On This Day, Oct. 21, 1957 – Elvis Rocks the Jailhouse

1957 – “Jailhouse Rock“, the Elvis Presley film, premiered. Some of the characters named in the song are real people. Shifty Henry was a well-known L.A. musician, not a criminal. The Purple Gang was a real mob. “Sad Sack” was a U.S. Army nickname in World War II for a loser, which also became the name of a popular comic strip and comic book character. Gender studies say that the song is also known for “its famous reference to homoerotics behind bars”. Indeed, according to Garry Mulholland, ” ‘Jailhouse Rock’ was always a queer lyric, in both senses. According to Rolling Stone, Leiber and Stoller’s “theme song for Presley’s third movie was decidedly silly, the kind of tongue-in-cheek goof they had come up with for The Coasters. The King, however, sang it as straight rock & roll, overlooking the jokes in the lyrics (like the suggestion of gay romance:...

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