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Innovation

He Never Wrote a Song. He Changed Music Forever

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Though he never wrote a song he changed the music we listen to.

Innovators change the world.

Sometimes they have a vision they see that no one else sees. But sometimes their passion confronts opportunity and they discover their ability to innovate. Such was the case for a young man named Elvis, born 84 years ago this year.

Elvis was hoping for a bicycle on his 11th birthday but a guitar was all they could afford. Young Elvis was eager to perform and he auditioned to join the Songfellows, an amateur quartet at church but the audition was a failure.

“They told me I couldn’t sing” he said to his Dad who replied, “You should be glad you have a job. Playing a guitar will never make you any money.”

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One day, he stopped by Sun Studio to record a couple of songs to surprise his mother. Marion Keisker, studio owner asked him, “So who do you sound like?”

“I don’t sound like nobody,” he answered.

“Like nobody” was exactly right. Elvis was just Elvis. He didn’t dress the same as others or perform the same as others.

He went from overnight sensation in 1954 to become the “king of music” in just three years prompting Leonard Bernstein to proclaim him “the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything and he changed everything — music, language, clothes.”

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