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Elvis Essay, Research Paper

Elvis Aron Presley

Twenty years have passed since the death of Elvis Presley, yet the deceased singer, still widely known as “The King’ of Rock’N'Roll”. Elvis was a million-dollar actor and the world’s greatest entertainer.

Elvis Aron Presley, son of Vernon and Gladeys Presley of Tupelo, Mississippi, was born on January 8, 1935. Elvis’s parents were protective of their son and raised him up to be God-fearing, right-thinking young man. Singing came natural to Elvis. He first started singing at his local church, Assembly of God. Elvis was later know as a country-blue singer.

In 1945, at the age of ten, Elvis won second place in the annual Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show for singing “Old Shep.” (Doll) Elvis received his first guitar for his tenth birthday from his parents. Elvis’s parents encouraged him. They knew he was born with special musical talents. The Presleys moved to Memphis from Tupelo in September 1948, just after Elvis started high school. The Presleys decided to move to Memphis because Vernon could not find enough work to support his family.

Elvis’s personal taste in music was gospel and rhythm-and-blues. The early singing and performing style was marked good fusion of sound. It is this fusion of gospel, country western, and rhythm-and-blues, with a little pop thrown in. Elvis record his first songs in the summer of 1953, recording two songs popularized by the Ink Spots. On the evening of July 5, 1954, Elvis Presley made his first commercial recording, of interpretation of blues. (www.wallofsound.com)

In the spring of 1955, the Blue Moon Boys (Elvis’ bank) went on tour with Hank Snow. This was when Colonel Tom Parker was first introduced to Elvis Presley’s talents. Colonel Tom Parker became Presley’s sole manager. At that time, Parker dropped Hank Snow as his agent.

Presley released four singles, which were largely rejected by white disc jockeys as too bluesy and by black disc jockeys as too country. Finally a record company cut him a deal, on January 10,1956, Presley recorded his first songs for RCA in Nashville.

From these sessions, Heartbreak Hotel was recorded. It stayed the number one on Billboard’s charts for eight (8)weeks.(Doll) Heartbreak Hotel became one of his most famous of Elvis’ songs.

When the popular press was not openly criticizing Elvis, they were ridiculing him. Despite the fact that his music was identified as rock’n'roll, journalists and reporters often referred to him disparagingly as a ” hillbilly singer.” His flashy clothes, his long sideburns, and his ducktail haircut so heavily full with dark black hair. Never before had an entertainer’s hair been the subject of so much attention. But still many teenagers loved his hair and his look.

Many older people in the 50’s criticized Elvis’ music because his music was rhythm-and-blues which was traditional black-people music. At this time, the traditional white-people music was gospel and country music. To get all types of people to like his music, Elvis combined gospel, country, and rhythm-and-blues which became known as “rock’n'roll”.

Elvis was also in thirty-one movies. The first movie he in was Loving You this movie was a true story based on Elvis’s life. The movie was released by Paramount in July 1957. The movies that Elvis was in where mostly musicals, the musical style were guaranteed to attract his fans.

On March 24, 1958, Elvis was drafted into the U.S. Army, taking into Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. Elvis first was taken into Fort Hood, Texas were he did his basic training. After basic training Elvis served two years in to Third Armored Division in West Germany. Although he was away from his fans and career, Elvis was not totally away he had recorded enough material so that several records could be released white he was in the army. (www.people.virginia.edu)

Five months after going into the army, Elvis suffered the tragedy of his mother’s death. Gladys Presley died on August 14, 1958, possibly from a heart attack reacted to the acute hepatitis that had hospitalized her. “Gladys was 46 when she died, although many accounts list her age at death to be 42″. Elvis was devastated by his mothers death and broke down for weeks. (www.wallsofsound.com)

When discharged from the army Elvis was no longer interested in rock ‘n’ roll which had undergone many changes 1958 and 1960. If anything rock music was more controversial than ever. “Little Richard was in trouble with the IRS and had abandoned rock ‘n’ roll for religious reasons.” (Doll)

When Elvis returned home in 1960 the stage was set for him to assume a more mellow style. He was more interested in a new image as a main stream pop singer. Elvis recorded his usual mix of rock, country, and rhythm-and-blues songs during these two April recording sessions, which yield some of his best work of his career. Are You Lonesome Tonight, was a departure from the kind of music that Elvis sang before he went into the army. It’s Now or Never, based on a well-known Italian song.

On May 8, 1960 Elvis appeared on television since discharged from the army and he was a guest on The Frank Sinatra-Timex Special, also known as the Welcome Home Elvis. “The program received phenomenal ratings, given ABC-TV a 41.5 share of that evening. Elvis was paid $125,000 for a total of six minutes on air.” (www.people.virginia.edu)

Elvis married Priscilla on May 1, 1967 they were married Alladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. It was a fairy tale wedding, a double ring ceremony lasting only eight minutes. Elvis and Priscilla honeymooned in Palm Springs, California. Nine months after Elvis and Priscilla were married, Lisa Marie Presley was born on February 8, 1968.

By the early 1970’s when he was touring on debilitating schedule of one nighters, Elvis was taking medication for pain and discomfort caused by various condition, leaving him in a state of mental limbo. Elvis’ drug problem was a result of prescription drugs some of which were administered for health problems. His eating habits and weight problem were somehow related to his drug abuse. On August 16, 1977 Elvis died at Graceland at the age of 42.

Elvis Presley fans have always been intensely devoted and have passed that on to other generations. Elvis fans are the best indication of his greatness and will always be known as the “King of Rock’n'Roll”.

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