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Elvis Presley: A White Man With A Black Soul

by / June 25, 2014 video 26 Comments

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Elvis Presley is known as “the King of Rock and Roll.”  His music made him one of the most prolific cultural icons of the 20th century.  His unique musical style was deeply influenced by his Southern roots.  Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and later moved to Memphis, Tennessee with his family where he began his music career in 1954.

Some of Presley’s early experiences with black music and culture included singing with the choir at the East Trigg Baptist Church in Memphis during his high school years.  It was also during high school that Presley began developing his unique style growing sideburns and styling his hair with rose oil and Vaseline.

Presley recorded multiple songs in 1953 and 1954 before winning some acclaim with “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”  Critics felt that the songs represented an “R&B idiom of negro field jazz” as well as country making Presley’s musical style something new and unique.  Presley soon signed a deal with RCA and began performing on television and making regional performances.

By 1957, Presley had shot to international stardom with three number one singles: “Too Much,” “All Shook Up,” and “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear.”  After serving in the U.S. Army, Presley returned to the States in 1960 and immediately began recording new material that included multiple hits such as “Stuck on You” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?.”

Presley soon ventured into film producing 20 different films during the 1960s that coincided with releases of either soundtracks or EPs.  Presley’s work and success made him the best-selling solo artist in recorded music history with over 600 million units sold worldwide.  He was inducted into multiple music halls of fame, won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and won 3 of the 14 Grammys he was nominated for.

Presley died on August 16, 1977 from what many believe was a drug overdose and/or reaction, although his cause of death was officially attributed to cardiac arrhythmia.  Despite his untimely death, as then President Jimmy Carter states, Presley, “permanently changed the face of American popular culture.”

Check out the following video to hear musicians such as Al Green and Stevie Wonder discuss Presley’s music and the influence of black music and culture on Presley’s unique style.  The video also contains clips of white and black radio DJ’s reacting very differently to Presley’s music and their choice to either play or ban his music on their stations.

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Christine

26 Comment

  1. Elvis Presly was racist and hated African Americans… A racist with a black soul… really!!! Maybe a cultural thief in the name of money n fame is a better word.

  2. More like a white racist Thief with Black aspirations.

  3. This article needs to be trashed… sorry but you didn’t do your homework. I was raised in Las Vegas where that racist creep lived inside the Hilton Hotel and had nightly performances when the mob was running LV… This article needs to be pulled and its insulting to our black rock n roll pioneers…

  4. …what an insult you guys will do anything for the pennies they give you to get hits on an article..wth is a black soul? He did not have to walk around with black skin and face racism….He was able to simply imitate our style of music…Our ancestors indoored hell…not to mention what black performers dealt with..Im bout this close to unliking alot of these black pages cause I'm sick of the ignorant MESSY articles.

  5. Hated Elvis nothing but a dork,i detested the tag they gave him also the king of rock n roll ? Rock n Roll without a doubt came from black culture Elvis never started anything ,he plagurised it and got rich of it like a whole lot of white artists do.Plus he never sounded black.Whoever wrote this article has to be one of those snivelling uncle tom types.If you,re going to write an article ,write about how black music has just about influenced every facset of modern music today.Rock n Roll,Blues,Jazz,Soul,Funk ,you name it.

    • You tell it Marcus!! That racist az hole wouldn’t even perform with our people, and many of them stepped forward about his azz…

      • Redbone, how ignorant and uneducated are you? Are you not aware that Whitney Houston’s mother’s group The Sweet Inspirations were his primary backup group that toured and even opened up all of his concerts in the 70’s to prominently white audiences? Are you not aware that he had a black drummer named Stump Monroe? Are you not aware that Elvis refused to perform to a segregated audience in the 50’s? Are you not aware that he even had blacks in his movies including a black female co-star named Barbara McNaire, a Motown recording artist. You claim to live in Las Vegas. Well did you know that Elvis only agreed to perform at the Las Vegas International-Hilton Hotel because it was the only hotel in the entire city that would allow the black performers to stay and work at the hotel? Are you also not aware that he stood up for blacks on many different occasions? How about him buying the poor black woman in Memphis a brand new car because she said she liked it? Or how about him donating to the UNCF for the Lou Rawls Telethon from a hospital bed and annually donated to the NAACP. Learn about the man before you go sounding like an ignorant fool.

