Rock Fan…Rock Star: Marlon Brando, James Dean, Elvis Presley

When asked his thoughts on Elvis by St. Louis Magazine, Chuck Berry notes:

“I think he had a wonderful manager (chuckles). But one thing Presley had that no other person had was that voice. He had a voice better than Bing Crosby’s. That’s another thing: I came up believing that singing did not mean just saying it with ups and downs and varied melody. Singing is almost like swinging: It vibrates.
Understandably, Chuck Berry and other African-American rockers at the time probably felt at least somewhat bitter and resentful toward this white kid popularizing the hits they created.
In the fifties, white musicians were classified as genuine Rock and Roll, while black artists were filed under the second-class title of Rhythm ‘n’ Blues. Songs were being covered by dolled up white boys and topping the charts, without any credit being given to the original artists.
I would be pissed too.
At the time, the issue reigned supreme on the minds’ of black performers, but in retrospect, with age, distance, and maturity, they can appreciate Elvis for what he brought to music and culture, as illustrated in the more or less favorable quotation from Berry.
In the years following, and to this day, the ‘founding fathers’ of rock n roll, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, are typically given appropriate recognition for their contributions to the genre, allowing a distinction between their roles and what Elvis accomplished.
Each represents two very different sides of the same musical coin.
Berry and friends are the Fathers of Rock, whereas Elvis will always be the King.

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Control: The Legacy of Joy Division

Updated: April 5th, 2015

A few months ago, while browsing through feature films at the local library, I came across one entitled Control. Initially, the movie seems like a biopic about Joy Division, but quickly establishes itself as a portrayal of Ian Curtis, the band’s tragic lead singer.

While reading the synopsis, I developed a sense of dread.
At this point in the game, I only knew so much about the band.
I will list that prior knowledge below.

The Things I Knew About Joy Division:

-They existed sometime in the late 70s/early 80s range, certainly not the 90s
-The 4 songs I have heard, I really really love
-I like the way they dress. Very business casual
-The lead singer has a deep voice
-I have a poster of them on the wall that I like to look at
-Their music complements the film Donnie Darko perfectly
-The lead singer killed himself

The last point brings me to a state of hesitation. I had the unfortunate experience of discovering suicide first hand, and it’s not something I would recommend or typically volunteer to watch onscreen, as most filmmakers have no idea how to handle the material tastefully, if a tasteful depiction of suicide even exists. Knowing the film’s conclusion before it even started, a conflict arose between wanting to know more about the band, and not setting myself up to view disturbing content. Curiosity won the battle as usual, and thus I added Control to my overflowing stack of CDs and brought it home.

For nearly 12 weeks, Control sat next to the bed waiting to be watched. I couldn’t do it. Surprisingly, I was never in the mood to witness someone’s life disintegrate. I renewed the movie four times and incrued several dollars in late fees. (I now owe them roughly $89 for late CDs and won’t be visiting for some time). Finally, I just returned it.
A week later, still sitting on the library shelf…still waiting…I grabbed the DVD and forced myself to sit and watch for 2 hours, well beyond my usual 90-minute-time-limit for films. 92 minutes? Get the hell out of here.

As for the movie, I loved it. Completely.

Although this post got written in a day or two, the process took months.
Coming up with a topic is easy, but discovering what the post is about, at its core, can take forever.
Writer’s block, anxiety, lost sleep, procrastination…these things fuel any decent piece of writing, and I would not exchange them for anything……not even for a bag of tater tots…which would hit the spot about now.

 

Quick note: the post is a bit longer than usual, clocking in at around 2 hours of quality music. So, take your time, no need to rush, take a nap, eat some tots, revisit if necessary, the post won’t be deleted any time soon! It is a lot to absorb in one sitting.

A plethora of good music and information can be found on the next page.
You wouldn’t want to miss it.

I hope you enjoy reading about one of the most innovative bands in existence.

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