The Beatles Vs Elvis

Beatles and Elvis

When it comes to musical icons they don’t come much bigger than The Beatles and Elvis. Such huge figures in the 50s and 60s their presence is still very much felt today. 

Their music is still played all over, it is still selling and the artists are just as significant as they ever were. The thing is, because these artists were so huge, and so iconic, in this day and age there hasn’t been any others that have had the longevity or staying power that they have had. 

Let’s take a look at How The Beatles & Elvis changed the world forever…

What did The Beatles and Elvis do for the music scene?

The Beatles changed music as we know it a lot by experimenting with different types of genres of music and with instruments. Their matching haircuts and outfits set a new trend in the 60s.

They were the first to introduce psychedelic rock to the mainstream music scene. The band’s 1967 hit “Strawberry Fields Forever” set the hypnotic tune and pattern for psychedelic rock.

Interestingly, three great influences that shaped The Beatles’ music include Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and The one and only King, Elvis Presley.

Elvis was widely known for his boyish good looks and perfect black hair quiff, he was all in all a sex symbol of the era. Presley had such a unique sound and style that combined his diverse musical influence and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time; he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture. The music styles he was able to integrate were rhythm and blues, gospel, and country music, and this innovative combination created what we know today as Rock N Roll.

Elvis Presley, rightly so is considered the single, most significant figure in rock and roll history. Without Elvis the Rock we listen to today probably wouldn’t exist. It’s so easy to underestimate what these artists did for music. Elvis single handedly revolutionized the music scene and his influence changed the entertainment industry forever. Elvis, through his music and provocative dance moves, challenged the social and moral values of the era and was responsible for creating an entirely new generation.

Let’s take a look at the stats and who sold more…

When looking at hugely popular and significant artists, it is always fascinating to take a look at the numbers and when it comes to being BIG, you don’t get much bigger than Elvis and The Beatles. Beating in mind that singles were much more popular in the 1950s and early 1960s when Elvis became popular. The Beatles have sold an impressive 42.5 million more albums in the U.S. than Elvis, yet Elvis sold 25.5 million more singles than The Beatles. When it comes to popularity these two artists are very much on an even keel. 

The way people consume music is changing all the time and things weren’t any different back then. The buying trend then shifted to albums in the mid- to late-1960s when The Beatles were at the height of their fame. EPs, which commonly contain 3-5 songs, are included in RIAA’s (The Recording Industry Association of America) calculation of album sales, by using a weighted factor depending on the certification level of Gold, Platinum or Multi Platinum status.

Record sales figures are constantly changing since The Beatles and Elvis Presley are still selling records in the present day, even with the birth of YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify. The last time the RIAA awarded new record certifications was 2011 for Elvis and 2014 for The Beatles.

Elvis has been inducted into five Halls of Fame: Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country, Gospel, Rockabilly and R&B and has sold over one billion records worldwide.

In regards to accumulative sales, many historians believe that Elvis is the best-selling artist of all time even though there is no proof as it isn’t entirely possible to calculate all sales from all different avenues, but wouldn’t it be great if we could get a definite number?

Did Elvis influence The Beatles?

When you think of The Beatles, you might not have considered that a huge influence bubbling under the surface of what they became was in fact, Elvis.

Like The Beatles, Elvis was an icon of his era, deemed the King of Rock n Roll for his unique look and moves and his huge influence over the 50s era in which he was hugely popular. 

Elvis Presley was a huge symbol of the somewhat rebellious youth, more specifically, modern American youth. With the 50s era, it was a decade marked by the post-World War II boom, the dawn of the Cold War and the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Safe to say, it was an important time in history and Elvis was to make his mark on it, one which would last indefinitely.

Elvis was popular in a historical context, a specific place and time embodied by certain values, virtues and beliefs.

So how did Elvis influence The Beatles?

As teenagers, The Beatles were in the age group which were fans of Elvis. The Beatles, especially John Lennon, were strongly influenced by the music and character of Elvis Presley. 

“Nothing affected me until I heard Elvis. Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles” –  John Lennon

It’s been reported that they started wearing their hair slicked back like Elvis and largely admired his rebelliousness and his appeal to women, not to mention his musical talent. Elvis was a symbol and was admired by many. Without Elvis, the music scene would be a very different place today. 

Elvis Presley was highly influential in changing the social and moral values of white American society, but also in creating a new genre of music which was known and rock n’ roll, without Elvis’s influence on the music scene and his contribution to the genre of rock n’ roll, who knows, The Beatles might not have even existed? 

When two giants collide…

You might be wondering if The Beatles and Elvis met? The answer is they did, but it was only a one time occurrence. According to sources, it wasn’t usual for Elvis to have visitors to his house.

It can probably be deemed one of the most infamous rock and roll meetings of all time! The spectacular meeting occurred when Elvis Presley met The Beatles on August 27, 1965. John, Paul, George and Ringo along with their manager, publicist and assistants were invited to Presley’s house on Perugia Way in Los Angeles to meet their rock and roll idol.

It is said that there was an awkward silence at the beginning when The Beatles took their seats on the couch, not knowing what to say to the King of Rock n Roll. 

It has been reported that Elvis said to The Fab Four,

‘If you’re going to sit here all night staring at me I’m going to bed.’ 

The men apparently laughed and that broke the ice and It became an exciting night. This meeting between the music giants is not widely known about due to no recordings or photographs having been taken that evening. It would have been a very different matter in modern day if they had met, there would no doubt be hundreds and thousands of images circulating the net within seconds. 

A bit of the fun stuff…

Here are some fun facts about both artists;

  • The Beatles got the idea for their name from Buddy Holly and The Crickets.
  • The Beatles, in total have written 229 songs, and they’ve released covers of songs from various artists, with most of them from lead guitarist George Harrison. 
  • Penny Lane, in Liverpool, experienced constant disappearances of its street sign ever since the 1967 hit of the same name. Tired of picking up the bill, Liverpool City Council took to painting the street sign on a nearby building instead.
  • The Beatles also made 5 movies in total.
  • Elvis recorded more than 600 songs in his music career but did not write a single song (impossible to confirm, but he was given co-writing credit on many songs because his label demanded songwriters give up 50{d3f5f130a54d49c630bab19d7e14d23ad4295159b16804e10b5f34e348631755} of the credit before Presley would record it)
  • He made 31 movies and two music documentaries.

Imagine Las Vegas without Elvis? Imagine a 60’s party without a Beatles outfit. These icons have proved time and time again their mark on the world is here to stay. There aren’t many people who haven’t either seen or dressed up as Elvis themselves. The iconic white catsuit with red trim isne of the most popular fancy dress costumes of all time.

What’s more, Elvis is the only music artist to be honored with two U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamps (1993 & 2015). The 1993 stamp is still the most popular U.S. commemorative stamp of all time.

It is hard to imagine what life and music would be like without these icons’ influence over the decades. Their music is still relevant today and still enjoyed and listened to by old and new fans alike.

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