Twenty One Pilots, the Ohio-based rock duo of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, are taking the music world by storm. Late last month, the Pilots entered the company of rock royalty when they scored two simultaneous top-five hits on the Billboard Hot 100 — a pinnacle previously only reached by the Beatles and Elvis Presley in the chart’s 58-year history. The Twenty One Pilots boys held those positions at No. 5 with “Ride” and No. 4 with “Heathens.”
As reported by Billboard, Twenty One Pilots’ chart success was further fortified this week (for the radio airplay charts dated Sept. 10) when the aforementioned tunes each shot to the No. 1 position on their respective charts. Twenty One Pilots — with “Ride” cresting the peak of the Pop Songs chart and “Heathens” at the apex of Alternative Songs — has become the first music act to top those charts simultaneously with different songs.
Are Twenty One Pilots bigger than the Beatles? Bigger than Elvis? Bigger than Jesus?
In 1966, at the height of their popularity, The Beatles’ John Lennon claimed that his world famous pop group were “more popular than Jesus now.” Quite obviously, the seemingly sacrilegious declaration elicited widespread criticism, but was Lennon on to something? Does pop chart success not equal faithful reverence? Are Twenty One Pilots now in the same boat as Lennon and his Beatles, gaining the world’s adoration and feeling larger than life?
For their part, the musical duo of Twenty One Pilots seem grounded enough as individuals to take this surge of mainstream success with a grain of salt. In a recent conversation with Billboard, Tyler Joseph stated that he realizes the fickle nature of such chart-topping achievements. Joseph indicated that he looks forward to a long and fulfilling musical career with Twenty One Pilots, not necessarily being simply a chart-favored flavor of the week.
“The way I view a lot of the success that has happened recently is that it’s going to go away. I hope that we’ve just used this platform to get the attention of the people who will stick around for a while, who will add to the core fan base. That’s what we’re excited about, instead of believing that we’ll be a band on the radio forever. That’s not in our DNA.”
Fellow Pilot Josh Dun echoed Joseph’s sentiments concerning the recent, rocketing success of Twenty One Pilots as a duo. During an interview with Spin or Bin, Dun clarified that the group has never paid attention to any notions of chart success when recording their music, only understanding its significance upon others making mention of it.
“We didn’t really know what it meant, first of all, because we never really paid attention to numbers, the charts or anything. But more people we talked [to] were asking us about it, bringing it up, and congratulating us, so we realized it was a bigger deal than we thought.”
In related news, Twenty One Pilots recently won the Best Rock Video award at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. While the Best Rock Video award wasn’t announced live on the VMAs broadcast, it was later confirmed by Alternative Press that the duo did indeed take home the award for their “Heathens” hit. “Heathens” was written by Twenty One Pilots specifically for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad soundtrack.
It would appear that Twenty One Pilots’ success is no longer “Fairly Local” — the name of a song title from their recent Blurryface album. The Pilots are now in the company of legendary musicians with their popular music and are poised to become even bigger with their next album.
Twenty One Pilots recently completed a U.S. leg of their Emotional Roadshow World Tour and will continue the tour throughout the rest of the world next year.
Do you think Twenty One Pilots are bigger than the Beatles? Do you remember the Beatles backlash when John Lennon said they were bigger than Jesus? What’s your favorite Beatles or Twenty One Pilots song? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]