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Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:08 pm

OK, here we go, a topic bound to cause a lot of controversy, but here it goes. I apologize if this has been posted before. To me, there were only 2 major acts that shaped pop music history and youth culture, Elvis and The Beatles. Madonna, MJ, Dylan, all big but didn’t come close. My question is who do you think made the biggest impact/ who was the bigger act? I don’t mean record sales, although that is significant, but that is mostly a tally over time. I mean, who made the biggest impact on the scene when they arrived, Elvis or The Beatles and continued to lead the way while they were active? I would like to hear from folks who were around for both, although that may be tough. I don’t want to hear ‘well since Elvis came first, he had to be the bigger’. That is not necessarily true. I was around for both and I must say although Elvis made the first huge impact on teen culture; I think The Beatles took it even one step further. Some of this is due to the fact there were more TVs in the 60’s, more radio playing rock and roll, etc. but they also did things like a world tour, played in a NY ballpark, they seemed to be everywhere, very accessible, and the news media and fans just seemed to be in frenzy like I had never seen before. A slight dip in popularity in 1966 with the Lennon remark, but it did not slow down the musical growth as their biggest and maybe best music were yet to come. So I would have to say The Beatles because Elvis never reached the initial heights he did in 1956-58 IMO. Once the 60’s were under way, it seemed he just blended into a very comfortable career, but did not excite as before. If he had continued touring cut 'real' music (like Elvis Is Back) , done a world tour, made TV appearances, I think things would have been much better for him critically and artistically, or maybe not, since that LP did not even make #1. Your thoughts? No nasty comments please. Thank you.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:06 pm

Well I wasn't around but have to say that a key element of any argument is Elvis being drafted. He's like Ali in that respect in that he lost his peak years. Would that have made a difference? Arguable. With The Beatles the train never stopped until they chose to stop it.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:08 pm

r&b wrote:OK, here we go, a topic bound to cause a lot of controversy, but here it goes. I apologize if this has been posted before. To me, there were only 2 major acts that shaped pop music history and youth culture, Elvis and The Beatles. Madonna, MJ, Dylan, all big but didn’t come close. My question is who do you think made the biggest impact/ who was the bigger act? I don’t mean record sales, although that is significant, but that is mostly a tally over time. I mean, who made the biggest impact on the scene when they arrived, Elvis or The Beatles and continued to lead the way while they were active? I would like to hear from folks who were around for both, although that may be tough. I don’t want to hear ‘well since Elvis came first, he had to be the bigger’. That is not necessarily true. I was around for both and I must say although Elvis made the first huge impact on teen culture; I think The Beatles took it even one step further. Some of this is due to the fact there were more TVs in the 60’s, more radio playing rock and roll, etc. but they also did things like a world tour, played in a NY ballpark, they seemed to be everywhere, very accessible, and the news media and fans just seemed to be in frenzy like I had never seen before. A slight dip in popularity in 1966 with the Lennon remark, but it did not slow down the musical growth as their biggest and maybe best music were yet to come. So I would have to say The Beatles because Elvis never reached the initial heights he did in 1956-58 IMO. Once the 60’s were under way, it seemed he just blended into a very comfortable career, but did not excite as before. If he had continued touring cut 'real' music (like Elvis Is Back) , done a world tour, made TV appearances, I think things would have been much better for him critically and artistically, or maybe not, since that LP did not even make #1. Your thoughts? No nasty comments please. Thank you.


Troll.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:12 pm

I enjoy both at different times, but I would choose Elvis. :)

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:25 pm

SuspiciousMind wrote:
r&b wrote:OK, here we go, a topic bound to cause a lot of controversy, but here it goes. I apologize if this has been posted before. To me, there were only 2 major acts that shaped pop music history and youth culture, Elvis and The Beatles. Madonna, MJ, Dylan, all big but didn’t come close. My question is who do you think made the biggest impact/ who was the bigger act? I don’t mean record sales, although that is significant, but that is mostly a tally over time. I mean, who made the biggest impact on the scene when they arrived, Elvis or The Beatles and continued to lead the way while they were active? I would like to hear from folks who were around for both, although that may be tough. I don’t want to hear ‘well since Elvis came first, he had to be the bigger’. That is not necessarily true. I was around for both and I must say although Elvis made the first huge impact on teen culture; I think The Beatles took it even one step further. Some of this is due to the fact there were more TVs in the 60’s, more radio playing rock and roll, etc. but they also did things like a world tour, played in a NY ballpark, they seemed to be everywhere, very accessible, and the news media and fans just seemed to be in frenzy like I had never seen before. A slight dip in popularity in 1966 with the Lennon remark, but it did not slow down the musical growth as their biggest and maybe best music were yet to come. So I would have to say The Beatles because Elvis never reached the initial heights he did in 1956-58 IMO. Once the 60’s were under way, it seemed he just blended into a very comfortable career, but did not excite as before. If he had continued touring cut 'real' music (like Elvis Is Back) , done a world tour, made TV appearances, I think things would have been much better for him critically and artistically, or maybe not, since that LP did not even make #1. Your thoughts? No nasty comments please. Thank you.


Troll.


??

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:32 pm

Well, there are many others who were key figures in rock music and had a major contribution : The Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals, Bob Dylan, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Queen, ACDC, Metallica, Nirvana, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Sex Pistols, T.Rex, Frank Zappa, Creedence Clearwater Revival and so on, to name just few of them.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:38 pm

jurasic1968 wrote:Well, there are many others who were key figures in rock music and had a major contribution : The Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals, Bob Dylan, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Queen, ACDC, Metallica, Nirvana, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Sex Pistols, T.Rex, Frank Zappa, Creedence Clearwater Revival and so on, to name just few of them.


