Does Elvis Presley deserve the honorific title King of Rock and Roll? | The Tylt

Does Elvis Presley deserve the honorific title King of Rock and Roll?

Elvis Presley is revered as the King of Rock and Roll by many music listeners, and the music industry in general, but not everyone agrees that he deserves the honorific title. Presley is also known for stealing music from black artists and repackaging it for white audiences. Some go as far to call Chuck Berry the true King of Rock and Roll. But others say Presley still helped pioneer rock and roll and remains one of the most influential artists of all time. Is Presley truly the King or an overrated culture vulture? 👑

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The Guardian collected quotes and excerpts from experts on who Presley as "the King," with many arguing he was not a thief or a racist.

Yes, white American performers like Elvis drew on r'n'b pioneered by Southern blacks, but they had absorbed white musical influences: the "hillbilly" nuances in the music of such seminal blues performers as Robert Johnson and Charley Patton are a perfect example (He wasn't my king, August 15). To characterise the South's variegated musical culture in terms of "theft" and "appropriation" is to indulge in exactly the kind of hysterical rhetoric that the region has long been trying to leave behind. — John Harris, London
 To describe Elvis Presley as a racist is disingenuous. Indeed, in his otherwise viciously hostile biography of Presley, Albert Goldman freely acknowledges his intolerance of racism. — Leon Gartshore, Keighley, W Yorks

Robert Hilburn for The Los Angeles Times wrote that while Presley did not invent the genre of rock and roll, he is still one of the most influential rock artists of all time, going on to inspire both The Beatles and Bob Dylan. 

Depending on who is estimating, Presley sold between 250 million and 300 million records. But sales are not really important in his case. Neither are sold-out shows. Legends in pop aren't made by music alone. His original impact was so spectacular that his audience remained fiercely loyal.
Presley served as a catalyst for a generation of Americans seeking to express themselves in the changing sociological structure of the 1950s. His music was wild, defiant, challenging, adventurous. His long hair, sideburns, loud clothes and uncompromising manner offered a symbol for teenagers desiring to state their own identity.
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Back in 2011, TheGrio basically dragged Presley, arguing that he's not the originator of rock and roll, but rather a thief who stole music from black musicians only to repackage the sound for white audiences during the eras of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement. Look no further than Presley's cover of Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog," which went on to surpass the original in both popularity and sales. While "Hound Dog" was one of Presley's biggest hits, it was not unheard for mainstream white artists to steal and repackage the music of black musicians in the '50s. 

Before there was an undisputed black King of Pop, there was a controversial white King of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Elvis Presley has been criticized and praised, worshiped and denounced, and subject to bouts of speculation and investigation mostly amongst the forever waning war of races in America. Deemed as a racist and a soulless thief, his legacy combats protesters who claim him as the sole creator and originator of rock ‘n’ roll. In reality, neither is correct.
In 1989, Chuck D popularly stated in Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” that “Elvis was a hero to most/But he never meant (expletive) to me, you see/Straight up racist that sucker was, simple and plain.” While no one can prove Elvis Presley was a racist, there’s no doubt that his legacy would leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many fans and supporters of the black community whom inspired all sounds of popular American music today.

Lil Richard is often referred to as the Architect of Rock and Roll, while Renée Graham wrote for the Boston Globe that Chuck Berry should actually be revered as the King.

Chuck Berry’s death last weekend had obit writers and news anchors scrambling for thesauruses to find just the right word to describe his monumental contributions to rock ’n’ roll. Yet even as the honorifics grew more lavish, there remained one title no one dared bestow upon Berry: The King of Rock ’n’ Roll.
That designation was long ago given to Elvis Presley. As the story goes, Presley was discovered because he fit the job description conjured by Sun Records owner and producer Sam Phillips: a white man who could sing like a black man. (For the record, Presley never sounded black.) Presley was an imitator, his kingdom a myth shared from generation to generation; repetition gave it the texture of fact. Berry was an originator, but in 1950s America, no black man could ever be anointed the king of anything.
FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Does Elvis Presley deserve the honorific title King of Rock and Roll?
A festive crown for the winner
#ElvisIsTheKing
#ElvisIsAThief