Elvis Presley Not The Father Of Rock & Roll

Rock magazine, Rolling Stone's recent claim that rock legend Elvis Presley was the father of rock & roll has several black artists, including singers Dionne Warwick and Chuck Jackson, crying foul, because they say that it was actually black artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richards who started the genre. The protesting singers believe that if 'The King' had been alive, even he would have denied that he started rock & roll. The singers belong to the organisation 'Millions for Reparations,' and they will protest outside Rolling Stone's midtown offices for three days. "I knew Elvis personally, and he would be the first person to say, 'Don't say I started rock 'n' roll. Without black artists like Little Richard and Chuck Berry, Elvis wouldn't have got started. He would be playing country-and-Western," the New York Daily News quoted Jackson as saying. Elvis featured in the magazine's 50th anniversary issue, which also included pictures of all the singers who have made a significant contribution to the music industry. Spokespersons for the magazine, however maintain that although black artists were important for rock & roll, it was Elvis who took it new heights due to which they have called him the father of rock & roll.
Source: Email / Updated: Sep 19, 2004 
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Michl76 (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 4, 2004report abuse
The real father of Rock'n'Roll is Marty Mc Fly(Michael J.Fox)! Everybody should know this since the movie "Back to the Future";)
Crawfish (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 28, 2004report abuse
Sad to see the comments getting quite so personal, but I do agree that it appears to be a racist thing going on here. We don't have to justify Elvis' position as the King of Rock and Roll as we and everyone else, including Warwick and Jackson, know that is the fact and there is nothing that can or will ever change that. They appear to be jumping on the bandwagon etc. It is another excellent way to get their dwindling names back in print! Chuck Berry has praised Elvis as the first and it's people like that that count for me. Well, actually that's not quite true because like all of us fans we are quite capable of making our own decision without the "help" of these pathetic, sad has-beens. I can't help it either, but what we should really all have done is totally ignore them to show how important they really are to those people that matter and to Elvis' memory.
Arne Metzner (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 27, 2004report abuse
Hi Carl! I have to correct you, not on who is the Father of Rock and Roll. That's King Elvis (I have been av fan ever since 1956), but about Chuck Jackson's hits. He had 2 Top 40 hits, but 23 Hot 100 hits. Long live the King!
King Of Western Bop (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 22, 2004report abuse
Yawn! Not this old argument again. Dionne Warwick for instance was playing this game back in the '60s, when she complained about the likes of Dusty Springfield and Cilla Black having hits with songs she had recorded. Frank Allen of the Searchers described her as "a cold performer". I have no time for these musical snobs. They are peddling thinly veiled racist views in the guise of what they would call justifiable indignation. If you were a white artist holding similar views about a black artist it would be called blatent racism.
Actually I find it hilarious. Do they actually think anyone cares what they think? They'll never dethrone Elvis, and he'll be remembered long after they're forgotten - if anyone remembers them anyway. Father of Rock n Roll? Many men are fathers. Few are ever King.
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 22, 2004report abuse
When you think about it, there is no argument. Certain things can be debated, but this is like saying Bermuda is a biigger influence on world affairs than the United States. Elvis is the greatest star that ever lived. Those are just the facts. Never again will anyone be as celebrated as that man....
Kenneth (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 22, 2004report abuse
myself and my crowd are with you 'carl'. millions for reparations? whats all that about. check the dictionary. the simple fact is that ELVIS done what no other artist could do and thats change the whole music industry, the likes of which had never been done before or since,hip-hop or whatever included.
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 22, 2004report abuse
I was just reading the Billboard special on Elvis and they note that Elvis had 5 no. 1 singles on the Billboard R & B chart (although "Don't Be Cruel" was a double sided no. 1).
That is a lot of no. 1s for someone who was just imitating black stars. How many no. 1s did James Brown have in the same period, or Little RTichard, etc.?
To me this is definitive proof of how blacks felt about Elvis. They bought his records so much that he had 5 no. 1s in two years on the black charts! What black singer can equal that? So blacks obviously felt he was the real deal and that he was probably the most important artist in rock and roll. Otherwise, why was he no. 1 five times in two years?
Not even snotty Eminem had this kind of success on the black r and b charts today. Elvis ruled and dominated the black r and b charts like nobody before or since. Eminem is just a no-talent punk compared to Elvis! Elvis ruled, baby! He ruled ALL the charts. That is why they called him the King, because he dominated the charts. Elvis never claimed he invented rock or was the father of rock. He was dubbed the King because he sold more than anyone not only in the USA, but around the world. He was a superstar that no one could match. That is all that title meant.
