Does the Elvis Movie Do Justice to His Blending of Jazz, R&B, and Other Styles?

Does the Elvis Movie Do Justice to His Blending of Jazz, R&B, and Other Styles?

While Elvis didn’t win any Oscars, this film has given us a new perspective on the life and music of the singer known as the King of Rock and Roll. Does this film do justice to his varied musical influences and the way that he combined so many different styles into something fresh and unique?

How Did the Movie Perform at the Oscars?

Nominated for eight awards at the 95th Academy Awards, Elvis ultimately failed to win any of them. The categories where it was nominated included Best Picture and Best Actor, which was for Austin Butler in the lead role as the legendary singer. This list of which Oscar movies to watch compiled by ExpressVPN says that viewers who enjoyed Walk the Line and Ray should watch it. They point out that the story is told from the point of view of his manager Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks, and that it follows the singer from his early years through to his enormous success and then the issues that plagued him in later life.

Director Baz Luhrmann had been trying to make this movie since 2014, but it was delayed numerous times until things finally started progressing thanks to the casting of Hanks a few years later. Elvis was released in 2022 and also stars Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla Presley and Helen Thomson as Gladys Presley.

What About the Music?

The music plays a crucial part in the movie, as you’d expect. Yet, it’s interesting to see that the voice of young Elvis comes from Butler’s own singing, while the older singer’s voice is a blend of the actor and the real Elvis Presley. Several artists have contributed songs to the film’s soundtrack, which is available on Spotify and features 36 songs, making it an interesting mixture of genres. For instance, as well as Doja Cat’s Vegas and Eminem’s The King and I, along with Elvis originals, it also features some of his songs covered by Butler. Luhrmann explained that he wanted to include present-day artists featuring styles like hip-hop, rock, and jazz as a way of showing how huge an impact Elvis had on the music scene.

This is further shown in the movie itself, where we see the challenges that Presley faced in recording the type of African-American music he loved. Parker first hears him performing That’s All Right, which was a blues song that Elvis arguably converted into the first rock and roll record in history. As told by Far Out Magazine, this cover started as a raucous, jokey version of the song and eventually defined his trademark sound.

The story then shows us how public opinion is initially divided over this new type of music that has its roots in blues, R&B, gospel and other varied influences. It’s a fascinating glimpse of how the iconic singer from Tupelo helped to create a new musical style that took the world by storm, by leaning on the music that he had been brought up with.

Elvis is a movie well worth watching if you’re interested in the history of music and how rock and roll emerged from so many different influences. However, for everyone else, it’s simply a fascinating story of how a charismatic singer faced a series of personal and professional challenges as he tried to make his dreams come true.

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