        I’m black and a proud Elvis admirer and fan. I don’t see his skin as an issue like most black folks do. Get over it.

        • If I am ignorant heffa-cat your more disgusting ignorant then I am… and I don’t give a rats-azz what you say Elvis was racist and that is factual so get over it… and it doesn’t take a lot d@Mn words to tell the truth about his racist azz….lmbo! Whatever!!!!

          You sound like your ignorant azz might have been his maid or bedding his racist azz…

          • I can see you’re one of those racist ghetto folk that thinks if it ain’t black it’s whack and all white people are racist. That’s sad too. I sure hope you don’t have any children being poisoned by your hatred and bitterness. If you do then I feel for them.

          • You have a right to your own opinion, because an opinion is all it is… I don’t give a ratz-azz / when it comes to ghetto mentality I can’t really speak on it too much, sorry its a clueless subject for me… but you on the other hand brought it up so you must have experienced it.

  6. Some of these comments show that black people are at times more racist than those KKK loving white people out there. First of all, Elvis WAS black. He had black roots, Melungeon Indian roots and Scottish roots. All of which have African traits. Where do you think he grew up? He grew up in an all black neighborhood of Tupelo, MS. His family was dirt poor, as poor as the black people were. They got called poor white trash by their own people. So actually Elvis knew what it was like to be black. He lived the same life as a child and early teen.

    Yes it’s true he got rich and famous. But before you call claiming that he did that off of black artists, think again. While black music played a big part in his influence it was the country music side that he mostly recorded. That along with Gospel. Only a handfull of his recordings were by black artists. Only All Shook Up and Don’t Be Cruel were written by a black man that were hits for Elvis. And he had more hits than anyone has ever had. So you do the math. That is if you;re educated enough to add and subtract.

    Some of the most prominent high praised African Americans knew and befriended Elvis and not one of them has ever said a negative thing about him being a thief nor a racist. So why should blacks today? Because we as a dysfunctional race see and use race as any way possible for justification for what happened over 200 years ago. So keep living in a racial world while the rest of us educated black people move forward and learn how to cope with adversity without hate and seeing race as the problem. Maybe we’re our own problem.

  7. Just to point something out. I am from Chicago and moved to Atlanta. I know for a fact that many educated African Americans love Elvis and respect and appreciate what he did for black music and opening doors to our musical legends to walk through. Imagine if that white boy hadn’t had our musical influence on him. Michael Jackson, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Beyonce, and so many others would have never been given a chance without Elvis doing what he did. The world would have stayed the same and never changed. It took a white boy to do our style to change society’s views and paved the way for black music to cross over to white audiences. White kids weren’t listening to Little Richard until Elvis came along. That’s something to think about there. Plus Elvis served in the Army. That along makes him an American hero.

    • Ms Black Queen
      You got me rolling out my shoes lmbo! You are too funny with this Elvis Presley drama….!! Its not that serious lol…. where is your humor?? You sound like your a granny… Granny’s need respect okay…. so calm down…wink!

      • You started it all with your ignorance and hatred for a man who did good things for our people. I tried to point out the truth and you refused to accept it with your bigot views. And I’m not a granny. Not hardly dear. I’m a 26 year old well educated African American woman with a college degree. You on the other hand sound like a typical high school drop with your lack of knowledge. And please don’t tell me you’re educated. Hip-hopology 101 doesn’t count.

        • Lmbo!!!
          You do not know how to stop when your ahead… I am 54 yrs old, 4 grown children. Use to love Elvis until I met the real him.. I hate hip-hop don’t allow it in my home. Not ignorant by a long-shot.

          See / Off to the movies…. I don’t like Elvis lol

        • @CRAYOLA BLACK-DEMOTED-QUEEN…

          Wow! I just read this post of yours!!! 26 yrs old and extremelly stupid, dumb clueless and all of the above, but number 1 at the top “IGNORANT”, most definitely (IGGY-NOR-RANTING-FOOL)….!!! Lmbo!