Correction: Chuck Jackson only had 2 Top 40 hits on the Billboard pop chart. Period. The Del Vikings only had a few hits themselves and they quickly faded and broke up. But Jackson was a minor member of that group. He wasn't the star. I think he is remembered now mostly because he is BLACK. If he was white, no one would care about him. Any Day now was written by Burt Bacharach. Jackson was good, but he is minor league. It is like comparing a rookie to Babe Ruth. He ain't in the same league with Elvis, no one is.
But who is Jackson to say Elvis wasn't the father of rock? How arrogant is that! Why does the father have to be black? That is racist.
Just go by whoever had the most no.1s on the black r and b charts within the 50s rock era. I can live with that.
Arne Metzner (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 21, 2004report abuse
Of course Elvis is the Father of Rock, but to all those who say that Chuck Jackson had two hits, I must correct them. He had 23 pop hits in the 60's and three big hits with the Dell-Vikings in the fifties, including the fantastic "Come Go With Me".
Abidaslam1 (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 21, 2004report abuse
" C'mon you gotta be joking! Describe Elvis Presley? There just ain't no words to describe him. He was the greatest there ever was, or ever will be." Chuck Berry. " The guy was god given, there's no other explanation. A messiah comes around once every couple of thousand years, and he's gotta be it this time." Little Richard. Enough said.
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 21, 2004report abuse
You say Jackspn and Warwick are entitled to their opinion. But here is mine: They both suck and are has-beens and have no talent. Jackson only had two minor hits. He is hyped because he is black.
They are not giving opinions but presenting lies and falsehoods about rock and roll. They are ignorant about rock. These are old racist claims against Elvis, that he stole from blacks, etc. But blacks stole from white music too.
We all know Little Richard and Berry are talented, but they will never be as important or influential in rock like Elvis was. This is pelvis envy, these racist blacks don't like this fact. These blacks also don't like to see Elvis going no.1 around the world again and having his DVDs, etc., become a success.
As for influence , everybody influenced each other. Chuck Berry quoted a line from Carl Perkins' Blue Suede Shoes in one of his songs and used Perkins' nursery rhyme motif. I think Berry went country after hearing Perkins and Elvis. Berry also stole the Jerry Lee Lewis piano style for Sweet Little 16. But no one says anything here. I think Berry stole some of Perkins' guitar lines too. Berry also liked to see himself as a black Elvis and stole stuff from Elvis.
But the image Jackson paints of these honkies just sitting around to steal from blacks is racist and ignorant. Blacks were stealing from whites. They all wanted to be like Elvis. Jackie Wilson said black singers stole from Elvis.
Also, Warwick is a nut case. What does she know about rock? In my opinion, she just has no talent and is famous because a white writer Bachrach wrote all her songs.
But America is racist and you will always have this racist debate. It is really about racism and NOT Elvis. Chuck Jackson, return to the hole you came from! Jackson should stay forgotten. And that is my opinion.
Guitar Man (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 21, 2004report abuse
The origin of Rock n Roll ,as we know it ,can be traced back to the 1920's with some obvious accuracy.Artistes such as Bessie Smith,Robert Johnson and a little later Elmore James were all doing there own take on this "Bump n Grind" form of music.Muddy Waters is attributed for starting the classic Rock n Roll band formation,two guitars ,bass and drums.The great melting pot for the finished product though was not just down to certain Artistes,it had as much to do with regional influences (Chicago Blues for instance has a completley different feel to the Delta Blues as much as Bluegrass is different from Traditional Country music), and also those radical DJ's such as Alan Freed (possibly the TRUE father of Rock n Roll)who spit blood promoting this new form of music every night in dance halls all over the country as well as on radio. As much as Dionne and co moan,complain and fly the flag for Chuck Berry and Little Richard,as great as they are.I will leave you with a quote from Little Richard himself :-"Elvis opened the door which allowed the rest of us to follow".Nuff said.
Mark S. (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 21, 2004report abuse
Obviously Bill Haley was the first to have a major hit with a rock & roll record and Elvis was the man who made the music immensely popular, but Chuck Berry was the man who really pioneered the music. His way of song writing and guitar playing left a well-paved the road for all others to follow. “Johnny B. Goode” is still the ultimate rock & roll anthem anywhere in the world (Elvis: “that’s a GOOD number, boy!”).
