This might be a throw away post but I’ve had some gaps in my writing and was running into a bit of a block. I was going through my idea notes, looking at those that I put off because I had something I was more interested in writing about.
The note I picked was: “What would Elvis or the Beatles be like if they happened today?”
I wasn’t around for the rise of Elvis and was too young to remember his heyday. My recollections of Elvis are the declining Elvis of the late sixties and into the seventies.
The stars aligned for Elvis. He had tons of talent but he had the luck of bringing a whole genre of music to an audience that was being denied access to the product due to bigotry. He and Sam Phillips pushed the envelope just enough for the times and it paid off big.
Elvis’s decline started when he was picked up by a major label and started making his mainstream motion pictures. He was toned down to fit white America.
Elvis was evolving during strict moral times. The envelope to be pushed was right in front of him.
So where is that envelope today?
Compared to the 1950’s and early 1960’s you could almost make a case that there is none. That being said, how could Elvis stand out today?
There is some much noise out there, it’s almost deafening.
Gone are the big record company promotion machines and what is left of that machine would do to Elvis exactly what they did to him in the sixties. They would mold him into some sort of demographic market product. They would strip him of the honesty and leave him fat, bloated and on the verge of insanity.
That aside, in today’s noise filled world, would he ever get heard?
Would he end up on some stage being told he just doesn’t fit the mold of what their corporate pop idol should be? Would he get voted off and go back to the life of a truck driver?
What about the Beatles?
I was around for their rise and fall, although I don’t think they fell, they fell apart.
Again they had an envelope to push.
They pushed it in all sorts of ways, writing, recording, producing and even the business.
They started their own label with the proceeds from their mega success. It hemorrhaged cash but it was their record label to do what they wanted.
I remember their “long” hair in 1964 which was abhorrent to most adults. In 1964 that “long” hair touched their ears and collar in the back. But they still all dressed in suits. In the early sixties they were pushing the envelope that Elvis had already expanded.
They really pushed it as their immense talent in performing and song writing lead to immense success which gave them carte blanche to stretch both creatively and financially .
Would they see that kind of success today? Would they be that huge today with all the noise out there compared to what was going on in the 1960’s?
I don’t think we will ever see another truly organic phenomenon like Elvis or the Beatles.
We’ll have plenty of corporate manufactured products but nothing true or honest like early Elvis or the Beatles.
So if you lived through the heyday of Elvis or the sixties with the Beatles consider yourself lucky. You experienced something that will never be seen again.
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