Once upon a time and almost unbelievably, a very poor young man from Memphis, Tennessee fundamentally changed the face of music, style, fashion, and generational culture that continues to be nothing short of amazing. When Elvis Presley first garnered national attention in 1956, it was in the form of angry, vicious and polarizing debate. But he prevailed. By 1957 he was starring n movies such as “Love Me Tender” and “Jailhouse Rock.” People all over the world recognized him simply by his first name. Fast forward to today, and his songs are considered classics.
About the same time–in 1957–Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, was beginning to be known by one name also. “Lick” was an American psychologist who happened to have a triple triple bachelor of arts degree in mathematics, physics, and psychology. That year he received the Franklin V. Taylor Award from the Society of Engineering Psychologists and became a Vice President at Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. In 1958 he was elected President of the Acoustical Society of America and later received a prestigious Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service.
By 1962, and a good six years into his stunning and initial skyrocketing season, Elvis was considered the most powerfully positive innovation in music and movies. Lick was doing the same in his line of work with something he called a “galactic network” of computers that could actually communicate with each other. Fast forward today, and his radical dreams are now known as “The Internet.” Like Elvis, Lick changed the history of the world forever.
Incredibly, Elvis Presley’s Facebook page currently has more than 13.5 million followers. This compares to stars (all alive as of this writing) such as George Strait who has more than 7.7 million followers. Paul McCartney has almost 6.9 million. Bob Dylan has 6.8 million, The Eagles have 6.6 million. Elton John has almost 6.6 million. Willie Nelson has 5.5 million, and Mick Jagger, 3.1 million.
Forty years after his death on August 16, 1977, “Elvis Presley (is) not just ‘one of the most’ iconic musicians of the 20th century,” said Presley expert Guillermo F. Perez-Argüello. “He was and remains the most iconic person of the said century and the most sustainable as well.”
Perez-Arguello, points out that Presley is an icon, “not merely in the theory, but factually, even making a huge imprint in areas not necessarily associated with him, like art in general.”
A former Nicaraguan diplomat and United Nations staff member, Perez-Arguello soundly verifies that the Presley continues “in this, the second decade of the 21st century,” to have an enormous impact in countless capacities. He points to the fact that “the quite prestigious publication, ‘The Atlantic’ magazine, in 2006, named the 100 most influential Americans ever.”
“No person in the entertainment world, other than Walt Disney and Presley made the list, with Presley earning a No. 66th ranking,” Perez-Arguello stressed. “Then, in 2008, MIT launched an online program called ‘Pantheon,’ which maps the cultural production and actual popularity in the Internet, and Wikipedia’s 200-plus languages, of every person who was ever born after 4000 BC.”
“Not surprisingly, Presley ranks No. 117,” notes Perez-Arguello. “The only person to have been born in the US who is currently ranked higher being the Reverend and Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late Dr. Martin Luther King.”
During the December 2015, special edition of “National Geographic” magazine, they honored “what they deem to have been the ‘100 Most Important Events in History,’” the father of two and a proud binational of both Peru and Nicaragua states. “No event even remotely related to entertainment is listed, with the single exception of Presley’s advent in 1956, which launched, then propelled the already existent Rock and Roll era–previously known as Rhythm and Blue, which he fused with Country and Western–to the actual stratosphere, and which still, to this day, continues to change the landscape of American and world youth, after creating a special market for them. That event was ranked 79th.”