In my humble opinion, rock & roll has more than one father. It was one big movement where one artist influenced another and vice versa. There is no doubt in my mind that both Little Richard and Chuck Berry influenced Elvis’ type of rock & roll in a big way, but Elvis’ influence on them was equally great. Otherwise Little Richard wouldn’t have covered “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel” and Chuck Berry wouldn’t have aimed his songs and its content at a “white” audience.
Black artist like Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick and Chuck Jackson are rightfully angry when it comes to not getting credit where credit’s due, but they’re aiming their anger at the wrong person. Elvis never claimed to be the King of rock & roll, nor did he claim he invented the music. Hell, he stated on more than one occasion that black people have been playing his type of music long before he did.
To me naming “That’s All Right” the starting point of rock & roll is valid as it is the first rock record of rock’s first major superstar, but that doesn’t mean others aren’t equally important (or talented). Give this a thought: if Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup hadn’t written “That’s All Right” in the forties, Elvis couldn’t have rocked it up in 1954...
MV (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 21, 2004report abuse
Dissapointing to read some of the personal attacks here.I dont know much about Chuck Jackson,but he's entitled to his opinion even if we disagree.As for Chuck Berry,along with Elvis one of my heroes.Just listen to Sweet Little 16 or Let it Rock or Nadine or School Days or so many others.This guy was one of the COOLEST songwriters ever.I agree with the person who said Father of Rock n Roll doesn,t fit Elvis' rockin rebel 50's image.The King really.And Chuck Berry,76,still touring,still rockin,the poet of rock n roll.
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
Just wanted to add one more thing. Chuck Jackson is quoted as saying that without Little Richard or Chuck Berry, Elvis would still be playing country and western music!
Say whaaat!? This guy Jackson is some clown!
We know that Elvis loved white gospel music most of all. This is a fact. Then Elvis loved all sorts of pop music, from Dean Martin to Mario Lanza. Elvis' biggest record was O SOLE MIO, a revamped version of that Italian melody. Elvis always liked all sorts of music. Just listen to the MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET album.
This Jackson clown is really ignorant! Also, he does not belong in the same league a Elvis. Jackson is a clown and Milli Vanilli type. He used to sing in the Del Vikings, he was never the star of that group. Then he had 2, yes folks, count em, 2 hits!!! Wow! 2 hits in the 1960s.
When did this Jackson clown become an expert on rock and roll? He belongs in the toilet from where he emerged!
What is most sad is his ignorance of who ELvis was.
Hello, Planet Earth to Jackson! Elvis really was not good at country! Hello! Anyone home, Jackson? That is why Elvis developed rock and roll, because he was not any good at country. Hello. What an ignorant clown!
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
Morgan, Bill Haley had the first rock and roll record. It was called "Crazy Man Crazy" which Haley wrote. It made it to no. 15 on the Billboard national pop charts in 1953. Yes, 1953!
"Fractured" (also written by Haley) followed on Essex Records, making the Billboard charts in the 20s. It was another Top 40 hit for Haley.
"Live it Up" was the third single to hit the Billboard pop chart, getting into the 20s again. Haley's guitar and sax players were awesome. This was all in 1953.
The Haley had the first Gold record in rock and roll, a record called "Shake Rattle and Roll".
Then Haley had the first no. 1 record in rock and roll (for 8 weeks in 1955), Rock Around the Clock. It is still the largest selling pop or rock record in history. No one can touch it! It was the first really mind-blowing rock record that changed the world forever.
In 1955, Elvis was the opening act for Bill Haley in the famous Cleveland concert staged by Bill Randle. Elvis liked Haley a lot and even performed "Cracy Man Crazy" which was one of Elvis' favorite records. Elvis was photographed with Haley, wearing a Haley spit curl??? Elvis went to see Haley in concert in Germany in 1958 and saw Haley again in the 1970s during the 50s revival.
Haley caused riots at his concerts. I wouldn't dismiss him as untalented or not a threat. He was a songwriter, guitarist, singer, arranger. In the beginning, he was definitely seen as a threat.
Was he a talent? Well, Little Richard couldn't really write songs either or play much of a piano. Give me a break! Tutti Frutti sucks. "Crazy Man Crazy" is much better as a composition. Also, Little Richard was a very close friend of Haley's and they liked each other's music.
