Blue Suede Shoes to Doc Marten Boots

Music, Protest and Implicit Religion


  • Christine King Independent Researcher
  • Francis Stewart University of Stirling



implicit religion, Popular Culture, Fans, Protest, Rock Music


This paper will focus on two seemingly disparate music based case studies-Elvis and punk rock-and their associated “religions.” An argument will be made that Elvis and “his religion” could be viewed as what is often represented as a traditional “Catholic” tradition with pilgrimages, flowers, candles, prayers and miracles (including resurrection). Ethics and charity work are undertaken as emulation or invocation of Elvis rather than a morally driven action or compulsion. Concurrently, punk music (in its various forms) could be viewed as what is traditionally represented as “Protestant” with its stringent self-reliance, rejection of hierarchy and questioning of authority, its crucial importance on questioning, action and black and white view of the world. Ethics form a key part of punk and are driven by strong morality and a desire to wrest change. However the dialogue between these two case studies (and indeed geographies of USA and UK) can be made all the more coherent and fruitful when structured through an Implicit Religion framework and thus stand in tribute to Edward Bailey and the partnerships he sought to create through Implicit Religion. 


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How to Cite

King, C., & Stewart, F. (2016). Blue Suede Shoes to Doc Marten Boots: Music, Protest and Implicit Religion. Implicit Religion, 19(1), 93-115.