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Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:18 am

Chris Roberts wrote:
brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Chris Roberts wrote:The most blatant incorrect quote is "Nor did Elvis make it popular".


Elvis did NOT make it popular - he gave it staying power. Rock Around the Clock might not have been a big hit when first released, but when used in The Blackboard Jungle it had a huge effect in the popularity of rock n roll - BEFORE most people had ever heard of Elvis Presley.


He made it popular because most of the popular rock n' roll acts of the 1950s and 1960s have stated that if it wasn't for Elvis they wouldn't have become rock musicians.

Bill Haley's Rock around The Clock was popular before Elvis hit the national scene but it probably would have ended up being a fad without him if even that.

Bill Haley never had a huge hit in America after Rock Around the Clock and he didn't really inspire people.

Therefore Elvis did make it popular and the writer of the article is incorrect to say he didn't.

You know that.

Thank you Brian, at least you know what I was saying.

One song being popular doesn't mean that a whole genre of music suddenly becomes popular.



Thank you Brian, at least you know what I was saying. (Re-posted as above didn't come out right)

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:19 am

Has anyone read the Variety article and the comments that followed? Man, there are a lot of Elvis haters out there. Its amazing.

http://variety.com/2014/music/news/how- ... 201257280/

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:58 am

Revelator wrote:
brian wrote:He made it popular because most of the popular rock n' roll acts of the 1950s and 1960s have stated that if it wasn't for Elvis they wouldn't have become rock musicians.


Not quite. Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry undoubtedly had their later sales helped by Elvis, but they were cutting rock'n'roll records before Elvis hit it big, and they would have entered the field regardless.


I don't know if they would have hit the mainstream if Elvis hadn't of first.

Elvis was still the primary inspiration for the majority of the rock stars of the 1960s.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:06 am

poormadpeter wrote:
brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Chris Roberts wrote:The most blatant incorrect quote is "Nor did Elvis make it popular".


Elvis did NOT make it popular - he gave it staying power. Rock Around the Clock might not have been a big hit when first released, but when used in The Blackboard Jungle it had a huge effect in the popularity of rock n roll - BEFORE most people had ever heard of Elvis Presley.


He made it popular because most of the popular rock n' roll acts of the 1950s and 1960s have stated that if it wasn't for Elvis they wouldn't have become rock musicians.

Bill Haley's Rock around The Clock was popular before Elvis hit the national scene but it probably would have ended up being a fad without him if even that.

Bill Haley never had a huge hit in America after Rock Around the Clock and he didn't really inspire people.

Therefore Elvis did make it popular and the writer of the article is incorrect to say he didn't.

You know that.

One song being popular doesn't mean that a whole genre of music suddenly becomes popular.


No, Elvis didn't make it popular. It was popular before Elvis. And the name "rock n roll" was established certainly by 1955 - AND the music was popular enough to ensure that a novelty song such as Rock And Roll Waltz hit the top of the US charts (for six weeks) when it was released in the first week of 1956 (a number of weeks before Heartbreak Hotel, although whether HH should be viewed as rock n roll is debatable anyway). Whether rock n roll would have REMAINED popular without Elvis is another thing altogether - although a listen to popular music from 1950-55 show that the rock n roll sound was where popular music was heading with or without him.

As has been pointed out, Chuck Berry, Little Richard etc would have carried on regardless of whether Elvis appeared or not. Even an artist such as Bobby Darin was making records for a major label as early as March 1956. Gene Vincent's Be Bop a Lula was released in April 1956. Eddie Cochran was releasing records in early 1956. Decca signed Buddy Holly in February 1956. These artists would have come through WITHOUT Elvis - they were signed up and recording and releasing material BEFORE Heartbreak Hotel was even released in most cases, let alone before Elvis became the King of Rock n Roll.


You are assuming that Chuck Berry and Little Richard would have broken through in the racially divided America of the 1950s without Elvis being there first to break it open.

That would have been a tall order for any African American singer.

