Rock and Roll: Comparison of Elvis Presley and Josh Homme

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Rock and Roll: Comparison of Elvis Presley and Josh Homme

Similar to other categories of music, particularly hip-hop, rock and roll music has always been characterized by an assortment of genres inspired by innovation and progression. From its development in the 1950s, rock and roll intimately evolved into a staple of American music as illustrated by the massive popularity attained by musicians such as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and Chuck Berry. Presently, the style of music has undergone an enormous transformation due to the innovation in production and integration of other techniques. The discourse in question will compare and contrast the late Elvis Presley and the current musician, Josh Homme in respect to their impact on rock and roll.

Elvis Presley was a core figure in the development of rock and roll. Born in 1935, Presley was perceived as the famed “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” because of the stylistic grounds that he broke at the time. In fact, one of the noteworthy contributions that he made in respect to the genre involved the creation of rockabilly (Campbell and Brody 112; Morrison 10). With rock and roll being a derived form of African American music, Presley mostly engaged in the creation of a sound that fused the elements of this music with southern trends such as country music (Bertrand 95-96; Doll 132; Friedlander 46). As an outcome, Presley pioneered the rockabilly genre, which would eventually become an identifying mascot of the rock and roll style from the 1950s to the 1960s.

Josh Homme, on the other hand, did not particularly create a lasting defining sound in comparison to Presley. However, it is impossible to deny the contributions that he made to the rock and roll sound from the early 1990s until present (Coney para. 4). As the lead guitarist for the band, Kyuss, Homme brought a new form of guitar playing that would predominantly popularize the genre of stoner rock at a time when musicians from the Pacific Northwest – Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, and Layne Stalley – dominated rock and roll with the grunge genre (Hugar para. 2-3). Combining aspects of styles such as psychedelic rock and heavy metal, Homme would eventually refurbish the sound via his band, Queens of the Stone Age, further becoming a core figure in the consistent transformation of the rock and roll sound.

Interestingly, Presley’s impact on the rock and roll sound has been primarily reflected by the music that Homme has been releasing since the formation of his current band. In fact, in albums such as the previous year’s Villains, Homme has managed to integrate sounds that were often replicated in Presley’s releases such as doo-wop and boogie rock (Pendergast 56). Even though the music that Homme makes may differ from Presley’s regarding sound, it is easy to notice the latter’s influence based on the way Homme utilizes vocal inflections that are similar to those utilized by Presley (Ennis 203; Padel 75). Additionally, it is hard to miss the sexual innuendos that Presley often applied in his songs in most of the band’s albums, especially Rated R and Lullabies to Paralyze.

To this end, rock and roll music has always been perceived as the definitive element of American culture. Core figures such as Elvis Presley managed to transform the sound further based on contributions such as rockabilly, which eventually became a standard feature or signifier of rock and roll music from the 1950s onwards. Currently, it may be difficult to define a rock and roll musician that exuded as much presence and influence in the construction of the sound as Presley did. Nonetheless, Josh Homme – while part of the respective sound – has managed to alter the sound further via the popularization of the stoner rock genre as well as the incorporation of some of Presley’s styles into modern rock. As an outcome, both musicians have managed to establish a sound that will consistently revitalize itself.

Works Cited

Bertrand, Michael T. Race, Rock, and Elvis. University of Illinois Press, 2004.

Campbell, Michael, and James Brody. Rock and Roll: An Introduction. Schirmer Books, 2008.

Coney, Brian. “How Josh Homme Ripped Apart Rock Music and then Ruled It.” Dazed & Confused, 24 August 2017. Accessed 28 June 2018.

Doll, Susan. Understanding Elvis: Southern Roots vs. Star Image. Routledge, 2017.

Ennis, Philip H. The Seventh Stream – the Emergence of Rock ‘n’ Roll in American Popular Music. Wesleyan UP, 1998.

Friedlander, Paul. Rock and Roll: A Social History. Westview, 2001.

Hugar, John. “Why Josh Homme Has Proven Himself to be One of the Most Important Figures in Recent Music History.” Uproxx, 17 May 2015. Accessed 28 June 2018.

Morrison, Craig. Go Cat Go! Rockabilly Music and Its Makers. University of Illinois Press, 2000.

Padel, Ruth. I’m a Man: Sex, Gods, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Faber and Faber, 2005.

Pendergast, Sara. St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. St. James Press, 2010.

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