Elvis made an impact on his generation and managed to influence hundreds of artists that followed him. Music was altered forever just by combining rhythm and blues, country, and gospel. An entire genre was created with the sound produced in the small studio at Sun Records.
“I never expected to be anybody important”
The influence Elvis had over his generation would span each generation and inspire others with the sound he assisted in creating. Many musicians were influenced by Elvis and his impact inspired those to follow in his footsteps and create their own sound and pursue their dreams.
Icons: The Influence of Elvis Presley
The new complex at Elvis Presley’s Graceland is home to a very unique exhibit. The items on display were never worn by Elvis or even owned by Elvis, but those of other celebrities. This exhibit offers a look at some of the celebrities that were influenced by Elvis and his legacy. Displaying outfits that were inspired by Elvis’s iconic looks to quotes from some of the most legendary entertainers of all time. Knowing Elvis had an impact on each and every one of them truly shows the magnitude of influence one man had over the entire world.
The celebrities featured in Icons, are clearly icons all on their own. Some decided to go into music because of Elvis himself and many are forever thankful to Elvis for creating a world where different musical styles are celebrated. Of the many celebrities featured, the selections range from the 1950s and the rise of Elvis Presley himself, to current generations of entertainers who were not even alive during the life of Elvis Presley. The continuation of inspiration from one man has lasted for well over 60 years and will continue as Elvis’s legacy lives on in younger generations.
The Boss and The King
Bruce Springsteen is one of the many featured artists in Icons. His story is similar to others on display as he was extremely inspired by Elvis. Springsteen also has one of the best Elvis stories ever. In 1976, Bruce Springsteen wrote a song and had only Elvis in mind. After a tour, he decided to drive pass Graceland when he noticed a light on. With his fellow bandmate and friend, they jumped the gates and ran to the front door. They were stopped by security and informed Elvis was not home.
Though he was unable to meet Elvis and tell him about the song, the song has done very well for Springsteen and even tells this story in concert before singing this song. “There have been a lotta tough guys. There have been pretenders. And there have been contenders. But there is only one King” (Bruce Springsteen, 2017, “Icons: The Influence of Elvis Presley Exhibit”). Listen to this song and see if it makes you think of Elvis:
“Do you believe in life after love”
Though not many have as an exciting story to tell, there are others that were inspired by Elvis and even had the privilege to meet Elvis. Cher was influenced by Elvis Presley at the very young age of 11. “The first concert I attended was an Elvis concert when I was eleven. Even at that age he made me realize the tremendous effect a performer could have on an audience” (Cher, 2017, “Icons: The Influence of Elvis Exhibit”). Much later in her life, Cher admitted to a fling she had with Elvis Presley between her marriages to Sonny Bono and Gregg Allman.
“Bringing Sexy Back”
Even to this day, current generations of artist admit to being inspired by Elvis Presley. Of those comes Memphis native, Justin Timberlake. It would be extremely difficult to grow up in Memphis, TN and not be completely surrounded by all things Elvis. Justin Timberlake is one of the most talented entertainers in our generation. Starting out in the Mickey Mouse Club, joining 90s boy band craze, to becoming a successful solo artist, and actor. Timberlake gives nods to Elvis in his performances through dance and styling choices. It is incredible to see 40 years later that Elvis Presley’s legacy lives on.
In recent months, Miley Cyrus released a music video with direct inspiration from Elvis and shows that his influence is still alive and legacy will live on through the younger generations.
Quotes from celebrities are featured with their items on display or even on plaques across the walls. Here is a list of some of the most eye-opening in relation to Elvis’s influence:
“Elvis had an influence on everybody with his musical approach. He broke the ice for all of us” – Al Green
“That night at the Eagle’s Nest he was playing a D-18 Martin Acoustic Guitar and he was dressed in the latest teen fashion. The thing I really noticed was guitar playing and you don’t want to hear anything else” – Johnny Cash
“The most popular thing in America culture is Elvis Presley” – Kid Rock
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you have accomplished something. Elvis did that and more for me and so many others” – Dolly Parton
“Nothing really affected my until I heard Elvis. If there hadn’t been an Elvis, there wouldn’t have been The Beatles” – John Lennon
“I don’t think there is a musician today that hasn’t been affected by Elvis’ music. His definitive years 1954-57 can only be described as Rock’s cornerstone. He was the original cool” – Brian Setzer
“Ask anyone. If it hadn’t been for Elvis, I don’t know where popular music would be. He was the one that started it all off, and he was definitely the start of it for me” – Elton John
“None of use could have made it without Elvis” – Buddy Holly
“When I was a kid, I loved Elvis. He was the ultimate in cool. Every guy wanted to be Elvis, me included” – Dwayne Johnson
Tell Me Am I Getting Through
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Until we meet again,
TCB and TCE,