (classic rock, heavy rock, jazz, soul etc…….. his music is not all about sex, or violence. As for Elvis, yes he was LOVED by the world! Why compare two totally diffrent style artists……when they both are unbelievably talented and loved by many!

September 17, 2009 at 6:07 pm
(17) Dan Rod says:

Well mike, if u know that i hate MTV…is pure garbage like u say…i never watch tv men…and yes i like Dylan and Rakim…Yes i like rap from 80s, that is what iam talking about, that is the real rap…right now in my country here are pure regueton, what a such garbage music, those rapers i dont like then…i love old music and some of the new…I am not a poster, just is cool that Jay make good songs…but when people come to say that he is better than jhon, the beatles, nirvana, the ramones damm men no…those bands mark a generation mark a style a kind of life…jay as dont do nothing of that, he is just part of the generation of right now, he donpt make he just be part…when a raper mark all those things that i say well then i de deserved that 1…

September 17, 2009 at 9:09 pm
(18) LuvHer says:

Records are meant to be broken. What is the big friggin’ deal?

September 18, 2009 at 9:56 am
(19) chris says:

Who? Never heard of him

September 18, 2009 at 10:01 am
(20) chris says:

well well well, yet another comparison with Elvis. We will see if people are still buying this guys music 32 years after his death and are able to remember the words to his songs. Doubt it

October 4, 2009 at 5:43 pm
(21) HipHop Stan says:

Elvis is dead, he’s gone only thing left is his music and i guess his(so called records). Jay is here he just broke one of those so called records lets enjoy the fact that theres somebody here musically that can get to those standards and pass them.

March 26, 2010 at 3:20 pm
(22) Daniel says:

Just because you can sell “a-lot” of records, it doesnt mean you’re the best. Not mention that Beyonce looks like a bad drag queen version of herself.

March 29, 2010 at 4:09 pm
(23) SmarterThanU says:

Jay Z is amazing. Second behind the Beatles in #1 charting albums. Nobody working now has had more #1 albums. But alot of artists past and present have sold alot more albums. All time record sales are a different story. Micheal Jackson’s Thriller has sold more than twice as much as all of Jay Z’s albums put together.
For all of the people defending Elvis. The Beatles passed Elvis’s sales long ago

May 12, 2010 at 10:39 am
(24) angel says:

jay-z is on top right and has been there since the late 90′s. were in 2010. what more can I say. his accomplishments speak for them self.

August 7, 2010 at 4:58 am
(25) daniel says:

all jayz haters
see lyrics from his song reminder
What the hell have you done,
To even have an opinion on what I been doing,
What the hell have y’all won,
Only thing you can identify with is losing,
10 number 1 albums in a row,
Who better than me?
Only the Beatles nobody ahead of me,
I crush Elvis in his blue suede shoes,
Made the rolling stones seem sweet as coolaid 2,
96, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 2001 and beyond,
02, 03, 04, 05, 06 and 7, 08, 09
Back to back double plat, I did what you want,
Men lie women lie, numbers don’t,
Ain’t nothing changed for me except the year it is,
I think have to send you a reminder, here it is

September 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm
(26) Julius says:

Lets get the facts straight. Elvis did not sell the most records world wide. That record belongs to the beatles. Which sold 241.5 million albums world wide. Sorry all you elvis fans. It hurts doesn’t it. If you dont believe me go to google and put in who is the number one selling artist of all time. You will get the beatles, then elvis and then one of the Kings of music Michael Jackson. Lets be real how many of you you elvis fans own all 89 elvis albums. Jay Z is at platinum status. Last time i checked was better than Gold. Who really owns a elvis gospel album. Get Real. Quite hatin on Jay Z cause he ain’t doing country music. He’s a trend setter not a follower. Like it, Love it, or hate it, He’s in the number 2 spot for number 1 chart topping albums. Numbers don’t lie. Which proves he is ont of the greatest artist of all time!!!!!!!

