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HE IS BACK

IN THE

BUILDING


HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY ELVIS


HE IS BACK

IN THE

BUILDING THE MUSICAL INFLUENCES OF ELVIS PRESLEY


CONTENTS


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DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?

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BEFORE ELVIS THERE WAS NOTHING

Elvis Presley’s life story

Elvis’s influence on music

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THIS IS LIVING Musical career

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JAILHOUSE ROCK

King of Rock ‘n Roll

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THERE IS A HONKY TONK ANGEL Country music legend

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ELVIS FOR EVERYONE Pop music revolutioner

LOVE ME TENDER Too sexual for tv

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BAD PRESS

Elvis starts to crumble

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THE KING FALLS The death of Elvis

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LONG LIVE THE KING Elvis lives forever


I NEVER

EXPECTED TO BE ANYTHING


7

I WAS TRAINING TO BE AN ELECTRICIAN. I SUPPOSE I GOT WIRED THE WRONG WAYROUND SOMWHERE ALONG THE LINE


DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? The life story of Elvis Aaron Presley

Elvis Presley endured rapid fame in the mid1950s, on the radio, TV and film and continues to be one of the biggest names in Rock 'n' Roll. Elvis Aron Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. From humble beginnings, Elvis Presley grew up to become one of the biggest musicians in rock ‘n’ roll history. Even 38 years after his untimely death, Elvis is still impacting music and pop culture.

Raised by loving, working-class parents, Presley’s family had little money, and they moved from place to place. He was deeply devoted to his parents and was raised to have a strong faith in God. Presley got his first guitar at the age of 10, and soon after, had his first taste of success when he won a talent show at Hues High School in Memphis. He cut his first demo record at what later became known as Sun Studio that year, and before long, Sam Phillips, the record label owner, decided to take the young performer under his wing. In 1955, Presley began to develop a following with fans being drawn to his unusual musical style, provocative gyrating hips and good looks. Presley was on a roll, scoring his first No. 1 single with “Heartbreak Hotel,” as well as his first No. 1 album, Elvis Presley, and signing a movie contract with Paramount Pictures—all in 1956. Soon, Presley was everywhere—on the radio, television and the silver

screen—working as a musician and actor. His first film, Love Me Tender, was a box office hit. Even a stint in the U.S. military couldn’t put a damper on Presley’s thriving career. He received his draft notice in 1957, and was inducted into the Army the following March. He eventually served in Germany for about a year and a half. After leaving the Army in 1960, Presley resumed his career and was soon back at the top of the charts with the soundtrack for his film GI Blues. Though his films were often hit or miss with both critics and audiences, they brought in a profit and the soundtracks usually sold well. By the late 1960s, however, the enigmatic performer appeared to be losing his appeal. Proving he was still the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” he recorded his first TV special in 1968, often referred to as the “’68 Comeback.” He wowed audiences with his performance, which showcased his talents as a singer and a guitarist. Around this time, Presley’s personal life also seemed to be on an upswing. He and Priscilla wed in 1967 and had a daughter, Lisa Marie, the following year. By the early 1970s, Presley’s marriage was falling apart. The couple divorced in 1973, and Priscilla received custody of Lisa Marie. Presley was also wrestling with other problems, including a growing addiction to prescription drugs; the once-thin rock star was battling a weight problem, and his destructive lifestyle caught up with him that fall, when he was hospitalized for drug-related health problems. Despite his personal obstacles, Presley remained a popular draw in Las Vegas and on tour. He performed at his last concert in June 1977, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Sometime in the morning of August 16, 1977, Presley died of heart failure, at the age of 42.

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HE WAS A UNIQUE ARTIST AN ORIGINAL IN AN AREA OF IMITATORS -Mick Jagger


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THIS IS LIVING

Elvis Presley the musical imagineer

People didn’t know what Elvis’ music was. They didn’t know if it was rhythm and blues, country, or whatever it was. In an era when daytime radio was dominated by tepid crooning, quirky novelty, and chirpy innocence, here was a record by a white boy that had flavor. It had thumping abandon, the driving energy, of the life force itself of thrusting,writhing, wallowing and celebration.

Elvis’ music “merged disparate strands of blues, country, and gospel into a fiercely dynamic sound that ignited a musical and cultural explosion whose reverberations are still being felt today.” Soon enough Elvis was literally everywhere; on the record charts, television, movie theaters, and live on stage. White American youth had never seen anything like Elvis Presley before. Elvis’ style of music and dancing was totally different from the calm tones of popular artists such as Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey. Presley’s music spoke to teenagers and provided a way for them to let loose, and express themselves. Elvis became an unstoppable force to be reckoned with as teenagers began to copy his clothes, his hair, the way he sane, danced, and so on. His “lowered lids, the curling lip, the musky voice, the sensuous gyrations drove girls crazy and inspired scores of imitators.” Presley introduced and created a whole new social revolution which included new music, language, clothes, and more. With the arrival of rock n’ roll, Presley was able to open up the door for teenagers to express their sexuality. Yet during this time period, parents and educators wanted both women and men to internalize sexual behavior. Rock n’ roll was “demonstrating the power of the libido, as the music pulsated, the guitarist fondled his instrument, and undulated sensuously. Rock n’ roll seemed to be an anti-inhibitor provoking erotic vandalism. Not only was Presley’s dance moves seen as provocative and sexual, but his musical lyrics stirred up controversy as well. Elvis’ hits such as “Love Me Tender”

