Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was a disciple of country, gospel and R&B music. Some country artists and establishments accepted him and his music, others didn’t. Regardless of how anyone felt about it, Elvis Presley became the biggest selling solo artist in history and the slight proximity of “his sound” to the sound of country music gutted country record sales in the 1950s. Country acts either sold less records, tried to add rockabilly sounds to their music or went the opposite direction and stripped out the “country twang” to get the Nashville Sound.

Elvis Presley, directly or indirectly, affected all of country music with his success. The below episodes of Cocaine & Rhinestones either feature Elvis as a character or shed more light on how he impacted the genre.

Jeannie C. Riley

CR008 Harper Valley PTA, Part 2: Jeannie C. Riley

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Jeannie C. Riley’s debut single sold over a million copies within ten days of being released but she never wanted to record the song. She’s often considered a one-hit wonder. We can easily disprove that.

In the late ’60s, Jeannie C. Riley became country music’s most blatant sex symbol to date but she never wanted to wear those clothes. Small town girl with big dreams goes to the city and lets it break her in order to make her. Total cliche, right?

Sure.

Except Jeannie’s choice to bury the story in lie after lie turns it into a mystery tale of obscured identity, infidelity and blackmail. In this episode, some truth sees the light of day, maybe for the first time ever.

Recommended for fans of Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Russell, The Wilburn Brothers, Tom T. Hall, Little Darlin’ Records and mystery novels.

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Shelby Singleton

CR007 Harper Valley PTA, Part 1: Shelby S. Singleton

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Two words to sum up the career of Shelby Singleton?

Publicity stunt.

You think all it takes to make a hit record is to find a good song and get a good performance of it?

That’s cute. Have a seat and let an old-school record man show you how it’s done. This is Shelby Singleton.

When it took driving a trunk full of records around the country to make them into hits, that’s what he did. Then he became a producer. Then he became a VP at Mercury Records. Then he founded an independent musical empire in Nashville and really got to work making new enemies.

This episode is recommended for fans of: marketing, publicity, controversy, rockabilly, Supermensch (the documentary on Shep Gordon), George Jones, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, David Allan Coe, Margie Singleton, Jeannie C. Riley and Roger Miller.

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Bobbie Gentry

CR004 Bobbie Gentry: Exit Stage Left

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In 1967, Bobbie Gentry’s recording of a song she wrote, called “Ode to Billie Joe,” directly influenced the future of every major musical genre in America. In the early ’80s, she disappeared.

What happened in the decade between?

Why did Bobbie Gentry vanish?

Who was she, even?

Since we can’t ask Bobbie for answers, these are mysteries we either have to learn to live with or try to solve for ourselves.

People you’ll hear about in this episode: Glen Campbell, Elvis Presley, Jim Stafford, Nick Lowe, Kanye West, Eminem, Drake, Lauryn Hill, Snoop, A Tribe Called Quest, Jody Reynolds, Rick Hall, Lou Donaldson, Sheryl Crow, kd lang, Lucinda Williams, Alfred Hitchcock, Barry White, Bobby Womack, Burt Bacharach and, believe it or not, more.

Also, you may not like what you hear if you’re a fan of Jim Ford.

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