I first heard Elvis sing “Rip It Up” when I was 5 or 6 years old. It was on a 4-song 45 my mother had when she was a kid, and one of the records I played a lot on my little portable, faux denim-covered record player. I didn’t know anything about Elvis except what I saw on the cover. He probably reminded me of Fonzie and Bowzer.
I didn’t know until much later that this was a cover of a Little Richard song, and I certainly didn’t understand what a common practice it was at the time for white artists to perform songs originally recorded by black artists. I didn’t know that the song was an anthem to living your life for music. All I knew was that I dug Elvis and this song. It’s really swingin’, so much fun to dance to and sing along with. Elvis’ version isn’t so different from Little Richard’s, just a little faster and not as much sax.
What I notice about it as an adult is how bare bones it sounds, how basic and perfect it is. 100% rockabilly. 100% kickass. 100% real music. If you listen to this and don’t want to hear more Elvis, you’re dead inside.