          White secular educated “LAB-RAT” on the move /copy this!!!!! Rat’s on the proul yall….!!! LMBO!!!

          I was trying to give you the benefit of doubt, until I read this post. You do sound like somebody’s granny chic….LMBO!!!

          Get over yourself you educated fool!!!!

  8. Black queen. ..so..you do know he was actually a racist right. .This isn’t just speculation of bitter black people…The man actually said the only thing a “nigga” can do for me is shine my shoes…He said it….and growing up poor is the same as growing up black. .hmmm…I can see you have some “growing” left do do…

    • If he said it then why isn’t it on record and why did Jet Magazine even discredit it when it originated as a lie? Back in those days, everything he said was captured basically on audio. All his interviews TV appearances etc. Black folks are so quick to judge and yet we always accuse others of judging us. Our race in general are hypocrites. I used to buy that he was racist too when I was little. But after learning for myself that he wasn’t and that the shoeshine” quote was made up by a white man on top of that who hated Elvis in the 50’s, made me realize he was a victim of racism, not the other way around.

      I’m the one who’s educated on the man. Not y’all.

      • DEMOTED BLACK QUEEN…

        Your the one who’s not educated… Just because you have the “WHITEMANS STRIPS” doesn’t mean your donkey-azz is educated… Life is what educates you little girl who hasn’t even begun to live yet!!! LMBO!

        My 29 yr old daughter has more sense then you do, and I didn’t raise any High School Drop-outs, neither am I…wink! Go find your mother and your granny because you need to start all over again from scratch… LMBO!!!

    • @Kyle…

      Elvis did say those words, that’s when I started not to like him…
      I use to watch all his movies when I was a little girl, but when I heard those words it broke my heart. My dad worked with and for those people… that’s how I know Elvis was a racist, but somethings I can’t share accross this forum…

      • Sure .

        • @Demoted Black Queen…

          Don’t hate… Jealousy will get you nowhere…..! Simply nowhere at ALLLLLLL……wink!!!

          • You should know. Your ignorance and racial hatred is showing through every word you post and is what’s wrong with this nation. It’s folks like you that embarrasses the black race. You must be proud to be a racist. Also a hypocrite for accusing whites of being close minded just as you are.

            Oh and for the record, stop spreading lies.

  9. And fyi…it’s very possible to be both educated and ignorant…

  10. Elvis Presley a racist?? demuestrenlo … I!

    Certain elements of American society who were brought to Presley as a racist Southerner who stole black music.
    “Racist true attacked rock and roll because of the mixture of black and white, and they saw it as the power of black music to corrupt through vulgar rhythms and animal. In the 1950s legal segregation and discrimination against blacks was common. however Presley publicly cite his debt to African-American music, pointing to artists like BB King, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Ivory Joe Hunter, and Fats Domino, as his biggest influences. journalist who made the first Presley interview in New York in 1956 noted that he named blues singers who “meant, obviously a lot to him. I was very surprised to hear him talk about black artists there and how he tried to perform his music “Later that same year, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Presley was quoted as saying:..” People of color have singing always like I’m doing now,

      . “Little Richard said of Presley,” He was an integrator Elvis was a blessing .. He opened the door for black music …. “BB King said he began to respect Presley after he did Arthur” Big Boy “Crudup after he met Elvis thought the singer really was something else and was someone whose music was growing all the time until his death.

    Even the black artists in mid-1950 he had sold his tiny amounts recorded in connection with the potential for national music market. Black songwriters had mostly limited horizons and could only make a living. But after Presley began to buy the music of African American Otis Blackwell.
    The music industry of black music underwent a dramatic change. In the spring of 1957 Presley invited African American performer Ivory Joe Hunter to visit Graceland and the two spent the day together, singing “I almost lost my mind” and other songs. Presley, Hunter commented: “He showed me every courtesy, and I think that is one of the greatest.”

    Now they have something more than agregrar against Elvis?
    Say honestly who really were the real racists?

  11. It laborious to seek out knowledgeable folks on this matter, but you sound like you already know what that you are talking about! Thanks

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