1950s Inspiration: Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley managed to break the mold with his music, movements and charisma, creating horror and shock throughout his mostly white audiences of the 1950s, yet somehow, his timing was right, and the youth of the times were ready for him, even though they had not ever experienced such brazenly performed music before the appearance of Elvis. Oddly, when Elvis first burst onto the scene, his style of performing was associated with almost blasphemy by the church-going population, and yet by the time of his passing, Elvis’ following consisted of a large majority of churched fans who were especially moved by his renditions of their favorite hymns.
Elvis’ Early Years
Elvis will always be known as the “King of Rock and Roll,” or simply “The King,” from the status of incredible popularity that his brand of music earned him. Born in 1935, Elvis Aaron Presley had been a twin whose twin brother was stillborn. Born in Mississippi, his family relocated to Memphis when he was 13. Elvis always stood out from the regulars at high school, growing out his sideburns and styling his hair with rose oil and Vaseline. He was unpopular and even failed music, yet at the age of 19, Elvis (with no formal training,) began his public music career, with a unique style of rockabilly music that was sexually provocative and criticized for crossing racial boundaries during a time when Civil Rights was only just beginning to become a movement. It might be that the controversy he stirred up helped his popularity.
Music, Movies and Music
Elvis was just getting going in his career when the military drafted him for service in WWII. He came back two years later, though, picking right back up where he had left. In 1961, he put his live music performances on hold to star on numerous Hollywood movies, which all featured Elvis’ music as soundtracks. After 7 years, Elvis made a musical return, with the forever famous televised live comeback show, Elvis. It was then that he began his prominence in the Las Vegas concert life, while raking in huge profits from touring.
Elvis had his share of beautiful women, but married his wife Priscilla, and the two had one daughter. They lived in Elvis’ famed Graceland, where Elvis had an always present entourage of close friends who accompanied him everywhere. Their marriage ended in divorce, and later, his daughter Lisa went on to marry Michael Jackson, but not for long, as the two divorced. Elvis was known for being highly quirky, like never taking baths or showers, and only doing sponge baths. He loved giving away Cadillacs to unsuspecting strangers, was highly religious and had been anti-drug for most of his life. Sadly, it would be drugs, albeit prescription drugs–that killed Elvis. And in 1977, at the age of 42, the world’s beloved Elvis died. His music, fame and the way he forever changed music will live on.
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