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Elvis Crucified

August 30, 1987

Although the apotheosis of Elvis Presley has indeed reached inane proportions, the way Jay Sharbutt used it as a cross on which to crucify rock is even more absurd ("A One-Man Elvis Backlash," Aug. 23).

His contention that rock 'n' roll is devoid of meaning or significance is in total ignorance of the fact that it is undeniably the dominant musical force of the modern era, both culturally and economically, and is certainly the artistic equal of the music he prefers (Fats Waller, Cole Porter, et al.). That he cannot perceive the connection between Fats Waller and Jimi Hendrix or Cole Porter and Smokey Robinson attests to his deficiencies, not those of rock music.

In Elvis' defense, let me point out to the myopic Sharbutt that Elvis was not a painter or a composer but a singer and performer of enormous talent who spearheaded a new form of music that was revolutionary.

It is not the goal of rock or any other form of music to inspire anyone to read the classics of literature . . . they are their own inspiration. Elvis has inspired millions of people of many diverse cultures in a more visceral manner and, like it or not, Jay, his praises will be sung far longer than any other performer of his era, and rightfully so.

GARY VARGAS

Santa Barbara

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