Elvis year
(EL.vus yeer) n. The year in which a product, person, or phenomenon peaks in popularity.

Example Citations:
The great, searching American anti-ending had its Elvis year in 1974, and those despairing cliff-hangers look even more astonishing today, particularly when you gaze at them over the stagnant moat of the '80s, when the revolutionary, expanded-brainpan cast of '70s film receded into reactionary juvenilia.
—Michael Atkinson, "Endgame," Village Voice, November 17, 1998

Elvis Year The peak year of something's popularity. "Barney the dinosaur's Elvis year was 1993."
—Gareth Branwyn, "Jargon Watch," Wired, August 1995

Earliest Citation:
Barney producer the Lyons Group takes comfort in the demographics. ''This year, 4.4 million children will enter the Barney years,'' says Russell Mack, VP of communications. ''We define that age range as between two and five, though it goes younger and older as well.''

What has happened with the Barney phenomenon, according to observers, is that the big fella is becoming a classic, entering the pantheon occupied by Mickey Mouse and his Disney pals, and Bugs Bunny and the Warner Bros. gang. Naysayers like to point out, as evidence of Barney's slump, that his second EMI audio release, ''Barney's Favorites Vol. II,'' only hit the gold mark not the double-platinum of ''Vol. I.''

But Lyons believes that's simply more evidence that the pent-up demand for Barney product was satisfied, and that sales will continue to be healthy. ''Prior to '93, there was little Barney merchandise available,'' Mack says. ''We call 1993 'the Elvis year.'''
—Moira McCormick, "Theme park, TV, vid show Barney far from extinct," Billboard, March 4, 1995

Notes:
Bob West, the original voice of Barney the Dinosaur, sent me the following note explaining the origin of the term Elvis year:

I can add the actual origin of the phrase to your backgrounder.

Believe it or not, the phrase was originated by Sheryl Leach, the creator of Barney the Dinosaur, in reference to the year of Barney's explosion of popularity.

She used the phrase on a couple of talkshows on which she appeared, and the term made it not only into the Jargon Watch column, but also into a condensed Jargon Watch booklet that was circulated with one edition of Wired magazine.

Those of us on the Barney cast and crew had started using tongue-in-cheek "Beatles" and "Elvis" references after a couple of absolutely wild overflow personal appearances, but Sheryl coined the "Elvis year" phrase herself.

Hey, Barney's mom is hipper than you may know.

Thanks for a great site!

Bob West
— original voice of Barney

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