October 21, 2010 at 1:08 am
(27) Drew says:

89 GOLD albums…lls…who cares..he can have Gold albums.lls.Jay has 11 platinum number one albums and 13 platinum albums collectively…His music isnt all about being a thug, he’s all about progression and moving forward. That crap MTV portrays as hip-hop is not hip-hop its rap(big difference)…Jay-Z’s ability to reach as large a fan base as he has and never change who he is or his style is a testament to his timelessness. He’s got platinum albums with rock bands and number one singles with Rick Rubin.What other musician is a couple months from being on the Forbes billionaire list. Jay-Z is a culture and a movement that is endless..refer to “Reminder” – Jay-Z

November 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm
(28) HowardTheDuck says:

Nobody’s mentioned the fact that Elvis was a performer — not a song writer. All those albums he’s sold/is selling… they’re the product of other people’s hard work, performed by him. And the guy’s a sellout… rather than pick something to be passionate about, he pandered to EVERY musical genre that he wasn’t disgusted by and made out like a bandit with the profits. The Beatles will never be outsold, especially by Elvis, because they put their hearts and minds into their music and wrote and performed based on inspiration. Elvis was totally profit-driven, lacked any real creativity, and was a fat, greedy, alcoholic, drug-addicted slob. And a womanizer. And he was largely racist outside the public eye. And I’ve been to Graceland… The guy had some of the worst taste in decorating I’ve ever seen.

Neither The Beatles, nor Jay-Z have ever had to cancel tour dates because they were in a barbiturate-induced coma or hospitalized for Demerol addiction. This is about 2.5 years after he met with President Nixon, touting patriotism and contempt for the “hippie drug culture” and criticizing The Beatles for their “Anti-Americanism and drug abuse”. You see, Mr. Presley, the difference is that The Beatles were using drugs that made the mind work in ways it wasn’t intended to (ie. ‘expand’). All your opiates and barbiturates ever did for you was numb the pain and make you sleep a lot and get fat. “But I get mine from a doctor…” Yeah, whatever helps you sleep at night, f**ko.

The only thing I applaud him for is making white people like black music without them ever knowing it was black music. And he was a hell of a performer when he wasn’t slurring his words or using his mic stand as a leaning post.

November 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm
(29) Mike says:

I believe that most of your hip-hop rap artist are buying up all their own music just to make themselves look good (hint, hint: Jay-Z, P-Diddy, and others). That crap stinks! Can’t understand a word. Maybe that’s why Michael Jackson stayed away from performing it and stuck with music that would last for years to come like the King of Rock and Roll and the Beatles did. As for Jay-Z well he didn’t beat Elvis in album sales and you know why. That’s because they don’t make albums anymore all you jack rabbits. So with that said The Beatles and Elvis will stay on top right were they are FOREVER or until they start making albums again

December 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm
(30) Braxton says:

This is me personally, but I can understand Rap 100x easier than I can understand Michael Jackson. For example: when I listened to ” Thriller” I thought he was saying “you get the feeling” when he was really saying “cause this is a thriller, thriller night” In rap I understand over 90% of the lyrics and in Michael Jackson’s music I can’t even understand the chorus to the most popular song. That is why I find Michael’s music boring, because sure he has a good voice, but what is he saying?

I believe Jay-Z is the most successful rapper in the world. He is an inovator, a thinker, and he isn’t just fake.

I like Rap a lot more than any other genre because it requires more thought for the lyrics, while rock repeats one line over and over and it drives me crazy.

December 3, 2010 at 5:53 am
(31) Holly says:

Why is it when a person disagrees with something they are instanly “haters”??? What happened to agreeing to disagree??? I understand the social appeal Brian was trying to bring to the discussion. Not only was Elvis Presely present in multiply genre’s, he was also a humanitarian. I do not see Jay-Z interacting with inter-city children, supporting poverty causes, or building parks and playgrounds in his home neighborhood.

December 6, 2010 at 11:21 am
(32) ccook says:

Are you serious, last user was wrong. JAY-Z RECEIVES UNITED NATIONS HUMANITARIAN AWARD that was just from a quick google. For his efforts to bring clean drinking water to people in Africa. Just wait until his library is complete and he dies, then the remaining records will all fall…. There is what? 2 beatles left alive so there is no new music and hasn’t for years just releases of old music hitting #1 because the largest generation “baby boomers” went crazy for both the beatles and elvis. Yet Jay-Z can break records contending with that? Show some respect, I like The Beatles and Elvis and MJ but I also like Jay-Z and see that he deserves the credit and respect because he has earned it. Like I said wait until he is done making music and then passes… then compare him to the rest. Something tells me he will be right up there if not #1, oh wait he is already right up there!!!

