Search Results for Elvis Presley
Presley, Elvis (Aaron) (1935-77) was an American rock and roll singer and guitarist, born in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Elvis began singing in a church choir and became a self-taught guitarist. Sun Records in Memphis soon discovered his talent.
By 1956 his unique combination of country/western and rhythm ‘n blues skyrocketed him to fame.
His provocative performances drove teens into a frenzy, as would the Beatles after him.
Elvis made 45 records selling in the millions, including ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Love Me Tender’. He ventured into films with Loving You (1957), King Creole (1958), GI Blues (1960) and several others.
His movie roles were secondary to his music. Movie directors never really gave him a chance for a dramatically significant part. But Elvis apparently wanted to become a serious actor.
Drafted by the US Army in 1958-60, he returned with his stardom intact.
When Beatles and the so-called British Invasion hit the continent, Elvis’ career began to wane. He recorded his last hit single in 1969.
In the 1970′s he became a nightclub performer in Las Vegas and many of his songs took a turn to gospel themes. Although he still had a much smaller but loyal following, most watching these performances would see them as somewhat tragic.
Elvis became dependent on drugs and died of an apparent overdose in 1977. Now a legend, he’s been dubbed “The King” of Rock and Roll. And perhaps the following from his song “Hound Dog” sums up the true message of rock and roll:
Yeah they said you was high classed
but that was just a lie…
Elvis has also become a significant icon and admirers make pilgrimages to his home at Graceland. After Mickey Mouse and Jesus Christ, he’s been cited as the third most popular figure on the planet today.
Quite a testament to the power of rock.
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In astrological belief Capricorn (December 22-January 21) [Latin caper: goat + cornu: horn] is the 10th sign of the zodiac. It’s symbolized by the Goat and associated with the planetary ruler of Saturn.
Capricorn’s astrological element is Earth. Believers maintain that Capricorn is the organizational person. Practical, regular, and at times doggedly stubborn, Capricorn’s apparently get things done and do them well. They achieve whatever they see as important, be it in battle, business or public service.
Notable Capricorns are Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Jr., Elvis Presley and the American radio host and actor Howard Stern.
In astronomy Capricornus is the Sea Goat, a large but faint constellation located between Sagittarius and Aquarius. Wikipedia outlines some of Capricorn’s ancient mythological associations:
Despite its faintness, Capricornus has one of the oldest mythological associations, having been consistently represented as a hybrid of a goat and a fish since the Middle Bronze Age. First attested in depictions on a cylinder-seal from around the 21st century BC, it was explicitly recorded in the Babylonian star catalogues as MULSUḪUR.MAŠ “The Goat-Fish” before 1000 BC. The constellation was a symbol of the god Ea and in the Early Bronze Age marked the winter solstice...
In Greek mythology, the constellation is sometimes identified as Amalthea, the goat that suckled the infant Zeus after his mother Rhea saved him from being devoured by his father Cronos (in Greek mythology). The goat’s broken horn was transformed into the cornucopia or horn of plenty. Capricornus is also sometimes identified as Pan, the god with a goat’s head, who saved himself from the monster Typhon by giving himself a fish’s tail and diving into a river. †
- Moon shines over Sea-Goat on August 29 (earthsky.org)
- Capricornus? Here’s your constellation (earthsky.org)
- USPS Star Calendar for 21-27 October (uspsstargazer.wordpress.com)
- Beauty For Your Sign: Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 19) (bellasugar.com)
- Gorgeous Landscape Photography: Tropic of Capricorn (steamboatfriday.wordpress.com)
- About Capricorn “Goat-horned” (The Sea-goat) Man (socyberty.com)
- Cancer (astrology) (earthpages.wordpress.com)
Some Religious Studies scholars talk a lot about the meaning of the iconic image. Several scholarly books have been written on this topic. But for everyday churchgoers, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. For them, an icon or religious image’s purpose is to help focus the mind on that which it represents. Ideally, this helps the viewer to receive divine graces. But in Christianity, graces are never understood to emanate from the icon itself.
If the icon “works” in its assistive capacity, the fact that the icon’s appearance is artistically and culturally influenced is of secondary importance, at best.¹
Some icons of the Virgin Mary allegedly cry and/or bleed. If these miracles are true and not shams, the agency would be God. Again, the Christian icon is not imbued with a special quality of its own, nor is it regarded in this way.
Some fundamentalist Christians, however, criticize Catholic and Orthodox Christians for the use of “graven images.” But the Catholic pamphlet, “Graven Images: Altering the Commandments?” outlines some of the problems with a simplistic, cherry-picked fundamentalist approach:
Now if God simply forbids the making of graven images, then there are problems elsewhere in the Bible. First, in Exodus 25:18-21, God commands Moses to make two statues of angels (cherubim) for the top of the Ark of the Covenant. Later in Numbers 21:8-9, God commands Moses to make a bronze serpent, so that the people who were bitten by snakes could look upon it and be healed (Source: http://users.binary.net/polycarp/graven.html).