and “Don’t Be Cruel” were seen as a threat because the lyrics of the song presented an emotional vulnerability that could lead to the forbidden sexual expression. Elvis changed much more than the entertainment industry in the United States as his music set the stage for other musicians in the future. Presley inspired and influenced popular culture, rock n’ roll, cinema, future musicians, and more. Susan Doll believes that “today’s generation automatically perceives music of the 1960s to be the model they return to for inspiration and influence. They look to artists such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and James Brown.” However one must remember that Elvis heavily influenced the 1960’s generation and the music derived out of that time period. The “rhythm, beat, sensuality, and attitude of rock n’ roll all began with Elvis.” Statements by musical legends acknowledge the role that Elvis played in their music, such as John Lennon, who said: “Before Elvis, there was nothing.” Greil Marcus argues: “Without the astonishing success of Elvis- nearly 500 million copies of his records had been sold by the time he died- rock n’ roll might have been a passing fad. Elvis was revolutionary as he re-defined music and challenged social and moral values of the time. Presley had a “sound and style that uniquely combines his diverse musical influence and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time; he ushered in a while new era of American music and pop culture.” He was able to integrate rhythm and blues, gospel, and country music, and created what today is called rock n’ roll.


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WHEN I FIRST HEARD ELVIS’ VOICE, I JUST KNEW THAT I WAS NOT GOING TO WORK FOR ANYONE HEARING HIM FOR THE FIRST TIME WAS LIKE BUSTING OUT JAIL

-Bob Dylan


In 1953 at 18 years old, Elvis was signed to Sun Studios Record , within months Presley grew to fame and increased the studios revenue. In 1954, Elvis recorded “Baby Lets Play House.�


In 1955, Sun Studio sold Elvis’s contract for $35,000

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KING OF ROCK N’ ROLL


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JAILHOUSE ROCKS Rock n’ Roll Revolution

Elvis Presley is the undisputed King of Rock and Roll. He rose from humble circumstances to launch the rock and roll revolution with his commanding voice and charismatic stage presence. In the words of the historical marker that stands outside the house where he was born: “Elvis Presley’s career as a singer and entertainer redefined popular rock n’ roll music.”

Elvis Presley was highly influential in changing the social ans moral values of white American society, but also in creat ing a new genre of music which was known as rock n’ roll. The influence of rock n’ roll was very significant in the United States. Elvis’ music helped accelerate the path of integration of African Americans and the civil rights movement; Through rock n’ roll, the American youth obtained their own identity, one with new values, roles in society, and beliefs that differed from their parents. Elvis’ creation of rock n’ roll allowed for pivotal changes in American culture ans society. One author states that “in the ensuing decades, rock n’ roll demonstrated its persisent power. Rock n’ roll transformed an inchoate sense of disaffection and dissatisfaction into a political and cultural movement. Through the music that created an entirely new generation. It is truly remarkable how Elvis’ music not only reached the youth of the time, but continues to listen to his mucis as Elvis’ msucial repertoire came to include ballads, classics, Christmas songs, and religious soungs. Greil Marcus describes Presley’s influence on history stating: Because of Elvis’ arrival because of who he was and what he became, because of this event and what we made of it, the American past, from the Civil War to the rights movement from Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln, looks different than ut woud have

looked without him. Because of that event, the future has possibilties that woud have been otherise foreclosed. Presley’s impact on American culture went far beyond that he ever imagined. Presley was a central figure in the development of rockabilly, according to music historians. Katherine Charlton even calls him “rockabilly’s originator”, though Carl Perkins has explicitly stated that “Phillips, Elvis, and I didn’t create rockabilly,” and, according to Michael Campbell, “Bill Haley recorded the first big rockabilly hit.” “It had been there for quite a while”, says Scotty Moore. “Carl Perkins was doing basically the same sort of thing up around Jackson, and I know for a fact Jerry Lee Lewis had been playing that kind of music ever since he was ten years old.” However, “Rockabilly crystallized into a recognizable style in 1954 with Elvis Presley’s first release, on the Sun label”, writes Craig Morrison. Paul Friedlander describes the defining elements of rockabilly, which he similarly characterizes as “essentially ... an Elvis Presley construction”: “the raw, emotive, and slurred vocal style and emphasis on rhythmic feeling the blues with the string band and strummed rhythm guitar country”. In “That’s All Right”, the Presley trio’s first record, Scotty Moore’s guitar solo, “a combination of Merle Travis–style country finger-picking, double-stop slides from acoustic boogie, and blues-based bentnote, single-string work, is a microcosm of this fusion music coming together.”