Yes, key, but none equaled the impact Elvis or The Beatles initially made. Thus my question.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:12 pm

r&b wrote:
SuspiciousMind wrote:
r&b wrote: I mean, who made the biggest impact on the scene when they arrived, Elvis or The Beatles and continued to lead the way while they were active? I would like to hear from folks who were around for both, although that may be tough. I don’t want to hear ‘well since Elvis came first, he had to be the bigger’. That is not necessarily true. I was around for both and I must say although Elvis made the first huge impact on teen culture; I think The Beatles took it even one step further. Some of this is due to the fact there were more TVs in the 60’s, more radio playing rock and roll, etc. but they also did things like a world tour, played in a NY ballpark, they seemed to be everywhere, very accessible, and the news media and fans just seemed to be in frenzy like I had never seen before. .


Troll.


??


It most certainly is true. So what if you don't want to hear it. It's the truth. Just like Elvis came long before Michael Jackson and thus is more important in history because of it.

You say that Elvis wasn't as important as The Beatles, which is totally false and not by opinion. If it were not for Elvis, there would have never been The Beatles. John Lennon is quoted as saying that very thing. And he was the one who created The Beatles. Elvis didn't invent Rock & Roll. It was originally known as the devil's music, played only in the black juke joints. But Elvis was the driving force behind the Rock & Roll movement of the 1950's which also played a huge part in the Civil Rights Movement. Without him being so controversial back then no telling where that movement would have gone, if anywhere at all. I think it's safe to say too that had there never had been Elvis, there may not have been a Martin Luther King Jr to spread his message around the world. Had there never had been MLK, then there never would have been the Civil Rights Movement thus our nation's first black president today. Whereas with The Beatles, all they inspired was the hippie generation that led to all of the problems America faces today. Killings, drugs, violence in schools. It was The Beatles' song Helter Skelter that inspired the nation's most dangerous mass murderer, Charles Manson to brutally kill actress Sharon Tate and her friends.

Having said all that, I will admit that the Fab Four made some fantastic music. But also some corny music. Yellow Submarine come to mind? Maybe not quite as bad as Elvis singing Old McDonald, but still bad.

Another thing, you say that you were around for both Elvis and The Beatles. But in a previous thread you said that you saw Elvis at MSG in 1972 as a 21 year old. If that's true, then you would have only been 5 when Elvis first broke onto the scene, which was the most important year of music history, 1956. So you wouldn't have been aware at that age what was going on and at that particular time. But as for The Beatles invasion, which was 1964, you would have been older, at around 13, but still too young to have known what was or wasn't important at that time. So I question that.

I called you a troll because your posts are always indicating that Elvis wasn't relevant or as important as others were and are today, which is complete BS. Therefor is borderline trolling. But you're not the only one who does that on here.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:18 pm

I would say Elvis for the simple reason that he influenced so many rock stars in the 1950s and 1960s.

Without Elvis there probably wouldn't have ever been a rock n' roll movement and so many rock stars that came after him wouldn't have gotten into the music business.

Not that the Beatles didn't also influence music in a major way or influence a lot of other bands.

I'm not sure Elvis could have ever had the groundbreaking influence and cultural impact that he had in 1950s again in the subsequent decades no matter what he did.

Every singer or band seems to have one period of great influence and then after that not as much.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:30 pm

Elvis will always be my number one. But the Beatles were certainly a bigger impact on the world, like you say r&b, more TV etc. The Beatles were a very talented group they knew what they wanted. They didn't let things like management get in the way or interfere with what they wanted. They had a lot of aspirations like, having an outlook of what they wanted their album covers to look like, experimenting with their music, backward guitar affects and adding strange sounds and so forth...The thing that makes these so great (namely Lennon/McCartney) is their incredible talent for songwritng. Most songwriters dry up as they go along, but John and Pauls writing got better as they went along, the early tunes were great and the songs got better not worse. If John and Paul had not been songwriters they probably would have went down the toilet as early as 1965 because they were a pretty average rock'n'roll band covering american songs and i don't think they were the greatest musicians either, they have admitted this themselves. Elvis never had any of the adpirations the Beatles had and thats a shame. I love the Beatles' music but Elvis ( early Elvis) will always be No.1 for me.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:31 pm

brian wrote:I would say Elvis for the simple reason that he influenced so many rock stars in the 1950s and 1960s.

Without Elvis there probably wouldn't have ever been a rock n' roll movement and so many rock stars that came after him wouldn't have gotten into the music business.

Not that the Beatles didn't also influence music in a major way or influence a lot of other bands.

I'm not sure Elvis could have ever had the groundbreaking influence and cultural impact that he had in 1950s again in the subsequent decades no matter what he did.

Every singer or band seems to have one period of great influence and then after that not as much.


