Today marks the seventy-fifth birthday of Elvis Presley, a fellow I too often overlook in my rock & roll ruminations. (I tend to favor revolutionaries like Chuck Berry and Little Richard who broke the mold with their strikingly original tunes in the mid '50s.)
But given the biases of those times it took a white guy to make this new music acceptable to a wider demographic swath, and Elvis was the one who lit up the pop world with his bluesy singing and pelvic swagger.
He was also the lightning rod for bizarro attacks against "the devil's music" from religious conservatives, many of whom assumed Elvis was black until they saw him on TV. (Also who knew R&R was a KGB-engineered Stalinist conspiracy?)
But Elvis persevered and by 1957 had put rock & roll on the culture map. Though Elvis died (allegedly) only twenty years later, he remains a force in the entertainment business today. Hell, he made $55 million more than I did in 2009 and I like to think of myself as alive (at least on a good day).
A business lesson here is the importance of earning "passive income" —revenue that just keeps rolling in whether or not you're rocking out.
If Elvis is buried at Graceland, you can't get much more passive than that. (The recent report that Elvis is alive and chairing the Trilateral Commission is still unconfirmed, though our crack investigative team at BLFR is all over the story.)
But the man was a giant in his day and deserves our gratitude for the rock & roll spirit of freedom, fun, and creativity that he helped launch over five decades ago—a spirit that's still alive in our pop culture… and still missing in our business culture.