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THE ONLY AMERICAN THEY WANTED TO MEET Elvis was their American Idol

Popular songs of the early 1950s were invariably pleasant, a smooth voice crooning about the joys and heartaches of love, urging people to dance, or asking “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?” Then, on May 11, 1956, a record entitled “Heart break Hotel” entered the British charts.

The song was performed by an unknown 21-yearold singer out of Memphis, Tenne­ssee Elvis Presley. The song’s theme -- about the feelings of loneliness following the breakup of a relationship -- was nothing new in itself, but the morbid lyrics, harsh instrumental sound, and creepy atmosphere were something else entirely. His voice was both sensual and threatening, and the echo that it was buried in gave the impression that he was delivering his message from the farthest corner of some melancholy, deserted town.Hearing Performance for the first time, late at night on Radio Luxembourg, was almost like a call to arms for John Lennon. Listening to the sounds of Bill Haley, the Platters, and the Drifters had provided John with a pleasant-enough diversion, but now here was this mysterious stranger from across the water, talking to John about the loneliness that they both shared. His reaction was immediate: He had to find out more about this Elvis character. Soon, photos in British magazines and movie newsreels confirmed the unlikely rumors he’d been hearing: The man with the raw, bluesy voice was, in fact, white. Even more surprising was his actual appearance, which was anything but conventional. His top lip seemed to be fixed in a permanent sneer, his eyes were circled by heavy lids and dark shadows, and his long hair was greased back in a style similar to that of movie star Tony Curtis. Similar, but not identical. “Nothing really affected me until Elvis,” John later reflected, and this simple statement just about says it all.

In August of 1965 The Beatles were in Los Angeles to give their historic Hollywood Bowl concerts. Everyone in town wanted to meet The Beatles, but the only American they wanted to meet was Elvis. Colonel Parker had arranged with Beatles manager Brian Epstein that their clients would get together at Elvis’ Bel Air home on August 27. After the introductions John, Paul, Ringo and George sat down on the floor at Elvis’ feet, cross-legged in a semi-circle. You could see that The Beatles were awed by Elvis. All they did was stare at him, as if they couldn’t believe their eyes. They continued gaping at Elvis, and this might have gone on all night if Elvis hadn’t said, “Look guys. If you’re just going to sit there and stare at me, I’m going to bed.” This broke the ice. Paul told Elvis that if it weren’t for him there would be no Beatles, that he made it possible for everyone else, that he was the king. Then John said, “Elvis, these crowds, man, they can get wild and crazy, I mean we put our lives on the line. It’s scary.” Elvis replied in his best down-home tone. “Son, if you’re really scared, you’re in the wrong business.” Ringo and George and some of our guys spent most of the evening shooting pool. Elvis, John, and Paul remained in the den. Several of Elvis’ guitars were propped up on their respective stands. John asked if he could play one, Paul followed, and then Elvis picked up his favorite Martin guitar and the three of them jammed for about thirty minutes, making musical history that the world would only dream about hearing.


Elvis revolutionized Rock n’ Roll music, thus in form or anothe influencing every Rock n’ Roll artist to come. Many of the Rock n’ Roll muscians of today still look directly at Elvis for influence. However, musicians such as David Bowie, Bruce Springstein, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Bono, Bon Jovi, Queen, and Jimi Hendrix. While Coldplay, Muse, and Green Day are more indirectly influenced by Elvis.


IT WAS LIKE HE CAME ALONG AND WHISPERED SOME DREAM IN EVERYBODY’S EAR, AND SOMEHOW WE ALL DREAMED IT -Bruce Springsteen

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COUNTRY MUSIC LEGEND


THERE IS A HONKY TONK ANGEL The way Elvis changed Country music Widely hailed as the King of Rock n’ Roll, Elvis Presley was indisputably the most influential performer in the history of rock n’ roll, and his career have been more thoroughly dissected than any others in popular music. The analysis continues at least partly because of the aura of mystery that even now surrounds The one factor usually overlooked in discussions of Elvis Presley is that he came from the country market, and, in a sense, had a more powerful and lasting impact on country music than preeminent country stars such as Hank Williams or Jimmie Rodgers. Until Presley’s arrival, country music had been considered regional, and only a few artists, such as Eddy Arnold, had shaken off this stigma. Presley opened the door for younger country singers, such as Marty Robbins, Sonny James, and Johnny Cash, to get their music exposed to a broader market. The consensus around Nashville in the mid-to-late 1950s was that Elvis Presley was very bad for country music, that he had in fact almost killed it; in truth, he was very good for a younger generation of country musicians, giving them potential access to broader media exposure than their predecessors had enjoyed. Presley, who was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, but lived in Memphis from November 1948, developed

