I love the completely ambiguous question of who is bigger: Elvis or The Beatles?
First, there is no answer.
Second, we all (should) have an answer.
Third, this question doesn’t really matter. It’s simply entertaining, and is posed (at least here) to invoke careful consideration of how our past impacts our future.
(Fourth, this question probably really does matter. I’m still debating myself on it.)
Fifth, if you have the scientific data to back up the answer, please share.
In his book, Eating The Dinosaur, Chuck Klosterman posits that it is essentially impossible to ever be considered better than the canon set before you. For example, Nirvana could never be above The Beatles, et al. Likewise, Elvis would trump The Beatles.
The following excerpt is from Chet Flippo’s Yesterday: The Unauthorized Biography of Paul McCartney. The year was 1965.
The Beatles, who had everybody in the world wanting to meet them, had only one name on their list of celebrities they were still in awe of: Elvis. The historic meeting finally took place in Los Angeles. It took days to set up, mainly over the matter of rock ‘n’ roll protocol. On whose turf would it happen? Elvis was the reigning king and all that, but the Beatles were now the hottest thing ever. Should they go to Elvis or should Elvis come to them? Finally weary of all the jawboning, Elvis’s autocratic old ex-carny manager, Colonel Tom Parker, ordered Brian to bring “the boys’ to meet Elvis (whom the colonel always referred to as “the boy”). So they limoed from their rented Mulholland Drive mansion to Elvis’s rented Bel Air mansion. “The boys” were greatly disappointed by “the boy.” Everyone was ill at ease and no one had any idea of what to talk about. Four trained bears, meet another trained bear.
The following video is The Memphis Mafia describing the meeting.
And from The Beatles Anthology, “the boys” discuss the meeting and Elvis in general.
What are your thoughts?
Keep in mind, Elvis tried to ban The Beatles from the United States.