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|MAKING IT BIG FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE
May 16, 2016 - The Guardian / Elvis Express Radio
When a major pop star turns up their toes, it is guaranteed that their biggest singles and albums will return to the charts in the aftermath. That is partly because fans wish to mark
their passing with a grieving gesture of support and also because record labels are extremely keen to get the posthumous profits rolling in.
Inevitably the lyrics to the Smiths’ Paint a Vulgar Picture get wheeled out here to castigate those avaricious record companies (“And oh, the plans that they weave / And oh, the
sickening greed”), but the cold “business as usual” approach is best summed up by Tom Parker.
Back in August 1977 upon hearing of the death of his sole management client, the cold hard money caring Parker announced “Elvis hasn't died – the body has,” he also spat out of
his mouth on August 16th, what the death of Elvis means to him?. “It don’t mean a damn thing. It’s just like when he was away in the army … This changes nothing.” Parker said.
Prince, David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury have all had a string of hits since their deaths. But all of these, however, pales into comparison to Elvis Presley, whose
chart afterlife suggests that Parker, rather than being insensitive, had massively underestimated what would happen following his funeral.
Since August 1977, Elvis has had the following success:
69 singles in the top 100, of which 43 went top 40 and four went to the NUMBER ONE spot.
That was helped by a massive reissue campaign in 2005, when a staggering 16 singles all went into the top 5 in January, February and March alone. Elvis has also had 65 top 100
albums since he died, 33 of which went top 40 and three got to No 1, including 2015’s If I Can Dream, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which has sold over 1m copies in
the UK to date.
It’s not all post-obit glory, however, as Elvis’s last charting single to date is O Come All Ye Faithful, which only got to No 48 in 2013. Plus he had to suffer the beyond-the-grave
indignity of taking second billing on the single to Susan Boyle.
That aside, Parker was, literally, on the money: this changes nothing. Elvis lives.