The day Elvis changed the world If you tune into your radio on Monday, July 5, at 5pm BST, there is a very good chance you will hear a recording made exactly 50 years ago: Elvis Presley's That's Alright Mama.
With a live satellite feed from the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, stations across the world are uniting in what organisers claim will be the largest ever simultaneous playing of a single song. Not bad for a budget recording made by a young Memphis where can i buy a pandora bracelet online truck driver with unruly hair, improvising a jittery rhythm on his acoustic guitar, accompanied by a couple of country session players. The event kicks off celebrations for what is being can you buy pandora jewelry online billed as the 50th anniversary of rock and roll (which include a gala Unicef concert that same evening at the Kings Dock Arena in Liverpool). It is the kind of occasion still capable of causing a twinge of incredulity (combined perhaps with a nervous shiver of mortality) as we contemplate how something associated with youth and vigour could have reached the half century mark, attaining uninvited respectability in the process. Yet it is an entirely spurious anniversary, dependent upon a Big Bang theory of pop culture that proposes rock to have been created from nothing in one God like moment of silver charms pandora hip swinging inspiration, rather than gradually emerging from almost imperceptible shifts in musical styles over a number of years. Aficionados regularly cite the 1951 single Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston (written by Ike Turner and produced by Sun Studio's Sam Phillips, the man who discovered Elvis) as the first rock and roll record. Brenston's problem, however, was that he was black in an era when radio was racially segregated, an issue that consigns Little Richard and many other innovative performers to the margins of rock history. Bill Haley's Rock Around The Clock from 1955 was the first rock and roll single to have a global impact, although the portly, balding showman was, if anything, too white, and patently lacking the charisma to turn his moment in the spotlight into anything more than a novelty. So the honour goes to Elvis even though it was 1956 and the spooky Heartbreak Hotel before his combination of otherworldly beauty, mercurial voice and primal pandora official website energy combined with this wild, electric music to imprint itself upon the world. In the process, Elvis gave focus to a whole new kind of youth sensibility and star iconography, which put music at the centre of Western pop cultural life. This is a big claim, I know, but 50 years on we live in a world overrun by pop music. The beats and melodies are virtually inescapable, an aural canvas to everyday existence, tinkling in the background of shops and public spaces, blaring from passing cars, chattering from mobile telephones, so that it sometimes seems the only way to tune out the constant stream of unsolicited music is to become immersed in the private musical world of the ubiquitous personal stereo. Pop music touches upon high art and low commerce and all points in between. You can trace a line from Elvis to Eminem, but you have to find room for the Spice Girls and Britney Spears, too. But, if pop has lost the singularity of its early appeal to youth and rebellion, it has become, instead, all pervasive, with something for everyone. Now we have prime ministers who play electric guitar, and presidents who blow their saxophones along to Elvis tunes. Great claims can be made for film and TV as the mass media mainstream art forms of our times, but a song (carried on the airwaves and lodging uninvited in the subconscious) can invade the global consciousness in a way that no other medium can match.
So, if you should find yourself tuning in with the rest of the planet to That's Alright Mama, you might pause to marvel at how this sweet rockabilly strum from another, more innocent era represents a great deal more than just the (dubious) birth of rock and roll. Down in Sun Studio in 1954, Elvis and his cohorts opened Pandora's musical box. Nothing has been quite the same since.
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