Line Out Music & the City at Night

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Birthday DEATH MATCH: Elvis Presley vs. David Bowie!!!

Posted by on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 at 11:47 AM

In the first corner, Elvis Presley, born January 8, 1935, who is often regarded as the King of Rock 'n' Roll for being white and taking a bunch of African American tunes to screaming white women all over network television, shaking his hips all the way into bigtime controversy (and thereby setting a blueprint for stardom that pop artists follow to this day). Then he died at the age of 42 partly because he took too many pills all the time. His first big hit:

In the second corner, David Bowie, born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947, made a name for himself with the psychedelic rock classic "Space Oddity," then recreated himself as glam/space rock with the Ziggy Stardust persona, then again recreated himself as the Thin White Duke, then basically recreated himself forever and stayed excellent (Except for that Glass Spider tour).

 

Comments (21) RSS

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Matt from Denver 1
Elvis has too much of a white trash connotation for Line Out, apparently.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 8, 2012 at 12:45 PM · Report this
Fnarf 2
I always think of Elvis as being a Dean Martin impersonator, myself. I still voted for Booie, even though his window of awesomeness was actually pretty short (Young Americans through Lodger, for me).
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on January 8, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
bedipped 3
I realized as I grew older and consumed more music that Bowie appropriated as much as Elvis. Just one example is Tin Machine's complete pastiche-ing of the Seattle grunge sound. Elvis was more pure musical genius, Bowie was more image/marketing genius, had a broader range of music to sample, and a more established music industry to work within. They'd have tossed Davey Jones to the hogs in the 1950's South.
Posted by bedipped on January 8, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
julie russell 4
Elvis's B-day marks my 8th year of not drinking! Yay! I see it like this: Each was huge in their own way but Bowie had more talent and was supremely versatile. Elvis was like The Freud of Rock and Roll...if nothing else, he brought it to the masses(like Frued did w/ psychology). Bowie was more like Jung in that he played w/ different concepts and experimented.
Posted by julie russell http:// on January 8, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
5
Elvis had a magnificent influence, which others would have had if he weren't there. Elvis was what he was and was happy to have people know it - a mother-loving fellow with great pipes, not too bright.

Bowie was magic, quicksilver, one of a kind. Nobody else could have done what he did, moving the entire world from behind a series of masks. Today everyone wants to be as plainly knowable as Elvis, but Bowie wanted you to admire his costume. No surprise a pseudonymous commenter like me would prefer him. Yes, his window was brief, but he changed everything during his time. Petridis of the Guardian put it very nicely in a piece that opens thus:
It's a cliche when a rock star reaches 65 to mention the time when it didn't look like they'd make pensionable age, but with David Bowie who marks the milestone on Sunday, it's almost unavoidable. Look at a picture of him in the mid-70s, when he was ravaged by cocaine, living off a diet of red peppers and milk and so paranoid that he apparently kept his own urine in a fridge lest persons unknown steal it: this is not a man destined to make old bones.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/jan…
Posted by gloomy gus on January 8, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
6
elvis the pelvis of course ! you guys just picked bowie because he's a cross dressing fag .
Posted by whatsbeckgottadowithit on January 8, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
Puty 7
Elvis is a dirty R&B-thieving-thief but he was the right thief at the right time and his importance to culture is indisputable. If you're gonna pick either him or Bowie on the basis of influential, I think it has to be Elvis. But I like Bowie better. And since it therefore feels sorta like I'm being blackmailed into voting for a Republican, I'ma shun this poll. Shunned!
Posted by Puty on January 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM · Report this
Zebes 8
Elvis's reputation is so inflated that it is entirely self-sustaining now- not without reason, perhaps, I'm not commenting on that, but it's still there. I don't care for his music and I resent the implication by so much of society that everybody likes him, and that he featured so prominently in Civilization 4.

Bowie's great, though, so.
Posted by Zebes http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html on January 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
Keekee 9
Apples & oranges baby!
Posted by Keekee on January 8, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 10
Elvis was more influential, Bowie was more excellent. WTF is White Lion doing in this poll?

Lets face it, without Elvis, everything that happened after 1957 would have been different. Sure, someone was bound to come along and teach suburban white kids to loosen up, dance, and lose their marbles at a concert, but Elvis was the one who did it. Without Elvis there are probably fewer English kids seeking out American records. Without Elvis, the sexual revolution may have been less of a revolution. Also, with Elvis, we get the first cautionary tale about the hazards of success, the hazards in Elvis' case mainly being an over domineering manager. Lets remember that Elvis did what he did in part by being honestly eclectic, much as Bowie did in the 70's. He did it by being a true mucic lover, just like every other great post-ww2 musician did.
Elvis didn't invent rock n' roll, but he played it like he did.
But I'd much rather listen to Bowie's 70's work than anything Elvis ever did.
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on January 8, 2012 at 4:58 PM · Report this
11
But there are so many other great recording artists that were born on this day it sorta makes this poll ridiculous.
Posted by I vote for Stephen Hawking on January 8, 2012 at 5:02 PM · Report this
Fred Casely 12
Bowie's the superior artist, but Elvis's urine is probably worth more.
Posted by Fred Casely on January 8, 2012 at 5:08 PM · Report this
13
I'd argue that Elvis was inevitable, at least in the sense of making more money than the black artists whose work they covered. As a for instance, let's not forget that Pat Boone preceded his success by a year or so, and that Elvis was his opening act.
Posted by 1955 version of Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame" on January 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
14
I don't think we can really judge before we witness the fat, Vegas Bowie era.
Posted by peterga on January 8, 2012 at 6:27 PM · Report this
David Thompson 15
Without Elvis, there would be no Bowie.
Posted by David Thompson on January 8, 2012 at 7:00 PM · Report this
16
I remember listening to Bowie's Queen Bitch in 1971 or 2 on KISW-FM or some
other Seattle FM station. I was amazed. It is still a wonderful song. It truly transcended
the then current established paradigm of rock music featured on FM radio of the
period. Certainly one of Bowie's best, and was far beyond Elvis.
Posted by Fairhaven on January 8, 2012 at 8:12 PM · Report this
julie russell 17
@ 10 Wait...Wait...I never had a chance to love you
Posted by julie russell http:// on January 8, 2012 at 8:15 PM · Report this
18
when the children cry, let them know that we tried.
Posted by cb on January 8, 2012 at 10:19 PM · Report this
Chris in Vancouver WA 19
I LUVLUVLUV Bowie, but if not for Elvis, there would have been no Bowie. Considering that it was part of his artistic training, David Jones would probably have been a mime instead. And how sad is that?

Gotta go with Elvis.
Posted by Chris in Vancouver WA on January 9, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
rootwinterguard 20
One wrote his own songs, they other didn't.
Posted by rootwinterguard http://www.askanatheist.tv on January 9, 2012 at 12:05 PM · Report this
Keekee 21
There is some debate as to how much of Bowie's material he actually wrote.
Posted by Keekee on January 10, 2012 at 8:47 PM · Report this

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