So Haley was the real father of rock and roll. But because he is white and because he admittedly did do covers of r and b, he is dismissed today as a joke. But I think he most deserves the title of father of rock and roll.
Morgan (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
Rock´n´roll, as we all know, is an amalgam of pop, blues, gospel and country music. I would never take anything away from Elvis or, for that matter, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. But rock´n´roll in form, though not in name, existed long before any of these artists made their debut. Listen to some of the great rhytm´n´blues or country records from the forties or early fifties and You will see what I mean. And just as a reminder Bill Haley recorded stuff like "Shake Rattle And Roll", "Rocket 88" and "Rock Around The Clock" before Elvis had his first break with "That´s All Right". Not that Haley was ever very good or threatening, but credit has to be given where credít is due. Long live rock´n´roll!
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
It was Chuck Miller who actually had the hit with House of Blue Light. Chuck Jackson actually is pretty much a MINOR 60s singer. His biggest hit is of a song written by Burt Bacharach called "Any Day Now", a minor (and forgettable) 1960s record. This guy had very little chart success. He is hyped now as some sort of forgotten superstar, but he is a minor minor, unimportant black singer. Like Warwick, he covered white songs by white songwriters like Bacharach. This guy was ripping off white music too. Pelvis envy!
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
Chuck Jackson is falsifying history. Elvis did NOT hear any records by My ding a ling Berry or Little Richard before 1955. Elvis preceded them by at least a year. But they had no effect on Elvis.
Chuck Jackson? Who is this clown? Didn't he just have one song called "House of Blue Lights", an r and b song. This joker is a very minor minor singer. He is the minor league.
Also, Warwick is just phony white pop sung by a black singer. She just sang white pop songs written by Bacharach and David. She didn't even have the guts to do songs by black writers. She cheated black people by doing white writers. SHe is guilty for cheating and exploiting her own people so she lashes out at Elvis. What the heck does she know about rock and roll and the roots of rock? Nothing!
Give me a break. These phony black flops give me a pain in the butt. Remember those phony black singers Living Colour. What the heck happened to them? They are phony Milli Vanilli has-beens! What happened to them? Elvis is bigger than ever and Living Colour is being flushed down the toilet. Sometimes the world is just! Ha ha ha!
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
These folks are racist, plain and simple. They have it backwards. It was Elvis who paved the way for My Ding a Ling Berry and Little Richard.
Little Richard recorded black music for RCA in the early 1950s that was unoriginal, just standard black music, that flopped big time. No one bought that garbage. Richard returned to washing dishes in a bus stop. Then Richard signed with another company. Same result: Records flopped. Black and white people hated Richard's releases or "escapes" as Elvis would put it.
In 1954 Elvis recorded That's All Right/Blue Moon of Kentucky which was revolutionary. It got everyone into rock an roll, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee, everybody. There would be no BLue SUede SHoes (arguably the greatest rock record ever)if Perkins didn't hear Elvis on SUn.
In early 1955, Richard released Tutti Frutti, a minor hit.
Then My Ding a Ling Berry released his first record, a rip off of Ida Red, an old white folk song. Alaan Freed illegally made a deal with Berry to get songwriting royalties to promote the record. This was payola. Why don't these folks talk about payola, responsible for Berry's success? You can see that Elvis came before these so-called black stars.
But they fail to mention that Litttle Richard and Berry incorporated white country and white pop into their songs, they were ripping off white music.
Who was the father of rock and roll? I think it was Bill Haley myself. He was before everyone and he still has the biggest selling rock single of ALL TIMES, Rock around the Clock, Let's see Little Richard top that!
It is just ELvis envy! Or actually Pelvis envy. This is what I call it. Pelvis envy is all these phony black stars who have flopped lashing out at Elvis. Michael Jackson did it! All these black phony stars do it. But Elvis remains the greatest star of all even today! Pelvis envy! These black phony stars wish they had even an ounce of ELvis' genius. They too busy playing with they ding a lings.
TCBn with TLC Bet (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
At a concert where some fans held up a banner saying he was "king," he said "Jesus is the only king." As for his being named the "father" of rock 'n roll, that's also something he would not agree with. He said he sang all different types of music, not just rock 'n roll: "I like different types. I like rock and roll, and hillbilly, pop, some classical. I like different kinds of music. I like anything, any kind if it's good." As for his unique style, he said, " I just landed upon it accidentally. More or less I am a pretty close follower of relgious quartets, and they do a lot of rockin' spirituals." " "I've never heard any style like mine. I just originated it accidentally, more or less." "I couldn't have stopped moving around it I'd wanted to. Because all that motion was just as much a part of the music to me as the words I was singing." I think Artist of the Century and the Best Entertainer of All Times are more appropriate titles for him.