In the popular, everyday sense, an icon is a representation of some kind of charismatic cultural figure, such as Elvis Presley. After a pop star’s death, the realities of the real person and the icon may merge, and the new legend becomes a type of mythology. But this isn’t always the case. With Michael Jackson, for instance, the media aired all manner of Jackson’s dirty laundry, which almost eclipsed his artistic legacy.
¹ However, in her Divine Mercy Diary, St. Kowalska says she cried when an artistic rendering fell dramatically short of an actual vision she had of Jesus Christ. This arguably was a special case because St. Faustina apparently saw Jesus on a near-daily basis. So her desire for others to see his great beauty was intensified. Today, several versions of that image are often placed in Catholic churches. Despite the fact that the image falls short of that which it represents, it still helps countless believers feel closer to Christ.
- Why I Disagree With Depictions Of Jesus (translucentheart.wordpress.com)
- About Catholicism: Of Dracula and the Black Sheep Dog (gingerjar2.wordpress.com)
- The Real Origin of the Eastern Orthodox Icon (beyondbelief.wordpress.com)
- Justification (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Transfiguration (caelumetterra.wordpress.com)
- Meagan Fisher on “Flat, simple icons for interface design” (dccrowley.posterous.com)
- Housecleaning – Idols and Idolatry (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
Just let me hear some of that
Rock and roll music,
Any old way you choose it;
It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it,
Any old time you use it.
It’s gotta be rock and roll music,
If you want to dance with me,
If you want to dance with me.
–Rock and Roll Music, Chuck Berry
Rock and Roll is a form of popular music originally emblematic of the freedoms, joys, challenges, heartaches and rebellion of youth.
Rock and Roll developed in the 1950s as a synthesis of Country-Western and Blues music. Interestingly enough, the accent falls on the back beat which emphasizes the second and fourth beat (ta TA ta TA), the reverse of the military march, which accents the first and third beat (TA ta TA ta).
In the 1960s and 70s the target market of Rock expanded, as did the music. Dianna Ross and The Supremes helped to shape the Motown sound (music from a record company based in the automobile producing city of Detroit), while British groups like the Moody Blues and the perhaps unsurpassable Beatles made Rock accessible to kids from 2 to 102. Meanwhile, American groups like The Doors (with Jim Morrison) and soloists like Jimi Hendrix remained a threat to conservative parents throughout North America and beyond.
At this time Rock branched out into different styles and related marketing categories: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock, Funk, Raggae, Soul, Easy Rock, Disco, Glam Rock, Pop Rock, Bubble Gum Rock, Folk Rock, etc.
Some of the major players in this period were Paul McCartney and Wings, The Rolling Stones, Genesis (with Peter Gabriel), Pink Floyd, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, The Who, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Elton John, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Carole King and many more talented outfits. But things needed to change.
The late 1970s brought on reactionary trends such as Punk Rock and New Wave. Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols are often credited with spearheading Punk Rock, while innovative groups with a stripped-down sound like Devo, The B-52s and The Talking Heads enjoyed success. The Talking Heads continued to make their mark into the 80s, their apparently postmodern approach being avidly discussed among ivory tower academics.
Rock in 1980s, however, was mostly characterized by increasingly slick studio productions, made possible by the advent of digital recording technology. Duran Duran is a good example of this new lush sound, whereas Depeche Mode used digital sampling to create a more industrial sound. Other important groups such as Soft Cell and The Eurythmics used technology to minimal effect while The Art of Noise used the new digital sampling technique in their own way, often emphasizing the orchestra hit–i.e. having a full-burst orchestral sound at the touch of a finger.
Madonna was a sensation in the 80s, as was Sting and The Police and, of course, Michael Jackson. Meanwhile, the New Age movement and ‘ambient music’ emerged. Ambient music is a diffuse style (some might say spacey) that was pioneered by the respected producer Brian Eno (Eno also made Rock and Roll albums) in the late 70s. Eno’s most important album is probably “Music For Airports” (1978), a soft and repetitive strain of analogue voice and piano loops. The idea and sound carried through into more accessible digital New Age productions with the likes of Enya, Windham Hill records and others. And stars like U2, David Bowie, The Talking Heads, Philip Glass periodically collaborated with Eno.
In 1980 John Lennon and Yoko Ono released the commercially successful album, Double Fantasy. Sadly, Lennon was murdered by a misguided fan in that same year.
