History of Rock & Roll Quotes
They Said It
| "[Elvis Presley] tried not to show it, but he felt so inferior. He reminded me of a black man in a way; his insecurity was so markedly like that of a black person."
- Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records who first recorded Elvis Presley in 195324
| "I think maybe in 1930, from talking with Woody [Guthrie] and Pete Seeger and some other people I know, it seems like everything back then was good and bad and black and white and whatever, you only had one or two. When you stand on one side and you know people are either for you or against you, with you or behind you or whatever you have. Nowadays it's just—I don't know how it got that way but it doesn't seem so simple. There are more than two sides, it's not black and white anymore."
- Singer songwriter Bob Dylan, 196325
| "Music, my writing, is something special, no sacred. Like this guitar, I don't consider sacred. This guitar could bust and break, it's pretty old now. I could still get another one. It's a tool for me, that's all it is. It's like anybody else has a tool. Some people saw the tree down, you know, or some people spit tacks. When I go to saw the tree down, I cut myself on the saw. When I spit tacks, I swallow the tacks. I've just sort of got this here tool and that's all I use it as, as a tool. My life is the street where I walk. That's my life. Music, guitar, that's my tool, you know."– Bob Dylan26"I never listened to radio, I didn't never get into that rock-and-roll trip. I just listened to blues. It seemed real. The other stuff seemed so tacky, teenagey. It didn't seem to have any truth in it or something. From the first moment I ever heard [the blues] that was my music."
- Singer Janis Joplin, 196827
| "Our music isn't perfection of any kind, but when it's working it makes you get outside of your head and just have a good time, and that's what I think kids are after. They're not really after a cerebral trip. I mean, I know there are wars going on and things like that. But I'd rather just get stoned and have fun. And I think that's the way they kind of see us."
- Singer Janis Joplin, 196828
| "The '60s was a sensual revolution. We figured the whole thing was going to go on and on and more people were going to take acid, more of us were going to get enlightened. It wasn't like peace and love kinda stuff, it was, Let's make music and screw around instead of making war. To a certain extent it was pretty arrogant and it was also the hedonism thing that said, If you get in the way of my fun, f--- you."
- Grace Slick, singer songwriter and front woman for Jefferson Airplane29
| "Rock 'n' roll is hard work, it's harder than being in the army. And your guitar is your machine gun; tour instruments are your implements of battle."
- Singer Patti Smith, 197730
| "When the white kids would buy my records, they'd have to hide 'em from their parents."- Black rocker Little Richard, who enjoyed explosive popularity in the 1950s31"It is no secret that today's rock music is a very important part of adolescence and teenagers' lives...They use it to identify and give expression to their feelings, their problems, their joys, sorrows, loves, and values. It wakes them up in the morning and it is in the background as they get dressed for school. It is played on the bus. It is listened to in the cafeteria during lunch. It is played as they do their homework. They even watch it on MTV now...Because anything that we are exposed to that much has some influence on us, we believe that the music industry has a special responsibility as the message of songs goes from the suggestive to the blatantly explicit."
- Susan Baker of the Parents Music Resource Center testifying before the U.S. Senate, 19 September 198532
| "The PMRC's case is totally without merit, based on a hodgepodge of fundamentalist frogwash and illogical conclusions. Shrieking in terror at the thought of someone hearing references to masturbation on a Prince record, they put on their 'guardian of the people' costumes and the media comes running. It is an unfortunate trend of the eighties that the slightest murmur from a special interest group (especially when it had friends in high places) causes a knee-jerk reaction of appeasement from a wide range of industries that ought to know better."
- Musician Frank Zappa33