was elvis more famous than you-know-who?

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

HOW FAMOUS WAS ELVIS? That was the ques­tion on Quora. Once upon a time, that it was fairly easy to an­swer: Ac­cording to Jerry Hop­kins, whose Elvis – A Bi­og­raphy (1971) was the first bi­og­raphy of the man, a global survey showed that more people in the world rec­og­nized Elvis by his first (or given) name—and that in­cluded you-know-who!—than they rec­og­nized anyone else with their given and family names combined.

But that was al­most fifty years ago, be­fore the Age of Celebrity and the coming of the world wide web made count­less pop stars ubiq­ui­tous wher­ever there was elec­tricity or a good con­nec­tion. So, as I haven’t seen a sim­ilar global survey about fame and fa­mil­iarity in the 21st cen­tury, I opted to an­swer the ques­tion with a bit of humor:

“Elvis was sooooo fa­mous that if you were to get lost in the deepest, darkest part of the Amazon, and were cap­tured by the last re­maining tribe of can­ni­bals — all of them starving after a weekend ayahuasca bender — and as they were preparing you for their bar­beque, all you would have to do is say ‘Elvis’ and somehow, like in a bad movie, there’d be a bongo sound, the in­sis­tent throb of a bass guitar, and a stinging elec­tric guitar riff from an in­vis­ible rock band in the background.

“Then all those can­ni­bals would gather ’round and listen to that bongo sound. They’d grab their bare­foot ba­bies by the hand. They’d turn and tease, they’d hug and squeeze. And then they’d dig right in and do the clam!

“Of course, after doing the clam they’d have worked up an ap­petite and be even hun­grier and you’d look even tastier, so you’d never be able to re­turn and tell this re­mark­able tale about Elvis’s far-reaching fame and your, ahem, fortune.”


Elvis Presley - Do The Clam

Wafer-sized portions

So far, there has been one com­ment left by a person of equally good mood and even temper: Marcus Lun­gren (who de­scribes him­self as very well-adjusted and not de­pressed at all, a rare thing in­deed) asked, “But would they eat Elvis?”

To which I replied by making an al­lu­sion to you-know-who: “Only if he was served in wafer-sized por­tions by a holy man with a dash of wine to help it go down.”

If you want to follow this thread and see if anyone else takes the time to com­ment, look here: How fa­mous was Elvis?

Fi­nally, com­paring the fame of the Bea­tles with that of you-know-who got John Lennon in a hel­luva lot of trouble below the fa­bled Mason-Dixon line in the United States. But this isn’t 1966 and I’m not one of the Fab Four.


CannibalHolocaust 2 1500

FEATURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page is from the little-known horror film (un­less you are a horror film afi­cionado, of course) Can­nibal Holo­caust. This scene shows what could be a holy man serving up someone in larger-than-wafer-sized por­tions with what could be a dash of wine to help it go down. Butcher Block (a weekly se­ries cel­e­brating horror’s most ex­treme films) calls Can­nibal Holo­caust an “un­com­fort­able watch.” If you are squea­mish, I sug­gest you do not rush on over to Google and type in “can­nibal holo­caust” and click on Images.



Leave a comment

Notify of
Rate this article:
Please rate this article with your comment.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Elvis Presley Roustabout LP has FINALLY been up­dated (De­cember 2021) into Bill­board’s all-time stats, which started in Au­gust 1963. It is no longer of­fi­cially OMITTED.

That’s good.

While Bill­board’s Top 200 still did not exist in Au­gust 1963, along with cred­ited weeks on the chart. This af­fects other recording artists’ lega­cies as well.


1. I ap­pre­ciate you get­ting back to me!

2. The cur­rent stats for recording artists for album re­leases are called the Bill­board 200 and are posted weekly. When you look it up your­self, you will find that Elvis along with his 1963 con­tem­po­raries START counting al­bums and weeks on the album chart from Au­gust 1963. This is when Bill­board dropped its sep­a­rate mono and stereo LP charts and com­bined them into one.

3. Weeks on the chart also seem to be im­por­tant to Bill­board, noting that the chart could NOT count 200 plac­ings in Au­gust 1963 as a real 200 would NOT exist for an­other six years! So, many al­bums then staying pop­ular and lasting 20 weeks on a chart of 125 or 150 are NOT counted, al­though Bill­board does not have an ex­pla­na­tion for this, but this is what they NOW use, giving artists credit for weeks on the chart. The same charted weeks exist for Bill­board’s other charts, as well.

4. Are you still with me, Neal?

5. You are MORE INFORMED on the state of the Bill­board Hot 100, which they started as of Sep­tember 1958. What bothers me the most about this ear­lier change of their ‘of­fi­cial’ stats is that it’s only a name change. Bill­board HAD used 100 plac­ings on its pop­ular sin­gles since 1955. So 100 plac­ings DID exist, cred­iting weeks on the chart on an equal basis for singles.

6. I agree with you that Elvis Pres­ley’s stature has been squeezed but so have his con­tem­po­raries on the sin­gles chart (1955-1958) and on the al­bums chart (1956 to Au­gust 1963). Recording artists be­fore 1955 HAD been some­what dissed but that’s an­other story. So are the Bill­board rhythm & blues/soul charts and the country & western charts in listed names and num­bers of records.

7. Please look it up and you will get a better un­der­standing of how this stuff has been done.

8. More so, at least Roustabout has been ‘found’ by Bill­board as a #1 and added weeks on chart as well.

9. If I am still not there, please let me know.

Thank you,


I can’t seem to link, but I can tell you that it is very easy to find Bill­board chart his­tory & nav­i­gate to Bill­board 200. It is STILL not CORRECTED, as (al­ready noted to you) Roustabout—by its cur­rent rules—is MISSING. Maybe you can get Sony to get this fixed?

I also note that, for some years, the same listing has a pic­ture of Willie Nelson for Pres­ley’s Classic Christmas Album, as well as a pic for Elvis’ Gold Records Volume 4, using the wrong cover (Vol.5). How come?

It’s al­most 2021 and still a lot of con­fu­sion about Elvis Pres­ley’s legacy.

How come no one will cor­rect this?

Thank you.

I have been around & around the net about this Elvis stuff. Maybe YOU can find out?

The cur­rent 2020 Bill­board ‘all-time ’ album stats (starting in Au­gust 1963) notes Pres­ley’s No.1’s at 2-Aloha From Hawaii (1973) and Elvis 30 (2002). As Roustabout hit no.1 in Jan­uary 1965, why is it omitted?

Who, in any uni­verse, can get Bill­board’s ed­i­tors to cor­rect their error also noting more weeks on chart using these new rules?

It makes me wonder who else’s stats are overlooked?

A lot of young people look to Bill­board as ‘of­fi­cial’.

It could be perhaps?

Please ad­vise.

Thank you

Colin Bratkovich, au­thor of Just Re­member This