Surreal Rock Star Interviews From the 1950s
These surreal rock star interviews from the 1950s will give you a look into the past, when rock ’n’ roll was just beginning to take over popular music.
Reportedly Elvis Presley’s only live talk show interview, the King appeared on a New York program called Hy Gardner Calling in 1956. The chat was filmed from inside Presley’s hotel room, where the musician was grilled about being the most controversial musician of his day. When asked about critics who’d decried Presley’s frenetic hip gyrations, Elvis answered, “Those people have a job to do and they do it.”
After Gardner followed up by asking if Elvis had learned anything from the criticism, the King responded, “No, I haven’t. I don’t feel that I’m doing anything wrong.”
Another interview with rock ’n’ roll pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe (filmed in 1960 but it’s too good not to include) showed the guitar legend shredding her instrument in between questions, and even while she answered questions. Tharpe was playing in France at the time, so as the TV presenter translated her answers into French, Tharpe further expressed herself with some 12-bar blues runs.
Jerry Lee Lewis shocked his fans, and much of the world, when he infamously married his 13-year-old cousin once removed. While Lewis was on tour in England, a journalist uncovered the age of the 22-year-old musician’s new wife (he’d claimed she was 15) and the resulting uproar caused Lewis’ concerts to be canceled. In a bizarre move, Lewis appeared on TV with his new wife after the stur overseas, but both Mr. and Mrs. Lewis brushed off all questions about the controversy.
Watch these surreal interviews with 1950s rock stars in the Loud List below.