The lyrics to the Gillian Welch song “Elvis Presley Blues” really struck me, especially the line “Just a country boy that combed his hair and put on a shirt his mother made and went on the air”. That line really illustrates our class discussion about Elvis’s musical career being completely guided, resulting in him becoming a product. Although I expressed little sympathy for Elvis in class, listening to Welch’s song put things in a different perspective, a perspective that I think the Professor was trying to expose us to when he asked why John Lennon had been so touched by him. Even if some claim that he is a “puppet” or a “thief”, the fact remains that he had talent. Even if he did not write his own songs, Elvis breathed new life into the lyrics and styles of music that inspired him (or his manager). Despite what some may think, Elvis accomplished what not many people could do. Although the record company wanted someone who “sounded black but looked white”, the position could not be filled by just anyone. Elvis possessed a great voice and true charisma, and listening to Welch’s lyrics really proved that to me.
Everybody’s a critic, but until someone achieves the success and recognition that Elvis did, no one should attempt to judge him. Like the song says, he was “just a country boy”, he needed money, and he did what he had to do to achieve his goals. I’d like to see any of Elvis’s critics turn down the fame and fortune that came with his decision; most people would choose the money.