Elvis may soon be back in the charts as his earnings potential surges on the 40th anniversary of his tragic death. Presley, who came in fourth last year in the Forbes List of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities with $27 million, will be boosted by events such as the re-release of his 2002 double album The 50 Greatest Hits.
The album, out on August 11, is just one product out of many set to boost the tally of more than one billion records worldwide already sold by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Presley still moves more than 1 million albums per year, most of them physical – music-industry analysts said the demographic of his fans tends to be a little older than average, with such purchasers favoring CDs or vinyl over downloads or digital; a lot of the more recent Elvis products have been elaborate box sets.
Even so, the Presley income stream from music is dwarfed by the cash that still flows in from Graceland, Memphis. While Elvis died at his Tennessee mansion on August 16 1977, he has never left the building in the sense that it has become a place of pilgrimage for his fans worldwide. Organizers of the annual Elvis Week say that they are expecting this year’s festival to be the biggest ever.
This time fans can sleep at Graceland, thanks to a new Elvis-inspired hotel, Guest House at Graceland, which is open for its first Elvis Week after being previewed late last year.
RCA/Legacy has also just released Elvis Presley - A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings. Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings. This lavish set expanded on the likes of The Sun Sessions and is the most comprehensive early Elvis library assembled. Over three discs, it includes every known Sun Records master and outtake, along with live and radio recordings and even his first acetates.
The greatest hits compilation, one of many available, puts a convincing case for Presley, often seen as more of a singles artist than an albums star. It runs from “All Shook Up” through “Jailhouse Rock” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love” through to “Suspicious Minds” and more. The album also includes songs taken from Elvis’ film soundtracks including “Return to Sender,” “Hard Headed Woman” and “King Creole” - Sadly this is a straight forward re-release and his best seller 'A Little Less Conversation' is not included.
Elvis Presley has famously returned to the charts in the last few years. Two albums, If I Can Dream (2015) and The Wonder Of You (2016), combined his voice with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and both went to No. 1 in the U.K. – a country that the King only visited briefly, on a plane stopover. Way Down In The Jungle Room last year was a 2 CD set of his final studio recordings recorded in Graceland’s den.
Of course his earnings will be greatly boosted by Elvis Week 2017 which could be the largest ever.
Still, Presley maintains his appeal among those with longer memories and he has been clocking up 382 million streams a year on Spotify. While that lags Bowie and Michael Jackson on 600 million, Sony Legacy has been consistently releasing material from his archive and Elvis memorabilia-selling is an industry all to itself.