a true catholicity of taste. The generally accepted notion that he fused country and R&B is essentially true, but he embraced black and white gospel, mainstream popular music, light opera, and more. Memphis was a good place to hear all this, and, when Elvis first went to Sun Records to cut a commercial record in July 1954 (at the time he was working as a delivery truck driver), he had more or less found his style. He was successful in the country market surprisingly quickly. The music of established country artists such as Webb Pierce and Carl Smith was adult in content and execution. Elvis gave younger country fans something of their own. Much of its verve came from R&B, but it was marketed as country music, and the best exposure Elvis got in 1954 and 1955 was on the Louisiana Hayride and from country disc jockeys. Elvis was already starting to show signs of breaking out of the country market when his Sun contract was sold to RCA in November 1955, a deal masterminded by his new manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Parker persuaded RCA to pay an unprecedentedly high $35,000 for Presley, a singer of virtually untested appeal outside the country market. RCA, though, was able to catapult him into the national marketplace via television and concentrated promotion. By the end of March 1956, his first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” had sold 1 million copies. In a way that Bill Haley never could, Presley became both a figurehead for rock & roll and a lightning rod for all those who despised it. In his dress, his stage moves, and his few stage-managed interviews, he projected an image that was at once threatening and vulnerable.

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This photo was taken in the recording studio in 1956


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ROCKIN WITH WANDA JACKSON Country and Rock’s Queen of Rockabilty

If Elvis was the King of Rock n’ Roll, then Wanda Jackson is surely the Queen. She was there at the beginning, and still carries the flame of real rock 'n' roll with her fiery passion. Her raspy, sexy voice and raw, aggressive music was a revelation in the early '50s — and still is. She can still bring the music to life, at the age of 72 .

This photo was taken on tour during 1957

"I was the first woman to do rockabilly — or rock music in the sense that we know it," Jackson says. "(Elvis) was the one who encouraged me to try it. I didn't think I could. I said, 'I'm just a country singer, that's all I've ever sang in my life.' He said, 'Well, I am too, basically, but kids are buying records now.'"Although she would continue to make strong country records off and on for the next several decades, rock 'n' roll was the music of her generation, and she never looked back.Elvis, apparently, saw some promise in this little firecracker with the jet-black hair. She had a Top 40 hit "Let's Have a Party," but most of her chart success was overseas — Germany, Japan, Scandinavia, where she developed serious followings. She'd often cut a country version and a rockabilly version of the same song, and made the country Top 10 with "Right or Wrong" and "In the Middle of a Heartache."But the fiery, bad-girl image that she projected couldn't have been further from the truth."I guess it was an alter ego or something, I don't know," Jackson says. "But Daddy's advice was 'You sing it the way you want to sing it, don't let anybody change you.' I had few run-ins like with a manager, who thought I should have dressed like all the other girls. The recording people, my producer, didn't really know what to do with me, either.My daddy worked as my manager and traveled with me ... I remember him telling me, 'Remember, you've got to shake the same hands on the way down as on the way up.”

“Before Elvis, it was always the adults who had money and bought the records. As soon as he hit the scene, the young people started buying records, and were becoming more of a voice in our choosing of songs, and how record companies were marketing the songs. Elvis knew this before anybody else did, and that’s why he said ‘If you want to be successful, I feel like you should do this music. I thought it was wonderful that he even cared as much. His career was going huckledy-buck, and exploding right around before his eyes, and yet he was taking time to encourage me.” In the '70s, she and her husband became born-again Christians, and she started exclusively making gospel records. Then, in 1985, she was lured back to rock 'n' roll by fans in Sweden. Eventually, interest returned in the States, too. Another Elvis — Elvis Costello — championed her for admission into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jackson says now there's a whole new generation of fans showing up at her shows."I feel like I'm in my heyday now, rather than before," she says. "It's a whole new generation — they're all discovering this simple rockabilly music and falling in love with it." And yes, back when they were touring together in the '50s, Jackson did date Elvis, for a time."Well, what we could — it wasn't traditional dating," Jackson says. "We hung out together backstage and would go out together after shows, for a while. Finally, it got real difficult for him to go anywhere after a show. With that pink Cadillac, he couldn't get away."


WHEN I SAW ELVIS ON TELEVISION, I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH HIM COMPLETELY. AS A SINGER, I WANT TO BE ABLE TO RELATE TO AN AUDIENCE LIKE THIS MAN DOES. OF COURSE, NOBODY CAN - HE WAS THE BEST THERE EVER WAS. -Faith Hill


Although Elvis is mostly known for his impact on Rock n’Roll, Elvis also had a major impact on Country music. Elvis has graced the stage of the Grand Ole Opry countless times and he was inducted into the Country music hall of fame. Many artitsts such as Willie Nelson, Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Loretta Lynn, and Patsy Cline looked to Elvis for inspiration. While artists such as Sugarland, Brooks and Dunn, Dixie Chicks, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, and the Pistol Annies were indirectly influenced by Elvis.

