The King of Rock and Roll
Biography (1935 – 1977)
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 that triggered a global transformation in an era of conservatism and conformity.
Presley’s hip-shaking performances on a series of TV variety shows, including Ed Sullivan’s, generated hysteria and controversy. From blistering rockers to aching balladry, Presley captivated and liberated the teenage audience.
Through his music, Elvis opened the door for black musicians and sparked greater tolerance of open sexuality.
If the Fifties were devoted to rock and roll and the Sixties to movies, the Seventies represent the performing chapter in Presley’s career. He toured constantly, performing to capacity crowds around the country until his death on August 16, 1977. He was 42 years old.
Death and Legacy
With a handful of electrifying performances in West Texas in 1955, Elvis Presley single-handedly changed the musical direction and soul of several local musicians who would go on to become Rockabilly legends themselves.
Throughout his amazing career, Presley helped popularize rock ‘n’ roll music throughout the world. He also won three Grammy Awards for his gospel recordings. A major musical force, Presley had 18 No. 1 singles, including “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Good Luck Charm” and “Suspicious Minds,” as well as countless gold and platinum albums. He was one of the first performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986). But Elvis has been recognized for his contributions several musical genres, most notably rock, country and gospel. In 1998, Presley was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame; three years later, he was posthumously inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Writer Lester Bangs said it best: “I can guarantee you one thing – we will never again agree on anything as we agree on Elvis.”
To this day, Elvis Presley remains one of the most influential figures in American music and culture.
Elvis Presley Lives On!
Excerpt from The Rockabilly Legends DVD Documentary 2-DVD Set.