Mississippi Moment: Elvis Presley’s impact on music

Mississippi Moment

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The world is slowly reopening for business, including Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis. It’s reopening tomorrow.

I met the man who sold him his first guitar at Tupelo Hardware. He said Elvis wanted to buy a .22 rifle, but his mother wouldn’t let him. He was just 11 years old.

Some of his childhood friends have told me that he was just another kid, no indications of who he would become.

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say Elvis Presley is the most influential person to ever come from Mississippi. And we’ve had a lot Mississippians who have left their mark on the world, but Elvis changed the world.

When Elvis came along, all of us boys wanted to learn to play guitar and grow out our crew cuts. And I had a tough time trying to grow sideburns in second grade.

He filled a void in music at just the right time, and later, lots of people wanted to get in on it. John Lennon said there would have been no Beatles had there been no Elvis. And had there been no Beatles, imagine who all else would never have been.

The overriding legacy of Elvis is he was a poor kid who grew up to take the entertainment world by storm. And if he could make good, anybody could. His downfall was he let the entertainment world take him, too. 

But the kid from Tupelo, Mississippi, will never be forgotten. Even if people forget his name, western culture will never go back to what to was before Elvis.

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