11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
He didn't sound like nobody.
, September 16, 2003
This review is from: Race, Rock, and Elvis (Music in American Life) (Hardcover)
This book intelligently delves into the impact Elvis had on the world of culture, music and sociology around. Like all artists Elvis was compelled by many artists from every musical genre. His style was a compilation of all of them. "That's All Right Mama" may have sounded like a Black artist to people in 1954, but they'd never heard anything like it. It was unique and it didn't sound like anybody else. His early Sun sides were as hillbilly as they were race and its crossover style was met with racial bais from both Black and White deejays that refused to play his records on the grounds they would offend their race conscious listeners. Elvis made his fame on stage creating mass hysteria like he was an icon. No one thought he was Black.
As Thorne Peters wrote in his book AROUND ELVIS, without Elvis and Sam Phillips opening the door for crossover audiences, Motown would've only been distributed regionally and like all other Black labels pandering to the poorly networked Black market their music would've never been heard in the commercial White mainstream. Elvis was the trailblazer that created that portal and he deserves better than to have his estate picketed by angry protesters on the anniversary of his death. E.P.E employs many Black people and gives to many Black causes and programs in the predominately Black city of Memphis. Lisa Marie Presley sponsors Presley Place for wayward drug addicted mothers and fans raise money in his name worldwide for people of all ethnicities and denominations who are in need. His family was sharecropping alonside Black people since before the civil War right until Elvis was a teen and then they came to Memphis and lived in the federal housing projects until Elvis hit it big. He certainly in no way benefitted and gained wealth based on slave labor.
It's good to see Elvis Presley finally being written about in a proper social context to highlight how powerful he remains.
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