It’s doubtful that many Elvisblog regulars have ever read Blender Magazine. Until a week ago, I had never even heard of it, but that’s not surprising. It’s a rock & roll magazine aimed at a much younger audience. Some of the acts it has featured lately include the bands Gorillaz and People In Planes and the singers Christina Malian and Ghostface Killah. Have you heard of any of them? Me neither.
Blender Magazine likes to compile strange rock lists. A few months back they had “The 50 Worst Things Ever to Happen to Music.” #10 was Colonel Parker getting his hooks in Elvis in 1955. They call him the Slobodan Milosevic of artist management. Later came “Rock’s Most Awesomely Differently Abled,” which is a painfully contorted title for a list of rock stars who overcame serious maladies and physical afflictions. (For example, Neil Young survived polio as a child) The magazine seems to be fond of the word ‘awesomely’ because they currently feature a list of “The 50 Most Awesomely Dead Rock Stars.”
So what does most awesomely dead mean? The lead-in to the list says this: “For many musicians, death in not a final reckoning – it’s the best career move they ever made. So which immortal souls are raising the most hell in 2006?” Most awesomely dead seems to be a loose characterization for still having one’s name in the press, still racking up record sales, and still making lots of money.
Well, Elvis certainly fits that description, but he is not #1 on the list. He is #3. Surprisingly, the commentary about him by Blender sounds like he should be their champ: “Dead, he earns 10 to 20 times more than he did alive. With licensing, merchandising and CD sales … the Elvis industry is worth $45 million a year. Graceland draws 600,000 pilgrims a year, there are 500 active fan clubs and 35,000 professional impersonators. Elvis, the blue chip stock of dead rockers.” That doesn’t sound like #3 to me.
Who beat Elvis? #2 is rapper The Nororious B.I.G. Give me a break. What has Biggie accomplished since he was gunned down? One album that sold 10 million copies followed by one that sold 2 million. That’s it, plus he is considered the inspiration for the next generation of New York rappers. How can anybody think this beats Elvis? Totally stupid.
Number 1 on the list is Johnny Cash. A few years ago, he was probably way back in the pack, but his legacy is on a roll right now. His posthumous Unearthed CD box set scored big on the immediate sympathy wave. Later, his career-spanning compilation, The Legend of Johnny Cash became a chart staple. Of course, his big bang was the recent biographic movie “Walk The Line.” Blender describes it this way: “Walk The Line” does a good job of sexing up the craggy Cash and his late wife June while boosting his early music.” They also declare he thrives as a touchstone of cool.
OK, I’m not going to fuss about Johnny Cash beating out Elvis as the most awesomely deal rock star in 2006. But, I’ll bet if Blender Magazine does this list again in five years, Elvis will be ahead of him. He certainly will be ahead of Notorious B.I.G.
© 2006 Philip R Arnold www.elvisblog.net