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)|
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'" .
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.
|Blues model for Elvis' music: Rosetta Tharpe|
Elvis adored the music of Black singer/electric guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe , 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 .
|Look, ask Sam. I said I had Black influences.|
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|
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.|