I can agree with that. Elvis in 1956 alone was more important and influential than The Beatles were for their entire career, as far as importance in pop culture is concerned. Elvis went through all of the criticism and public and media slandering that The Beatles nor any other act ever had to endure.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:35 pm

mysterytrainrideson wrote:Elvis will always be my number one. But the Beatles were certainly a bigger impact on the world, like you say r&b, more TV etc. The Beatles were a very talented group they knew what they wanted. They didn't let things like management get in the way or interfere with what they wanted. They had a lot of aspirations like, having an outlook of what they wanted their album covers to look like, experimenting with their music, backward guitar affects and adding strange sounds and so forth...The thing that makes these so great (namely Lennon/McCartney) is their incredible talent for songwritng. Most songwriters dry up as they go along, but John and Pauls writing got better as they went along, the early tunes were great and the songs got better not worse. If John and Paul had not been songwriters they probably would have went down the toilet as early as 1965 because they were a pretty average rock'n'roll band covering american songs and i don't think they were the greatest musicians either, they have admitted this themselves. Elvis never had any of the adpirations the Beatles had and thats a shame. I love the Beatles' music but Elvis ( early Elvis) will always be No.1 for me.


The Colonel ruined Elvis and his passion for making great music and being happy. Every time Elvis wanted to do something big, the Colonel stepped in and denounced it or killed it by wanting more money than it was worthy of. Had it not had been for The Colonel's manipulative ways, Elvis probably would have been able to write his own music, star in his dream roles and would probably had lived a more healthier and happier life instead of dying sad and depressed and overweight at just 42. :cry:

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:41 pm

Oh, i have to say r&b, Elvis i think is the more important because, yes, he was there first and the driving force for ALL future rock stars....

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:56 pm

mysterytrainrideson wrote:Oh, i have to say r&b, Elvis i think is the more important because, yes, he was there first and the driving force for ALL future rock stars....


Correct. History doesn't lie.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:01 pm

suspiciousmind, yes i agree with you about the Colonel. It was his fault that Elvis careertook a nose dive because of poor management choices. He literally ruined Elvis' career and dwarfed his aspirations as an artist. Elvis didn't have the power and guts to stand up to him and thats a shame .

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:14 pm

mysterytrainrideson wrote:Elvis will always be my number one. But the Beatles were certainly a bigger impact on the world, like you say r&b, more TV etc. The Beatles were a very talented group they knew what they wanted. They didn't let things like management get in the way or interfere with what they wanted. They had a lot of aspirations like, having an outlook of what they wanted their album covers to look like, experimenting with their music, backward guitar affects and adding strange sounds and so forth...The thing that makes these so great (namely Lennon/McCartney) is their incredible talent for songwritng. Most songwriters dry up as they go along, but John and Pauls writing got better as they went along, the early tunes were great and the songs got better not worse. If John and Paul had not been songwriters they probably would have went down the toilet as early as 1965 because they were a pretty average rock'n'roll band covering american songs and i don't think they were the greatest musicians either, they have admitted this themselves. Elvis never had any of the adpirations the Beatles had and thats a shame. I love the Beatles' music but Elvis ( early Elvis) will always be No.1 for me.


You are the only guy who read my post and answered the question I asked. Whether Elvis is your No.1 artist (which is what I assume for everyone here on this forum) or not is not the question. Who made the biggest cultural & musical impact was the question. I believe in 1964 the world was more impacted by Beatlemania than in 1956 by Elvis mania or whatever you want to call it simply because the world was more in tune with The Beatles due to the massive amount of media blitz, positive reviews (remember most critics hated Elvis) and the simple fact that after the assassination of JFK, in the USA anyway, we were looking for some relief. That had a lot to do with it as well and yes, their music did get better as compared to Elvis' post 50's soundtrack stuff for the most part.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:19 pm

SuspiciousMind wrote:
r&b wrote:
SuspiciousMind wrote:
r&b wrote: I mean, who made the biggest impact on the scene when they arrived, Elvis or The Beatles and continued to lead the way while they were active? I would like to hear from folks who were around for both, although that may be tough. I don’t want to hear ‘well since Elvis came first, he had to be the bigger’. That is not necessarily true. I was around for both and I must say although Elvis made the first huge impact on teen culture; I think The Beatles took it even one step further. Some of this is due to the fact there were more TVs in the 60’s, more radio playing rock and roll, etc. but they also did things like a world tour, played in a NY ballpark, they seemed to be everywhere, very accessible, and the news media and fans just seemed to be in frenzy like I had never seen before. .


Troll.


??


It most certainly is true. So what if you don't want to hear it. It's the truth. Just like Elvis came long before Michael Jackson and thus is more important in history because of it.

You say that Elvis wasn't as important as The Beatles, which is totally false and not by opinion. If it were not for Elvis, there would have never been The Beatles. John Lennon is quoted as saying that very thing. And he was the one who created The Beatles. Elvis didn't invent Rock & Roll. It was originally known as the devil's music, played only in the black juke joints. But Elvis was the driving force behind the Rock & Roll movement of the 1950's which also played a huge part in the Civil Rights Movement. Without him being so controversial back then no telling where that movement would have gone, if anywhere at all. I think it's safe to say too that had there never had been Elvis, there may not have been a Martin Luther King Jr to spread his message around the world. Had there never had been MLK, then there never would have been the Civil Rights Movement thus our nation's first black president today. Whereas with The Beatles, all they inspired was the hippie generation that led to all of the problems America faces today. Killings, drugs, violence in schools. It was The Beatles' song Helter Skelter that inspired the nation's most dangerous mass murderer, Charles Manson to brutally kill actress Sharon Tate and her friends.

Having said all that, I will admit that the Fab Four made some fantastic music. But also some corny music. Yellow Submarine come to mind? Maybe not quite as bad as Elvis singing Old McDonald, but still bad.

