Monday, June 23, 2014
Significance of Elvis' Blue Moon of Kentucky and Pop Music
King of Rock Elvis Presley (1935-1977) joined Sam Phillips at his Sun Records studio in 1953 to record a few songs. Elvis was a young fella who showed a great deal of interest in black artists, and rhythm & blues music.
At Sam's studio, Elvis recorded "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Bill Monroe. Recording took place with Elvis on vocals, Scotty Moore on the guitar, and Bill Black on the bass. The drums were left out because original version was country song.
The song was chosen accidentally when Elvis and Bill were randomly singing the song in a "high falsetto voice" while drifting in ideas. Sam thought this was a great idea and arranged the trio to record their own version of "Blue Moon." Then made the song into a r&b, and eventually into a pop from it's original country elements.
As stated in Wikipedia, 'after an early rendition of the song, Sun Records owner Sam Phillips exclaimed, "BOY, that's fine, that's fine. That's a POP song now!". ' When Sam said "POP song" he meant something significant, that it'd be a crossover-hit. Needless to say Elvis' version of "Blue Moon" charted highly in the south in pop and r&b charts. With this "hit" Elvis became a regional star, and eventually a national rock & roll icon.
What is the definition of "pop?" If you compare Elvis' version of the song to that of Bill Monroe's, you'll realize that Elvis doesn't really trying to convey a lyrical meaning though his song. In fact, he repeats "blue moon" three time at the beginning before proceeding to the next line, which is sings with a fast tempo disregarding the lack of comprehensiveness the listener might experience. In other words, Elvis doesn't care about making lyrically rich, meaningful songs; He's also about the "sound" of the song.
So, in short, that what "pop" means: word's don't matter, music matters. This is something we'll continue to see with Elvis' eventual songs like "Hound Dog," "Blue Suade Shoes," and "Heartbreak Hotel."
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