I sold my soul to Rock n’ Roll!

By Sergio González | 10:38

Elvis Aaron Presley

Elvis Presley is considered the King of Rock n’ Roll but we should know why because not only he ‘created’ rock n’ roll but also changed the way the young understand music. Until Elvis made his apparition in the musical scene, young people used to listen to the same music their parents did and parties were not much fun at all. Elvis shook the society entirely with his moves and lyrics and nowadays he is considered tender and soft-core but revolutionary back in the 50’s.

Rock n’ roll defined a whole new generation, the after WWII baby boom, who were no longer interested in their parents’ businesses but rather opening their own ones. From then on, every decade would bring a new style in music, fashion and even a new attitude towards life but Elvis and rock were the first ones to tell the world that was ok to have a good time and dance your problems away.

As any other change, rock n’ roll was regarded by elder generations as a very bad influence and a threat to children’s well-being. Their efforts to diminish its popularity did nothing but increase it. For example, when parents forbade their children from listening to His Hand in Mine, they began to like it even more!

Rock n’ roll came to change many more things such as language or dating. Chaperons started to disappear and strong female roles like Rizzo from Grease showed girls that they didn’t have to stand waiting for boys to invite them to dance. Rock was aimed at everybody to speak their minds.

Elvis’ contribution to music could have never happened if his mother hadn’t been so protective, always keeping an eye on her son. Elvis wanted either a rifle or a bike for 11th birthday but Mrs. Presley bought him a $7 guitar instead.

Elvis got seduced by music as soon as he started playing but he wasn’t able to attract others into it. He was creating new sounds and rhythms taking little bits from blues, jazz and many other American music styles. As a child, Elvis was bullied (mama’s boy was his name) and disregarded by her music teachers.

Once, when he was in high school, his music teacher told him he had no aptitude for music. Elvis went back home and rehearsed harder than ever to prove her wrong, and he did. Later, after Elvis’ overwhelming success, she would admit she wasn’t ready to appreciate this new kind of music.

As time went through, Elvis defined his music style more and more and matched his appearance with it. It was the time of  bad-ass Marlon Brando and the Grease gangs that would terrify their neighbors with loud fast bikes and leather jackets. He grew sideburns and greased his hair, for his classmates it was funny at first, but a whole generation was to copy soon afterwards.

He was a shy guy and very reticent to play in front of an audience but he overcame his fears and applied for a minstrels show in his high school. His performance was irreverent and daring and his classmates loved it; he became really popular after that and with all his confidence he went to Sun Records in 1953.

He wanted to record just a couple of songs, ‘as a gift for my mother’ it seems he said, but there were cheaper places in Memphis to do that. Elvis wanted to be discovered and when the receptionist asked him who he sang like, he answered ‘no one’. Despite his astounding skills, Elvis would never learn music but he was ready to rock and roll. 

However, interest in Elvis came slowly, he didn’t nail his studio performances of old classic songs and he had to make a living as a truck driver. But one fine day, everything changed. A new opportunity arose and Sun Records was in need of a singer and they called Elvis.

Fail after fail, they were just about to leave the studio when Elvis picked up his guitar and started playing ‘That’s all right’ but in his own crazy free-style way. The other musicians soon joined him and his feverish and catchy rhythm in a music frenzy that stunned the Sun Records manager. But, unlike Elvis’ teacher and despite Elvis’ lack of music training, he recognized his huge talent for music and hired him, making the world a better place ever since.

Photo credit: Thuany Gabriela

 

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