Another thing, you say that you were around for both Elvis and The Beatles. But in a previous thread you said that you saw Elvis at MSG in 1972 as a 21 year old. If that's true, then you would have only been 5 when Elvis first broke onto the scene, which was the most important year of music history, 1956. So you wouldn't have been aware at that age what was going on and at that particular time. But as for The Beatles invasion, which was 1964, you would have been older, at around 13, but still too young to have known what was or wasn't important at that time. So I question that.

I called you a troll because your posts are always indicating that Elvis wasn't relevant or as important as others were and are today, which is complete BS. Therefor is borderline trolling. But you're not the only one who does that on here.


I was 5 in 1956 but had teenagers all around me playing records and was pretty much in tune with what was happening in music. In fact, I requested records for Christmas and birthday presents instead of toys and had records prior to Elvis and rock and roll. I very well remember Elvis on Ed Sullivan (but not before on TV). A 5 year old kid can be into music and what is happening in culture. I see it all the time. Not sophistication about it but sill aware of it. And as a further note my parents, who very much liked rock and roll and Elvis, said at the time, wow these guys are even bigger than Elvis was. A quote I will never forget.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:31 pm

Very interesting correlation with the JFK assasination. Unfortunately Elvis in november 1963 released a movie called "Fun in Acapulco" a travelogue miles away from the Beatles rock'n'roll music which soon will conquer America and the world.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:58 pm

r&b wrote:
mysterytrainrideson wrote:Elvis will always be my number one. But the Beatles were certainly a bigger impact on the world, like you say r&b, more TV etc. The Beatles were a very talented group they knew what they wanted. They didn't let things like management get in the way or interfere with what they wanted. They had a lot of aspirations like, having an outlook of what they wanted their album covers to look like, experimenting with their music, backward guitar affects and adding strange sounds and so forth...The thing that makes these so great (namely Lennon/McCartney) is their incredible talent for songwritng. Most songwriters dry up as they go along, but John and Pauls writing got better as they went along, the early tunes were great and the songs got better not worse. If John and Paul had not been songwriters they probably would have went down the toilet as early as 1965 because they were a pretty average rock'n'roll band covering american songs and i don't think they were the greatest musicians either, they have admitted this themselves. Elvis never had any of the adpirations the Beatles had and thats a shame. I love the Beatles' music but Elvis ( early Elvis) will always be No.1 for me.


You are the only guy who read my post and answered the question I asked. Whether Elvis is your No.1 artist (which is what I assume for everyone here on this forum) or not is not the question. Who made the biggest cultural & musical impact was the question.


I did answer your question and i should be given credit for that.

If i didn't tell you want you wanted to hear that's a different matter.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:26 pm

r&b wrote:OK, here we go, a topic bound to cause a lot of controversy, but here it goes. I apologize if this has been posted before. To me, there were only 2 major acts that shaped pop music history and youth culture, Elvis and The Beatles. Madonna, MJ, Dylan, all big but didn’t come close. My question is who do you think made the biggest impact/ who was the bigger act? I don’t mean record sales, although that is significant, but that is mostly a tally over time. I mean, who made the biggest impact on the scene when they arrived, Elvis or The Beatles and continued to lead the way while they were active? I would like to hear from folks who were around for both, although that may be tough. I don’t want to hear ‘well since Elvis came first, he had to be the bigger’. That is not necessarily true. I was around for both and I must say although Elvis made the first huge impact on teen culture; I think The Beatles took it even one step further. Some of this is due to the fact there were more TVs in the 60’s, more radio playing rock and roll, etc. but they also did things like a world tour, played in a NY ballpark, they seemed to be everywhere, very accessible, and the news media and fans just seemed to be in frenzy like I had never seen before. A slight dip in popularity in 1966 with the Lennon remark, but it did not slow down the musical growth as their biggest and maybe best music were yet to come. So I would have to say The Beatles because Elvis never reached the initial heights he did in 1956-58 IMO. Once the 60’s were under way, it seemed he just blended into a very comfortable career, but did not excite as before. If he had continued touring cut 'real' music (like Elvis Is Back) , done a world tour, made TV appearances, I think things would have been much better for him critically and artistically, or maybe not, since that LP did not even make #1. Your thoughts? No nasty comments please. Thank you.


This is a forever ongoing debate, here and elsewhere. Obviously, on an Elvis-based forum, the answer to your query will be overwhelmingly slanted towards Presley, as would the same question if posed on a Beatles-based forum.

That said, after all this time they remain perhaps the top two ground-breaking artists of the 20th century.

One difference is that Elvis' reign of dominance and influence was far shorter than that of the Beatles, at least three times less, due in equal measure to his two-year army detour and unwise commitment to Hollywood upon his return in 1960. And, after the group's formal breakup in April 1970, the Beatles' oeuvre and innovations continued to thrill and inspire well into the '70s and beyond.

Another difference is that the Beatles did not stand pat in their success. They were always reaching for something different, when the status quo would have been so much easier to embrace. In many ways they learned from Presley's mistakes. Case-in-point: their movie career. After a second huge film-and-soundtrack LP success ("Help"), in as many years, they realized it was an uncreative, boring treadmill, and they did not make a third such film. This despite the efforts of management to get it done.

