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ROBERT PLANT- Influences


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at age 60, robert plant has spent his life wrapping his influences around his muse and giving it all a spin. he has let himself be affected by a wide diverse span of artists, and to me it seems that out of all of led zeppelin, robert is the closest to ourselves-a bonafide vinyl-buying music fan with a thirst that is never quenched. my aim with posting zeppelin's influences is to present one thread shopping for a concentrated blast of background and samples of work, with the intention of exposing lesser known artists from long ago. but since it is robert's birthday, i must start with the one who cast the longest shadow on the tall cool one: elvis.

happy birthday, robert!

Elvis Presley was the first real rock and roll star. A white southerner who singing blues laced with country and country tinged with gospel, Presley brought together music from both sides of the color line. Presley performed this music with a natural hip swiveling sexuality that made him a teen idol and a role model for generations of cool rebels. Presley was repeatedly dismissed as vulgar, incompetent and a bad influence. However the force of his music and image signaled to the mainstream culture it was time for a change.

Born January 8, 1935, in East Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley was the son of Gladys and Vernon Presley, a sewing machine operator and a truck driver. Presley's twin brother Jesse Garon was stillborn, and he grew up as an only child. At age three, Vernon was sent to prison for forgery. It seems that Vernon, Travis Smith, and Luther Gable changed the amount of a check from Orville Bean,Vernon's boss, from $3 to $8 and cashed it at a local bank.Vernon pled guilty and was sentenced to three years at Parchment Farms Penitentiary. Vernon's boss, Mr. Bass called in a note that Vernon signed to borrow money to build the house and Gladys is forced to move in with Vernon's parents. Vernon would only serve eight months. Afterward Vernon's employment was spotty and the family lived just above the poverty line. The Presleys attended the First Assembly of God Church whose Pentecostal services always included singing.

Entering the fifth grade, Presley is asked by his teacher, Oleta Grimes to enter a talent contest on children's day at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. At the age of ten, dressed in a cowboy suit, and standing on a chair to reach the microphone. Presley's rendition of Red Foley's "Old Shep" won second place, a $5 prize and a free ticket to all the rides. On his birthday the following January he received a guitar purchased from Tupelo Hardware Store. Over the next year, Vernon's brother Johnny Smith and Assembly of Good pastor Frank Smith. gave him basic guitar lessons

In 1948 after losing another job Vernon moved the family to Memphis. Glady's brothers get him a job at the Precision Tool Company and the Presleys moved into a small apartment at 370 Washington Street for $11 a week. On September 13 Elvis enrolls at L.C. Humes High School.

Starting his sophomore year Presley works in the school library and after school at Loew's State Theatre. In 1951, his receives his first driver's license, joins the ROTC unit at Humes High, tries out for the football team (he's cut by the coach when he won"t trim his sideburns and ducktail), and in his spare time hangs around the black section of town, especially on Beale Street.

In his senior year Presley gets his first car, a 1942 Lincoln Zephyr, from Vernon. At eighteen majoring in Shop, History, and English he graduates from Humes High in 1953.

The day after graduation he took a job at Parker Machinists Shop. By June he was working at the Precision Tool Company and then drove truck for the Crown Electric Co. After a short time in the stock room he is promoted to truck driving and begins to wear his long hair pompadoured, the current truck driver style. That summer he recorded "My Happiness" and "That's When the Your Heartaches Begin" at Memphis Recording Studios, a sideline Sam Phillips had started at his Sun Records studios where anyone could record a ten inch acetate for four dollars.

Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, he began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture.

Presley returned to Mephis Recording Studios on January 4, 1954 and recorded "Casual Love Affair" and "I'll Never Stand In Your Way" at which time he met Sam Phillips. Later the spring Phillips called him to record "Without You," a song Phillips had received as a demo. Despite numerous takes Presley failed miserably and at Phillips request just began singing songs in the studio. It was at this time Phillips began believing that he had found what he had been looking for "a white man with the Negro sound and the Negro feel".

Phillips enlisted lead guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black to work with Presley. Though July 4, 1954 is often sited as their first meeting, the three had actually been practicing for several months. On July 5, 1954, they recorded "I Love You Because," "Blue Moon of Kentucky," and "That's All Right".

Two days later Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips played "That's All Right" on his Red Hot and Blue show on radio station WHBQ. Audience response was overwhelming and later that night Presley came in for his first interview. Scotty Moore became his manager and "That's All Right" b/w "Blue Moon of Kentucky" became his first local hit. On September 25, Presley made his first and last appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.

In October Presley appeared on the Louisiana Hayride, a popular radio program that appeared regularly through 1955. In March 1955, he made his television debut on the local television broadcastof the Hayride. Meanwhile "Good Rockin' Tonight" b/w "I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine" werebecoming hits in the Memphis area.