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004
Invisible because there were too many capitals in the text
Sal (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
I think Rolling Stone has got it right. Chuck Berry, whilst recording as early as 1951, sang mostly blues and it wasnt untill the summer of 55' he took a demo of 'Maybelline' to Chess records in Chicago hat gave him his big break a year after Elvis recorded 'Thats alright' in 54'. Little Richard is a similar story. At 18 in 1951, Richard was also singing mainly blues and again like Berry, recorded a tune that could be classed as Rock & Roll in 1955. That song was the immortal 'Tuttie Fruttie'. This was in the summer of 1955.......a year after Elvis' 'Thats alright Mama'. That said, i think what is important is Elvis' impact on music and the generations he inspired, these guys, black or white, shouldnt be drawn into who came first or what, there are no winners or losers, champions or whatever, just unique individuals carrying the torch to one another. Elvis developed and styled a melting pot of all types music, and made it his own and he did that before anyone.
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
Elvis sang one of Chuck Jacksons recordings. 'Any Day Now'. It's actually a good song, and I think Chuck respects Elvis, he just might Feel a little frustrated. Wait till they read all the great stuff written in Billboard Magazine this week about Elvis, and all the exciting new projects that are getting under way. I think they are going to go nuts when they read all the industry folks and fans comments. It is all well deserved admiration for the man who changed the world of music, and popular culture forever, 50 years ago. Go buy it. It's a collectors item...Much bigger and better than the Rolling Stone Issue....
Kenneth (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
cd king says it all, also,who's chuck jackson? iv'e never heard of him.
CD King (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 20, 2004report abuse
If there've been no ELVIS Presley, there would have been NO Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Big Richard..I mean Cliff Richard, No Beatles and NO Nothing!!!
"Before Elvis..There Was NOTHING" John Lennon
"Before Anyone Did Anything, ELVIS did Everything" BMG/RCA
gribz (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 19, 2004report abuse
Elvis alway's gave credit to the great R&B artist of the late 40's and early 50's. However, 'That's all Right' preceded, both Little Richard and Chuck Berry's popular recordings...Elvis had his own unique style that interpreted Pop, R&B, Country and Gospel with a genuine approach that was all his own. Elvis sang from his Soul. It's amazing to me that some people will die with their predjudice, jealousy and anger. These are successful entertainers, who should know better. I happen to like Chuck Jackson, and Dionne Warwick.
Aswin (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 19, 2004report abuse
I think that the people who said something like above are frustrated for their failure in to the music.
They must learn to have respect so as Elvis did in his time. Without Elvis there was no little richard or any other rock and roll singer....that's why Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll.
roytcbintheuk (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 19, 2004report abuse
what people fail to understand is that elvis was a white blues singer who sang and felt the blues like is fellow black artists after all he grew up in the poverty stricken deep south where the blues started elvis turned r&b into R&R and as james brown said "he told white america to get down"and paved the way commercially for artists such as little richard let these people give elvis the credit he deserves and what about giving elvis backdated grammy awards i cannot believe a artist like elvis did not recieve any grammys for his rock n roll hits
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 19, 2004report abuse
If Elvis were alive he'd be the first to say that he didn't invent rock 'n' roll. In fact he did say that several times when he was alive. Though not in those exact words. What Elvis DID do was make rock 'n' roll "marketable" to the mass white audience of the '50s and beyond.
hillbillycat (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 19, 2004report abuse
Personally i don't care for the title of father of rock n roll, it just doesn't sit right with the dangerous, wild, raw music that elvis brought to the masses, i'll settle for simply the king of rock n roll, that is undisputable.
JeroenNL (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 19, 2004report abuse
Elvis: still controverisal to this very day. Wasn't it James Brown who said: 'Elvis opened the doors for all of us' ?. (us; meaning the coloured artists)
Colin B (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 19, 2004report abuse
Rock 'n' roll developed over a number of years, as several music genres merged to make a 'new' one. It's true that some black [& white] performers did it before Elvis, but it was he who popularised it beyond what they had done and made it the huge world success that it was. That is how he earned the titles "Father of Rock 'n' Roll" & "The King of Rock 'n' Roll".
Elvos (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 19, 2004report abuse

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