Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

August 27, 1977

On August 27, 1977, the New York Amsterdam News ran a front page article titled, “Was Elvis Presley ‘Nothing’ But a Black Imitator?” The article, which appeared just over a week after Presley died, noted that many black musicians were central to the creation of rock ’n’ roll but received only a fraction of the fame and financial rewards that Presley did. “Little Richard, B. B. King, Lightning Hopkins, Fats Domino, Arthur Crudup, Chuck Berry, and Bo [Diddley], at certain periods of Presley’s skyrocketing career, must have felt like the victims of Dracula,” the Amsterdam News argued. “Instead of being drained of blood, their song styling and stage mannerisms were neatly being incorporated into the total performance of now legendary Elvis Presley.”

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