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Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley (1935-1977) was an American musician, considered to be the "king" of rock and roll. Presley's career was, from the start, considered very controversial. His risque dance moves and novel fast-paced approach to music opened many doors culturally. Not only did he initiate the development of an entirely new genre in music. (Rock and Roll) He also impacted the social expectations of women. In addition to this, he was a catalyst in the integration process of white and black people working together in music.

(click the gray circles to view information as I discuss each topic)

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  • The Cultural Impacts of Elvis Presley - Wikipedia

  • The Elvis Spectacle and the Cultural Industries - Douglas Kellner

  • How Elvis Presley Changed Music and Culture - Medium

  • Elvis in the Heart of America - Time Magazine

  • Hound Dog (1952)
  • Jailhouse Rock (1957)
  • King Creole (1958)
  • If I can Dream (1968)
  • Suspicious Minds (1969)
  • In the Ghetto (1969)
  • Burning Love (1972)
  • If I can Dream (1968)

Elvis' Greatest Hits

Elvis had earned 171 gold, 94 platinum, and 34 multi- platinum records in the U.S. during his lifetime. At the time this was competing against The Beatles for the most records sold ever by one artist.

(To the left is a QR code in case the video doesn't play.) The video is a clip of Elvis shaking his hips and saying he's "gonna get arrested." He mocks the authorities for believing there can be an illegal way to express yourself through movement. He was, at the time, the only artist to intertwine music and dance for performance, and his career challenged societal norms of what is considered sexual movement or not.

Elvis was one of the first artists to make music that was geared towards young people. His unclassifiable new style of music gave young people an opportunity to enjoy something as individuals, separately from their parents. The condemnation and censorship of his music inflicted by older generations gave rise to a new attitude of rebellion and individuality throughout the young people in society. Teenager's began pushing cultural boundaries through fashion, music, and dance that left a mark on society. Presley's music was discernibly influenced by African American Blues music. Older generations in the South had an aversion to this as segregation was still heavily prevalent and an ongoing political controversy. He often expressed his debt to the work of Black musician's like B.B. King that he idolized in interviews. This influenced the youth in the South, that his music was targeted towards, to be more accepting of the civil rights movement and initiated the concept of white people enjoying and having an appreciation for culturally "Black" music and dance. Additionally, Presley was "considered to be a threat to the moral well-being of young women." His undeniable sex appeal created a wide-spread pandemonium among young women. But it was more than just smooth talking and dirty dancing, he represented sexual liberation. He acted as a catalyst in the process of challenging the societal norms for female sexuality.

The "King" of Rock and Roll

The Elvis Spectacle and the Cultural Industries

link to research paper on the various areas of culture he impacted

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As Elvis began to gain a larger audience in the South, people began criticizing him for the provocative way he moved his hips and legs while performing. His style of movement was considered "colored people dance" however, was particularly appealing to younger women. Obviously, authorities quickly began working to stop him from "corrupting their youth," but his growing popularity was irrepressible. Because of this, authorities and broadcasters were inventive in finding ways to censor him. They would require that he wear a certain type of suit that inhibited his movement or would only record him from the waist up. Despite these obstacles, Elvis stayed true to himself and continued to perform his own way. Before any legal action could be inflicted on him, he was drafted into the Korean War in 1957.

The Tennesse Rebel

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