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Author Topic: Elvis vs The Beatles  (Read 58928 times)

soak

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« on: 11 Oct 2005, 16:21 »

**** WARNING: The following is most likely incoherent and uninformed ****

I have a deep irrational hatred of Elvis and all things Elvis related. To me it seems that Elvis and (mostly?) his manager laid the foundation for the shitty state of popular (top 40) music today. He is the archetype of image over substance.

Conversely, in my opinion, it seems that after the Beatles stopped touring they initiated the indie scene with their focus on creating music and ignoring the external forces that attempted to redirect their energies.

P.S. I am tired and probably full of crap.
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Se7en

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #1 on: 11 Oct 2005, 16:28 »

Actually, i agree with you. Elvis was a glorified country singer.

Ive never really thought of the beatles as having anything to do with todays indie scene, but i guess they really did set a precedent by recording whatever the hell they wanted, despite their popularity.
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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #2 on: 11 Oct 2005, 16:38 »

In terms of what? If we're talking musical ability, then the Beatles hands down, but that isn't really fair, because they were a group and Elvis was a solo artist.

If we're talking influence, which I assume we are, then it's very difficult to say, as they are the two most popular artists in the history of rock and roll (literally). If you put a gun to my head and said I could only pick one, I would reluctantly say the Beatles again, if for no other reason than that they did not only revolutionize rock, but pop, and psychadelia as well. Not to mention songwriting. No matter how iconic Elvis might be, his music is nothing in comparision to the Beatles as far as complexity. However, if not for Elvis, who knows whether the Beatles would have ever gotten together.

But on the other hand, who says that rock and roll wouldn't have surfaced anyway under Buddy Holly and other musicians of the era?

It's a very complicated question.
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Se7en

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #3 on: 11 Oct 2005, 16:41 »

Yeah, buddy holly was probably far more talented than elvis. Elvis was overrated then, and overrated now.
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soak

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #4 on: 11 Oct 2005, 16:49 »

My point was that Elvis is responsible for propagating artists who simply record whatever is crapped out in front of them and allow their managers to dominate their careers.
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Topper

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #5 on: 11 Oct 2005, 16:50 »

"Chuck Berry was doing a very heavy rock and roll thing, the King of rock and roll as a matter of fact, but white people couldn't deal with their daughters going to a show and creaming over a black man wiggling on the stage, so consequently they invented Elvis Presley and let him do it for them"

Something like that, anyway. I'm pretty sure those aren't the exact words but more or less the gist of them. It's from a Gil Scott-Heron poem called 'Ain't No New Thing'.

The Beatles are both the most famous and the best band of all time. Feel free to disagree, if you like, but I've never really heard a good case against that comment. Good thread, any excuse to simoultaneously gripe at Elvis and praise The Beatles.
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RUMBLEMOOSE

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #6 on: 11 Oct 2005, 17:01 »

Recording whatever is crapped out in front of you was kind of the norm for popular music until somewhere around... uh, I think the Beatles, amusingly. But Elvis certainly didn't set that precedent; the writer-as-performer hadn't really been conceived as a marketable idea yet. Even the first few Beatles records were half covers, weren't they?

Abbey Road > Sgt. Peppers
but
Pet Sounds > anything by the Beatles
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Inlander

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #7 on: 11 Oct 2005, 17:03 »

Quote from: soak
My point was that Elvis is responsible for propagating artists who simply record whatever is crapped out in front of them and allow their managers to dominate their careers.


Actually, it's more the other way around: Elvis was simply maintaining a very old tradition in popular music (any of the great singers from any era you care to mention wrote few if any of their own songs - just look at Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, etc., both of whom could be comfortably described as popular singers in their day).  The Beatles were responsible in a large part for breaking this trend.

Of course, Buddy Holly got there first, writing most of his own material when doing so was almost unheard of in the world of mass-appeal popular music (as opposed to folk, country, blues etc.).