In early 1955, Moore quit managing Presley, but would continued playing in his band for several years. Bob Neal, a Memphis disc Jockey, became Presley's new manager. Colonel Thomas Parker would first entered Presley's career when he helped Neal make some tour arrangements. Still considered a country act, Presley continued to play locally, and in April went to New York to audition unsuccessfully for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts program. On May 13, his performance in Jacksonville started a riot, "Baby Lets Play House" b/w "I'm Left, Your Right, She's Gone" was released and reached #10 on the national Country & Western chart in July.

That September Presley had his first #1 country record "Mystery Train" b/w "I Forgot to Remember to Forget. By this time Colonel Parker, despite the agreement with Neal, had become increasingly involved with Presley's career and had negotiated for RCA to purchase Presley's contract from Sun Records for $35,000. Presley received a $5,000 advance that he used to buy his mother a pink Cadillac.

After signing with RCA Presley became a national star in 1956. He went to Nashville to record his first records for RCA. Among them was "Heartbreak Hotel.." On January 28, 1956, he made his television debut on the Dorsey brothers' Stage Show, followed by six consecutive appearances. In March Parker became Presley's manager for which he was to receive 25% of his earnings. The contract lasted Presley's lifetime and beyond.

Presley appeared on the Milton Berle, Steve Allen, and Ed Sullivan television shows. That April Presley made his debut in Las Vegas at the New Frontier Hotel, but the two week engagement was cancelled after a week due to poor audience response. In August Presley began filming his first film Love Me Tender. Released three months later it recouped its filming cost of $1 million in three days. His singles that year included "Heartbreak Hotel," "I Was the One," "Blue Suede Shoes," "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You," "Hound Dog," "My Baby Left Me, "Anyway You Want Me," "Love Me Tender," "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me," and "When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold" were all certified gold.

In early 1957 Presley became the target of criticism by teachers, clergymen, and even other entertainers who thought his style was to suggestive. Even being nicknamed "Elvis the Pelvis" by one writer. On January 6, he made the last of his three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and was shown only from the waist up.

In March 1957 Presley purchased Graceland, a former church and converted it into a twenty three room mansion. In February "All Shook Up" began an eighteen week stretch at number #1

Presley was the first rock star to crossover into films with consistent commercial success. Loving You, his second film, was released in July 1957 and "Teddy Bear" from it's soundtrack went to #1 on the pop, country, and R&B charts, as did "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock," the title song from his next movie.

That December he received his draft notice, but was given a 30 day deferment to complete the filming of King Creole. Presley's first four feature films are considered his best. Originally Presley intended to be a serious actor, but unfortunately after he left the service, the choice of roles was left entirely to Colonel Parker with poor results. Since Presley would not tour until the early Seventies, it was through these movies that his fans most fans saw him and that alone accounted for their massive success.

On March 24, 1958 Presley entered the Army. The next months saw number one hits with "Don't" and "I Beg You." A few months later he went on leave to be with sick mother. Gladys Presley died the day after his arrival home in Memphis, on August 14, 1958. Presley would call her death the greatest tragedy in his life. He returned to the Army and was shipped to Bremerhaven, West Germany. In January 1960 he was promoted to sergeant and was discharged that March.

During his time in the service Colonel Parker continued to release singles recorded before his departure so his fans wouldn't forget him. a number of these were hits including "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck," "Don't Cha Think It's Time," "Hard Headed Woman," "Don't Ask Me Why," "One Night," "I Got Stung," "A Fool Such as I," "I Need You, I Love You," "A Big Hunk O' Love," and "My Wish Came True". In 1958 alone Presley earned over $2 million. After his release from the Army in March 1960, he recorded his first stereo record, "Stuck On You" and later that month he taped a TV program with Frank Sinatra, The Frank Sinatra Timex Special.

After a live performance on March 25, 1961 Presley quit performing and spent the next eight years making movies. The soundtracks from his movies were generally poor. By the mid-Sixties Presley was earning $1 million per movie plus a large percentage of the gross. Each movie had a concurrently released soundtrack album, five of which went gold. Presley was displease with these films, but Colonel Parker insisted that Presley stick with this winning formula. Years later Parker's shortsightedness would result in his turning down Barbara Streisand's offer to have Presley co-star with her the 1974 remake of A Star Is Born. Parker felt Streisand didn't deserve equal billing with Presley.

With the British invasion, teenagers were hearing more of his disciples than Presley himself. Presley, unlike most American rockers wasn't swept away, but the Top Ten was increasingly beyond his reach. Presley turned increasing inward, focusing on the family. On May 1, 1967 Presley married Priscilla in Las Vegas; on February 1, 1968 their only child Lisa Marie was born. Fearing he had been forgotten, Presley defied Parker and made a comeback television special. Over the summer he taped the television special that was released on December 3, 1968 to high ratings. It's soundtrack reached #8 and produced his first Top Twenty single "If I Can Dream" (#12, 1968) since 1965. With this success Presley turned to performing in Las Vegas. On July 26, 1969 Presley began a month long appearance at the International Hotel. This set the course for all of his future performances. His fee for four months was over a $1 million. Riding the crest of the comeback Presley released a series of top singles, including "In the Ghetto," "Suspicious Minds," "Don't Cry Daddy," and The Wonder of You". Presley began touring again, his shows selling out and frequently breaking box office records. Two on tour documentaries were released Elvis: That's the Way It Is (1970) and Elvis On Tour (1972), the latter which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Documentary.