It's been said about Buddy Holly that he saw Elvis performing in Lubbock Texas in 1955 and decided to switch to performing rock n' roll.

Rock n' roll was a term that meant party or sex prior to it being used to describe the music.

Their is a difference between some people having an awareness of Rock n' roll before Elvis hit the national scene and it being popular.

The majority of teenagers and adults didn't listen or know about rock n' roll before Elvis came on the scene.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:17 am

brian wrote:
You are assuming that Chuck Berry and Little Richard would have broken through in the racially divided America of the 1950s without Elvis being there first to break it open.

That would have been a tall order for any African American singer.



There were plenty of popular African American singers in America at the time, accepted by white audiences and hitting the charts (Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, The Platters, The Drifters, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte). Not rock n roll singers, but that's hardly the point. Nat Cole even had his own TV show in 1956/7.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:24 am

poormadpeter wrote:
brian wrote:
You are assuming that Chuck Berry and Little Richard would have broken through in the racially divided America of the 1950s without Elvis being there first to break it open.

That would have been a tall order for any African American singer.



There were plenty of popular African American singers in America at the time, accepted by white audiences and hitting the charts (Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, The Platters, The Drifters, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte). Not rock n roll singers, but that's hardly the point. Nat Cole even had his own TV show in 1956/7.


True but they also weren't singing a controversial type of music.

You think disc jockeys would have played rock n' roll music by a black man.

You think they could have broken through on television and radio and been embraced by the majority of Americans and people within the music industry.

You think they would have become a huge mega star that sold millions of records.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:26 am

brian wrote:You are assuming that Chuck Berry and Little Richard would have broken through in the racially divided America of the 1950s without Elvis being there first to break it open.


I'm not assuming, I know it for a fact because it had already happened. Elvis didn't become a national sensation until the release of "Heartbreak Hotel" in January 1956. Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard all had big hits before then. Domino's "Ain't That a Shame" was released in 1955 and hit the top ten of the dominantly white Billboard Pop Chart--it was not just a r&b chart-topper. Berry's "Maybellene" was also released in 1955 and was the fifth best-selling record of the year on the Pop Chart. "Tutti Frutti" was released in 1955 and reached #17 on the Pop Chart, making it a top 20 hit. I doubt that Elvis's Sun Recordings, great as they were, had any real effect on the popularity of those hits. Pat Boone's lousy soundalike covers probably played a greater part in exposing white listeners to those artists.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:51 am

Revelator wrote:
brian wrote:You are assuming that Chuck Berry and Little Richard would have broken through in the racially divided America of the 1950s without Elvis being there first to break it open.


I'm not assuming, I know it for a fact because it had already happened. Elvis didn't become a national sensation until the release of "Heartbreak Hotel" in January 1956. Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard all had big hits before then. Domino's "Ain't That a Shame" was released in 1955 and hit the top ten of the dominantly white Billboard Pop Chart--it was not just a r&b chart-topper. Berry's "Maybellene" was also released in 1955 and was the fifth best-selling record of the year on the Pop Chart. "Tutti Frutti" was released in 1955 and reached #17 on the Pop Chart, making it a top 20 hit. I doubt that Elvis's Sun Recordings, great as they were, had any real effect on the popularity of those hits. Pat Boone's lousy soundalike covers probably played a greater part in exposing white listeners to those artists.


But could Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino have continued having hits.

Could they have gotten on national t.v. and become big media stars.

Could they really have captured the imagination of the public and broken it wide open.

From Heartbreak hotel to Big Hunk o' love all of Elvis' singles sold at least a million copies.

I'm not sure if Chuck Berry or Little Richard had any million sellers.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:11 am

brian wrote:But could Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino have continued having hits.


Of course they could. There's no real evidence that rock'n'roll would have died out otherwise.

Could they have gotten on national t.v. and become big media stars.


I believe they did go on TV to promote their hits--Fats Domino certainly did--and having a top 10 record is enough to be a media star.

