General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

To what degree was Elvis' popularity a result of his action as a catalyst that brought white people into the Gospel/R&B music fold?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10269points) February 28th, 2011

Elvis was one of the first white artist to escape from being a cookie cutter.

He took risks that paid off.

To what extent is the nature of his success the ability to give white audiences a sound that borrowed from music normally associated with black musicians?

Was this even a part of his success?

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10 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

Per Sam Phillips, Elvis’ first producer in Memphis at Sun Records: “If I could find a white man who had the negro sound, and the negro feel, I could make a million dollars.”


Ladymia69's avatar

Hell yeah, this was a part of his success. I mean, he put his touch into it, but he built his success on the many many black musicians that came before him. As did Led Zeppelin. Did either of them do a good job at crediting their inspirations?

Led Zeppelin didn’t.

Not saying this out of white guilt, either. :)

JLeslie's avatar

Elvis made it ok for the white kids to listen to that type of music, and in addition their parents were willing to tolerate the music when sung by a white man. Being white was definitely part of his success. By the way Graceland is awesome, Elvis never sounds the same again, every song becomes that much better forever more. And, while in Memphis the Sun Studios tour is a good attraction as well (mentioned by @aprilsimnel above).

woodcutter's avatar

and those swingin hips !

Ltryptophan's avatar

So Elvis was the first Eminem…

Ladymia69's avatar

@Ltryptophan I sure wouldn’t say that

meiosis's avatar

Without a doubt Elvis made it acceptable for white Americans to listen to ‘black’ music.

@ladymia69 Do you think that Led Zeppelin or Elvis should have given more credit to those their output was built on? If so, why? Should this practise extend to other creative endeavours?

I’d just like to thank the Mesopotamians for the development of writing, Chaucer and Shakespeare for helping develop English into the beautiful language it is today, and Charles Babbage for his pioneering work in computing, without which this comment would not be here. ;)

Ladymia69's avatar

@meiosis Yes, I do. I believe almost religiously that work that is originally done by someone should be respected as such, and therefore credited when someone else builds upon it. I am a huge fan of the Beastie boys, and from a young age, I remember desperately flipping through their album leaflets to find out where they got their samples…but there was no such info. You see, if I had found out where those samples came from, it would’ve opened me up to a whole new cache of music that I might not have known about otherwise. Likewise, once I realized that Zeppelin had ripped off so many (and mostly non-copyrighted) Blues artists, I went back and found the original versions of the songs they covered (and did not openly credit until they were forced to) and found that I liked the originals way more than the Zeppelin versions.

This is a very interesting discussion…at what point do you justify using or building upon someone else’s work, and do you or don’t you credit them? I think it is wrong, and cowardly, not to credit.

This is a very interesting video (not where I originally heard about the “plagiarism” of LD, but most in-depth). There are three others that follow it. Let me know if you want to see them also.

Ladymia69's avatar

Luckily, with the advent of the internet, all those BB samples have been made known…hell, there’s even a site that breaks down every single sample that Girl Talk uses.

Ladymia69's avatar

And please realize that I lo0ve the contribution LD made to music…I get goosebumps still listening to their music. But it makes me lose respect for them that they were too cowardly to name their influences.

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