Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Did Elvis steal "Black music"? (video)

Foxholemusic76; Sheldon S., Ashley Wells, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly Wiki edit
Black Elvis: "...a lot of people in retrospect attack Elvis for stealin` the black music and making it white. I say Elvis Presley had a black soul with a white face..." - Michael Ochs (rock 'n roll historian).

White man who made "Black music" famous (1957)
Music producer Sam Phillips was always on the lookout for someone who could bring the sound of the Black musicians that Sun Records focused to a broader audience.

As Marion Keisker reported, "Over and over I remember Sam saying, 'If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars'" [55].

In June, he acquired a demo of a ballad ("Without You") he thought might suit the teen Elvis. Presley was unable to do it justice. Despite this, Phillips asked him to sing as many songs as he knew. That's how and why Elvis got his shot.

Black influences
Blues model for Elvis' music: Rosetta Tharpe
Elvis was a regular audience member at the monthly All-Night Singings downtown, where many of the white gospel groups that performed reflected the influence of African-American spiritual music [41].

Elvis adored the music of Black singer/electric guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe [38], the "Godmother of Rock 'n Roll." Like some of his peers, Elvis may have attended blues venues — of necessity, in the segregated South — only on nights designated for exclusively white audiences [42].

Look, ask Sam. I said I had Black influences.
Elvis certainly listened to regional radio stations, such as WDIA-AM, that played Black "race records": spirituals, blues, and the modern, backbeat-heavy sound of rhythm and blues [43].

Many of Elvis' future recordings were inspired by local African-American musicians such as Arthur Crudup and Rufus Thomas [44, 45].

B.B. King recalled that he had known Elvis Presley before he was popular, when both used to frequent Black Beale Street for the blues. More

Packaged for White consumers
Whites can rap and even make significant contributions and innovations to the genre, but they're ripping it off (like rock 'n roll was stolen) and capitalizing on what somebody else invented.

Elvis did borrow and popularize the "Negro sound and feel," as Sun Records Producer Sam Phillips wanted from a White artist. But he attributed his cultural appropriation, so it wasn't "stealing."

Uh, y'know, so, I got a Black soul, yeah.
He pushed the musical form forward and was a significant talent, who attributed his roots to Black innovations (blues, gospel, R&B, spirituals, the backbeat). So with giving credit where credit is due, it wasn't plagiarism.

No comments: