In life, there are innumerable things we just know to be true: being loved is better than being lonely; cruelty is bad; freedom is better than slavery; racism is wrong, and so forth. There’s really no point to explaining exactly why we believe these things are true — they’re just not up for debate, and debating them essentially proves that you’re a fool, an asshole, or insane.
In the world of rock nerdery, there are similar articles of faith: Jimi Hendrix was a great guitar player; the 1960s was an unparalleled decade of growth and creativity in popular music; the Beatles were great.
Now, just because everybody agrees with something doesn’t make it easy to defend. But sometimes, like some of us did in debate club, we have to try, just to keep our wits sharp, and to make sure we don’t believe in important truths for false reasons.
It’s in that spirit that I hope we can come together to examine all the real, true reasons why “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard is glorious, while Pat Boone’s version is awful. Is it okay to say you like Little Richard’s version because it has more of what EPG calls “animality”? Is animality just a code word for “Black”? Do we cringe at Pat Boone’s version because it’s so “white”? Does Little Richard’s version have more “soul”? How does one measure such a thing? At the end of the day, are we really talking about race when we talk about the vast qualitative chasm that separates these two versions? Or is that just me?
I look forward to your responses.