Garth Dethrones Elvis
Garth Brooks, who edged out Elvis Presley in 1999 for the title of best-selling solo artist of all time, only to lose it five years later, reclaimed the crown from the King Monday, according to the tab keepers at the Recording Industry Association of America.
The announcement was made, as such announcements are wont to be made, on the eve of the release of Brooks’ latest collection, The Ultimate Hits, due out Tuesday. It also came hours before Brooks was to take the stage for the first performance of his sold-out, nine-night stand in Kansas City, Missouri.
Even before the new, three-disc set hits stores, Brooks is in the RIAA’s books as having sold more than 123 million albums, more than any other man, woman or band, save for the Beatles.
Presley stood at 118.5 million, per the RIAA Website. The next top-selling solo act was Billy Joel, at 79.5 million.
Brooks, the country singer with the arena-rock sensibility, and Presley, the rock ‘n’ roller with the down-home roots, have been fighting for supremacy for years.
In 1999, the RIAA declared Brooks the 20th century’s most successful male recording artist, and indeed, its biggest selling solo artist. At the time, Brooks clocked in at 89 million albums sold. Presley, who was lauded for releasing the most gold- and platinum-selling albums, came in behind Brooks, and ahead of Barbra Streisand (the top-selling female artist), with 77 million. (All figures reflect only United States sales.)
But then Brooks, who made it big with the help of “Friends in Low Places,” retired. And in 2004, the dead but still-working-it Presley was named the RIAA’s top solo act, with 117.5 million albums sold.
That announcement was made, as such announcements are wont to be made, on the occasion of what would have been Presley’s 69th birthday. It followed a new count of Presley’s old albums.
Meanwhile, Brooks took time away from Leisure World in 2005 to seal a deal with Wal-Mart to exclusively peddle all of his recorded wares, including his then-new collection, Garth Brooks: The Limited Series. With the about-to-be released Ultimate Hits, Brooks has released five albums since vowing to enjoy his golden years.
And on Monday, his hard retirement work paid off with the solo sales title.
“I am proud for country music and take honor in playing a part bringing this milestone to rest under the flag of country music,” Brooks, 45, said in a statement.
For the love of rock, it sounds as if it’s time for dead Elvis to get back in the studio.
I agree!! It is time for dead Elvis to get back in the studio.
Garth Dethrones Elvis