Presley was honored with countless Elvis Presley days around the country, and the U.S, Jaycees named him one of the ten most outstanding young men of America in 1970. His birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi was opened to the public and a portion of Highway 61 South that ran in front of Graceland was renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard. That October Presley had his last Top ten hit "Burning Love" (#2).

Meanwhile Presley's personal life had become the subject of countless tabloids.In February 1972, Presley separated from Priscilla and on his birthday in 1973 filed for divorce. Less than a week later the TV special Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii was broadcast over satellite to over a billion people in forty countries, an indication of his international appeal although (with the exception of three dates in Canada in 1957 and an impromptu performance in Paris while on leave in 1959) Presley never performed outside the United States. During his career Presley had 94 gold singles, three gold EPs, and over 40 gold albums. His movies grossed over $180 million and millions more were made by the merchandising of Elvis products, the rights which were controlled by Colonel Parker.

He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. His American sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards for 150 different albums and singles, far more than any other artist. Among his many awards and accolades were 14 Grammy nominations (3 wins) from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received at age 36, and his being named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Jaycees. Without any of the special privileges his celebrity status might have afforded him, he honorably served his country in the U.S. Army.

His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. Elvis died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977.


Quotes By Elvis

“Some people tap their feet, some people snap their fingers, and some people sway back and forth. I just sorta do ‘em all together, I guess.”

-Elvis in 1956, talking about his way of moving on stage.

"I ain't no saint, but I've tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God...I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world."

-Elvis commenting to a reporter, 1950's.

“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.”

-Elvis often used this adaptation of a well-known quotation.

“When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times...I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend - without a song.' So I keep singing a song. Goodnight. Thank you.”

-From his acceptance speech for the 1970 Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation Award. Given at a ceremony on January 16, 1971. (Elvis quotes from copyrighted material with lines from the song “Without a Song”.)

“We do two shows a night for five weeks. A lotta times we’ll go upstairs and sing until daylight - gospel songs. We grew up with it...It more or less puts your mind at ease. It does mine.”

-Talking about the informal jam sessions he and the band and entourage enjoy each night during the lengthy Vegas engagements. These happen upstairs in Elvis’ suite at the Las Vegas Hilton as they all try to “wind down” from the excitement and energy of the live shows. Quote is from a 1972 taped interview used in MGM’s documentary Elvis on Tour.

“I’ve never gotten over what they call stagefright. I go through it every show. I’m pretty concerned, I’m pretty much thinking about the show. I never get completely comfortable with it, and I don’t let the people around me get comfortable with it, in that I remind them that it’s a new crowd out there, it’s a new audience, and they haven’t seen us before. So it’s got to be like the first time we go on.”

-From a 1972 taped interview used in MGM’s documentary Elvis on Tour.

“The first time that I appeared on stage, it scared me to death. I really didn’t know what all the yelling was about. I didn’t realize that my body was moving. It’s a natural thing to me. So to the manager backstage I said ‘What’d I do? What’d I do?’ And he said “Whatever it is, go back and do it again’.”

-From a 1972 taped interview used in MGM’s documentary Elvis on Tour.

“Man, I was tame compared to what they do now. Are you kidding? I didn’t do anything but just jiggle.”

-From the press conference prior to his record-breaking Madison Square Garden shows in New York City, 1972.

“...the image is one thing and the human being is another...it’s very hard to live up to an image.”

-From the press conference prior to his record-breaking Madison Square Garden shows in New York City, 1972.

“A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage. It’s my favorite part of the business - live concerts.”

-Elvis at a press conference prior to his 1973 television special, Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite.

“ ‘Til we meet you again, may God bless you. Adios.”

-Said in 1977 at the end of a concert during his last tour.

quote link

performance clips:

baby, let's play house

little sister

love me (elvis and robert sang this together when they met...)

elvis's entourage (joe esposito) in a led zeppelin tour shirt:


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love me (elvis and robert sang this together when they met...)

elvis's entourage (joe esposito) in a led zeppelin tour shirt:


Hallo, beatbo, thank you! I opened the link with Love Me song, interesting video, but is it really true that they actually met and sang together? Wow, I would really love to see it....

Edited to answer my own question ^_^May 1974 meeting

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Great idea for a series, and excellent way to kick it off. :thumbsup:

I was going to ask if you spent all day writing that yourself, till I got to the link! :lol:

you know me, aqua-lazy to the bone!

i did sift thru prolly 75 sites or so to find the background in case i needed to write it myself. usually, when i do that, i run across a good historian that keeps it short (and knows the subject even better than i).....

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