Could they really have captured the imagination of the public and broken it wide open.


They already did. "Maybellene," "Ain't That a Shame," and "Tutti Frutti" are all considered among the greatest classics of rock'n'roll and were sensations in their day. Elvis had little to do with that, and though he sold more records, rock'n'roll would have progressed without him. The country and its culture were already changing--Elvis symbolized that change, but he didn't manufacture it.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:25 am

It's not that it would have died it's could it have taken off like it did.

One top ten without Elvis.

A factor in Elvis' success compared to the others is that he was signed to a major label.

Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino were all on independents.

Would Specialty records have the money to spend to make all of Little Richard's records big hits.

Same thing with Chuck Berry and Fats Domino.

None of them were known prior to Elvis.
Last edited by brian on Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:28 am

Elvis was called the king of rock n' roll because he was the most popular rock n' roll singer of the 1950s.

He was way more popular than his contemporaries.

You don't have to invent something to be the king of it.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:03 am

Elvis brought rock and roll to the masses and in doing so changed the world. Along with his phenomenal talent and incredible looks, he was the first punk rocker and influenced everybody and their brother in wanting to become a lead singer, a rock & roll star. The magnitude of doing this, is incomparable. How many superstars have done interviews where they said that the moment they saw Elvis, 'that was it." Do I have to rattle of a list of the who's, who of musical icons that became musicians, primarily because of Elvis. Little Richard, Chuck Berry and other great artists, though influential, weren't catalysts in turning the youth on to r&r like our boy. Elvis not only opened the door, he smashed it down. When the world got a look at this guy on TV and in the movies, saw his moves and his physical appearance and how cool he was and looked, it turned them on like no single performer has ever done. Did he invent rock & roll, no, but he never claimed he did. He always said the "people have been adding to it," which included his contributions as well as those who followed him.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:04 am

I couldn't be bothered reading the whole thing. Just seemed like a whole lot of BS compounded with a hell of a lot of positive and negative discrimination. Black or white? Get over it ppl.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:33 am

Chris Roberts wrote:The most blatant incorrect quote is "Nor did Elvis make it popular". The artists quoted in the article weren't heard of by the mainstream public. I don't suppose many outside of the southern states had ever heard of Rocket 88 at the time. Fats Dominoes The Fat Man was not that far removed from his rock'n'roll hits of a few years later, but again not too many heard it. Bill Haley was the first to make rock'n'roll popular on the world stage.

However, it is a fact that Elvis took the popularity of it to unprecedented heights, throughout the entire world. It is Elvis who almost all, from Tommy Steel, Cliff Richard, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and countless others, onto The Beatles, Rolling Stones and, again, countless others, who state that it was through Elvis that they started performing rock. Not through some obscure record (however good) such as Rocket 88, which has become popular arguably because of Elvis popularising rock music.

It was also Elvis who made the basic rock band of bass, rhythm and lead guitar, together with drums the blueprint of many of those that followed.


I second this Chris!

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:46 am

Elvis had a unique singing style - nobody sang like he did.
His band had a sound nobody had before.

He melted country&western with black music (and even more styles for that matter) and created a new, exiting music something that did not exist in that form at the time. You couldn’t find a category for his music. If you hear Elvis take on previous so called rock’n’roll, country or blues songs: they sound nothing like the original – arrangement, speed, style is completely different, another song basically.

He moved on stage in a way that nobody did before but that young audiences needed and were looking for.

He had a new look - his long hair, unconventional dress style that nobody saw before.

All of that together (music, style stage movements) was an atomic bomb that made what rock and roll is all about. It is not just music it is a social revolution, a sense of freedom and a new way of life, of interaction with the audience. That’s what inspired the young artists of the time worldwide.

Elvis opened the door to those that were before him and all the others that would come. Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino etc. were not doing rock’n’roll in the modern term – they were doing “music” following the natural evolution of the existing categories of the time. Elvis created a new category.

