Beatles remain biggest selling singles act

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 Sir Cliff Richard – have failed to outsell them, a new Radio 2 chart reveals.

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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.

Sir Cliff 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 in tenth place, yet the Rolling Stones – who racked up their first hit in 1963 – make it to only number 13.