elvis

As Hip as Elvis: Caruso the Pop Idol

John Potter

Every generation seems to reinvent the tenor as something closer to a pop star than an opera star. The Three Tenors were among the late 20th century’s great musical marketing successes, and the brightest star that they acknowledged in the tenor firmament was cinema heartthrob Mario Lanza. Lanza himself claimed Enrico Caruso as his greatest influence and famously played him on screen, reminding a wider audience that there was nothing incompatible with classical tenors and genuine popularity, whatever they were singing.

Long Live the King: Elvis Presley and the Spirit of Tribute

Sandra Canosa

“The issue isn’t that the younger demographic doesn’t like Elvis,” Rosemarie O’Brien, General Manager for the Collingwood Elvis Festival, told me. But the challenge of attracting newcomers still weighs on organizers’ minds. “I just don’t think [younger people] have ever been educated on what Elvis did for music history and how it impacts and influences what they get to listen to now.” The animated zeal of tribute festivals, however, has the potential to engage neophytes in a way that static museum displays or textbooks cannot. 

Can Music Survive Without the Teenybopper Fangirl?

Sandra Canosa

To an outsider, the gathering of Beliebers in such large proportions can be dizzying, if not downright menacing: strange words to ascribe mostly prepubescent girls in the awkward middle stages of growth spurts, hormonal changes, and corrective braces and eyewear. But the apparent strength of their allegiance to Justin – whose music and lyrics are mostly innocuous, if not downright dumb, to most grown adults or “serious” music fans – is what is most disorienting. The communal desires, the vast groupthink, and the worship of a (false?) idol smells of blind consumerism at best and fascism at worst. 

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