Sitting here so many years later, it's really an embarrassment of riches in regards to their respective legacies, and we should all be grateful.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:47 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
r&b wrote:OK, here we go, a topic bound to cause a lot of controversy, but here it goes. I apologize if this has been posted before. To me, there were only 2 major acts that shaped pop music history and youth culture, Elvis and The Beatles. Madonna, MJ, Dylan, all big but didn’t come close. My question is who do you think made the biggest impact/ who was the bigger act? I don’t mean record sales, although that is significant, but that is mostly a tally over time. I mean, who made the biggest impact on the scene when they arrived, Elvis or The Beatles and continued to lead the way while they were active? I would like to hear from folks who were around for both, although that may be tough. I don’t want to hear ‘well since Elvis came first, he had to be the bigger’. That is not necessarily true. I was around for both and I must say although Elvis made the first huge impact on teen culture; I think The Beatles took it even one step further. Some of this is due to the fact there were more TVs in the 60’s, more radio playing rock and roll, etc. but they also did things like a world tour, played in a NY ballpark, they seemed to be everywhere, very accessible, and the news media and fans just seemed to be in frenzy like I had never seen before. A slight dip in popularity in 1966 with the Lennon remark, but it did not slow down the musical growth as their biggest and maybe best music were yet to come. So I would have to say The Beatles because Elvis never reached the initial heights he did in 1956-58 IMO. Once the 60’s were under way, it seemed he just blended into a very comfortable career, but did not excite as before. If he had continued touring cut 'real' music (like Elvis Is Back) , done a world tour, made TV appearances, I think things would have been much better for him critically and artistically, or maybe not, since that LP did not even make #1. Your thoughts? No nasty comments please. Thank you.


This is a forever ongoing debate, here and elsewhere. Obviously, on an Elvis-based forum, the answer to your query will be overwhelmingly slanted towards Presley, as would the same question if posed on a Beatles-based forum.

That said, after all this time they remain perhaps the top two ground-breaking artists of the 20th century.

One difference is that Elvis' reign of dominance and influence was far shorter than that of the Beatles, at least three times less, due in equal measure to his two-year army detour and unwise commitment to Hollywood upon his return in 1960. And, after the group's formal breakup in April 1970, the Beatles' oeuvre and innovations continued to thrill and inspire well into the '70s and beyond.

Another difference is that the Beatles did not stand pat in their success. They were always reaching for something different, when the status quo would have been so much easier to embrace. In many ways they learned from Presley's mistakes. Case-in-point: their movie career. After a second huge film-and-soundtrack LP success ("Help"), in as many years, they realized it was an uncreative, boring treadmill, and they did not make a third such film. This despite the efforts of management to get it done.

Sitting here so many years later, it's really an embarrassment of riches in regards to their respective legacies, and we should all be grateful.


If this was a facebook page, I would 'like' that sentiment. As always, you laid it out reasonably.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:48 pm

brian wrote:
r&b wrote:
mysterytrainrideson wrote:Elvis will always be my number one. But the Beatles were certainly a bigger impact on the world, like you say r&b, more TV etc. The Beatles were a very talented group they knew what they wanted. They didn't let things like management get in the way or interfere with what they wanted. They had a lot of aspirations like, having an outlook of what they wanted their album covers to look like, experimenting with their music, backward guitar affects and adding strange sounds and so forth...The thing that makes these so great (namely Lennon/McCartney) is their incredible talent for songwritng. Most songwriters dry up as they go along, but John and Pauls writing got better as they went along, the early tunes were great and the songs got better not worse. If John and Paul had not been songwriters they probably would have went down the toilet as early as 1965 because they were a pretty average rock'n'roll band covering american songs and i don't think they were the greatest musicians either, they have admitted this themselves. Elvis never had any of the adpirations the Beatles had and thats a shame. I love the Beatles' music but Elvis ( early Elvis) will always be No.1 for me.


You are the only guy who read my post and answered the question I asked. Whether Elvis is your No.1 artist (which is what I assume for everyone here on this forum) or not is not the question. Who made the biggest cultural & musical impact was the question.


I did answer your question and i should be given credit for that.

If i didn't tell you want you wanted to hear that's a different matter.


Yes I did give you credit for answering. Sorry if you misunderstood.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:52 pm

There have certainly been more than two acts who shaped popular culture and proved pivotal in creating major changes and advancements within (and outwith) the field of popular music -- both Elvis and The Beatles made terrific contributions to popular culture, and the entire landscape would surely have been not only different, but lesser without them. But Elvis wasn't the first singer to make a huge impact on pop culture -- Frank Sinatra's impact and popularity during the 1940s created the kind of teenage fandom that was hitherto unseen. Although, before him, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee were hugely popular across a wide range of age groups -- and let's not overlook Crosby's broad ingenuity with regards to recording techniques and the modernising of recording equipment (although, that's another story, as is his unmatched quota of hits and pop No. 1 singles). Whilst, the big bands of the late-thirties and early-forties preceded the rock 'n' roll craze of the nineteen-fifties, with the likes of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, the Basie band, Louis Armstong, Charlie Parker, Glenn Miller and the Tommy Dorsey orschestras all leading the way for popular music -- and with Frank Sinatra right out in front during a decade that brought about some of the greatest changes in the history of popular music and pop culture at large.