EDIT: ain't it always the way?  You wait for ages for someone to make a point, and then two people make the same point at the same time!
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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #8 on: 11 Oct 2005, 17:06 »

If Elvis had died before his embarrassing, fat, sequined-jumpsuit era then you might be thinking differently. I don't know.

The Beatles had the advantage of breaking up before they got shit.

Se7en

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #9 on: 11 Oct 2005, 17:09 »

Well before recorded music, it was unthinkable for a composer to be a performer as well. The two were very seperate arts, and the composer was the man the credit went to. Nowadays, the performer gets the credit, and the person that wrote the song goes unrecognised.
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sjbrot

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #10 on: 11 Oct 2005, 17:32 »

Very true, Se7en. If someone like Cole Porter were to come around today (or his modern stylistic equivalent), it's hard to see him getting much recognition, which is a shame.

Also, in a caged deathmatch, who would win: An amalgamation of all the Beatles or Elvis? Keep in mind that Albert Goldman claims that Lennon did kill a random man in Berlin and got away with it.
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Se7en

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #11 on: 11 Oct 2005, 17:41 »

are we talking fat elvis, or young elvis?
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sjbrot

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #12 on: 11 Oct 2005, 17:43 »

I'm thinking young, spry Elvis, to make things more interesting. Another factor: Elvis did enlist in the army.
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Se7en

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #13 on: 11 Oct 2005, 17:44 »

Yeah, but have YOU ever got in a fight with a scouser?
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Kid Modernist

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #14 on: 11 Oct 2005, 19:44 »

While I am definitely in the "Beatles are better" camp, it's just plain fact that without Elvis there would be no rock as we know it. Yes, he was an image. Yes, he didn't right his songs. But, he was also a white man who could sing like a black man, which brought rock to the white side of America that got it into the hands of Buddy Holly (Who everybody thought was black when they heard him on the radio because he was doing "black music" and even played the Apollo to a crowd that thought a black dude was going to come out).

So, in my opinion, no matter what you think of him, any rock music you listen to today is in some way indebted to him.
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Kid Amnesiac

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #15 on: 11 Oct 2005, 21:30 »

Hate 'em both.
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1patheticloser

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #16 on: 11 Oct 2005, 21:39 »

Why?
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tasteslikeevil

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #17 on: 11 Oct 2005, 22:04 »

I don't see why some of you guys feel the need to hate on Elvis so much. Sure, I like the Beatles better, but I like the Beatles better than a lot of other bands, both from back in the day and in the present. I think what Elvis did for the music industry at the time was imprtant, and y'all should recognize for that, whether you're a fan of his music or not.
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Everest

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #18 on: 12 Oct 2005, 04:49 »

I think you can blame Elvis just as much for the creating the pop crap we hate nowadays, as you can praise the Beatles for creating the indie scene we love nowadays: none.
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Thrillho

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #19 on: 12 Oct 2005, 11:42 »

Well, I'm no anti-Elvis guy, I think he had a lot of raw talent and he sure was pretty - but the way I see it:

Elvis' hits were written for him.
The Beatles wrote their own.

Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, the Beatles are superior. There are of course countless other elements in it, but I think The Beatles beat him in most categories.

However I find this Elvis hatred pretty ridiculous. The title of this thread is misleading, because the opening post wasn't the inspiration of debate, it was just the needless bashing of a musical legend and icon.
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Maui

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Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #20 on: 12 Oct 2005, 13:29 »

THE BEATLES....

Hands down.  No contest.  This thread is done heh. Also, you shouldve attached a poll to this eh.
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most_wanted

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #21 on: 12 Mar 2008, 07:59 »

You guys are just envious of Elvis' talents.
He is The Real King Of Rock & Roll.
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karl gambolputty...

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #22 on: 12 Mar 2008, 08:21 »

Musically, I agree that the Beatles were the hands-down winners, but as far as sheer cultural impact?   Elvis changed everything.  There is a clear, giant disconnect between pre-Elvis America and post-Elvis America.  I read this book a couple years ago, I wish I could remember its name, by this guy who devotes a whole chapter to the first time he heard Elvis on the radio.  The Beatles, as popular and brilliant as they were, just didn't do that, I think.

