“Most Overrated Musician:

Elvis Presley. If we put aside the posthumous madness, Elvis had a pretty tenor voice and a distinctive way with ballads, but his rhythmic sense was often clumsily ersatz, and even within the idiom that declared him king, he is less inventive, daring, and satisfying than Little Richard, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others.”

(Source: Gary Giddins, American Heritage Magazine, May/June 1998)

Gee, you might have been thinking that purely gratuitous Elvis-bashing did not reach into scholarly history magazines. That there might be some limits to the crit-illuminati’s insidious reach.

Alas, no.

It’s hard to know where to put the focus, actually. I could mention that idioms do not make declarations. “Rock ’n’ Roll”–the “idiom” in question, did not declare Elvis king of itself, the RCA publicity department did. Quite a number of people (not Elvis) did and do accept this–but, of course, they are dismissed as being prone to “madness.”

Hey, what else could it be? These illuminati fellows are nothing if not thorough.

So should we go with any of that?


I think I’m gonna focus on that bit about his rhythmic sense being “often clumsily ersatz.”

And then I’m gonna narrow it down further to that qualifier: “Often.”

I mean, “clumsily ersatz” brings a smile all by itself, but….Often?

That slays me.

Just for fun, here’s E being pretty typically “rhythmic.”

Clumsy? Ersatz?

These are things that each of us, I suppose, must decide for ourselves.

Elvis Presley “I John” (Studio Recording)