Some of the partnerships of this era made contributions so vast and broad-reaching within the spectrum of not only American pop music, but popular culture and pop music across the globe, that it's incredible to me that Elvis is so often cited here as being the "first" singer to ever have made any major cultural impact -- especially when Bill Haley put rock 'n' roll on the international map first. Over a decade prior, however, it was partnerships more brief than even Lennon and McCartney's that made for unions of the most dazzling talent, as the notion of the jazz soloist within popular music wrought changes that played alongside swing and big band music becoming the popular music of the era. The impact and influence of Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller's orchestras was nigh-on immeasurable, despite their brief tenures. Whilst Sinatra's involvement with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra was not only their equal, but helped shape Sinatra as a vocalist whose vocal style set the bar for popular singers to come -- this, with regards to technique, artistic range and creative freedom. In going solo, Sinatra shifted the musical landscape away from the big band and put the emphasis back on the solo singer -- something he had made in-roads towards even as part of the Dorsey Orchestra. And that's not to make mention of the hysteria that surrounded Sinatra during the peak of his popularity throughout the forties when it became apparent that he was something unique, very special and ultimately enduring as one of the great creative forces of the last century. By 1944 Sinatra, in the way Elvis would be in 1956, was omnipresent throughout popular culture, whether on record, on radio, stage and screen -- at times playing eleven shows a day, starting at 7.00am and performing until the evening as thousands-upon-thousands of fans queued to see the singer who single-handedly created the kind of generation gap that would be built upon by Elvis, The Beatles and every other pop music phenomenon in a direct line right through to Justin Bieber. On October 12th 1944, as Sinatra performed to 5,000 screaming fans inside the New York Paramount, 30,000 teenage girls (the Bobby Soxers) waiting outside in Times Square had to be kept in check by police as they went into hysteria because the girls inside wouldn't vacate the theatre for the next performance -- see the Love Me Tender premier for a later attempt to emulate this huge popular culture event (known as the Columbus Day Riots) with the premiere of Elvis's first picture at the same venue. At this time, Sinatra's salary jumped from $750 per week with the Dorsey orchestra to $25,000 a week as a solo star, then $130,000 for starring in Anchors Aweigh -- something that leads me to the importance and impact of Sinatra, Crosby, Judy Garland and Fred Astaire on the writing of popular song, becuase those were singers for whom the most renowned and talented writers of the era wrote specifically for. For Anchors Aweigh, Sinatra insisted on having Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne write and compose for the film. And that's vital when one considers the volume of songs penned especially for/or introduced by Astaire (A Fine Romance, A Foggy Day, Cheek-to-Cheek, Let's Face The Music and Dance, A Fine Romance, Night and Day, One for My Baby, That's Entertainment etc., etc.) or popularised by Sinatra -- whose contributions remain, arguably, the largest cornerstone in what made the Great American Songbook what it was, and what it has become today. For example, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein first success as a team came in 1943, with Oklahoma -- Sinatra, during his first recording sessions as a solo singer turned to material from this show and thus began a long-running relationship between Rodgers, Hammerstein and Sinatra, who took many of their finest songs from the the theatrical stage to record, radio and the concert stage. And this, at a time when some of the aforementioned musical partnerships were riding on the crest of a musical wave that saw Charlie Parker unite with Dizzie Gillespie, Duke Ellingston and Jimmy Blanton and both Count Basie and Billie Holiday with Lester Young. Sinatra also helped establish Cole Porter's music within the lexicon of popular song. Here, forming a relationship between voice and words that ran deeper than most. Porter's wit and lyrical sophistication met with Sinatra's popular appeal helped Porter's songs find an audience that may otherwise have overlooked the wit and elegance of his rhyming. Sinatra's interpretation proving every bit as vital as Porter's lyrics, not least of all in how he was able to re-imagine a song in much the same way Elvis would in the nineteen-fifties when putting his own stamp and interpretation on songs that may otherwise have held little interest for a teenage audience far less acquainted with rhythm and blues than he was.

Elvis, in bringing true rhythm and blues to the mainstream done so in a way that helped emancipate the music of innumerable musicians whose colour prevented them from being heard on the radio alongside white singers. This transcended to the concert stage, especially with the impact and influence of Chuck Berry and Little Richard, although the vast contributions of Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and Nat Cole cannot be overlooked here with regards to how important they were in altering the cultural landscape for black artists. Sinatra also played a part in this respect, with his insistence on black singers being given the same rights as himself as an artist wherever he played -- and if this wasn't adhered to, neither Sinatra or any of his label-mates on Reprise would play those particular venues. Traits shared with Elvis, who never allowed colour to cloud his opinions on artist, artistry or person. But to say that without Elvis there would never have been a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Civil Rights movement is a bit of a fallacy -- especially when the likes of Sinatra, Nat Cole, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday were championing civil rights before there became such a term. But for civil rights to advance in the ways it needed to, it took huge cultural steps and the impetus of those in the public eye who believed in equality. It also needed a leader, and that was Martin Luther King, Jr. of course. And to relate this to rock 'n' roll music, to truly succeed, this was a music that required a once-in-a-generation talent like Elvis Presley to make it become THE foremost form of popular music of its day. And those once-in-a-generation stars like Elvis, or Sinatra and Crosby before him, The Beatles, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Eminem, Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber after, only find success once a new generation is ready for their own musical and cultural icon. And we can equate this with Valentino, Gable, Brando, Dean, McQueen and through to Cruise, Pitt and Gosling in the film world. Elvis straddled the world of both film and music, although without the success, credibility and talent of Sinatra and Crosby. Still, doing so helped elevate him to a unique level of stardom and fandom -- he was a major recording artist and a bona fide movie star. Worth considering also is that, prior to 1970, when Elvis was firmly back on the concert stage, he had been a national and international movie star for as long as he had been popular across America and internationally as a singer. Again, something that can be traced back to Jolson as the singer whose impact on early talking pictures helped make him one of the first - and most important - multi-media stars. Something worth remembering when presuming that popular culture either began with Elvis or revolves around The Beatles. Still, as an on-going debate, there's no real answer to your question -- some prefer Elvis to The Beatles, some believe The Beatles to have made the greatest contributions of all to popular music and some actually love both. And - as mentioned above by the Doc - there's such a vast body of work to enjoy and explore that fretting over who is bigger, best and most important only gets in the way of enjoying what you like. And for Elvis fans, there's an awful lot to like and much to love about a singer who enriched almost every facet and aspect of popular culture. And one can't ask for much more than that.

