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Van Halen bigger than Elvis?

For those of us that grew up in the 80's (USA), we remember Van Halen well; Eddie and the gang, "Running with the Devil," and "Jump" remain some of the biggest hits that put Heavy Metal on the map. Kids everywhere tuned into MTV, the new music video channel to watch mega artists like Madonna, Michael Jackson, and yes, Van Halen.

Many were upset when the bands break up was rumored to be caused by lead singer David Lee Roth's mega ego! And after reading Mr. Roth's recent interview with a metal magazine we won't bother to name, I can now see that the love of himself has grown even bigger over time.

Roth, now 64 years old, publicly claimed his band, the one that he left, returned, and left again, to be "bigger" than Elvis Presley!

No, we aren't kidding. I know this seems like an episode of the Twilight Zone, but you can google this nonsense and read his words for yourself--if you're bored, that is.

As I stumbled over the article, I wondered if he was aware of how high this mountainous claim really was?  Elvis A. Presley, a world proclaimed, not self proclaimed, LEGEND! One of many that put Rock N Roll on the map; a man who's name is known across the globe, in many languages, by one word--ELVIS!



Well, If you're like me, unwilling to believe someone of Mr. Roth's age could be so misinformed, you probably took to your computers to look up and compare the stats!

Lets compare them together:
Van Halen's studio albums-- 12
Elvis Presley's studio albums--24 ( stats vary depending source and date)

Van Halen's live albums--2
Elvis' live concert albums--9

Van Halen's compilation albums--2
Elvis' compilation albums--28

Van Halen's video albums--3
Elvis' movie soundtracks--18

And while this is the end for Van Halen, Elvis had much more; spoken word albums, two of them; Elvis Sails, and Having Fun With Elvis on Stage. As well as 15 budget albums and we won't even count the more than 50+ posthumous albums that have been released nor the ones put out by the FTD label, also after his death.

On these stats alone, it's not hard to see that our man Elvis, who only lived to be 42, outworked a band of four men, who are not only still alive but well into their 60's! That's right, Elvis produced more work in his short 23 years in the music industry that any of these men did in their entire lives!!

Yet, David Lee Roth's claim is based on, he says, that the group received 2 Diamond certification, given for both Van Halen, the first album, and 1984.
 
The Diamond certification, which began in 1999, was given for all album that reach ten million. Did our guy Elvis have a Diamond award? Yes. Though this was not around while he was alive, Elvis' 1957 "Blue Christmas| album was rewarded the Diamond certification.  There are 92 artist that have made this Diamond award list, everyone from The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Carol King have made this list.

If the album sold enough, you received the reward.

Does Mr. Roth's claim of having two of these make him better than someone else? That's laughable.

Elvis also had 43 platinum, 13 double platinum, 9 triple platinum, 1 quadruple platinum, 1 quintuple platinum, 1 sixfold platinum, and too many Gold's to even count!

When one asks who is the biggest star amongst the stars--we need not look any further--Elvis Presley is still THE KING.

So says Elvis fans EVERYWHERE.

Patricia Garber

For more on this topic listen to our recent podcast in the Blue Suede Lounge