It was such a radical change that now some can’t even imagine it did not exist before.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:18 am

Jim Dandy wrote:I couldn't be bothered reading the whole thing. Just seemed like a whole lot of BS..


The title was enough to put me off.

I have no interest in pompous attempts at putting things into neat boxes by busybody music historian-critics, most of whom know as much about the heart and soul of the matter as a kitchen chair.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:46 pm

brian wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
brian wrote:
You are assuming that Chuck Berry and Little Richard would have broken through in the racially divided America of the 1950s without Elvis being there first to break it open.

That would have been a tall order for any African American singer.



There were plenty of popular African American singers in America at the time, accepted by white audiences and hitting the charts (Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, The Platters, The Drifters, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte). Not rock n roll singers, but that's hardly the point. Nat Cole even had his own TV show in 1956/7.


True but they also weren't singing a controversial type of music.

You think disc jockeys would have played rock n' roll music by a black man.

You think they could have broken through on television and radio and been embraced by the majority of Americans and people within the music industry.

You think they would have become a huge mega star that sold millions of records.


Of course they could. Jazz was hugely controversial back in the late 1910s and 1920s and yet, within a few years, many black musicians were household names.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:02 pm

"could", "would", "what if"... interesting assumptions.

But that is another topic.

The article is about evaluating Elvis impact on music: we know what happened, how it happened and who did it.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:04 pm

r&b wrote:Has anyone read the Variety article and the comments that followed? Man, there are a lot of Elvis haters out there. Its amazing.

http://variety.com/2014/music/news/how- ... 201257280/



Yes I have. I was amazed at the aggressive tone of a lot of these comments. Quite depressing if that's the way many people think of Elvis nowadays.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:58 pm

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Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:17 pm

If you read comments on youtube there are a lot of hateful comments about Elvis stealing black music.

I don't know if that means most African americans feel that way and have a hateful opinion of Elvis.

It is misguided because most of time Elvis would take these R&B songs and speed them up to be rock n' roll songs.

Elvis' version of Hound dog is completely different from Big Mama Thornton's version.

If he had got on television and sang it just the way she did it wouldn't have been popular.

People who accuse Elvis of stealing act like he copied Big Mama Thornton's version, got on television and subsequently made millions just because he was white.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:26 pm

King Volcano wrote:I have no interest in pompous attempts at putting things into neat boxes by busybody music historian-critics, most of whom know as much about the heart and soul of the matter as a kitchen chair.


Ironic, since the article is attempting to take Elvis out of the neat boxes that his fans and detractors have put him in. Extreme fans put Elvis in the box of rock'n'roll God--creator and presiding deity--while extreme haters box Elvis as racist music thief.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:58 pm

Revelator wrote:This article recently appeared on the Atlantic's website. I'm interested in hearing what FECC makes of it. If you have something especially important to say, consider commenting on the original website (http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/07/whats-so-great-about-elvis-he-didnt-invent-or-steal-anything/374081/).

Getting Elvis's Legacy Right
He didn't invent rock and roll. He didn't steal it from black people, either. What did he do?


By Noah Berlatsky



This is just another thirty-something writer seeking to make a name for himself by deconstructing genius in a negative way.

Notice the lead photo in the piece shows us a group of jump-suited Elvis imitators. The gauntlet has been thrown before a single word has been read. In fact, there is not a single photo of Elvis Presley on the page.

The writer takes advantage of the fact that many readers of the Atlantic will not be deeply familiar with the history of the music from that era, and assume his assessments are verifiable. When all is said and done, Elvis' well-founded achievements will remain a part of the historical record, and no one will remember Noah Berlatsky.

A review of other articles by the correspondent shows his biases, and contradictions, further indicators of his casual disdain for those who read his critiques:

Noah Berlatsky - Salon.com
http://www.theatlantic.com/noah-berlatsky/

Noah Berlatsky - Authors - The Atlantic
http://www.salon.com/writer/noah_berlatsky/

Finally, at least one person who recently got caught in Berlatsky's cross-hairs struck back:

Why Doesn't the Atlantic Fire Noah Berlatsky? | Ted Rall's Rallblog
http://rall.com/2013/12/03/why-doesnt-the-atlantic-fire-noah-berlasky

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:25 pm

Well said John.

