Can you name any other artist in history aside from Elvis and the Beatles who have seemingly transcended the bounds of time? Well, I can name one artist who is currently doing that, Madonna (who else?). The single proof to that ‘Lasting’ worldwide appeal is her latest single and album success. I cannot remember another artist (except the ones mentioned above) who have gone to No.1 in more than 30 countries with their albums. In history music can be best illustrated as an art form that has a ‘tri-polar’ legacy. Elvis is the perennial solo male artist in history, Madonna is the perennial solo female artist of all time, & the Beatles is the perennial group/band of all time.
In coming up with the three greatest artists in history one should have all these qualities/accomplishments: a. Phenomenal record sales worldwide; b. Outstanding recognition through award giving bodies worldwide; c. Sold-out concerts all over the globe; d. No.1’s in charts globally; e. International books & articles published in their name; f. Worldwide records; and g. Career longevity.
If one of these criteria hasn’t been satisfied then one cannot be called the greatest legend. These criteria may be summed-up to one qualification: ‘Iconic Global Appeal’. Of all the artists that have come and gone, only three (3) artists have satisfied the criteria with flying colors (Elvis, Madge & the Beatles).
These artists have hundreds if not thousands of books published in their name. They have been included in almost all books like encyclopedias, year-end books, historical books, entertainment books etc. They have so much contribution to musical artistry that their name is probably as significant historically to other artistic legends like Beethoven, Picasso, Michelangelo or Shakespeare. These artists are so relevant to history that it wouldn’t be complete without them in it. Their profound influence to culture & artistry has earned them a spot among the ‘Cultural Icons’ of our time.
Elvis is known as the ‘King’, mentioned internationally with various titles like the ‘King of Rock & Roll’, ‘King of Memphis’, & ‘King of Graceland’, Madonna is also referred to as the ‘Queen’ with titles like ‘Queen of Pop’, ‘Dancing Queen’, & ‘Queen of Reinvention’. The Beatles are the highest ‘Band Royalty’ & they are popularly known as the ‘Fab Five’. They are very important historically because they define their era. Elvis defined the 50’s Rock & Roll Era, The Beatles spear-headed the 60’s British Band Invasion and Madonna was the leader in the 80’s New Wave/Pop Generation.
I may say that only Elvis, Madge, & the Beatles are ‘Much More’ than a ‘Chart Statistic’ (like most successful artists today like Mariah, Britney, Christina, Backstreet Boys, Usher etc.). These popular artists today are like ‘Flavors of the Month’ meaning they have fleeting appeal. They might have broken records in important markets like ‘America or Europe’ but as I mentioned they haven’t reached the level of the ‘Tri-Polar Global Icons’ & it takes much more than ‘Domestic’ appeal to be in that exclusive league.
Elvis, Madonna & The Beatles have already banked their place in the history books & their legacy will last for life. The 21st Century would produce other ‘Icons’ but remember that music history only has one ‘King’, one ‘Queen’ & one ‘Greatest Band’.