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Still Number 1 after all these years

London, Jan. 10: Elvis Presley is dead, long live Elvis Presley ' and so do ways of making money from his legacy.

To mark his 70th birthday on January 8, one of Presley's best known songs, Jailhouse Rock, was re-released in the UK and immediately went to the top of the British charts, his 19th number one in this country.

Presley died on August 16, 1977, a sad, bloated figure, destroyed by drugs and unrecognisable from the sleek youth who symbolised the American dream boy. But there is no rest for him as he remains one of the world's best-selling artists.

His record label SonyBMG is re-releasing each of his 18 number ones in Britain at the rate of one a week, complete with original artwork and a collector's box, to mark the birthday celebrations in what it describes as 'the most ambitious singles release campaign in the history of the UK record industry'.

Recalling the following for Presley in India in 1958-59, H.. Nazareth, a filmmaker in London, said: 'I was just going up to college in Bombay and I liked some of his songs, but there were boys in Bombay who had those pointed shoes and drainpipe trousers and puff hairstyles ' I rather despised them. I was always a little anti-American.'

Reynold d'Silva, who, like Nazareth, also grew up in Mumbai and now lives in London, where he is managing director of Silva Screen, a record company, said: 'The king will never die. He is like The Beatles and Jimmi Hendrix.'

Speaking from New York, where his company has a branch, he told The Telegraph: 'We were just discussing what 13-year-old kids in America buy ' and they buy the old rock greats whom they idolise.'

The king of rock ' roll topped the US and UK charts for the first time in 1958 with Jailhouse Rock. This week sees the 999th number one in the UK since the singles chart was launched in 1952.

Chart experts predict Presley is in with a good chance of scoring the 1000th number one next week, when One Night will be released, followed by A Fool Such As I the week after.

He last topped the chart in June 2002 with A Little Less Conversation, which became a hit after it was featured in a Nike television commercial.

This week Presley displaced the winner of a TV competition, Steve Brookstein, whose Against All Odds was pushed into second place in its third week in the charts.

'He has iconic appeal and a very loyal fan base that can be relied on to turn out in large numbers,' said a spokesman for music retailers HMV.

The king's new 'owner', Robert Sillerman, an American businessman, believes he still has much more to offer the world. Fresh from buying an 85 per cent stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises, the company that runs the estate, Sillerman is preparing to market the Presley brand like never before.

'Mr Sillerman is planning on expanding Elvis into areas of the world that EPE believes are 'under-Elvised',' said a spokesman for the media and entertainment tycoon.

The ink is still drying on a pre-Christmas deal in which Presley's daughter and sole heir, Lisa-Marie, sold the rights to her father's image and royalties in exchange for $100 million and a 15 per cent slice of Sillerman's new company, while retaining Graceland and her father's personal artefacts.

Presley has sold over one billion records worldwide and attracts 600,000 tourists a year to Graceland.

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