Also, clearly it would be unfair to pit Elvis against a Beatles amalgam.  You'd have to at least graft Hendrix to his arm.
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Patrick

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #23 on: 12 Mar 2008, 08:41 »

Elvis' hits were written for him.
The Beatles wrote their own.

Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, the Beatles are superior.

This.

Musically, I agree that the Beatles were the hands-down winners, but as far as sheer cultural impact? Elvis changed everything.

Elvis changed a lot of things, yes. But seriously? Even there, the Beatles did him one better.

I mean, yeah, Elvis has his own wiki article for cultural impact, but it isn't anywhere near as impressive.
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #24 on: 12 Mar 2008, 09:01 »

That article's actually thoroughly underwhelming. Beyond developing the importance of the album over the single there's not a lot there of great importance, it's mostly just bits of trivia about meeting Keith Moon and being in the Simpsons.
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #25 on: 12 Mar 2008, 09:11 »

He is The Real King Of Rock & Roll.

WRONG. Elvis was not r&r, he was rockabilly.

Elvis was a talented performer and vocalist, but he did not write any of his songs. I do not consider him one of the greatest musicians of all time, either. If he had written his music, I may have felt differently, but he didn't. There are a LOT of other solo artists from that time period who I think were just as, if not more, talented.

The Beatles, however, wrote all of their music (minus that silly stuff at the beginning of their career to make people think they were nice boys), played it, and basically revolutionized rock and roll and also helped to create art rock. What they did was HUGE compared to what Elvis did. Elvis regurgitated other songs while he wiggled on stage, but these guys actually revolutionized the MUSIC.

I am a little biased, though, because the Beatles are one of my favorite bands ever.
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Patrick

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #26 on: 12 Mar 2008, 09:43 »

That article's actually thoroughly underwhelming.

How about this? Or perhaps this little bit:

"The Beatles were the first entertainment act to stage a large stadium concert."

That seems pretty important to me, considering the fact that a lot of really big-name bands won't play in anything BUT stadiums now.
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #27 on: 12 Mar 2008, 09:56 »

It's not much of an innovation though, it was bound to happen that the largest venues available would eventually become used for entertainment acts. It's an interesting bit of trivia, sure, but nothing more to me. I'm not disputing the cultural impact of the Beatles incidentally, just that article giving much of an impression of their actually having much of an impact besides doing a couple of things first. As for the list of people who covered their songs, well, there's a lot there and a lot of them sold a lot of records but you could probably do a comparable list for songs popularised by Elvis.
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karl gambolputty...

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #28 on: 12 Mar 2008, 10:08 »



I mean, yeah, Elvis has his own wiki article for cultural impact, but it isn't anywhere near as impressive.

I have to disagree with you on that.  Elvis didn't write his own songs, true, and he wasn't the most talented musician of his time, perhaps, but no artist of the 20th century had as much impact as he did.  Not just on pop culture, but on race relations, the civil rights movement, the concept of celebrity, youth culture, even arguably the sexual revolution. 

(minus that silly stuff at the beginning of their career to make people think they were nice boys)

That silly stuff was what Elvis made ok to play half a decade earlier.  It's easy to forget just how unacceptable plain ol' rock n roll was to most of the world before he came along.  The racial hatred, the class divide, those were enormous barriers that he had a huge part in breaking down. 

Again, I'm not arguing about the music, the Beatles were musically the greatest band of all time, I'm just saying that Elvis was more important.
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Thrillho

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #29 on: 12 Mar 2008, 11:01 »

Elvis had raw talent. He may have invented the current top 40, but he was a phenomenon. He had sold ten million records by the end of either 1956 or 1957, I forget which. But when you consider that at this point - when WAY more people buy albums - Weezer have sold ten million records total, you get an idea of the kind of success he was getting. It was unprecedented.

I don't think it would've worked for someone other than Elvis, because it didn't. I'm pretty sure rock 'n' rollers were there before him who didn't sell like that. And if you see any of the life stuff Elvis did when he played guitar, he couldn't play at all, but his vocals and charisma were amazing.