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:57 pm

r&b wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
r&b wrote:OK, here we go, a topic bound to cause a lot of controversy, but here it goes. I apologize if this has been posted before. To me, there were only 2 major acts that shaped pop music history and youth culture, Elvis and The Beatles. Madonna, MJ, Dylan, all big but didn’t come close. My question is who do you think made the biggest impact/ who was the bigger act? I don’t mean record sales, although that is significant, but that is mostly a tally over time. I mean, who made the biggest impact on the scene when they arrived, Elvis or The Beatles and continued to lead the way while they were active? I would like to hear from folks who were around for both, although that may be tough. I don’t want to hear ‘well since Elvis came first, he had to be the bigger’. That is not necessarily true. I was around for both and I must say although Elvis made the first huge impact on teen culture; I think The Beatles took it even one step further. Some of this is due to the fact there were more TVs in the 60’s, more radio playing rock and roll, etc. but they also did things like a world tour, played in a NY ballpark, they seemed to be everywhere, very accessible, and the news media and fans just seemed to be in frenzy like I had never seen before. A slight dip in popularity in 1966 with the Lennon remark, but it did not slow down the musical growth as their biggest and maybe best music were yet to come. So I would have to say The Beatles because Elvis never reached the initial heights he did in 1956-58 IMO. Once the 60’s were under way, it seemed he just blended into a very comfortable career, but did not excite as before. If he had continued touring cut 'real' music (like Elvis Is Back) , done a world tour, made TV appearances, I think things would have been much better for him critically and artistically, or maybe not, since that LP did not even make #1. Your thoughts? No nasty comments please. Thank you.


This is a forever ongoing debate, here and elsewhere. Obviously, on an Elvis-based forum, the answer to your query will be overwhelmingly slanted towards Presley, as would the same question if posed on a Beatles-based forum.

That said, after all this time they remain perhaps the top two ground-breaking artists of the 20th century.

One difference is that Elvis' reign of dominance and influence was far shorter than that of the Beatles, at least three times less, due in equal measure to his two-year army detour and unwise commitment to Hollywood upon his return in 1960. And, after the group's formal breakup in April 1970, the Beatles' oeuvre and innovations continued to thrill and inspire well into the '70s and beyond.

Another difference is that the Beatles did not stand pat in their success. They were always reaching for something different, when the status quo would have been so much easier to embrace. In many ways they learned from Presley's mistakes. Case-in-point: their movie career. After a second huge film-and-soundtrack LP success ("Help"), in as many years, they realized it was an uncreative, boring treadmill, and they did not make a third such film. This despite the efforts of management to get it done.

Sitting here so many years later, it's really an embarrassment of riches in regards to their respective legacies, and we should all be grateful.


If this was a facebook page, I would 'like' that sentiment. As always, you laid it out reasonably.


You can always click the "thumbs up" icon at the lower right of any post that pleases you. ;-)

Re: Elvis or The Beatles?

Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:58 pm

greystoke wrote:There have certainly been more than two acts who shaped popular culture and proved pivotal in creating major changes and advancements within (and outwith) the field of popular music -- both Elvis and The Beatles made terrific contributions to popular culture, and the entire landscape would surely have been not only different, but lesser without them. But Elvis wasn't the first singer to make a huge impact on pop culture -- Frank Sinatra's impact and popularity during the 1940s created the kind of teenage fandom that was hitherto unseen. Although, before him, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee were hugely popular across a wide range of age groups -- and let's not overlook Crosby's broad ingenuity with regards to recording techniques and the modernising of recording equipment (although, that's another story, as is his unmatched quota of hits and pop No. 1 singles). Whilst, the big bands of the late-thirties and early-forties preceded the rock 'n' roll craze of the nineteen-fifties, with the likes of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, the Basie band, Louis Armstong, Charlie Parker, Glenn Miller and the Tommy Dorsey orschestras all leading the way for popular music -- and with Frank Sinatra right out in front during a decade that brought about some of the greatest changes in the history of popular music and pop culture at large.

