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Old 06-06-2007, 09:24 AM   #21
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Default Re: Who was better?

There's a nice article about Elvis in this month's issue of American History; the author makes a cogent point about Elvis being an interpretive artist and The Beatles being creative artists. Regardless of what the label on the record said, Elvis didn't write his songs. A songwriter had to add Presley's name to the credits in order to get him to sing it. (Which in those days was a good deal both ways. Many of Presley's hits were written by Otis Blackwell ["All Shook Up", "Don't Be Cruel", "Return to Sender"] or Leiber & Stoller ["Hound Dog", "Jailhouse Rock", "Don't"] ).

Probably all of us here are too young to know what it was really like when Elvis or The Beatles hit. I know nothing of Elvis fever, I was 2 in 1956 when his first RCA album was recorded. From all accounts it was like nothing before. Sinatra had the same effect on teenagers (it was for him that the word "teenbopper" came into the vernacular), but Elvis was so... SEXUAL. Check out this YouTube clip of "Heartbreak Hotel"; this was TAME for Elvis. The difference between the mature appeal of traditional stars and Elvis' blatant and raw lust is never more apparent than it would be with the first two (hidden) pelvic thrusts on his guitar. And you'll never find a more apt depiction of what was happening, the establishment sould try all they wanted to keep the genie bottled up... but it was already out and not going back into the bottle.

Heartbreak Hotel

And he sang race music! It was the revolution in pop culture that America was primed for. This clip is more like what was REALLY happening. Watch the girl in the audience shots:

Hound Dog


As an interesting aside, the author of the aforementioned article makes another often overlooked point: while Elvis was taking black music and making it white, Chuck Berry was taking white music and making it black; his narrative songs took a country music tradition and set it to black rhythms. Those two men forged the synthesis of pop culture we have today. And he also makes the point that none of it would have happened in our segregated society without radio, which could not be shut out. White kids could listen to "race" radio, and black kids could listen to "hillbilly" radio.

I was only 10 in 1964; Beatlemania was something I watched but didn't understand or participate in like my older sisters. there hasn't been any sort of parallel that I can think of in the last 40 years; maybe Harry Potter, but that isn't anywhere near as intense as Beatlemania was. Locally, maybe Steeler Fever in the '70s; or, think about our last Super Bowl run, and globalize that feeling. And stretch it out for 6 or 7 years, from late '63 through '69 or '70.
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:47 AM   #22
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Default Re: Who was better?

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However, personally, I gotta put Led Zeppelin above both, Elvis took from the popular black music and the Beatles almost perfected an already known type.

Though in honesty, all three are absolute top. I can only think of one or two others (in thier own respective genres) that could be put with these...
I would add to that list...Eric Clapton....virtually every guitarist will name him as a MAJOR influence....The older I get the more I appreciate his style and ability...Some consider talent to be the ability to play fast...Clapton once said that talent lies in the ability to play the THE right note at THE right time. I didnt get that when I was younger..but now appreciate his music a great deal.
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Old 06-06-2007, 10:11 AM   #23
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Default Re: Who was better?

I would also add the Who to the list - they were punk long before punk was even developed.
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Old 06-06-2007, 10:16 AM   #24
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I would also add the Who to the list - they were punk long before punk was even developed.
Who?
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Old 06-06-2007, 10:20 AM   #25
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Default Re: Who was better?

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I would add to that list...Eric Clapton....virtually every guitarist will name him as a MAJOR influence....The older I get the more I appreciate his style and ability...Some consider talent to be the ability to play fast...Clapton once said that talent lies in the ability to play the THE right note at THE right time. I didnt get that when I was younger..but now appreciate his music a great deal.
A lot of people say that Layla was his best work, I believe it was Cocain. But I agree with you on Clapton. But I also have to put Jimmy Page on the same level. If Clapton is 1A then Page is 1B in terms of guitarists and influence. Also dont forget about Tony Iommi from Sabboth. If it wasnt for him then there wouldnt be any metal rock such as Metallica today.
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Old 06-07-2007, 08:45 PM   #26
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Default Re: Who was better?

As far as innovative music, the Beatles were way out front. WAY out front. Elvis just took black artists stuff and made it mainstream. I don't even think he was especially courageous, because his whole shtick was hit or miss. You either buy a white guy playing black music or you don't. Everyone did.

The Beatles started more or less the same way, but when they gained popularity, they didn't rest on their laurels, they really pushed the ends of the envelope. The Stones, the Who, Zeppelin and Pink Floyd all owe a debt to the Beatles. Without the Beatles, every band but the Stones wouldn't even exist.
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