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POP IDOL


ELVIS FOR EVERYONE

Elvis makes the way for Pop Music For Elvis Presley, shakin’ things up was about much more than a scandalously pulsating pelvis. At the very core of Elvis’ societal shakeup is a collective rejection of racial segregation. In this way, his defiance is wholly social; it brings individuals together in performance of communal change. Elvis was known for being the king of Rock n’ Roll, but without him most Pop music today would not exist. “Elvis drew power from black culture,” rock historian Greil Marcus argues, “he was not exactly imitating blacks…no white man had so deeply absorbed black music, and transformed it.” Presley covered black hits without sanitizing their sound. Instead of following Pat Boone’s lead by sweetening black music, the King fundamentally transformed the blues by adding electricity that rebelled against fate’s entrapment. Take Little Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train”, a blues tune mourning love lost to the locomotive beast. Parker stretches out his serious, solemn words as if they are his baby’s last memory. And, as he sadly admits, “it’s gonna do it again.” The tone is one of inevitable despair and loss as the train bulldozers its way towards a hazy, desolate station. Elvis’ rare musical approach, though rooted

in a deep feeling for the blues, is something new and altogether unique. It maintains the dissatisfaction and abandonment of the blues, but weds it with the excitement and frustration of post-WWII Youth Culture. His music is so infectious, so beguiling, that whites kids and black kids could not resist being pulled in, headlong, as one. This helps explain the prevalence of minstrelsy in America; it allowed white performers to steal and benefit from black music without bleeding it with white culture. Elvis’ interaction with the crowd, on the other hand, was more reminiscent of a preacher in a black congregation eliciting responses from the pews than a black-faced Vaudevillian. The King wasn’t just performing for his audience, he was performing with them. Elvis was not the first to trample racial barriers without blackface, but his fluidity in doing so was unparalleled. The electricity of black music pulsed through The King’s body, bursting through his spastically jack hammering thighs. Racist powers censored Elvis by shooting him from the waist up on The Ed Sullivan Show, but this just added to Presley’s power. That same up tempo music that Elvis adapted from black music, has the same rythm and feeling that we are used to listening today. Although, many parts of Pop music today stems from all sorts of genres, but for many of those musicians Elvis was an inspirational figure. Without Elvis music might not be as revolutionary as it is today, he paved the way and broke down the walls for the future musical generations to come. Elvis was a rockstar, he was one of the first rockstars to grace the stage and change music forever.


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KING OF POP

One King influences another King

Over the years there has been a debate over who was more influential Elvis or Michael Jackson. Jackson certainly was a great entertainer irrespective of whom he entertained. However, Elvis was everything Michael Jakcson was, but the different is without Elvis there might not have been a Michael Jackson.

Perform he did, to please many, and he did please many, and in the process created hysteria amongst most of his fans and succeeded in capturing a continuous following from all parts of the world too. According to unconfirmed statistics, Jackson was liked by the younger crowd like the present teenagers and those who have left their teens within the past couple of decades. He did compose lyrics for most of the songs that he sang and thus gets called singer, songwriter, and entertainer. “Talented,” ... that was the word his fans used when discussing him. Jackson was blessed with talent and had what it takes to be a modern day superstar. Twenty four million fans in his account was not “bad” at all. I quit the radio with the emergence of rap music thinking that the end of music was near, convinced beyond any shade of doubt that video killed the radio star. My collection of cassette tapes continued to be my source of music, most of which were later converted to CD format, and newer CDs of older songs were constantly being added to my collection. More excitement came my way with the discovery of you-tube which contained many tracks that I had missed. Although I am full of admiration for Michael Jackson and for the great qualities that he is supposed to have displayed, which have been spoken of after his death, I am somewhat vexed by this sudden trend in comparing him with Elvis Presley. As I stated previously, they belonged to two different eras and were in totally different environments with each one of them creating his own label and identity. Jackson was reported to have been a

very nice guy, and never had been noted for any form of arrogance. It is a fact that he was also an excellent dancer, one of the best, although I believe he never really had the singular intention of drawing attention to his prowess. Ignoring challenges, he somewhat stayed away from competing with others as I guess his interest did not involve proving anything. He just danced to some powerful music and also “sang.” Then video barged into the music scene, placing itself unceremoniously between the musician and the music that the musician was responsible for creating. Of course this enabled many musicians to display their other talents. Jackson was one who benefited much from this. His dancing prowess was generously displayed on video over the next few years. This was the beginning. The start of something new. His eccentric behavior and the quest for “perfection” where his facial features were concerned were somewhat baffling to psychologists. They pointed it to an uneasy and an unhappy childhood ... Cool! Poor little Michael, he had not at all been happy as a child. They attribute his strange personality to a very strict father who had actually been very cruel to him in his formative stages. Will There Ever Be Another Michael Jackson? ... Never! Whatever the case has been, he entertained. He really did. He made some physically impossible gyrations at speeds that would entice Kung-Fu specialists to call for closer scrutiny. He vocalised too. The thundering rhythmic and pulsating powerful music dished out by the musicians backing him, provided him the impetus as well as the energy to “perform.”


