Who was bigger, Elvis in 1956 or The Beatles in 1964?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by beatlesfan9091, Jun 26, 2019.

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  1. beatlesfan9091

    beatlesfan9091 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Does anyone know? I suppose it’s a bit difficult to measure stuff like that. I guess you could look at record sales, but what about concert sales and stuff like that?
  2. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    The Beatles would say Elvis.
  3. jfire

    jfire Beatles and Jazz Know-if-All

  4. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

  5. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    Or guitar sales.


    Elvis was John the Baptist. Beatles were Jesus.
  6. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    One major difference is Elvis happened relatively gradually, helped along mightily by monthly TV variety show appearances, while The Beatles were the Big Bang in one overwhelming spot.
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  7. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

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  8. CBackley

    CBackley Chairman of the Bored

    The Beatles were four people. Definitely bigger than one dude, especially in 1956.
  9. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident


    Then, Frank Sinatra.

    Then, the Fab Four.
  10. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    What that means is Elvis had to carry the burden alone
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  11. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Youngstown, Ohio
    The Beatles, simply because there were a lot more media to fan the flames of Beatlemania in 1964 than there was Elvis mania in 1956.

    It's not often remembered, but there were few if any radio stations that played rock 'n' roll music on a full-time basis in 1956. Most stations had a variety of programming through the day, with rock 'n' roll shows relegated to specific time slots.

    But by 1964 there were thousands of stations that played nothing but rock 'n' roll — in some cases, 24 hours a day. Beatlemania was inescapable. Another factor was that radio stations had more Beatles recordings to pull from and put on their airwaves. In addition to the recently released US Meet the Beatles LP, there was the entire Introducing the Beatles album and assorted singles from 1963 that were reissued in the states. Hell, the radio station I listened to even played "Ain't She Sweet" and "My Bonnie." Elvis initially had a couple of RCA single releases and five Sun singles, but how many stations bothered to acquire them? I'm not sure all that many did.

    Beatlemania was also a bigger deal on TV because there was one big event to focus on — The Beatles touching down at the airport in New York City. This was covered on the network TV news and in most any newspaper. Coupled with the unprecedented audience for the Ed Sullivan Show appearance, this was truly a knockout punch.

    By contrast, Elvis appeared as a performer on some national TV shows in 1956, but I doubt if there was all that much regular coverage of him in the "straight" press — beyond some commentators fulminating about him.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
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  12. Waymore

    Waymore Well-Known Member

    1964 Beatlemania rather easily. Elvis never even had a world tour.
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  13. drbryant

    drbryant Forum Resident

    About the same. In both cases, the “bigness” was largely confined to a limited group, both in terms of age - teens and pre-teens - and geography.

    Both acts predated the broader acceptance of rock and roll and the technological changes that would benefit later, significantly less talented, teen idols.
  14. JimmyCool

    JimmyCool Forum Resident

    Without Elvis 1956, no Beatles 1964.
  15. willy

    willy hooga hagga hooga

    An eight-legged Jesus :laugh:
  16. bryduck

    bryduck Forum Resident

    Glendale, CA US
    Beatles were a) worldwide and b) influenced EVERYTHING. (Think: music, fashion, hairstyle, even art and on a big scale, society at large, and maybe more.) Elvis influenced only music and maybe hair, to a much lesser extent, and (perhaps) sexuality. The Beatles, of course, also "held the stage" much longer and more consistently. Elvis as ELVIS disappeared after just a couple years into the Army and then Hollywood, with sporadic "comebacks."
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  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    Impossible to say.
    Elvis smashed his way through the virgin forest. The Beatles had a path already made.
    Both were huge... cant we just be satisfied with that.
    Sure the Beatles toured the world.
    Elvis was hobbled by Parker, had to do two years military service.
    By the time the Beatles came along, rock and roll was pretty much accepted.
    When Elvis came along he was the lewd pervert leading the rock and roll pack.

    How is it even possible to compare these things?
  18. zen

    zen Forum Resident

    Worldwide? Beatles.
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  19. Chuckee

    Chuckee Forum Resident

    Upstate, NY, USA
    The Beatles, not saying they were more important, but they pretty much conquered the world that year.
  20. Keith todaro

    Keith todaro Forum Resident


    Wow...guess they cured cancer and invented the internet before Al Gore too????? Geeze.
    Four guys... some really good songs along with maybe just as many stinkers...flamed out in less than 10 years iirc...but they changed mankind forever?
    Wow. I’m flummoxed.
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  21. Stan94

    Stan94 Forum Resident

    Paris, France
    I would think that the Beatles were bigger than anything else before them but the same is true of bands or artists that came after them (more media, more money to buy records). So Elvis was the king in the 50’s, the Beatles replaced him in the 60’s, Led Zeppelin took over in the 70’s, Michael Jackson in the 80’s, Nirvana in the 90’s, etc.
    Crimson jon likes this.
  22. Shawn

    Shawn Forum Resident

    Elvis started a cultural revolution. The Beatles rode on that coat tail and took it in a different direction.
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  23. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover

    Beatles in 64.
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  24. steppednwhat

    steppednwhat I hallucinate on Dr. Pepper

    Norman Oklahoma
    Elvis was in good shape in '56 so the Beatles were bigger:winkgrin:
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  25. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    Let the festivities begin!
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