THIS WILL get people all shook up: A recent survey by a Texas firm found Maryland to be one of the least receptive markets to the music and memorabilia of Elvis Presley.
No doubt a lot of Marylanders will question the study by Direct Image Concepts Inc. -- especially the thousands of folks living in the Elvis-crescent that hugs the east side of the Western Shore ** from Glen Burnie to Edgewood. But combining zip-code data from 7,000 Elvis fan club members nationwide with demographic information, Bob Lunn, president of DCCI, came up with profiles of the typical Elvis fan. And American Demographics magazine, a useful publication of Dow Jones & Co. Inc., last August published a map of the country shaded to reflect Mr. Lunn's findings.
What did it show?: Elvis has little appeal throughout the Western United States and east of the Mississippi, his lowest concentrations of adoration are the New York metropolitan area, South Florida and . . . Baltimore-Washington. Some of this appears easy to explain away: Combined, Baltimore and Washington constitute the fourth most urban market in the country, and urban markets -- places that are big, diverse and sophisticated (that's American Demographics' description) -- are less apt to love Elvis.
The magazine broke down all U.S. counties by five categories: "Elvis Lovers," "Elvis Likers," "Elvis Who?," "Elvis Dislikers" and "Elvis Loathers." Baltimore, Harford and Anne Arundel counties, home to some of the most fervent Elvis maniacs we know, were listed as "Elvis Who?" country. Carroll County is as close as we get to Tupelo, being classified as a territory of "Elvis Likers." Baltimore city, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties are collectively places of downright "Elvis Loathers."
It's probably tempting to blame the results on the growth of Maryland's manicured suburbs and the burgeoning of the bland, but the fact is, newer suburbs on the edge of cities such as Atlanta, Miami, Kansas City, San Diego and Pittsburgh, populated by blue-collar baby boomers with households incomes around $50,000, registered well on the Elvis-meter.
So, you can't just brush this off as simply more proof of the yuppification of Greater Baltimore and the end of civilization as we know it, hon.