When the news of Elvis’ death broke on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 16, 1977, I was driving with my dad on westbound Portage Avenue near the intersection of Erin in Winnipeg. How’s that for a “I remember where I was when I heard” memory?
The death of Elvis was a global news event, the kind of which we’d never seen before. That’s why we’re still talking about it.
He might be long dead, but he’s still one of the highest-earning dead celebrities ever. The Elvis Estate was one of the first to figure out how to keep the gravy train running posthumously. He was #1 for many years but has since been eclipsed by people like Michael Jackson, but he’s still reliably in the Top 10. The King was #4 on Forbes list last year with earnings of $27 million. Much of that cash comes from merchandising (God knows how much licensed Elvis stuff is out there) and from Graceland, where it costs $28.75 to visit his grave. Some 500,000 people visit every single year, which is a steady source of cash.
Elvis even does well online. According to YouTube, Elvis has racked up 2.8 billion views and averages 4.4 million views per day, making him one of the Top 200 artists on the platform. He’s had more views that Kanye, Whitney Houston and Fall Out Boy. The top-ranked video? (Interestingly, only 7% of those views come from the official Elvis channel on Vevo.)
The most viewed clip? Junkie XL’2 2002 remix of “A Little Less Conversation.”
The again, maybe Elvis isn’t dead after all.