Travis Kelce’s ‘Viva Las Vegas’ Serenade Hikes Song Royalties

Posted on: February 15, 2024, 04:21h. 

Last updated on: February 15, 2024, 04:39h.

After Travis Kelce shouted a half-crazed rendition “Viva Las Vegas” as a tribute to the town that gifted him his third Super Bowl ring last Sunday, one might have expected the song’s copyright holders to sue.

Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce cradles the Vince Lombardi trophy while seemingly mangling the melody of “Viva Las Vegas” on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium, where the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in the first Las Vegas Super Bowl. (Image: Getty)

On the contrary, Kelce’s unique serenade — viewed by more than 123 million people including his famous girlfriend, Taylor Swift, who giggled at his enthusiasm — triggered a record amount of royalties for the publisher of the song, as well as its administrator, Warner Chappell Music.

Money Honey

That’s mostly because every news outlet and talk show that wanted to air the amusing clip had to contribute to its revenue stream by paying a public performance royalty to its publishing company.

“We were very excited about him doing that,” Will Bratton, president of Pomus Songs Inc., told Billboard magazine, though he declined to ascribe a dollar sign to his excitement.

Elvis Presley’s original 1964 single, “Viva Las Vegas,” from the movie of the same year and name. (Image:

Doc Pomus co-wrote the song with fellow songwriter Mort Shuman for the 1964 Elvis Presley movie of the same name. And, though Presley never once performed it live, it has woven itself into the fabric of Las Vegas culture, rarely being left out of any of the dozens of different Elvis tribute shows staged in Vegas since the genuine article’s 1977 death.

In addition to Elvis impersonators and pro football players, “Viva Las Vegas” has been covered by Bruce Springsteen, ZZ Top, Dead Kennedys, Shawn Colvin, and even Bob Dylan.

Dylan, who won a Nobel Prize for his song lyrics in 2016, included a whole chapter about “Viva Las Vegas” in his 2022 book, “The Philosophy of Modern Song.”

“This is a song about faith,” Dylan wrote. “The kind of faith where you step under a shower spigot in the middle of the desert and fully believe water will come out.”

Not Off-Key?

Some debate has emerged from social media, from which it usually does, about Kelce’s rendition not being as off-key as it sounded to untrained ears.

In fact, according to musicologist and TikTokker @bravedavebean, the tight end actually sang a tight harmony to the famous melody that was, more or less, perfectly pitched. Click here for Bean’s unexpectedly convincing argument.

Perhaps, as one commenter on the TikTok video noted, “Taylor never lets him take the melody when they sing in the car, so he’s gotten really good at the harmonies.”

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