8. That's All Right Mama - Elvis Presley
No matter what brand of rock and roll you like, chances are it always comes back to Elvis Presley. Even if you don’t necessarily like the man’s music, The King of Rock and Roll has been a staple in the lives of every single rocker that has paved the way since, from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to The White Stripes. And from the first note that he ever sang, he was never meant to be taken all that seriously or anything.
In his pre-royalty days, Elvis didn’t even fashion himself a singer most of the time, just looking like a misfit in his hometown and trying music on the side every now and again. When he was joking around cutting some old familiar blues jams with his friends though, Sam Phillips entered the control room as they were playing an impromptu version of That’s All Right Mama. After asking them what they were doing, Phillips demanded that they play it again as tape rolled, with Elvis playing up the trademark hiccup in his voice and getting more in tune with the kind of persona that would become Elvis’ signature in later years.
This would become the first real break that Elvis got in the mainstream, leading to him becoming the most in demand stars of the day and making him seem more like a deity of rock and roll than an actual live performer. So you have different movies, the holy ground of Graceland, and the Las Vegas residency period all from just a few minutes of Elvis and his pals just goofing off in a studio. You’re welcome.