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Elvis was not around during the Pop music that we think of today, but he still left a lasting impression. Even though many of the famous pop artists weren’t even born when Elvis was alive, he still was a major influence in their music directly, and indirectly. Artists such as Elton John, Billy Joel, Madonna, Whintey Houston, Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Ray looked to Elvis for direct influence. While Paula Abdul, Katy Perry, Cindi Lauper, Nsync, Brittany Spears, and Beyonce were all infuenced by the people who looked to Elvis for inspiration.


1974, Las Vegas

ASK ANYONE. IF IT HADN’T BEEN FOR ELVIS, I DON’T KNOW WHERE POP MUSIC WOULD BE. HE WAS THE ONE THAT STARTED IT ALL OFF. -Elton John


AT SUN STUDIO IN MEMPHIS ELVIS PRESLEY CA

AS ROCK N’ ROLL WITH A VOICE THAT BORE S

STREET OF COUNTRY AND BLUES. AT THAT KNOWINGLY - THAT POP MUSIC WOULD NEVER


ALLED TO LIFE WHAT WOULD SOON BE KNOWN

STRAINS OF THE GRAND OLE OPRY AND BEALE

T MOMENT, HE ENSURED -INSTINCTIVELY, UNAGAIN BE AS SIMPLE AS BLACK AND WHITE


In 1955, Elvis’s contract was sold for $35,000 to RCA. It was the largest amount paid for a single performer up to that time. Moving RCA was a major step in Elvis’ career and a major investment for the company.


BEFORE

THERE


WAS NOTHING

The Pop Cultural Impact of the King As an artist, Elvis Presley’s accomplishments are unparalleled. He is believed to have sold more than one billion records, about 40 percent of those outside the U.S. Though the figures are controversial due to the methods of computation by the Recording Industry Association of America, Presley still appears to hold the largest number of gold, platinum, and multiplatinum certifications of any artist in history; as of While certainly other artists preceded him to the alter of rock & roll, he is indisputably its king,’ 2010, 151 different albums and singles. riah Carey and Madonna began to challenge his.According to Billboard Records, Elvis had 149 charting pop singles: 114 in the Top 40, 40 in the Top 10, and 18 Number Ones. Born January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley was the son of Gladys and Vernon Presley, a sewing-machine operator and a truck driver. Elvis’ twin brother, Jesse Garon, was stillborn, and Elvis grew up an only child. When he was three, his father served an eight-month prison term for writing bad checks, and afterward Vernon Presley’s employment was erratic, keeping the family just above poverty level. The Presleys attended the

Elvis Presley was rock & roll’s first real star. A white Southerner singing blues laced with country, and country laced with gospel, he brought together American music from both sides of the color line and performed it with a natural sexuality that made him a teen idol and role model for generations of cool rebels. Even four decades after his death, Elvis is still influencing the musical generations of today.

First Assembly of God Church, and its Pentecostal services always involved singing. In 1945 Presley won second prize at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Diary Show for his rendition of Red Foley’s “Old Shep.” The following January he received a guitar for his birthday. In 1948 the family moved to Memphis, and while attending L.C. Humes High School there, Presley spent much of his spare time hanging around the black section of town, especially on Beale Street, where bluesmen like Furry Lewis and B.B. King performed.Upon graduation in June 1953, Presley worked at the Precision Tool Company and then drove a truck for Crown Electric. He planned to become a truck driver and had begun to wear his long hair pompadoured, the current truck-driver style. That summer he recorded “My Happiness” and “That’s Where Your Heartaches Begin” at the Memphis Recording Service, a sideline Sam Phillips had established in his Sun Records studios where anyone could record a 10-inches of acetate for only four dollars. Presley Service again on January 4, 1954, and recorded “Casual Love Affair” and “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way.” This time he met Phillips, who called him later that spring to record a song that Phillips had received on a demo, “Without You.” Despite numerous takes, Presley failed miserably and at Phillips’ request just began singing songs in the studio. Phillips then began to believe that he had finally found what he had been looking for: “a white man with the Negro sound and the Negro feel.”


1966, While performing in Las Vegas

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1968, During his Comeback tour

badge. Days later he was given a special tour of FBI headquarters, where according to FBI files made public after Presley’s death, the singer offered to provide information on persons he believed were a bad influence on American youth. Toward the end of his life, however, his onstage presence began to deteriorate. He would babble i coherently and rip his pants, having grown quite obese, and on at least one occasion he collapsed. Despite his clearly worsening health, he maintained a frantic tour schedule. This was due to the fact that in 1973 Colonel Parker had negotiated a complex deal whereby Presley sold back to RCA the rights to many of his masters in exchange for a lump-sum payment of which only $2.8 million came to him. Essentially, after 1973 Parker was earning nearly 50 percent commission (as opposed to the 10 percent industry standard). Worse, however, Presley was not earning any more royalties on sides recorded before 1973, although they continued to sell in the millions year after year. Parker’s need to satisfy personal gambling debts was said to be the reason for the self-serving deal. On top of it all, Presley opposed tax shelters on principle;