December 23, 2010 at 9:49 am
(33) The Truth says:

Karl Malone scored more points than Michael Jordan.

Doesn’t mean he was better.

Jay-Z is good, but he’ll never be Elvis.

50 years from now, they’ll still be singing Elvis songs and dressing up as Elvis…. but 50 years from now, the young impressionable kids who listen to whatever is cool and popular will have another rap hero to follow and won’t remember Jay-Z….

February 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm
(34) mac says:

ray charles did what elvis did… 10xs better than elvis did it

March 14, 2012 at 5:36 am
(35) DON says:

Jay-Z is a no talent bum who can’t sing, dance or anything. He just talks fast.

October 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm
(36) corey says:

Lmao @ All these haters. men and women lie numbers don’t. Crushed elvis in his blue suede shoes. Plus elvis was a racist.

December 16, 2012 at 10:21 am
(37) Mack says:

Elvis is not the king of rock he was not the one who made Rock and Roll .the put him up front while they keep chuck berry little Richie and Bo Didly out of the picture that a f**k shame. Jays Z is cool he didn’t steal people style he just push it forward. That a shame if people said Elvis is the King of Rock.

July 25, 2013 at 8:26 pm
(38) Victor abreu says:

To all you Elvis haters out there. check the stats again. Elvis seems to hold just about every record out there that there is to hold. The Recording Industry Association of America still has over 85 Elvis albums that need to be tabulated and certified in sales. Moreover it is well documented that in the wake and aftermath of his death, especially the four months after his death, it is estimated that he sold over 200 million albums worldwide, (80 million albums in the United States alone). this feat has never been duplicated by any other artist in the history and annals of popular music. This led to the 1982 Washington Post story divulging that Elvis Presley had become the only artist to have sold over a billion records. He holds the record for the most gold ,platinum and multiplatinum albums and singles. the astronomical total of 258. the Beatles are in second place they have 148. You Elvis haters need to amplify and expand your knowledge further before writing your idiotic statements. Enough said

July 30, 2013 at 10:14 am
(39) Johnny B. Goode says:

All you people saying “Elvis is dead, get over it” or other stupid things of that nature, it’s not about Elvis being dead or alive. This article minimizes Elvis’ legacy like the Billboards are known to do. It doesn’t take “talent” to have 11 #1 albums. Justin Bieber has 5 #1 albums and he’s 19 years old. But how many number ones does Justin Bieber have? 0. How many number ones does Jay Z have? Only 1 as a lead artist. Elvis Presley has 18 number one hits, behind only the Beatles at 20. Elvis has 114 top 40 hits, which is FAR AND AWAY ahead of everyone. I think Elton John is second with 57 then the Beatles. Also, the Billboards reorganized in 1958 when Elvis had already been sent into the army so they do not count all of Elvis’ success for those 4 years before which are his most important and explosive years. Elvis is the highest selling artist of all time despite having 31 movies which hurt his music sales and his countless merchandise, everything from pillows or keychains, etc. Graceland is behind only the White House in terms of visitors per year. When the Russian leader and Japanese prime minister come visit Jay Z’s house, then talk.

September 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm
(40) jerry says:

Jay z “created” his music???? yea like alll rappers who do the same things over and over. It’s called “one trick pony”, assembly line, paint by numbers”.

The other thing is that wheather it’s single songs or whole albums,
It’s easier to hit the bigger sales, easier in that in the old days you had to get off you ass and GO to a store to buy, now just press a few buttons and it’s in your hands.

Of course the other thing ignored is that Elvis’s biggest years are never counted cause the chart tracking sales and positiong were not started till 1958. So elvis biggest selling lassics: Heartbresk Hotel, hound Dog. etc are never in the totals. And other aspects like guest artist appearances on a track or album, you know add a few
yeaaa ahhhhs or ugh’s and you’re on a hit album. how many of jay z’s had guests boosting his sales from others fans??? Elvis got his sales with his talent not with the boost of others? (see lil wayne).

October 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm
(41) s.c. says:


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