"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)


"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)


"The image is one thing and the human being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image"


(Elvis Presley, Madison Square Garden press conference, 1972)


"Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was actually stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something"

(David Bowie)


"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme"

(Mick Jagger)


"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother...there'll never be another like that soul brother"

(Soul legend, James Brown)


"Before Elvis there was nothing!"

(John Lennon)


"There were rock 'n' roll records before Heartbreak Hotel, but this was the one that didn't just open the door…it literally blasted the door off its rusted, rotten, anachronistic hinges…. producing....no propelling, an unstoppable, fundamental and primordial shift in not only musical, but social, political and cultural history"

(JNP, BBC website)


"Elvis, the musician, is largely a relic belonging to the baby boomer generation...Elvis, the icon, is arguably one of the most potent symbols of popular culture"

( Dr. John Walker)


"It [rock & roll] was always about Elvis; not just because he was Elvis, but because he was the big star"

(Bono from U2)


""If they had let me on white radio stations back then, there never would have been an Elvis"

(Little Richard)


















































































































































































































































































Economic power of Elvis endures long after death


Elvis Presley Enterprises kept music legend's memory alive to tune of $40 million in 2004.

Elvis is alive.

OK, maybe not in the actual, medical sense of the word, but from a sales and marketing perspective Elvis is almost as hot today as when he first shook his scandalous hips on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956.

The beauty of Elvis is that there are so many facets to him," said Scott Williams, the marketing manager for Elvis Presley Enterprises, the name of the company that oversees business operations of the Elvis estate.

Williams was in town yesterday speaking to the Nashville Advertising Federation, a local industry group, about how to market a rock legacy long after the celebrity himself has died."What we want to do is let fans enjoy Elvis in their own way," he said.

Scott Williams, marketing manager for Elvis Presley Enterprises, speaks to the Nashville Advertising Federation at Scarritt-Bennett Center about how to market a dead music superstar’s legacy.

Translation: Whether you like Elvis solely for his music, for his movies, for the kitsch factor — or better yet, for all those reasons, Williams' job is to offer plenty of innovative ways to meet that demand. And judging from the numbers, it's a business strategy that's working.

Last year, EPE brought in roughly $40 million, making Elvis No. 1 on Forbes magazine's 2004 list of the top-earning dead celebrities, ahead of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and Lord of The Rings author J.R.R Tolkien.

In February, New York-based company CKX acquired an 85% stake in EPE from Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley for roughly $108 million in cash and stock, according to SEC filings. In addition, the company paid wife Priscilla Presley $6.5 million and annual payments of $550,000 for the next eight years for commercial use of the Presley name.

A month after buying EPE, the company purchased 19 Entertainment, the company that created the Pop Idols television franchise. Already, Williams hinted, the sister companies are working together, as Graceland recently hosted the top four contestants on Canadian Idol, footage of which became great fodder for Elvis.com.

Elvis.com, which draws 600,000 unique visitors per month and drew 1 million during August, the month Elvis died, keeps its audience engaged with such mundane technologies as a Webcam on the property and message boards."

The Webcam is the second-most-popular destination on the site aside from the home page," Williams told the roughly 50-person crowd. "We've even gotten e-mails from people telling us, 'I just saw shuttle bus No. 403 pull up. The right brake light is out.' I'm not making this up."

But there's also plenty of licensed merchandise offered online as well. Everything from an $87 wallet from fashion designer Paul Frank to the $199 Elvis Super Deluxe jumpsuit. CKX's latest quarterly earnings report indicates that of its $18.9 million in revenue, $10.3 million derived from royalties and licensing.

Elvis licensing is such a big business that a full-time staff of 10 people does nothing but handle licensing deals. And yet, despite having about 400 ongoing licensing partnerships, a full 98% of proposed Elvis projects are rejected each year, Williams said."

After Elvis died, there were so many licensing deals signed that led to a lot of very tacky stuff," Williams said. (Moments before, he was standing before a luncheon audience extolling the potential eBay value of a limited-edition Elvis CelebriDuck — a branded line of celebrities done up in rubber duck form.)

Said Williams: "We're very careful. We only do licensing deals that make sense with the Elvis image."



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"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"

(Dr. Gary Enders)


" Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"



"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"

(humorist Dave Barry)


"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"

(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")


"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"

(Nick Tosches)


"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"

(Carl Perkins)


"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"

(Bob Dylan)


"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"

(Sir Paul McCartney)


"You can't say enough good things about Elvis. He was one of a kind"

(Johnny Cash)