he naively relied on his father for business advice; and he gave away expensive gifts and cash heedlessly. The result, by the mid-Seventies, was near-certain financial disaster. Presley’s last live performance was on June 25, 1977, in Indianapolis. He was reportedly horrified at the impending publication of Elvis: What Happened?, the tell-all written by three of his ex-bodyguards and Memphis Mafiosi that was the first printed account of his drug abuse and obsession with firearms, to name just two headline-grabbing revelations. The book came out on August 12. On August 16, 1977 — the day before his next scheduled concert — Presley was discovered by girlfriend Ginger Alden dead in his bathroom at Graceland. Although his death was at first attributed to congestive heart failure (an autopsy also revealed advance arteriosclerosis and an enlarged liver), later investigation revealed evidence that drug abuse may have been at least part of the cause of death. Because the family was allowed to keep the official autopsy report private, additional speculation

I LEARNED HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO ENTERTAIN PEOPLE AND GIVE THEM A REASON TO COME WATCH YOU PLAY.

regarding contributing factors in Presley’s death has Court battles over the estate ended in June 1983 after 21 months of litigation with a settlement that ended four lawsuits. One of the terms of the agreement called for Parker to turn over most of his interest in Presley’s audio and video recordings to RCA and the Presley family in return for a large monetary settlement. Lisa Marie’s court-appointed guardian ad litem, Blanchard Tual, wrote in his report on Presley’s financial affairs that Parker had “handled affairs not in Elvis’ but in his own best interest.” Parker died of a stroke in February 1997 at the age of 87. Priscilla Presley assumed control of the estate and through a number of business moves made the Presley estate many times more valuable than it had ever been during Elvis’ lifetime. The cornerstone of the Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) financial empire is the Tennessee state law Priscilla Presley pushed for that guarantees to heirs the commercial rights to a deceased celebrity’s image and likeness. As a result, the name Elvis Presley is, technically speaking, a trademark, and anyone selling Presley-related merchandise in the U.S. must pay EPE an advance fee plus a royalty on every item sold.Claiming the funds were needed to maintain the property (the estate was valued at only $5 million in 1979 and the costs to maintain Graceland are estimated at nearly half a million dollars annually), Priscilla Presley opened Graceland to the public in the fall of 1982. Today Graceland is consdiered an American National Historic landmark, where over 600,000 vistors come to take the tour and see where the music legend once lived.


Elvis served in the United States army during March 1958 and March 1960


THE ARMY

TEACHES

BOYS TO THINK

LIKE MEN


LOVE ME TENDER

Elvis was too sexual to television

Why all that fuss over a 22-year-old, fully clothed, young man’s lower half? It is a bit hard for our generation to comprehend all the stir the young Elvis created. We live in the “I’ve seen it all” generation. Nothing shocks us any more- countless sex scandals, snuff films, 2 Girls 1 Cup, serial murders, But in the very staid, conservative 1950s, where the world’s top singers were Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and Perry Como, Elvis came on the scene like a tornado. The hip-shaking, gyrating kid from Mississippi shook up the showbiz world in a way no one else ever had. “The Ed Sullivan Show” was America’s #1 favorite family variety show in 1956. Ed had previously declared he would never have Elvis on the show, but Elvis just got too big and Sullivan had no choice but to recant. Elvis appeared on the September 9, 1956 Sullivan Show, hosted by Charles Laughton, who referred to Elvis as “Elvin” Presley. A record audience of 60 million tuned in to watch, which was an 82.5% rating- the biggest TV viewership of a show of all-time at that point. Elvis also appeared a second time on October 28, 1956. This time his sandy-blondish natural hair was dyed to his “bad boy jet black” shade- the Elvis look we’re all so familiar with. Both appearances were huge, but the “historic” one was yet to come. Elvis’ swiveling hips and gyrating body movements had caused a massive stir from these first two appearances, not to mention his concerts and other TV guest shots. TV critics, public school teachers, priests, ministers and terrified parents all railed out against this menace to the world’s youth. Presley’s physical attractiveness and sexual appeal were widely acknowledged. “Tele-

vision director Steve Binder, no fan of Presley’s music before he oversaw the ‘68 Comeback Special, reported, “I’m straight as an arrow and I got to tell you, you stop, whether you’re male or female, to look at him. He was that good looking. And if you never knew he was a superstar, it wouldn’t make any difference; if he’d walked in the room, you’d know somebody special was in your presence.” His performance style, as much as his physical beauty, was responsible for Presley’s eroticized image. Writing in 1970, critic George Melly described him as “the master of the sexual simile, treating his guitar as both phallus and girl.” In his Presley obituary, Lester Bangs credited him as “the man who brought overt blatant vulgar sexual frenzy to the popular arts in America.” Ed Sullivan’s declaration that he perceived a soda bottle in Presley’s trousers was echoed by rumors involving a similarly positioned toilet roll tube or lead bar. Brett Farmer places the “orgasmic gyrations” of the title dance sequence in Jailhouse Rock within a lineage of cinematic musical numbers that offer a “spectacular eroticization, if not homoeroticization, of the male image, Elvis was an ambivalent figure who articulated a peculiar feminised, objectifying masculinity as aggressive sexual display.” Presley never grew comfortable with the Hollywood scene, and most of these relationships were insubstantial. Elvis was parents’ worst nightmare, and even more the churches living hell. He was too sexual women couldn’t control themselves when they saw him, but America loved him anyways. He was everything women wanted in a man, and everything men wanted to be.


