Elvis, rey del rock por 75 años (1935-2010)

presley

El rey no ha muerto.
No, no se encuentra escondido en algún país sudamericano sino que su vigencia en la cultura lo mantiene con vida. Este 8 de enero es el momento para recordar su “Heartbreak Hotel” a todo volumen y sin nada de culpa.  Elvis cumple 75 años y su nacimiento es celebrado en todo el mundo y en especial a través de los Estados Unidos.

Se rememora el nacimiento de Elvis y no su muerte en 1977 a los 42 años de edad en el piso de su baño. Los últimos momentos de Elvis estuvieron marcados por una fuerte adicción a las drogas y las complicaciones causadas por ello: glaucoma, alta presión arterial, un hígado dañado entre otras complicaciones. Hoy, el mundo no recuerda la sombra de ídolo que no podía completar un concierto y que, en una ocasión, no pudo levantarse de su cama para iniciar una gira. El mundo no recuerda eso sino el nacimiento del rey del rock.

¿Por qué Elvis es el rey del rock? En la música los títulos nobiliarios son otorgados a los artistas que han sido monstruos del género y han contribuido a la difusión de éste: Michael Jackson, Madonna, puede ser que Britney Spears y Bob Marley aunque éste último no cuente con el título. Sin embargo, al pensar en el rock & roll la imagen de Elvis no es la primera en aparecer. Antes de Elvis se puede pensar en gente como Mick Jagger o grupos como Led Zeppelin y Pink Floyd. La diferencia entre él y los demás es que  Elvis creoo el rock & roll, o al menos fue el catalizador de éste.

Elvis no dudo en experimentar con combinaciones de la música del género góspel con el country y el blues, también conocido como el rockabilly. Esto y su atrevimiento al mezclar los sonidos de la música típica estadounidense con la música afroamericana lo convirtieron en un artista popular y controversial. La mezcla de ambos estilos en un Estados Unidos marcado por el racismo era algo inconcebible y no tardó en generar críticas contra Elvis. Es interesante tomar en cuenta que las críticas provenían de ambos “lados” pues tanto había gente blanca que no quería escuchar o producir dicha música como músicos negros que no querían tener nada que ver con un artista blanco. A pesar de esto la popularidad de Elvis fue aumentando hasta convertirse en un éxito comercial y también, de acuerdo a los expertos, en uno de los máximos exponentes del rock & roll; género- formado por la mezcla del country, el jazz y el góspel- que en los años cincuenta todavía estaba en pañales. No se puede saber si Elvis fue el creador del rock & roll debido a que no era el único artista experimentado con la combinación de sonidos pero definitivamente fue el primer gran exponente de éste y no solo eso sino que llegó a definir gran parte del estilo que escuchamos ahora.

Antes de Elvis el saxofón y el piano eran los instrumentos dominantes en el rock & roll. Su manera de tocar  y el papel que la guitarra tenía en sus canciones, aunado a su gran presencia escénica , tubo un impacto en la música que ha llegado a nosotros. Cualquiera que dude de esto solo tiene que imaginar sus canciones favoritas de rock sin el papel dominante de la guitarra.

Elvis Presley no solo es el rey del rock por su música sino también por su legado cultural y rebeldía. Desde el inicio de su carrera Elvis habló a favor de la música afroamericana y sus artistas así como en contra de las normas de segregación y prejuicio racial que seguían vigentes en el sur de Estados Unidos. Es por esto que Elvis fue visto como el primer símbolo de la rebelión adolescente al ir en contra de los valores establecidos: el primer rockstar. Su gran popularidad entre los adolescentes, que conformaban el grueso de sus admiradores, incrementó la demanda de la ropa que usaba en sus conciertos así como de su peinado. Elvis ayudó a formar a una generación entera; no solo eso sino que su desinhibición en el escenario, haciendo movimientos que eran considerados como obscenos en la época, sentó las bases para los músicos y los adolescentes de las generaciones por venir.

Si estos argumentos no bastan para nombrar a Elvis Presley el rey del rock solo queda decir que es el solista que más ha vendido en la historia de la música con un billón de discos en todo el mundo y probablemente le quedan unos cuantos millones más por vender.Viva el rey.

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