Re: "Getting Elvis's Legacy Right" -- New Atlantic Article

Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:27 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Revelator wrote:This article recently appeared on the Atlantic's website. I'm interested in hearing what FECC makes of it. If you have something especially important to say, consider commenting on the original website (http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/07/whats-so-great-about-elvis-he-didnt-invent-or-steal-anything/374081/).

Getting Elvis's Legacy Right
He didn't invent rock and roll. He didn't steal it from black people, either. What did he do?


By Noah Berlatsky



This is just another thirty-something writer seeking to make a name for himself by deconstructing genius in a negative way.

Notice the lead photo in the piece shows us a group of jump-suited Elvis imitators. The gauntlet has been thrown before a single word has been read. In fact, there is not a single photo of Elvis Presley on the page.

The writer takes advantage of the fact that many readers of the Atlantic will not be deeply familiar with the history of the music from that era, and assume his assessments are verifiable. When all is said and done, Elvis' well-founded achievements will remain a part of the historical record, and no one will remember Noah Berlatsky.

A review of other articles by the correspondent shows his biases, and contradictions, further indicators of his casual disdain for those who read his critiques:

Noah Berlatsky - Salon.com
http://www.theatlantic.com/noah-berlatsky/

Noah Berlatsky - Authors - The Atlantic
http://www.salon.com/writer/noah_berlatsky/

Finally, at least one person who recently got caught in Berlatsky's cross-hairs struck back:

Why Doesn't the Atlantic Fire Noah Berlatsky? | Ted Rall's Rallblog
http://rall.com/2013/12/03/why-doesnt-the-atlantic-fire-noah-berlasky



There may not be a picture of Elvis in the piece, but there's a whopping great link to all 132 seconds of That's all Right. I know which I would rather have.

I certainly don't agree with everything Mr Berlatsky says, but his main points - in his own words - are as follows:

"By the time Elvis showed up at Sun Records, numerous other performers like Ike Turner, Ruth Brown, Ray Charles, Big Mama Thornton, and Fats Domino had already released early rock songs."

We know this is true - one flick through the pages of Billboard shows that this is true.

"Nor did Elvis make the music popular."

We also know this is true, and the author does a good job within his article of backing up his claim with evidence.

"In reaction to the transparently false claim that Elvis invented rock and roll, an equal and opposite meme holds that Elvis stole rock from its original black performers."

I doubt anyone here would disagree with that.

"he was an extremely talented performer whose early records especially are original, exciting, and hugely influential."

Anyone here want to disagree with that?

"A combination of talent, being the right color, physical attractiveness, and being in the right place at the right time meant he achieved massive, ridiculous popularity. Pop enthusiasms are by their nature unpredictable and a bit random. "

I mentioned this issue here only last week - citing classical music and jazz as other examples where success is governed by luck and a coming together of circumstance as much as talent.

"Presley by all accounts was quick to acknowledge his debt to African-American performers, and scholars have even argued that, by playing multi-racial music for multi-racial audiences, he helped to point the path away from segregation."

Seems fair to me.

So what exactly are you objecting to here - other than the fact that the writer dares to view things in a slightly different way to how rock history has been written? Dear God, what a heinous crime - and one that is certainly punishable by lynching in here these days.

No-one needs to look up how other people have reacted to the man's articles - they can tell from this one (and it's this one that matters) whether or not he is somehow trying to ruin a reputation here.

You say that his article is deconstructing Elvis in a negative way. Where? Tell me. The main points are given above - which one is putting Elvis down? Where is he saying Elvis was not a unique, talented, influential individual? I don't think he says that anywhere - in fact, he says quite the opposite. The problem, Doc, is that you seem unable and/or unwilling to believe that a slightly different story can be told from a certain set of facts.