Elvis Presley And The Birth of Sex
In the 1950s, rock was a teenage phenomenon freeing girls from the sexual strictures and boys from the middle class aspirations of the greatest generation ever known. What Elvis Presley did was allow American teens to be sexual, or rather, to admit to, cotton on to, embrace their sexuality.
This all had something to do with black culture, so fringe for so long, integrating deeply into white society and, unlike, say, 1950s jazz, without hiding from its miscegenation taboo breaking. Presley, was, his secret was, that he was a white man who could have been a black man: he had the coiled sexuality of a black man.
It’s not that rock and roll invented sex, but it invented a RIGHT TO BE SEXUAL and a dream of freedom and liberation through sex. For the white girl, post-WW2 in a world of prosperity, the girls were expressing themselves through rock and roll towards a desire that was taboo. The establishment, the mainstream, knew what was happening without quite grasping what was happening. For sure, it wasn’t much liked. Elvis Presley being filmed only from the waist up was like fetishing his hip, it made him sexual by making his sexuality off limits. Like dating the bad boy. And his lush full ripeness, that sneer, those lips, was a remodeling of blackness in a white world. His Tupelo honey lamb truck driving teen boy might as well have been fresh off the plantation, there was that in the dirt poor white boy mirroring the experience of his black equivalence.
I am not mentioning the music because that is too bvious to even bother me. But what I am mentioning is the unbridled lustiness of his blackness breaking through a couple of hundred years of racism. Presley was the personification of Fear Of A Black Planet.
So while white girls wanted to sleep with him, white boys wanted to be him. And together, the boys and girls turned to rock and roll to turn them against their parents, to make them different people, not merely ignoring the prejudice but embracing the prejudice from the other side. What rock and roll did in 1956 was turn children against the parent, it cause them to reject the faith and the social constricts they had to deal with. Essentially, Elvis fans said no.
A couple of things were happening here and I don’t mean amplification of guitars. By 1956, America was enjoying over a decade of extreme prosperity and this began to kill of racism among the young (too inbred for older people) because one of the largest reasons for hating blacks was that blacks were “taking” white peoples jobs. Since there were now enough jobs to go around, the hatred was mooted.
The other reason for hatred was skin pigmentation but since Presley was white, you couldn’t really hate him for that. At the time there was some snide social pot shots but he was too handsome for them to stick. So what happened, why rock and roll was more than rock and roll, more than jazz or blues or pop was:
1. An identification of Presley with black sexuality.
2. An economic summit between blacks and white.
3. A musical miscegenation.
4. A rebellion from one generation to another.
5. An urge to emulate Presley.
6. The desire to be free of social mores.
Plus the music was pretty awesome.
And rock and roll from this place, 1956, was already a social, sexual and cultural revolution that would lead directly to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. And Presley was King and there was anarchy in the air and your Church was very worried