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In the mid-to-late 1950s, there were two young men in their early 20s - one born in Mississippi, the other in Louisiana - who not only climbed meteorically to the top of the musical world but caused a sensation with their flamboyant hairstyles and matinee-idol looks.
Fans of Elvis Presley - and we're thinking of the young, dashing Elvis of the mid-1950s - couldn't help but notice how utterly cool his clothes were. For a young working-class hero from the South, the King was impeccably tailored, and rakishly so, in pink and black shirts, pegged pants and iridescent sharkskin jackets, and two-tone shoes. That's because Presley got his threads from a hepcat who really knew 1950s male fashion: Bernard Lansky, the proprietor of Lansky Bros. on Beale Street in Memphis.
If you grew up in the early to mid-1970s, you may remember tuning your AM radio to a local Top 40 station and grooving to music that, for want of a better word, we'll call the Memphis Sound. It was a hybrid of country's twangy guitar and plaintive vocals with the driving beat and existential, socially conscious lyrics of the West Coast's psychedelic rockers, with a little soul music mixed in, to produce a catchy sound that was a little hippie and a little homespun. Songs such as "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" made you want to shake your hips and get funky, but when you listened to the words, you couldn't help but think, too.
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