Breaking the Rules

April 07, 2018 1 Comment

I have long said “It all started with Elvis,” probably like many women in my age group. But no matter what era you’re from, we all have our own personal Elvis, whether it’s actually Elvis or not. That person who rattled your cage, who showed you the way out of the everyday, the banal, the humdrum, the expected. I know there’s a musician who gave you the key, switched on the light, rocked the boat, opened your mind, broke all the rules, then expanded your soul till it hurt in the best possible way.

Why is it that we’re touched so deeply by those unruly rule breakers? There’s a reason John Lennon said “Before Elvis there was nothing.” He wore sultry eye makeup to high school in the early fifties; he boldly wore pink, he curled his lip, he shook his shoulders and winked at the camera. Then he danced like his manhood was inflamed and sang like wanted to yank your hair and unhook your bra. They finally had to shoot him from the waist up on the Ed Sullivan Show, condemning his scorching lower half while he wriggled his way to devilish immortality.

Bob Dylan, a folkie poet from Minnesota who adored Elvis, emulated his hero, Woody Guthrie by shoving important lyrics into his tunes, then shook up the entire freaking world by electrifying the profundity. For me, the sexiest moment in rock and roll was when Dylan plugged in at the Newport Folk Festival. That kind of rebel courage is what it takes to up the cosmic ante. The effect even startled him. Someone yelled out “Judas!” but he kept playing through a torrent of boos, and music changed forevermore. Dylan hurled a hurricane of awareness at an entire hungry generation, then The Beatles, Brian Wilson, Marvin Gaye and a vast array of other musicians had to up their game -- and that’s when rock and roll became eternal.

The so-called devil’s music (Ooooh, it was so scary, it just HAD to be wicked) was the catalyst for me to unleash my own lurking creativity. The hidden gems that waited patiently to be uncovered, polished and tossed into the air to fall where they may. I relied on the audacity and fearlessness of Elvis, Dylan, Lennon and McCartney, Ray Davies, Gram Parsons, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, Springsteen, Prince, Lucinda Williams – the list is truly endless -- to keep me on the precarious, mystical rocky road less traveled. Why don’t you join me there? And be sure to crank your music up loud.

1 Response

Long Tall Angie
Long Tall Angie

May 11, 2018

Oooh yes I love this, this is so true! I have my Elvis as well, from years ago, before I even listened to rock music, his name is Ramses Shaffy <3 He’s a dutch chansonnier who has a voice that somehow could make everything sound like the most true, honest and heartfelt thing he could possibly say, even if he’d be singing out the phone book.

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