Elvis Presley's Influence On American Culture

1318 words - 5 pages

Elvis Presley is one of the biggest names in rock and roll. Singer, musician and actor he was an American icon. He is best known as the King of Rock and Roll. His musical influence included the country and pop music of the time, the gospel music he sang in church and the black R&B music he listened to as a teenager (Comprehensive History of Elvis Presley’s Dynamic Life). Elvis has influenced American culture not only while he was living but also in today’s 21st century. It wasn’t easy for him to be accepted; in fact many adults and the older generations of his time were appalled by his performances and his music. In time though, people were able to accept him and he became well-known all over the world. Even after his death Americans are still influenced by his music. Presley had some of the most unforgettable and also unpredictable singles in of the 1950s and 60s (Comprehensive History of Elvis Presley’s Dynamic Life). According to the New York Times article “25 Years Later, Elvis Rolls On,” written by Jon Pareles (2002), Elvis didn’t invent rock and roll but he was the one who made the music larger than life. He set off rock n roll’s conquest of popular culture, enlarging his views of country and blues, pop and gospel with star presence and a jolt of sexuality (Pareles, 2002).
On January 8, 1935 Elvis Aron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi to Vernon and Gladys Presley. He later changed the spelling of his middle name to Aaron using the biblical form (biography.com). According to the article Elvis Aron Presley found in Academic OneFile, his twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, died shortly after birth, and Elvis grew up to be an only child. Presley grew up surrounded by gospel music of the Pentecostal church (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). Elvis’s singing voice was discovered when he was in elementary school, he participated in many talent contests in Tupelo and also in Memphis Tennessee, where he and his family moved to when he was 13 years old (Elvis Aron Presley). After graduating in 1953 from L.C. Humes High School in Memphis, Elvis worked many jobs to pursue his musical dream (biography.com). Later that year he cut his first demo record at Sun Records, and not long after that the record label owner and producer was impressed by the emotion in Presley’s voice and decided to help Presley pursue his dream of becoming a musical star (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). In 1954 Elvis recorded “That’s All Right Mama,” it became his first commercial release selling 20,000 copies (Elvis Aron Presley). This began Elvis’s legendary rise to fame.
After five cutting-edge singles, Elvis’s contract was sold to RCA Records and then his career rapidly took off (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). His first number one single was “Heartbreak Hotel,” and his first album was Elvis Presley (biography.com). By 1956 Presley was an international sensation. Although many of the teenagers of Elvis’s time was very intrigued by his diverse musical styles, sexy dance moves...

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