Saturday, April 5, 2008
Forget Mayweather v. Big Show, I'm more interested in the Mariah Carey and Elvis Presley throwdown.
This week Mariah Carey KO'd the King of Rock when she surpassed him in producing the most No. 1 singles on the Billboard Charts This accomplishment comes courtesy of her 18th single Touch My Body, which is also is No. 1 on the trade magazine's digital download chart. Carey now only takes a backseat to the Beatles who sit at the top spot with 20 number 1 singles.
Although I'm not the biggest Mariah aficionado (or the biggest fan of the horrendously cheesy aforementioned song) I have to admit the girl can sing. For the past 18 years, her pipes have granted her the ability to turn out hit song after hit song, a feat which takes more than just good marketing strategy and luck. Presley fans are a little less likely to admit so, as they have gotten their white sparkly jumpsuits all knotted up in anger over his defeat.
And all over what?
So what if Mariah Carey has more #1 hit singles than Presley? Those numbers say nothing about the quality or lasting impact that each respective artist has had, or will continue to have, on musical culture. Just as KRTH-FM DJ Gary Bryan stated "Mariah Carey is a terrific singer, and this is a great accomplishment, but you can't quantify someones place in music history by chart statistics. Some people reflect their time and some people define their time. Mariah is a reflection of her time...Elvis on the other hand defined his time, much as the Beatles later did. Mariah doesn't have that kind of iconic stature." Los Angeles Times reporter Randy Lewis was able to effectively illustrate this point when he stated that there are no velvet Mariah Carey paintings, nor are there "couples racing to Vegas chapels to be wed by Mariah impersonators. Yes, it is true that Mariah Carey is a pop icon of our time, but she will hardly be able to transcend the times in the manner that Presley did simply because she is not the pioneer that he was.
Despite the Presley fan backlash, Carey has remained a humble and gracious winner. In fact, Carey touched base on what Bryan and Lewis stated by saying that although she was happy and grateful she could never really put herself " in the category of people who have not only revolutionized music but also changed the world" because that was " a completely different era and time."
And if Presley fans just can't get past the numbers, then they should chew on this. On researcher Joel Whitburn's list of Top 500 artists for albums and singles (which is determined on a sliding scale in which musicians are given points for each recording that reaches Number 1, 2, etc.) Elvis comes in first on both the Record Research chart an Album Ranking chart.
2 out of 3 Billboard titles for the King ain't shabby, especially since majority rules.