The Beatles were the superior act in so many ways, yes, but when you consider the fact that they worked so fucking hard for all of it and were so great, and Elvis just kind of effortlessly glided into it, his manager made the hype, and then Elvis lived up to it.
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David_Dovey

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #30 on: 12 Mar 2008, 11:13 »

I'm not exactly sure what the point you're trying to make is. Are you saying that there is more merit to "effortlessly glide in" to fame and to just fall ass-backwards into a wonderful stage-managed hysteria, as opposed to working hard, writing songs, touring doggedly, and then once you're installed as a bona fide phenomena, to continue to challenge perceptions at great risk to their own career, such as the Beatles did? (and let's face it, we don't really think of it as such because of hindsight, but the general public could've easily looked at something like Sgt Pepper's and completely turn their backs).

P.S; I don't exactly get what you're getting at with compare and contrasting Elvis Presley's record sales with Weezer's. I mean, Weezer are a pretty successful band I guess, when compared with other bands from the whole "indie rock" thing, but it's not really relevant to anything to use them as a benchmark on which to measure someone who is easily the most influential solo musician in the twentieth century.

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Katherine

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #31 on: 12 Mar 2008, 11:13 »

People who take pictures with cardboard Elvis cutouts are cool.  Right?
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Thrillho

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #32 on: 12 Mar 2008, 11:19 »

They are now, K-dawg.
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roulettescars

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #33 on: 12 Mar 2008, 12:28 »

Elvis didn't even write songs... He just performed them. He's no different then Brittany spears with a guitar... so Avril Lavigne. The fact that those songs weren't even all that good makes matters even worse. He didn't create or invent anything, he didn't make any radical changes to the industry, he just popularized a watered down version of what was already there, like the pop punk fad not too long ago. Its like saying "Who is better, A simple plan or the Dead Kennedy's?"

The Beatles were an unrivaled song writing force, whose material still strikes me as unique today. No one has successfully re-created that magic since. They had the unbelievable drive to constantly re-invent themselves, and never just settle for the safe bet. The only modern artist that can even begin to approach the foothills of their mountain of self renovation is possibly radiohead. Too many bands have a tendency to grow stagnant after a while, and get comfortable re-making the same same album over and over.

So anyways, The Beatles hands down. Not even a contest. Apples and oranges.
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karl gambolputty...

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #34 on: 12 Mar 2008, 12:40 »

Quote
He's no different then Brittany spears with a guitar... so Avril Lavigne.

Dude, no.  Just... no.
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #35 on: 12 Mar 2008, 13:28 »

Man I'm so stoned I actually thought this was actually the old beatles vs elvis thread from 3 years ago that somebody had resurrected and people were replying to it.

I've got to stop smoking pot as soon as I wake up it is a serious problem.
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #36 on: 12 Mar 2008, 13:42 »

Wow, exactly what Hat said.  (That was kinda weird.)

Oh wait.
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Johnny C

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #37 on: 12 Mar 2008, 14:08 »

Elvis worked doggedly for three years recording singles for Sun Records that never got him anywhere before he managed a breakthrough. Let's not get hasty and say he rode an easy wave to success.
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Patrick

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #38 on: 12 Mar 2008, 14:20 »

Johnny, let's be fair here. "Baby, Let's Play House" has absolutely nothing on "Suspicious Minds."

(minus that silly stuff at the beginning of their career to make people think they were nice boys)

That silly stuff was what Elvis made ok to play half a decade earlier.  It's easy to forget just how unacceptable plain ol' rock n roll was to most of the world before he came along.

Man, my mother still won't listen to any Beatles music from Revolver onward.
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karl gambolputty...

