Legacy of Elvis
Like many who heard the shocking news, I can recall exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard that Elvis Presley had died. He was only 42, and a legend in his own time.
I grew up in the United States during the 60's and 70's. To say that Elvis' music was influential is an understatement. It was nothing short of revolutionary. Redefining. It shifted mainstream culture as well as the music and entertainment industries. His unique, high-energy performances and gyrating hips created controversy. Teens swooned. Fear entered into the hearts of many parents and those who perceived the potential for his music to incite or spur on rebellious and sexual behaviours. With his music featured as the soundtrack of daily life, I'd say it shaped many people's character development, as well as their appreciation of music, like it did mine.
Although he did not invent the musical genre, Elvis holds the title, "The King of Rock and Roll". His blend of musical styles - including elements of gospel, country, rhythm and blues, as well as the emotional storytelling of ballads, with a bit of jazz and big band swing thrown into the mix - created the foundational fusion from which rockabilly was born.
Elvis not only created a surge in the popularity of rock and roll, he influenced many other musicians, including the Beatles, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly. Decades after his death, his status as a ground-breaking cultural and musical icon remains strong, as we still hear the influence of his sound in our music today.
Although Elvis has left the building, it's undeniable that his legacy lives on.
This painting was inspired by an image on the cover of a tribute collection of songs commemorating what would have been his 75th birthday, called "Elvis 75: Good Rockin' Tonight", produced in 2009 by Legacy/RCA.