Eastern Shore residents who decide to watch Baz Luhrman’s new blockbuster film about the King of Rock and Roll may notice something in the film that resonates with them.

Cardinal News wrote a feature about the film that mentioned two “Easter eggs” from Virginia in the film. Easter egg is a term used to describe a message, image or feature hidden in a film.

Although well known on the East Coast, most casual observers may not know that Elvis’ first hit was a song called “That’s Alright Mama,” originally written by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup.

Dwayne Yancey writes in the play, “In one of the early scenes, a young Elvis peeks through the cracks of a music bar and watches as bluesman Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup – played by musician Gary Clark Jr. – “That’s okay , Mama.” Of course, this song later became Elvis’ first hit. The film returns to this scene at several points. The implication is that Elvis owes his musical inspiration to Crudup. That’s not wrong. Elvis also recorded other Crudup songs – “So Glad You’re Mine” and “My Baby Left Me”. The exact details of the movie scene with a young Elvis looking through the cracks may be made up, but there seem to be some facts behind it. Pop culture website Consequence writes that not only was Crudup in Presley’s personal record collection, but “in a 1956 interview with The Charlotte Observer, Presley implied that he had personally seen the bluesman as a child and said, ‘Down in Tupelo, Mississippi, I used to hear old Arthur Crudup bang on his chest like I do now.'” The Blues Hall of Fame includes a quote from Presley, in which he adds, “If I ever came to the place , I could feel everything that old Arthur felt, I was a music man like no one had ever seen.” If Elvis in his prime thought he wasn’t up to Crudup’s level, how spectacular must Crudup have been? “

Crudup eventually gave up music and moved to Northampton County, where he worked in the fields but still played a little music on the side.

Yancey continues, “In the early ’70s a lot of these old bluesmen got somewhat late recognition and Crudup toured for a while supporting Bonnie Raitt. Crudup died in 1974 at the age of 68. Among those who made statements at the time acknowledging Crudup’s influence were Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Elton John, Rod Stewart and John Fogerty. The man some called “the father of rock ‘n’ roll” is buried in Franktown.”

The Sons of the Big Boys recorded a blues album called The Franktown Blues in 2000.


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