It’s hard to argue that any 20th century musician left a more enduring legacy than Elvis Presley. You may not be able to find too many young people today who are familiar with his actual music, but the style and persona of The King are recognizable even to children born in the last decade. There’s just something iconic about the man, and lucky for all of us it’s been wonderfully preserved by countless cultural depictions and various revivals and tributes.

Really, it’s not hard to find evidence of the public’s continued adoration for Elvis in modern pop culture. But just for fun, let’s take a look at five specific things that illustrate the rock legend’s enduring impact.

1. Elvis Still Breaking Records

As tends to be the case with ElvisIfICanDream_1a lot of deceased musicians these days, Elvis is still releasing music in one fashion or another, and in in October of last year a fascinating album was released in his name. “If I Can Dream” was a combination of old vocal recordings from Elvis and input from modern artists like Michael Bublé, Il Volo, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, and according to a report tracking the success of the album, it sold 79,000 copies in one week. It also helped Elvis break the record for the most number-one albums in the UK (it was his 12th). This was perhaps the clearest indication we’ve had in years that The King’s music, in addition to his persona, is still popular.

2. Elvis Works In Ads

This is a sillier point than the fact that Elvis had a number-one album in 2015, but it actually speaks to Elvis’s enduring popularity as well as anything else. In ’15, one of the most popular advertisements on television or streaming services was an insurance ad featuring Elvis impersonators. With each impersonator quoting the State Farm phrase “like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” the ad worked with the assumption that modern audiences still recognize and understand imitations of the icon.

3. Elvis In Online Gaming

Perhaps the most surprising idea on this list is that Elvis is even the subject of a popular online game. Specifically, he appears among a range of casino games online. With many of the games focused on specific films or pop culture figures, “Elvis – The King Lives” stands out as one focused on music. Using drawn images of The King (as well as symbols like guitars and dancing shoes), it has features that trigger Elvis music when a player wins. Given that many perceive the online casino industry as one catering primarily to younger audiences, it’s fascinating that a game like this is still used to attract players.

4. Elvis In Vampire Fiction

Here’s one a lot of people might not be aware of. The wildly popular TV series “True Blood” is based on a series of books called “The Southern Vampire Mysteries” that have a pretty large audience of their own. Those books involved a lot of quirky characters over time, and one (Bubba) was meant to be a sort of vampire incarnation of Elvis Presley! In the story, there was still a hint of life in Elvis when he got to the morgue, and a vampire working there happened to be a fan and helped to turn Elvis (or Bubba) into a vampire as well. Thus, one of the more influential TV series of the past 15 years (just think of the vampire craze “True Blood” helped ignite) is based on literature that included a vampire Elvis.

5. A Brand-New Elvis Film

Finally, and perhaps most exciting of all, they’re still making films about various aspects of Elvis’s life. “Elvis & Nixon”
emerged this year and tells the bizarre story of the rock legend’s interactions with U.S. President Richard Nixon. In the film, Elvis is played by Michael Shannon, while Nixon is portrayed by Kevin Spacey. The film performed well with critics and audiences alike, with most citing the acting duo as a source of strength.

The items in this list are essentially unrelated to one another, and yet they demonstrate the broad impact that one of history’s greatest musicians still has on pop culture and society. There was just something about the man that made for an endless capacity to keep us entertained.

Categories: Stories of artists

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