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #39 on: 12 Mar 2008, 14:27 »

That is my new favorite Yo Mama joke
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #40 on: 13 Mar 2008, 09:08 »

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Thrillho

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #41 on: 13 Mar 2008, 09:14 »

I'm not exactly sure what the point you're trying to make is. Are you saying that there is more merit to "effortlessly glide in" to fame and to just fall ass-backwards into a wonderful stage-managed hysteria, as opposed to working hard, writing songs, touring doggedly, and then once you're installed as a bona fide phenomena, to continue to challenge perceptions at great risk to their own career, such as the Beatles did? (and let's face it, we don't really think of it as such because of hindsight, but the general public could've easily looked at something like Sgt Pepper's and completely turn their backs).

The Beatles are the better artist in just about every way. The point I was making was that Elvis was just a massive talent, in such a way that his success was something that practically came naturally to him. He could just walk into a studio and record a number one record.

I am a Beatles scholar, I am fully aware of the massive contribution they've made to music - they are not unjustifiably considered by many to be the greatest group ever. I'm not saying there is more MERIT to the fact that Elvis just tripped and fell into fame, I just think it says something about his talent, charisma and I guess the way he was marketed that he did.

Quote
P.S; I don't exactly get what you're getting at with compare and contrasting Elvis Presley's record sales with Weezer's. I mean, Weezer are a pretty successful band I guess, when compared with other bands from the whole "indie rock" thing, but it's not really relevant to anything to use them as a benchmark on which to measure someone who is easily the most influential solo musician in the twentieth century.

Nobody bought records in the 1950s. Weezer have been around since 1994 - it was just a random band I plucked out of the air, but in these modern music-buying times, Weezer have sold that many records in 14 years where Elvis, at a time when considerably less people had the luxury, had sold ten million within less than a year of his debut. Especially when you consider the contemporary atmosphere and the fact that many people considering him to be playing devil and/or black music, it's pretty impressive.
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #42 on: 13 Mar 2008, 10:33 »

He is The Real King Of Rock & Roll.

WRONG. Elvis was not r&r, he was rockabilly.



WRONG. He did both. And gospel. And country. And tender ballads. And etc etc etc.
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #43 on: 13 Mar 2008, 10:41 »

(minus that silly stuff at the beginning of their career to make people think they were nice boys)

You mean the music they adored, continued to record and play from that point on, songs which are widely seen as rock 'n' roll classics? Yeah they were shit.

Come on, man. Lennon's vocal take on 'Twist And Shout' was the most shocking people most people had heard up to 1963.
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #44 on: 13 Mar 2008, 11:48 »

Elvis=Rebel

Beatles=Leaders of a Revolution

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #45 on: 13 Mar 2008, 12:01 »

**** WARNING: The following is most likely incoherent and uninformed ****

...

P.S. I am tired and probably full of crap.

Then why start a thread?
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #46 on: 13 Mar 2008, 13:09 »

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dalconnsuch

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #47 on: 13 Mar 2008, 14:19 »

i think when it comes to "who was a bigger inspiration for the musical world"? thats actually thougher than it sounds cuz the beatles inspired an entire generation of counter-culture while elvis dawned the birth of THAT! elvis spawned the early rocknroll scene with the likes of chuck barry (yes timeline monkeys, elvis was before chuck barry), james dean, johnny cash and many others


i still go beatles > elvis
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Boom

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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #48 on: 13 Mar 2008, 14:37 »

Beatles > Elvis

2 completely different stiles of music, both good, but I generally prefer the Beatles
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Re: Elvis vs The Beatles
« Reply #49 on: 13 Mar 2008, 19:00 »

WRONG. He did both. And gospel. And country. And tender ballads. And etc etc etc.

Most of what he did I do not consider rock and roll and most of the rock and roll songs he did were covers. Calling him the king of rock and roll is one of my pet peeves, I'm sorry. People give him too much credit for songs that were not his. Even after studying this guy's career, I still only like a few of his songs.

(minus that silly stuff at the beginning of their career to make people think they were nice boys)

You mean the music they adored, continued to record and play from that point on, songs which are widely seen as rock 'n' roll classics? Yeah they were shit.

I'm not saying it was shit. But what I said is true. They made a nice boy image for themselves so they could get popular and then they evolved into what made them really great.
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