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.”
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.
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.