"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)


"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)








New books examine impact, role of Southern music, performers

By Ron Wynn, rwynn@nashvillecitypaper.com
June 23, 2005

While many books have been written examining various aspects of Southern music and the accomplishments of noted performers, new volumes from James L. Dickerson and Paul Simpson take divergent but equally informative and compelling approaches to spotlighting the region's importance.

Dickerson's Mojo Triangle: Birthplace of Country, Blues, Jazz and Rock 'n' Roll (Schirmer) covers a geographic area that follows the Mississippi River, encompassing New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville.

Paul Simpson's The Rough Guide To Elvis (Rough Guides/Penquin) compiles into a 475-page guide every fact anyone would want regarding Presley's life, death, films and certainly his music, plus some of the recurring myths about his motivations, inspirations and actions that still linger.

Dickerson, a noted music journalist who's written 18 nonfiction books and thousands of articles over the last 25 years, spotlights such famous figures as Jimmie Rodgers, W.C. Handy, Louis Armstrong, Tammy Wynette, and many others, while also discussing the importance of various producers, studios, engineers and musicians. But he's equally interested in how the juxtaposition of populations in these different cities affected the music that resulted.

Despite the segregated landscapes in Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans, black and white performers grew up hearing a lot of the same music and in turn being influenced by it. Thus black and white gospel, jazz, blues, R&B, and country, all converged and affected such writer/producer types as Sam Phillips, Chips Moman, Dan Penn and Willie Mitchell. The influence of the music likewise can be heard in the hybrid sounds of performers like B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Rufus Thomas, and many others.

Dickerson also profiles the emergence of the country, gospel and soul businesses in Memphis and Nashville; the rise and fall of the Crescent City R&B sound in New Orleans; the parallel evolution of WSM and WDIA; the amazing run of Stax, American and Fame studios; and every major development within the "Mojo Triangle" except for Southern rap and hip-hop.

While factual, Mojo Triangle never becomes ponderous or dry in either the writing or the presentation. Dickerson's book adds another chapter to the legacy of vital works that trace the South's prominence in American cultural development.

The most intriguing portions of Paul Simpson's The Rough Guide to Elvis are the chapters that detail in incisive, exacting fashion every record and film Presley ever made. Though much of what's here doesn't qualify as new information, it has seldom been organized in such meticulous fashion.

One thing that Simpson does make clear is the multifaceted amount of influences that Presley combined. He devotes complete chapters to Presley's blues and country foundations, but also shows that Presley adored gospel, mellow pop vocalists like Dean Martin and opera star Mario Lanza. He devotes a separate chapter to evaluating Presley's debt to African-American artists, and also closely scrutinizes his relationship with longtime manager Col. Tom Parker.

Outside of an occasional snafu (noted music critic and novelist Nelson George's name gets transposed for example), The Rough Guide to Elvis proves valuable in both a qualitative and quantitative fashion.
CD: All Shook Up
DVD: Elvis by the Presleys
FTD: Rockin' Across Texas
FTD: Elvis Is Back
TV Special: "Elvis by the Presleys"
Book: Elvis by the Presleys
CD: Tom Green
Show: Sonny West
CD: A Legendary Performer Vol. 5
CD: Young & Beautiful (TV Guide)
DVD: Elvis by the Presleys "Target" bonus disc
Mini-series: Elvis
FTD: Big Boss Man
VCD: Joe Esposito's Home Videos of Elvis
Book: Complete Guide to Elvis Presley
CD: Now What (Lisa Presley)
Tupelo, Miss.
Elvis was a racist? (#2)
Elvis vs. Jerry Lee Lewis
Elvis was a racist? (#1)
Elvis making a killing
Elvis & the treasure chest of blood money
Priscilla - "no angel"
Elvis in the 1970s
More on Elvis on TV
"Orion" gunned down!
Elvis Is Back
Elvis - Hero with 1000 faces
Elvis Film Guide
Elvis rules on television! (updated May 2005)
Elvis & other major artists miss out on Grammy Awards
How did Elvis die?
Albert Wertheimer
Priscilla Presley
Marshall Terrill
Lisa Presley on Larry King Show
Tony Joe White
Stanley Oberst
Bud Glass (part 2)
Red & Sonny West
Ed Bonja (Part 2)
Ernst Jorgensen
Phil Aitcheson (Presley Commission)
Graceland cam
Listen to the Elvis "strung out" in Vegas audio
The "Real" Elvis off-stage
Unreleased Elvis audio now online
View EPE Graceland tourism ads
View video of "All Shook Up" opening night on Broadway
All about Elvis
All about Lisa Presley
All about Graceland
Elvis film guide
Elvis was a racist? (archives) *** new
Elvis Week 2005 ***new
Online Elvis Symposium
Sale of EPE "Archives"
6th Elvis Website Survey
Spotlight on The King


"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"

(Dr. Garry Enders)


" Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"



"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"

(humorist Dave Barry)


"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"

(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")


"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"

(Nick Tosches)