Before Priscilla, Elvis dated his high school sweetheart Dixie Locke while he rose to stardom and served his time in the military.


PEOPLE WHO READ SEX INTO MY MUSIC HAVE DIRTY MINDS -Elvis Presley


According to Elvis’s former agent Byron Raphael Elvis had a one night affair with Marilyn Monroe, in 1956


In 1964, while filming Viva Las Vegas, Elvis and Ann-Margret Olsson had a brief affair until Elvis’s manager demanded that it end.


JUNE 1ST, 1967 Elvis marries Pricilla Wagner at the Aladdin hotel in Las Vegas


FEBUARY 1ST, 1968 Lisa Marie Presley was born.


During the 1970s, Elvis became lazy and started to not care as much, he started to suffer from a downwards spiral


I’VE BEEN GETTING SOME BAD PUBLICTY - BUT YOU GOT TO EXPECT THAT -Elvis Presley


I hear rumors flying around--I got sick in the hospital. In this day and time you can't even get sick. You are strung out. By god I'll tell you something, I have never been strung out in my life, except on music. I got sick that one night, I had a hundred and two temperature, and they wouldn't let me perform, from 3 different sources I heard I was strung out on heroin. I swear to god, hotel employees, jack, bellboys, freaks who carry that luggage up to your room, people, you know maids. And I was sick. But all across town, strung out.

Don't you get offended ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking to someone else, if I find or hear an individual that has said that about me, I'm going to break their g*****n neck your s** of a b***h‌.that is dangerous....I will pull your g*****n tongue out by the roots

-Evis Presley Elvis was arrested for both assault and reckless driving


He lived 3 lifetimes in his 42 years. He did more than any human can expect to do. He was spent, he was ready to go." As you listen to excerpts from the tapes, it's interesting to hear how the audience stays with Elvis, no matter what he says or how off the wall he sounds. People really loved the guy, and as Chris Davidson told us, its a shame that a man who brought so much happiness to so many was so obviously unhappy himself.

I think he was bored with being Elvis, with the life, the tours, the music. He was just bored. The only way of hiding was drugs. I think he wanted to die. -Jeff Taylor, RCA President


ONE DAY AT ONLY THE YOUNG AGE OF


42


42


HE WAS FOUND FACE DOWN ON THE FLOOR OF HIS BATHROOM AT GRACELAND AT 2:30 p.m. ON AUGUST 16TH, 1977. ELVIS WAS OFFICALLY PRONOUNCED DEAD AT 3:30 p.m. AT THE BAPTIST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL. THE OFFICAL CAUSE OF HIS DEATH WAS RULED AS HEART DISEASE, ALTHOUGH MANY HAVE SPECULATED THAT THE AMOUNT OF PRESCRIPTION DURGS ELVIS WAS TAKING AT THE TIME MAY HAVE ALSO FACTORED INTO HIS DEATH.


EVEN TODAY 7% OF AMERICANS THINK ELVIS IS STILL ALIVE. SOME PEOPLE EVEN THEORIZE THAT THE BODY THAT IS CURRENTLY BURIED 6 FEET UNDERGROUND IN GRACELAND IS ACTUALLY A WAX MODEL, AND THAT THE REAL ELVIS WAS SPOTTED HOPPING ON A PLANE TO BUENOS AIRES 2 HOURS BEFORE HIS OFFICAL TIME OF DEATH GOING BY THE ALIAS “JOHN BURROWS”IN REALITY THIS IS ALL A CONSPIRACY. WETHER OR NOT ELVIS IS STILL ALIVE, HIS

MUSIC CONTINUES TO LIVE ON AND INSPIRES MUSCIANS OF TODAY. MAYBE THE REASON WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT HE IS STILL ALIVE IS BECAUSE HE WAS SUCH AN ICON. HE WAS THE WORLD’S FIRST ROCK STAR. GIRLS WANTED TO BE WITH HIM AND GUYS WANTED TO BE HIM. HE WAS THE ORIGINAL AMERICAN IDOL. HE WAS THE POSTER BOY FOR THE CULTURAL REVOLUTUON THAT WAS ROCK N’ ROLL. LET THE LEGEND OF ELVIS PRESLEY LIVE ON.


LONG LIVE THE KING


YA, THANK YA VERY THANKTHANK YA, THANK YA, THANK YA MUCH VERY MUCH


He is Back in the Building  
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