Billboard wrote: "Brian, we hope this explanation helps clarify. Thank you for your feedback and let us know if you have additional questions based on the below.
The chart statistics referenced in a recent Rihanna story (http://www.billboard.com/#/column/chartbeat/weekly-chart-notes-rihanna-kelly-clarkson-1005476352.story) were based on the Billboard Hot 100 chart which launched in 1958.
The Hot 100 was the first chart of its kind to rank songs based on a combination of juke box plays, airplay and sales. Prior to the Hot 100, Billboard printed various pop charts based either on disc jockey reports/airplay, sales or juke box plays.
This includes the Top 100, which started in late 1955 as a limited hybrid chat and morphed back into a sales-based chart in 1957.
Elvis’s No. 1s on those pre-1958 charts have been counted by some sources in conjunction with the Hot 100 when considered among No. 1 songs in the supposed rock and roll era (1955 to present), which is where the confusi on lies.
As is the fact that some sources equally count a pre-Hot 100 No. 1 if it topped either of the Hot 100’s predecessors (Top 100, Best-Sellers, Juke Box, Disc Jockey).
As is the case with Elvis’ “I Want You I Need You I Love You” which topped the Best-Sellers chart, but not the Top 100 in 1956.
So if we decide to count all other pre-Hot 100 charts when attributing No. 1s, why stop at 1955 when charts like Best-Sellers were around since the 1940s?
Why not count Bing Crosby’s 36 No. 1 songs and 317 chart hits since that time on all of those same charts? It seems like we should based on the Elvis defense.
In no way is Billboard diminishing Elvis’ chart achievements. In fact, we specifically reference Elvis in the above story, mentioning his No. 1 total prior to the Hot 100:
Among the seven acts to tally at least 11 leaders, only two acts reached the milestone more quickly: the Beatles, in a mere, Beatlemania-fueled, one year, 11 months and one week between "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (Feb. 1, 1964) and "We Can Work It Out" (Jan. 8, 1966); and, the Supremes, who needed only four years, three months and one week between "Where Did Our Love Go" (Aug. 22, 1964) and "Love Child" (Nov. 30, 1968). (Prior to the Hot 100's Aug. 4, 1958, inception and after, Elvis Presley racked 11 No. 1s on various Billboard pop charts over a rapid-fire span of three years, three months and three weeks).
For the purpose of the Rihanna story, we were solely highlighting feats on the Hot 100, as we have often done in the past and as we did in 2008 to honor the 50-year history of the chart.
The Hot 100 has long been our flagship singles ranking and we try to focus on records achieved on that chart separate from what may have occurred on any other charts that have come before or after it, without losing sight of those notable non-Hot 100 records."
Source; Billboard - Brian Quinn / EpGold