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40 years after his death, Elvis Presley is still the King in the YouTube age

Elvis Presley has generated more than 2.8 billion views on YouTube. (Sony Legacy)
Elvis Presley has generated more than 2.8 billion views on YouTube. (Sony Legacy)

Today, Aug. 16, is the 40th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, who remains the most awarded artist in pop music history.

According to the Recording Industry Assn. of America, Presley's recordings have amassed 197 gold, platinum, multi-platinum and diamond certification awards since his arrival on the national scene in 1956.

No other artist comes close: The Beatles have a total of 122, Garth Brooks has 83, Led Zeppelin has 56 and the Eagles have racked up 40 among the top sales-award earners.

But how has the King of Rock 'n' Roll fared in recent years?

Judging from his mighty presence on YouTube, that's all right, Mama too.

He ranks among the top 200 artists of all time on YouTube, according to statistics released this week by the video service, outscoring hitmakers from subsequent generations, such as Kanye West, Whitney Houston and Lana Del Rey.

Presley has generated more than 2.8 billion views across YouTube and has been averaging 4.4 million views per day in the week leading up to today's anniversary.

Last year, on the 39th anniversary, views jumped 44% compared with his daily average, and soared even more — by 74% — on his birthday (Jan. 8), when fan interest typically peaks.

YouTube also noted that Presley, who never toured outside the U.S., has tallied more than 1 million views in more than 100 countries. He is the most popular YouTube artist of all in Santiago, Chile, ranks No. 2 in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and No. 3 in Mexico City.

By a wide margin, his most popular video on YouTube and Vevo is his 1961 hit "Can't Help Falling in Love," which has racked up 60.9 million views. The posthumous remix of "A Little Less Conversation" by DJ Junkie XL in 2002 is safely in second place with 15.2 million views, and the posthumous studio duet with Martina McBride of "Blue Christmas" sits at No. 3 with 11.9 million views.

In conjunction with this year's 40th-anniversary commemorations of his death, Presley's label, RCA, and Sony Legacy have released a new box set, "Elvis Presley: A Boy From Tupelo -- The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings," culling all the known recordings he made before signing with RCA and making the jump to a major label.

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