The 90s saw increasingly lush studio production with the likes of Mariah Carey and Celine Dione. Others like the late Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and The Smashing Pumpkins kept it straight up and simple. And Radiohead came up with a sound reminiscent of the 70s band Jethro Tull.
Some veteran rockers continued to flourish in the 90s with top-selling albums, such as Elton John and David Bowie. Other stars like Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan released cds but seemed to lose touch with the pulse of the people.
Rap, Hiphop, Dance, Grunge and Techno (now a branch of Electronica) also took off in the 90s.
The new millennium has seen more powerful woman acts like Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne, and it’s fitting that Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, who’ve billed themselves as the “longest running rock act,” continue to fill large stadiums.
There’s no easy summary of Rock’s meaning today. Some see it as a consumer-driven sellout; others, as a window to artistic and social possibilities.
Ironically, some rock stars are now seen as more socially responsible than many corporate and political leaders. The widely respected granddaddy of Grunge, Neil Young, for instance, has become a prominent spokesperson for the development of Green technologies. And figures like Bob Geldof, Bono and The Rolling Stones (who did a Toronto concert to help that city’s economy after a SARS scare while Billy Joel and Elton John canceled) have virtually inverted the rotten apple image that the moral majority originally imputed to rock stars.
Recently, however, critics have suggested that international simulcast benefit concerts are starting to look more like shallow publicity stunts than effective measures toward global betterment.
And the beat goes on…
Bowie is in a rare league of iconic rockers including the likes of Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Madonna and Elton John.
Like all innovators, his music is often exploratory, synthesizing existing styles into something entirely new.
Bowie the philosopher, if you like, explores in “Starman” (1972) the idea of extraterrestrial life:
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
And in “Loving the Alien” (1984):
Believing the strangest things
loving the alien
Meanwhile, Black Tie White Noise (1993) looks to the meeting of flesh and spirit:
Where the flesh meets
the spirit world
Where the traffic is thin…
You’ve been around
but you’ve changed me
In his heyday the press often depicted him as “going away” from this world into some kind of creative journey and then “returning” whenever he produced a hit single.
There might be some psychological truth to this, as we find in ”Little Wonder” (1997):
Enter Galactic, see me to be you
It’s all in the tablets, Sneezy Bhutan
Little wonder then, little wonder
You little wonder, little wonder you…
Sending me so far away,
so far away
Not entirely unlike the Hindu Shiva-Shakti dyad, Bowie plunged into cross-dressing well before this was considered chic in the music industry.
Connecting Bowie to religion and spirituality is far from spurious considering his interest in parapsychology, as found in “Sound and Vision” (1977):
Don’t you wonder sometimes
‘Bout sound and vision…
I will sit right down,
Waiting for the gift of sound and vision
Within Asian systems these abilities are known as siddhis, and in Catholic mysticism they’re called interior locutions, perceptions and private revelations.
Bowie himself, however, is often critical of organized religion, as expressed in this chant in The Buddha of Suburbia (1993), released several years before the Catholic sex-abuse lawsuits were exposed by the media:
Sex and the church
Sex and the church
Sex and the church
And the church
And the church
Some believe that Bowie might someday be regarded not just as a musician but as a visionary or futurist. Considering the current global water crisis the following scenario from “Looking for Water” (2003) doesn’t seem too far off:
Silver leaves are spinning round
Take my hand as we
go down and down
Looking for water…
I’m looking for water
Looking for water
I’m looking for water
Looking for water…
The combination of musician and visionary is not unheard of. Both Pythagoras and the legendary Orpheus combined music, philosophy and spirituality.
While Pythagoras related musical harmony to cosmic order, Orpheus used his lyre to wrest his wife Eurydice from the underworld lord of death, Cerberus. But like Lot‘s wife, and against a dire warning not to look back during the escape, Orpheus foolishly cast a glance backward, losing Eurydice again.
This story speaks to the wisdom of accepting and trusting in the future, an idea summed up in Bowie’s tune, “Changes” (1971):
Turn and face the strange
ch ch changes…
time may change me
but I can’t trace time
Bowie has also ventured into acting and composing soundtracks for film and video games. For some time he had a lively and free internet forum called “Discourse” at davidbowie.com, which now charges membership fees.
Although criticized for being a skinflint when it comes to charity, Bowie replies
I can never make my mind up, I’m so f***ing flippy floppy. I can see both sides of everything and it’s really awful. Source » “DAVID BOWIE – BOWIE’S CHARITY STRUGGLES” at contactmusic.com
Skinflint or not, for his considerable import as an artist he was awarded the 2008 Andromeda Award at earthpages.org.
Earthpages.org’s Very First 2008 Andromeda Award!
Cropped from the original “David Bowie” by NYCArthur at http://www.flickr.com/photos/70945486@N00/252869934/, Creative Commons 2.0 license.
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