Air Week: July 22-28, 2019

Elvis’ R&B Influences

On August 16th, we will commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the passing of the “King Of Rock n’ Roll.” Much has been written about Elvis’ enormous impact and popularity over the years, but it’s almost impossible to overstate the cultural shift that took place as he rose to fame in 1956. Elvis was a musical sponge. He absorbed all the music that moved him and those around him, from Country and Hillbilly to Gospel, Pop, R&B and Blues. This week’s “Juke In The Back” focuses solely on the rhythm & blues that motivated Elvis’ early career. During the end of his first session with Sam Phillips, Elvis cut into an inspired rendition of a semi-forgotten Arthur Crudup gem and rock n’ roll was literally born. From the New Orleans R&B of Smiley Lewis, to the jump blues of Wynonie Harris, Elvis dug it all and made each song uniquely his own. He wasn’t copying his R&B idols, he was merely using their material as a springboard for his own blend of the White and the Black. Sam Phillips was right when he said that it would take a White cat with an African-American feel to propel this exciting R&B music into the mainstream and lucky for us, he found that in Elvis Presley. Matt The Cat presents many surprises in this week’s “Juke In The Back,” dedicated to Elvis’ strongest musical influence: Rhythm & Blues.