[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 12 October, 2003, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Elvis session 'changed music'
Elvis Presley
Presley's session was credited with inventing rock and roll
The studio session for Elvis Presley's debut single has been voted the most pivotal moment in rock history.

Mojo magazine readers named Elvis' Sun Records session in July 1954, when he recorded That's All Right, as the key world-changing moment in music.

Bob Dylan's switch from acoustic to electric guitars in 1965 came second, ahead of the release of The Clash's debut single White Riot in 1977.

Nirvana's 1990 tour was the most recent event in the top 10, at number 9.

1. Elvis Presley records That's All Right, 1954
2. Bob Dylan goes electric, 1965
3. The Clash release White Riot, 1977
4. The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, 1964
5. The Rolling Stones release Jumpin' Jack Flash, 1968

Presley recorded That's All Right at the age of 19 after going into the studio the previous year to record a track for his mother's birthday.

His name was kept on file because producers liked his voice.

When he was called back, he sang several unspectacular ballads but then broke into a version of That's All Right, which had been a hit for blues singer Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup.

Presley added a country edge to it and, together with bassist Bill Black and guitarist Scotty Moore, was credited with inventing rock and roll at that moment.

Moore told Mojo: "It was still too early to tell what was gonna happen but soon enough we realised that was had a real product on our hands."

The Beatles do not appear on the list until number four, for their 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in the US, which made them global stars.

The release of The Rolling Stones' 14th single, Jumpin' Jack Flash, in 1968, is next in fifth place.

Releases and performances by Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, John Lennon and Led Zeppelin are also included in the top 10.

What do you think about the poll? Did Elvis change the course of popular music? Or was something else more important? This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.

I agree entirely - Elvis changed EVERYTHING! Absolutely no doubt about that. Thank Goodness Mojo Mag voters know what they are talking about. Nice to see "The King" where he belongs ... at the top!
Lyn, UK

Whilst Elvis Presley et al are undeniably influential they are not oringinators.They took what existed already and made it popular because the people who made the music were not allowed to reach a wider audience.As much as I like Elvis and even the Beatles I always bear this in mind. For me the most influential recording session is either A kind of Blue (Miles Davies 1959) or perhaps some recordings of James Brown in 1966 (Papas got a brand new bag) or perhaps Bitches Brew by Miles Davis (1969). The sessions that really changed music in the 20th century have been ignored.I believe that when the musical history of the 20th century is truthfully told perhaps Bob Dylan and the later Beatles (1967-1970) might survive but in truth names like Miles Davies,James Brown, and even Bob Marley will have an even greater stature.
gav, France

It's about time this recording session was recognised for what it was. Even John Lennon said "they all had Elvis to thank"
Philip E. Woods, Canada

How The Clash, a bunch of middle-class apologists and the 'acceptable' face of punk, can come higher than the Sex Pistols in any poll is beyond me.
dezombie, UK

Dont know what the rest of the charts show, but its funny how Blues, Jazz, Soul, Rap, Hip-Hop, Carribean, House, are unacknowledged in this article when it is obvious that rock n roll and rock music all have their roots stemming from black music. In my opinion music changes when a new creative invention is brought to life, not when opportunists take the music and produce their own variations.
Kiki Menes, Portugal

The most influential musical act of our time is unquestionably The Beatles - their performance on the Ed Sullivan Show changed music overnight and the course of popular music for generations to come. To put the release of a Clash album ahead of this event is ridiculous. On a worldwide scale, how many people actually know The Clash, let alone the title of any of their albums? As far as Elvis is concerned - well I just don't get it - why so many people like that kitschy, corny stuff. Heck, he didn't even write his own music. Bob Dylan goes electric? This is a pivotal moment? He did so because he was influenced by the innovative electric sounds of The Beatles. Obviously, Mojo's editors made up this list with much anti-Beatles sentiment.
Tony Scotti, Canada

What about Bill Haley?
John Shannon, Hong Kong

What about Buddy Holly?
Jeffery Peden, USA

Before anyone did anything, Elvis did everything. A great tag line, but also very very true. All of musics highs and lows would be different today if it were not for Elvis. He broke the stasis that 'popular' music was in and blazed a trail so fierce that others couldn't fail to follow.
graeme, UK