Some of the partnerships of this era made contributions so vast and broad-reaching within the spectrum of not only American pop music, but popular culture and pop music across the globe, that it's incredible to me that Elvis is so often cited here as being the "first" singer to ever have made any major cultural impact -- especially when Bill Haley put rock 'n' roll on the international map first. Over a decade prior, however, it was partnerships more brief than even Lennon and McCartney's that made for unions of the most dazzling talent, as the notion of the jazz soloist within popular music wrought changes that played alongside swing and big band music becoming the popular music of the era. The impact and influence of Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller's orchestras was nigh-on immeasurable, despite their brief tenures. Whilst Sinatra's involvement with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra was not only their equal, but helped shape Sinatra as a vocalist whose vocal style set the bar for popular singers to come -- this, with regards to technique, artistic range and creative freedom. In going solo, Sinatra shifted the musical landscape away from the big band and put the emphasis back on the solo singer -- something he had made in-roads towards even as part of the Dorsey Orchestra. And that's not to make mention of the hysteria that surrounded Sinatra during the peak of his popularity throughout the forties when it became apparent that he was something unique, very special and ultimately enduring as one of the great creative forces of the last century. By 1944 Sinatra, in the way Elvis would be in 1956, was omnipresent throughout popular culture, whether on record, on radio, stage and screen -- at times playing eleven shows a day, starting at 7.00am and performing until the evening as thousands-upon-thousands of fans queued to see the singer who single-handedly created the kind of generation gap that would be built upon by Elvis, The Beatles and every other pop music phenomenon in a direct line right through to Justin Bieber. On October 12th 1944, as Sinatra performed to 5,000 screaming fans inside the New York Paramount, 30,000 teenage girls (the Bobby Soxers) waiting outside in Times Square had to be kept in check by police as they went into hysteria because the girls inside wouldn't vacate the theatre for the next performance -- see the Love Me Tender premier for a later attempt to emulate this huge popular culture event (known as the Columbus Day Riots) with the premiere of Elvis's first picture at the same venue. At this time, Sinatra's salary jumped from $750 per week with the Dorsey orchestra to $25,000 a week as a solo star, then $130,000 for starring in Anchors Aweigh -- something that leads me to the importance and impact of Sinatra, Crosby, Judy Garland and Fred Astaire on the writing of popular song, becuase those were singers for whom the most renowned and talented writers of the era wrote specifically for. For Anchors Aweigh, Sinatra insisted on having Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne write and compose for the film. And that's vital when one considers the volume of songs penned especially for/or introduced by Astaire (A Fine Romance, A Foggy Day, Cheek-to-Cheek, Let's Face The Music and Dance, A Fine Romance, Night and Day, One for My Baby, That's Entertainment etc., etc.) or popularised by Sinatra -- whose contributions remain, arguably, the largest cornerstone in what made the Great American Songbook what it was, and what it has become today. For example, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein first success as a team came in 1943, with Oklahoma -- Sinatra, during his first recording sessions as a solo singer turned to material from this show and thus began a long-running relationship between Rodgers, Hammerstein and Sinatra, who took many of their finest songs from the the theatrical stage to record, radio and the concert stage. And this, at a time when some of the aforementioned musical partnerships were riding on the crest of a musical wave that saw Charlie Parker unite with Dizzie Gillespie, Duke Ellingston and Jimmy Blanton and both Count Basie and Billie Holiday with Lester Young. Sinatra also helped establish Cole Porter's music within the lexicon of popular song. Here, forming a relationship between voice and words that ran deeper than most. Porter's wit and lyrical sophistication met with Sinatra's popular appeal helped Porter's songs find an audience that may otherwise have overlooked the wit and elegance of his rhyming. Sinatra's interpretation proving every bit as vital as Porter's lyrics, not least of all in how he was able to re-imagine a song in much the same way Elvis would in the nineteen-fifties when putting his own stamp and interpretation on songs that may otherwise have held little interest for a teenage audience far less acquainted with rhythm and blues than he was.

Elvis, in bringing true rhythm and blues to the mainstream done so in a way that helped emancipate the music of innumerable musicians whose colour prevented them from being heard on the radio alongside white singers. This transcended to the concert stage, especially with the impact and influence of Chuck Berry and Little Richard, although the vast contributions of Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and Nat Cole cannot be overlooked here with regards to how important they were in altering the cultural landscape for black artists. Sinatra also played a part in this respect, with his insistence on black singers being given the same rights as himself as an artist wherever he played -- and if this wasn't adhered to, neither Sinatra or any of his label-mates on Reprise would play those particular venues. Traits shared with Elvis, who never allowed colour to cloud his opinions on artist, artistry or person. But to say that without Elvis there would never have been a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Civil Rights movement is a bit of a fallacy -- especially when the likes of Sinatra, Nat Cole, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday were championing civil rights before there became such a term. But for civil rights to advance in the ways it needed to, it took huge cultural steps and the impetus of those in the public eye who believed in equality. It also needed a leader, and that was Martin Luther King, Jr. of course. And to relate this to rock 'n' roll music, to truly succeed, this was a music that required a once-in-a-generation talent like Elvis Presley to make it become THE foremost form of popular music of its day. And those once-in-a-generation stars like Elvis, or Sinatra and Crosby before him, The Beatles, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Eminem, Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber after, only find success once a new generation is ready for their own musical and cultural icon. And we can equate this with Valentino, Gable, Brando, Dean, McQueen and through to Cruise, Pitt and Gosling in the film world. Elvis straddled the world of both film and music, although without the success, credibility and talent of Sinatra and Crosby. Still, doing so helped elevate him to a unique level of stardom and fandom -- he was a major recording artist and a bona fide movie star. Worth considering also is that, prior to 1970, when Elvis was firmly back on the concert stage, he had been a national and international movie star for as long as he had been popular across America and internationally as a singer. Again, something that can be traced back to Jolson as the singer whose impact on early talking pictures helped make him one of the first - and most important - multi-media stars. Something worth remembering when presuming that popular culture either began with Elvis or revolves around The Beatles. Still, as an on-going debate, there's no real answer to your question -- some prefer Elvis to The Beatles, some believe The Beatles to have made the greatest contributions of all to popular music and some actually love both. And - as mentioned above by the Doc - there's such a vast body of work to enjoy and explore that fretting over who is bigger, best and most important only gets in the way of enjoying what you like. And for Elvis fans, there's an awful lot to like and much to love about a singer who enriched almost every facet and aspect of popular culture. And one can't ask for much more than that.


Lovely reply! I enjoyed every word.