Starting From Out In Left Field

As a huge fan of Elvis in elementary school (and having managed to see Elvis in concert) I thought some of these quotes about Elvis that I found here would be highly entertaining:

Once upon a time, all we knew about Elvis was that he sang like a motherfucker; and that was all that mattered; you know, when you gas up and you go to pay inside the gas station and you hear Elvis singing Surrender, (1961), you know that the mystery of that guy, was everything; the voice, and the mystery, and the not knowing; and I think the great thing about anything that you hear over the waves is, you don’t want to know too much, you know?

  • Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, explaining to critic Rub Trucks why he loves the mystery of the southern United States, and his debt to Elvis, whose music influenced him the most, as published on the Village Voice, on June 3, 2008

I mean, don’t tell me about Lenny Bruce, man – Lenny Bruce said dirty words in public and obtained a kind of consensual martyrdom. Plus which Lenny Bruce was hip, too goddam hip if you ask me, which was his undoing, whereas Elvis was not hip at all. Elvis was a goddam truck driver who worshipped his mother and would never say “shit” or “fuck” around her, and Elvis alerted America to the fact that it had a groin with imperatives that had been stifled. Lenny Bruce demonstrated how far you could push a society as repressed as ours and how much you could get away with, but Elvis kicked “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window” out the window and replaced it with “Let’s fuck.” The rest of us are still reeling from the impact. Sexual chaos reigns currently, but out of chaos may flow true understanding and harmony, and either way Elvis almost singlehandedly opened the floodgates.

  • Lester Bangs, “Where Were You When Elvis Died,” originally published in “The Village Voice”, August 29, 1977. Republished in Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung pg. 215-216

For fans, I recommend the Wiki Quote page.

It is interesting how one can be drawn into the weeds.  I was trying to locate an exact quote for something close to “here come the suits to teach us how to shine shoes” to be the lead of a future post.  The search generated search results including Elvis because of a debunked racist quote misattributed to him.

For those interested in the initial effort of the search, you may want to review Friedrich Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge In Society.” Here is a link.


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