Thursday, May 08, 2008

Number 501 - Elvis Presley

Number 501

Elvis Presley

"Teddy Bear"

Genre:Rock 'n Roll
art by miNroCKs
Hard to believe that this man was considered as a "definite danger to the security of the United States." His actions and motions were called "a strip-tease with clothes on" or "sexual self-gratification on stage." They were compared with "masturbation or riding a microphone." as a wikipedia writer notes ... In August 1956, a Florida judge called Presley a "savage" and threatened to arrest him if he shook his body while performing in Jacksonville. The judge declared that Presley's music was undermining the youth of America. Throughout the performance (which was filmed by police), he kept still as ordered, except for wiggling a finger in mockery at the ruling.
If Elvis had appeared in 2006 instead of 1956, no-one would even look twice at his riding microphone styles. Queen singer Freddie Mercury was far more lewd with his microphone skills! The story of Elvis is a fascinating one, I hope one day that there is a more"real" Oliver Stone type of movie made, it's unfortunate that the "Elvis" fans will disagree with that thought. One other question ..... will there be anyone again as big as Elvis?
art by jleal
Elvis Presley began 1957 as the biggest star in America, and, arguably, the biggest star America'd ever had, even if everyone in the entertainment business would have told you he couldn't stay that way for long. But this year saw him expand his fame out to all corners of the world, despite never setting foot farther out than Toronto -- and yet large, powerful forces were already at work to neutralize him, to remove the controversial singer from the throne of teenage savior and restore society to what it had been. That, of course, was impossible, although the same people who just knew Elvis would be back driving a truck in a year or two couldn't see the social forces already at work in The Land Of Opportunity. The fact that Elvis sang like a black man seemed distasteful to some, but the idea of him dancing like one was what sparked the real outrage.
art by carlzon
Presley's raw, unselfconscious sensuality placed two of America's oldest and dearest tenets -- capitalism and puritanism -- up against each other in a conflict that continues in its culture to this day. As a result, no one in the business quite knew what to do with him. Finding a safe cultural identity for The King became the hallmark of 1957, a year which began with censors insisting he be filmed only from the waist up on Ed Sullivan and ended with a draft notice. Along the way, he found the early seeds of his own destruction and dissipation: a sick mother, the dissolution of his old band, and the mansion already known as Graceland. But it was also the year he established himself as a credible leading man in Hollywood, began working with Lieber and Stoller in earnest, and confounding his moral critics by producing gospel music that was not only legitimate but powerful. As the next few years would show, Elvis Presley was far too complex (and powerful) a figure to be so easily written off. (1957 Hits - January 12: "Too Much" b/w "Playing For Keeps" (RCA Victor 47-6800), March 23: "All Shook Up" b/w "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" (RCA Victor 47-6870), June 10: "Teddy Bear" b/w "Loving You" (RCA Victor 47-7000), September 23: "Jailhouse Rock" b/w "Treat Me Nice" (RCA Victor 47-7035), December 30: "Don't" b/w "I Beg Of You" (RCA Victor 47-7150)~ [article by Robert Fontenot, source:]

For more Elvis see Number 840
What does Rolling Stone think about the King?
Simply put, Elvis Presley was the first real rock & roll star. A white Southerner singing blues laced with country, and country tinged with gospel, Elvis Presley brought together American music from both sides of the color line and performed it with a natural hip-swiveling sexuality that made him a teen idol and a role model for generations of cool rebels. He was repeatedly dismissed as vulgar, incompetent, and a bad influence, but the force of his music and his image was no mere merchandising feat. Presley signaled to mainstream culture that it was time to let go. Today, over 20 years after his death, Elvis Presley’s image and influence remain undiminished. While certainly other artists preceded him and he by no means “invented” rock & roll, he is indisputably its king. ~ excerpt from [The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock And Roll (Simon and Schuster, 2001)]
Other songs with reference to Elvis Presley, #518, #536, #544, #563, #596, #613, #640, #651, #664, #676, #692, #698, #701, #705, #716, #734, #739, #743, #750, #783
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (we hate cute teddy bears) and the Album ranked at Number (Must, ah, missed that one)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 75.1 out of 108

Click play to hear the rest of the album
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By The Year 1955 to 2005:
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