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Bruce Springsteen Praises Elvis in SXSW Keynote Address

March 20, 2012

Bruce Springsteen recently credited Elvis' 1956 "Ed Sullivan Show" appearance as the beginning of a new language in popular culture. Springsteen praised Elvis' iconic moment in history during his keynote address at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas.

Springsteen quoted the late rock critic Lester Bangs by saying, "We will never agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis." He added that his "genesis moment of inspiration" was in 1956 when he watched Elvis perform on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

"It was that evening, I realized that you didn't have to be constrained by your upbringing, by the way you looked, or by the social context that oppressed you," said Springsteen during his speech.

"Elvis was the first modern, twentieth century man - the precursor of the sexual revolution, of the civil rights revolution - drawn from the same Memphis as Martin Luther King - creating fundamental outsider art that would be embraced by a mainstream popular culture."

Springsteen delivered an inspirational keynote speech in front of a packed convention center crowd - one of the largest crowds in the event's history. Springsteen talked about his musical influences, how he still practices his rock n' roll poses in his bedroom mirror, and he even picked up an acoustic guitar for a sing-a-long with the crowd.

Bruce Springsteen's black leather jacket is now being featured at the new "ICON: The Influence of Elvis Presley" Exhibit at Graceland. This groundbreaking exhibit celebrates Elvis’ status as a music pioneer and icon that paved the way for many of today’s artists and celebrities – and features items from the collections of many of today’s biggest names in music who have been influenced by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.