View Full Version : Motown&Elvis

08-10-2007, 04:51 PM
What did Motown think of Elvis' music and or persona? Also,I think that a lot of the songs he recorded at Stax in 73' had sort of a motown sound to them. What do you all think? Thanks alot for your opinions!

08-10-2007, 11:51 PM
I found this on the Net it ties in to your question:

One "fact" that is often used to dismiss Presley is the idea that the black audience never bought into him, that he was solely a white hero. The actual available information that we have contradicts that thesis.

Billboard Chart Expert Joel Whitburn created a list of the most popular artists on Billboard's R&B Chart for the 1950s based upon the number of R&B hits, weeks on the charts and highest chart position. Elvis is ranked second to Fats Domino. This is not a chart anomaly. Although the R&B charts were more open to white artists in the 1950s, Presley is the only white performer in the top 25. Additionally, author Michael Bertrand went and dug up R&B station playlists in major metropolitan areas for the years 1956-1958. Presley was consistently in the Top Ten most played artists on those stations. Personal reflections of Presley's popularity with the black audience are abundant for anyone willing to look for them. Current NAACP Chair Julian Bond recounted to Bertrand how he played in a teenage vocal group in the 1950s and one of their pieces was Presley's "Teddy Bear". He said to Bertrand the group never gave a thought to omitting Presley's song because Presley was white. It was natural to include it in the act.
Memphis DJ and performer Rufus Thomas and his daughter Carla (also a performer) often told the story of the 1956 WDIA black music revue in Memphis. This was one of those great multi-artist package shows. As Memphis was still a segregated city in 1956 it was a completely African American audience. Elvis showed up backstage to meet some of the performers. Some of the promoters got the idea that Presley should perform. Thomas objected because he knew that Presley would bring the house down. He finally agreed to bring Elvis out on stage at the very end of the show. Presley came out and did a brief wiggle and wave to the crowd. The audience went wild and rushed the stage particularly the women. Thomas' memories are confirmed by Memphis contemporary newspaper accounts of the era even in Memphis' specialized black press.

I guess African-Americans in the 1950s were as bad as differentiating between real rock and roll and watered down R&B as the mainstream.

Many African Americans who came of age during the period have spoken of their fondness for Presley including but not limited to James Brown, Mary Wilson, Jackie Wilson, Berry Gordy, Lavern Baker and Muhammed Ali. Legendary greats like Otis Redding would often include Presley tunes in their early live shows. Louis Armstrong in 1957, a time when Presley was being excoriated in the mainstream press, expressed his desire to make a record with Elvis. Some artists like Chuck Jackson and Albert King even recorded Presley tribute albums. Interestingly, both of those albums were recorded when Presley's reputation was at an all time low ebb with the white youth culture.

Even rivals like Chuck Berry and Little Richard have voiced different praise for Elvis than for say Pat Boone. They recognized Presley as more of a competitor than interloper. In a recent interview with Berry he revealed a telegram from Presley's publishing companies requesting material. He kept it more than 30 years.

08-11-2007, 02:45 AM
Wow, an interesting thread. I'm a fan of many Motown's singers... And KPM, your reply is :cool:

Raised on Rock
08-11-2007, 06:43 AM
Great post KPM!

elvis himselvis
08-11-2007, 05:27 PM
never thought about this before,nice thread(y)