Elvis had the voice, the style and most importantly that ever-elusive x-factor. I agree that first session was probably the most important moment in rock. After Elvis everything changed, Rock 'N' Roll happened, and teenagers finally had something to do. Long live the King.
Nico Versluys, England

I think your poll is accurate. I was fourteen when Elvis burst upon the music scene and his voice and presentation were so powerful that only the deaf could ignore his potential. Also, at around the same time the introduction of transistor radios and small portable record players made it a snap to spread his [and the many other great rock and rollers of the fifties] music around the world. Rock and roll radio stations popped up like mushrooms. The rest is history.
Roy M Birkett, Canada

While I can't dispute Elvis' debut single, the position of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan at #4 pretty much sums up why I think that these little lists and polls don't mean a great deal at all. The Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan should sit at #2. Not only was it a seismic event for the history of modern music, but one that left its indelible mark on the landscape of modern culture.
Aaron Clausen, Canada

I believe it is absurd to limit the title of "World-Changing" to modern commercial music. This shows the bias that all music now has be commercial, and that before commercialism, music wasn't a focal point of culture. If all commercialism was removed, music would still exist as a focal point of our culture and individual lives, just as it did for uncounted thousands of years before.
Michael Nelson, California, USA

Of course, Elvis' Sun session changed the direction of music. Nothing else compares!
Wayne Russell, Canada

Absolutely, Elvis' Sun sessions in Memphis definitely opened up a new world in music. His early singles inspired me to learn a musical instrument (drums)in 1957, and rock n roll has been a part of me ever since. His later movies separated him from his musical roots, however.
Michael Clarke, Canada

Of course Elvis started and carried on rock and roll, where the likes of the Clash and Nirvana come into discussion when it comes to world greats is beyond me. Where are the Beatles?
Colin Burns, England

Pink Floyd ? surely the Floyd were worthy of a mention, after all they did influence all decent modern music.
Dave Floyd, Scotland

Rock'n'Roll, as the synthesis of African-American music with Country and other pop forms, the emphasis on the beat, and guitars, was an inevitable American phenomenon. In a nation of immigrants, such cultural cross-over is inevitable, in at least a small degree. This is not to diminish the contribution of Elvis, Sam Phillips, Scotty Moore and their group, as their talent, foresight, and inspiration are probably responsible for many of the particulars of this inevitable synthesis.
Tom Noerper, USA

I am very surprised that Buddy Holly didn't feature in the top 10. His music has been a major influence for many latter day rock/pop artists. Both his guitar sound and vocal interpretation were unique in the fifties and still, all these years after his death, his style is instantly recognisable.
Trevor Jones, Braintree, England

Remembering the dawn of rock 'n' roll from personal memory, I believe the seminal event was the use of "Rock Around the Clock" in the movie Blackboard Jungle.
William Bell, USA

Rock and Roll was already being played and heard on the radio at the time that Presley was starting to cut records. Bill Haley, who seems to have been discarded as a seminal influence by latter-day rock historians, had Shake, Rattle and Roll plus Crazy, Man Crazy out at the time.
Christopher Bird, Australia

No doubt about it. Elvis music reached everyone everywhere!!
Archimedes Lee, Philippines

Absolutely. No doubt about it - and before the naysayers jump in, a full 18 months BEFORE Chuck Berry's "Maybelline" and Little Richard's "Tuitti Frutti". Elvis defined the look, the sound and the attitude.
Gillian Thomas, UK

Elvis certainly did change cultural attitudes and his '54 and '55 recordings with Sun marked the begining of this phenomenon. He singlehandedly created the generation gap.
Chris Donnelly, Ireland

Presley credited with inventing rock and roll? Who came up with that nonsense? I wonder if the story would be different if Chuck Berry had been white?
Brendan MacLean, Birmingham, UK

The pivotal moment was the release of Rock Around the Clock
Dave Challice, UK

True, Elvis started it as a point of change in the evolution of music. The recent is all this species seems to comprehend, though. And as for the recent, I belive Tool's "Lateralus" to be another confluence in music.
Dan Hoveland, USA

Museum's fight over Elvis weapons
08 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Elvis Presley: Life and times
15 Aug 02  |  Entertainment
Elvis: The legacy
16 Aug 02  |  Entertainment
Elvis still the king, fans say
15 Aug 02  |  Entertainment
Burning love for Elvis fans
19 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Thousands attend Presley vigil
17 Aug 03  |  Entertainment


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific