Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Dethroning The King Of Rock ‘N Roll

Posted October 16, 2010 by jim young in Media

– jim young

“Gonna write a little letter, gonna mail it to my local dee-jay…”  – Chuck Berry

Can someone please explain to me how Elvis was ever crowned the King of Rock ‘n Roll?

I never understood that title.

To use the analogy of a royal family I could envision Elvis as nothing more than a court jester.

And I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. Not unlike a court jester, Elvis was a GREAT entertainer with a GREAT voice. But let’s face it. That’s all he was and that’s all he contributed to Rock ‘n Roll.

At best he was a spokesman for the composers of his songs; composers such as Otis Blackwell, Leiber & Stoller, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins and so many more.

Elvis was a lousy actor, appearing in films to capitalise on, not just his fame but also the popularity of rock ‘n roll in general, so you can throw all his film credits out the window as any kind of a defence to his title.

From a strictly popular point of view, Colonel Tom Parker would probably deserve as much of the crown as did Elvis.

Some Kings were popular but that was never the reason they were crowned.

Aside from Kings who wore the crown as a rite of inheritance, most Kings won their crowns based on their achievements. You gotta pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues…

Other than performing, just what did Elvis bring to the round table of Rock ‘n Roll?

Elvis was credited with co-writing a handful of songs including Love Me Tender, All Shook Up and Don’t Be Cruel.

But in the 50s it was common practice for songwriters to give up 50% of the royalties and song writing credit to ensure it was covered by a popular entertainer in the hopes it would become a hit.

The other ½ dozen songs Elvis was credited with writing aren’t even memorable enough to mention even if he really HAD co-written them.

There are many other much more deserving contenders for the crown of King of Rock ‘n Roll such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and of course Chuck Berry.

(The Beatles and The Rolling Stones can’t be seriously considered if only because of their chronological appearance on the Rock ‘n Roll scene.)

According to Digital Dream Door’s 100 Greatest Rock ‘n Roll songs of the 50s, Chuck Berry, who came in at number 1 with Johnny B. Goode had a total of 7 songs in the list, all of which were written and recorded by Berry.

Elvis came in at number 2 with Jailhouse Rock and a total of only 6 songs in the top 100, none of which he wrote. (Elvis was credited as a co-writer for All Shook Up which was really written by Otis Blackwell.)

While Chuck Berry has been called the Father of Rock ‘n Roll (a title more aptly applied to Ike Turner) the time is long overdue that Chuck Berry should reclaim the crown that is rightfully his.

I will bend my knee and perform the Duck Walk while paying homage to Chuck Berry and swear my allegiance to the true King of Rock ‘n Roll.

So Roll over Elvis and tell Dick Clark the news.

– 30 –

One Comment


    “Can someone please explain to me how Elvis was ever crowned the King of Rock ‘n Roll?” was intended to be more of a rhetorical question as a lead-in to my rant.

    However for anyone that really wants to know the answer to that question, check out Kory French’s article “The King & The Jester”, which can be found at both of the following links.

    Breakthru Radio: http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1635


    The Inhuman Ones: http://koryfrench.blogspot.com/2010/10/king-jester.html

    Kory does an excellent job in not only explaining how and why Elvis was named the King of Rock ‘n Roll but then goes on to debate the legitimacy of that title.

    It’s an interesting read.

    Well done Kory.

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