Thursday, June 18, 2009


This blog isn't about kids, but it is about my childhood opinions on rock-n-roll.

Elvis Presley is considered the "King" of rock-n-roll. This wasn't the case when rock-n-roll was King. I was there. I was a fan when it came into being, when the first rockers started rolling. I listened to rock-n-roll when parents feared it.

I remember my brother and sister arguing who was the greatest rock-n-roller. My sister Carolyn believed it was Chuck Berry, and she would rattle off all his great hits and talk about his guitar playing. Then my older brother William would pipe up about Little Richard being so out-there, so wild, so crazy, so fresh and inventive. I sided with Carolyn at the time and still do. The thing I remember the most is what wasn't said. To the kids in our household, Elvis wasn't the King.

My cousins talked about Elvis, but it wasn't about the music. It was about the sexuality, the handsomeness, the whiteness. At their house, it was either Elvis or Pat Boone. At our house, Ricky Nelson was the better musician, and upon reflection, one of the most underrated rock-n-rollers ever.

Looking back on it, I am proud of my brother and sister for being so passionate about music and so open-minded and non-judgemental about who was great. Nothing against Elvis, but the King of rock-n-roll is Chuck Berry, unless Little Richard is around. All Elvis fans can make nasty comments, but it won't change my mind. I made up my mind as a child, and after decades of reflection, I believe I was correct from the start.

It's funny how the King of rock-n-roll is an ornery black man, and the greatest rock group was four British guys who were singing with an American accent, thus topping Americans in their own creation.

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