Thursday, 16 August 2007

Rock'n'Roll heresy

Heresy. I realise that I am inviting death threats from the army of fanatical fans who are marking the thirtieth anniversary today, but I have to say that when Elvis died on the 16th August 1977 it was not ‘the day the music died.’.

Instead I find myself agreeing with John Lennon that Elvis’s career pretty much died that day in 1957 when he was conscripted into the army.

Before that the day, the early Sun recordings with the three piece band and the clean minimal guitar sound of Scotty Moore, defined the classic rock’n’roll sound. Even so, it would be wrong to say that Elvis created that sound: a previous generation of black artists have the rights on that claim.

Ironically Robert Johnson also died this day in 1938. But I doubt somehow that next year there will be the same fuss about his 50th anniversary, despite his influence on the development of rock music being every bit as significant if not more so than Elvis.

For Elvis it was all downhill after his military service:

There were the Hollywood years of those awful musical movies. And then his return to live performing at Las Vegas in 1968. These were the bloated years that bordered on self parody – the white jump suits, the fake karate dance moves, the deep fried peanut butter and hamburger sandwiches and the bizarre Camelot at Gracelands.

It seems a sad travesty that this is the era that the fans and impersonators want to preserve and not that brief period when Elvis truly set the music world alight for the first time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What complete and utter tosh. It's the first and only time in your life you've agreed with John Lennon about anything - doesn't that tell you something?!?