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Beginning to See the LightSex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll$
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Ellen Willis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816680788

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816680788.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

Elvis in Las Vegas

Elvis in Las Vegas

(p.41) Elvis in Las Vegas
Beginning to See the Light

Ellen Willis

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter presents the author’s reflections about Elvis Presley’s performance at the new International Hotel in Las Vegas in 1969, his first concert in nine years. Elvis, the very definition of rock-and-roll for its vociferous defenders and detractors, became the first rock-and-roller to switch to wholesome ballads and pioneered the unalienated youth movie. He was at once old money and young money, sellout and folk hero. How would he play it? The Presley that came on shook up all her expectations and preconceived categories. There was a new man out there, whose once deadly serious frenzy had been infused with humor and a certain detachment. Though the show was more than anything else an affirmation of his sustaining love for rhythm-and-blues, it was not burdened by an oppressive reverence for the past. Presley knew better than to try to be nineteen again and had quite enough to offer at thirty-three. He sang most of his old songs, including a few of the better ballads, and a couple of new ones.

Keywords:   Elvis Presley, Las Vegas, ballads, rock music

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