Great piece on TIME.com…
A longtime lieutenant of TIME and LIFE founder Henry Luce, journalist Richard Clurman found himself chatting one day in the late 1960s with Leonard Bernstein, the legendary composer and conductor of the New York Philharmonic. “Elvis Presley,” Bernstein said, “is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century.” Taken aback, Clurman, who recounted the exchange to the writer David Halberstam, offered an alternative.
“What about Picasso?” Clurman ventured.
“No, it’s Elvis,” Bernstein insisted. “He introduced the beat to everything and he changed everything–music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution–the ’60s come from it.”
Ted Harrison, a British writer and broadcaster who’s done landmark work on the Presley phenomenon, notes that investors in the “Elvis brand,” thanks to the Presley family, have had unusual artistic and commercial freedom. Next up: a hologram Elvis that can carry an entire concert. “Elvis,” Harrison says, “will continue to grow.” Fans, it turns out, need never have a lonesome night.‘