Elvis Presley Elvis & Racism
Elvis Presley Elvis & Racism news and information.
Video, B.B. King talks about Elvis Presley, and the first time he saw him at Sun Records. Later, Elvis Presley and B.B. King backstage at the WDIA Goodwill Revue at Ellis Auditorium on December 7, 1956.
You may never have heard a Roy Hamilton song - he is not played much on the radio anymore, and is prized mainly by rhythm-and-blues aficionados, especially in England - but you’ve heard the reach of his gospel-tinged voice. Hamilton was 'one of Elvis’s chief vocal inspirations', according to Elvis Presley’s biographer Peter Guralnick, who also noted that Elvis was 'one of Roy Hamilton’s most devoted admirers'.
In 1969 Elvis and Roy met at the American Sound Studios
in Memphis. Both were being produced by Chips Moman, Elvis at night and Roy during the day. Elvis was thrilled to discover that Roy (his boyhood idol) would be working at the same studio.
On February 14, 1973 Elvis presented Muhammad Ali with an 'Elvis Style' robe emblazoned with the words, 'People's Choice' on the back in rhinestones and jewels. The wording was a mistake as Ali was known as the 'The Peoples Champion'. Elvis was very upset about this but it too late. Ali thanked Elvis for the robe then went directly to the Las Vegas Convention Center for his fight that night against Joe Bugner where he wore Elvis' robe for the first time. Often the story is told he did not wear it this night, but he sure did, and he won the fight too! Sammy Davis Jr was ringside for the fight and bought into the ring post fight by Ali.
'Nothing stood out about Elvis', Harris said. 'There wasn't no-one more surprised than me when he did what he did. Elvis was no different from any of the rest of us, back then. We'd go swimming together in the creek, just hang out, like kids do. There wasn't a lot to do, growing up in Tupelo. The young Elvis was not the extrovert and flamboyant Vegas showman he would later become. On a previous trip to Memphis I'd learned that as a teenager he was so shy that he had to be coaxed to sing on stage at an end-of-term high school concert. Within two to three years he was the most famous person in the world, and wealthy in a way that would be unimaginable to the country boy from Mississippi.
In April 1957, Sepia magazine, a white-owned sensationalist monthly for black readers, took up a discussion, 'How Negroes Feel About Elvis', as controversial then as it is today: the case of a white kid - Elvis Presley - who adopted black music and became the most successful artist of his time. When the 'establishment' accused Elvis Presley of being vulgar, of being deliberately sexual, they did not mean this. This was the cover for what was really meant, what was really feared
, and that was that Elvis would lead to equal rights and racial integration
. And not just Elvis any white person singing rock 'n' roll. Carl Perkins was warned to not do his show. Elvis was simply the number one guy and therefore got the most attention. Here is our definitive response to this nonsense. Read more
The Sweet Inspirations were founded by 'Cissy' Houston (Born Emily Drinkard, married to Gary Houston at age 21 for two years) mother of Whitney Houston, and sister of Lee Warrick (herself the mother of well-known sisters, Myrna Smith's cousins Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick). Emily and Lee were members of The Drinkard Singers, a family group that had the distinction of recording the first Gospel album to appear on a major label: A live recording from The Newport Jazz Festival in 1959. The line-up included Judy Guions (who later became Judy Clay), Marie Epps, Larry Drinkard, Nicholas Drinkard, ...
Lionel Rose: 'I was punching a heavy bag in a gym in L.A., and I hear a voice sing out, 'Hey, Lionel! What's doin'?' And it was Elvis himself', Rose recalled. 'I was in awe of him, but he said he was in awe of me'.
The statistics for our Elvis Presley and Racism : The Ultimate, Definitive Guide are astounding; the page has had just under 4000 page views in the past two weeks alone, since we highlighted the article on March 23, which is remarkable. However what is astounding is the average time spent on the page, 1 hour 12 minutes, so people are really reading the article, we can't recall seeing anything like this before.
Article by Peter Guralnick, (Last Train To Memphis & Careless Love) published today by The New York Times
, about the absurd claims that Elvis was a racist.
'Farid told me that one day at his high school, some of the school bullies started teasing him, calling him names like 'you dirty Arab' and threatened to hit him. He said Elvis came along and said, 'Hey, you leave him alone. I know him and his family and they are very nice people. Those 'Arabs' treat me well and you better treat him well also'. The bullies moved off and Elvis told Farid that if anybody ever tried that again, he should let Elvis know'.
It is hardly surprising that Muhammad Ali
and Elvis Presley
became good friends, their backgrounds were so similar and they became the two arms of the pincer movement of civil rights within entertainment and sport.
The special friendship between Elvis Presley
and the unforgettable icon of boxing Muhammad Ali.
Race, Rock, And Elvis
is an excellent analysis of the impact of rock'n'roll, simultaneously offering a fascinating, though sometimes frightening, look at racial attitudes in the Southern states of the USA in the fifties.
Ernest Withers's fame comes from his skill with a camera and his ability to be in the right place at precisely the right time. So, of countless images in the world of Elvis Presley, the ones by the renowned Memphis photographer are of special interest. Elvis had this thing for music, you see, especially gospel and R&B. As Withers puts it: "He began to show up at musical events where I happened to be."
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.
+ Plus Bonus DVD Audio.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.