Despite Diminishing Popularity, Elvis Presley Still Remains Relevant


A quick search on the Internet using Google and punching in the words “Beatles are irrelevant” and “Rolling Stones are irrelevant” garners some interesting results. The first search generates over half a million responses while the second reels in less than two million, but a search of “Elvis is irrelevant” shockingly rakes in twice the results of the other two combined.

Considering the fact that the Rolling Stones is still rated as one of the most iconic bands with huge concert attendance (despite losing a prominent member), and The Beatles’ massively successful 2021 documentary Get Back, it’s understandable that both bands remain in the limelight. The music of the two bands are performing highly on Spotify, with The Beatles having 26 million listeners per month and the Rolling Stones with 21 million. In contrast, Elvis Presley has a relatively meager 13 million monthly listeners.


Elvis’ Waning Popularity

FOLLOW THAT DREAM, Elvis Presley, 1962

At the same time, on Spotify Elvis happens to be the favorite among listeners in the categories of other early contemporaries such as Chuck Berry, with 5 million monthly listeners; Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly standing at 2 million each as well as Little Richard, who has 1 million monthly listeners. At the same time, it’s still believed that the numbers are not quite commensurate to the global impact of the legendary icon.


RELATED: How Elvis Presley’s White Jumpsuits Changed The Landscape Of Fashion

In an article by The Guardian in 2017 that explored the diminishing popularity of Elvis Presley, a poll that used 18 to 24-year-olds as its respondents, indicated that 29% of this population had never once listened to a song by the King. A Professor of Music from the University of Leeds wrote, “If you ask a small child about Elvis, the fact that he died on a toilet through overeating or wore a silly suit is all that register.”

ELVIS ON TOUR, Elvis Presley, 1972

Facts and figures also back up the notion that there is a continuous diminishing in the popularity of the King of Rock and Roll. For instance, in the year 2016, Elvis’ music was streamed only 382 million times compared to David Bowie and Michael Jackson, who both achieved double the number. The Beatles had a whooping 1.3 billion streams, which made them state that “Elvis no longer resonates with younger generations the way he once did.”

Efforts To Restore His Image

JAILHOUSE ROCK, Elvis Presley, 1957

As part of the effort to restore the fading image of Elvis Presley, Baz Luhrmann created the biopic Elvis, featuring Austin Butler in the title role and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, who was Elvis’ manager. The movie was released on the 24th of June, 2022 and enjoyed a nearly $61 million global box office take in its first week.

It is highly important to get a full grasp of the personality of the King of Rock and Roll before attempting to rejuvenate his image. He was an embodiment of art and a versatile superstar who created his own style in both music and fashion.

THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS, from left, Marlyn Mason, Elvis Presley, 1969 / Everett Collection

According to a Rolling Stone magazine story written by David Browne, Elvis was far beyond the realms of Rock and Roll; instead, he was the perfect picture of the American dream. “He’s the guy who was 18 and straight out of a not-great high school, trying to make something of himself. You don’t present him as a rocker. You present him as this iconic American story,” Sony Music Executive John Jackson told Rolling Stone.

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