Elvis Presley

by Larry Kruger & Jake Herstedt

Summary of Elvis' Life

Elvis Presley was born January 8, 1935 in Tupelo Mississippi. Over his career he released 24 studio albums, and made "Rock n' Roll" music popular. He was married to Priscilla Presley from 1967-1973 and had one child, Lisa Marie Presley. He died of a heart attack in Memphis Tennessee on August 16, 1977.

The Impact on the Decade

Elvis Presley was the most influential music artist in the 1950s, especially in the rock and roll genre. He was considered the "King of Rock and Roll" because of all the content he released. He released 131 and singles that have been certified gold, platinum, and multiplatinum by the Recording Institute Association of America (RIAA). Presley also had and influence on the clothing that was popular with people in their early teens to their early twenties. He made the "Ducktail" hairstyle popular along with black slacks and open necked shirts. Elvis also helped integrate African-American music into popular music, and challenge racial segregation. Presley's music was heavily influenced by African-American blues. He took inspiration from many black artists such as Big Joe Turner, Wynonie Harris, Fats Domino, B.B. King, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, and Ivory Joe Hunter. Presley was quoted saying "The colored folks been singing it and playing it just like I'm doin' now, man, for more years than I know. They played it like that in their shanties and in their juke joints and nobody paid it no mind 'til I goosed it up. I got it from them. Down in Tupelo, Mississippi, I used to hear old Arthur Crudup bang his box the way I do now and I said if I ever got to a place I could feel all old Arthur felt, I'd be a music man like nobody ever saw."

Top Albums

Elvis' Impact on the Present

Elvis didn't invent "Rock n' Roll" but he did make it very popular. Elvis' music did help rock music become popular in the 70's and all the way up to the 2000's. It was the Rolling Stones who described him as "an American music giant of the 20th century who single handedly change the course of music in the mid 1950's" They also said "It was Elvis who made Rock 'n' Roll the international language of pop." Elvis also helped integrate African-American culture into White culture to start to end segregation. During the mid 1950's, black artists had a very tough time selling their music records relative to the national market potential. Most black songwriters had very limited choices that they could take in their music career, and had such a small income that they could barely make a living. But after Elvis purchased the music of African-American artist Otis Blackwell, and had his "Gladys Music" company hire talented black songwriter Claude Demetrius, the industry of music underwent a very dramatic change. Elvis also helped popularize less conservative clothing like open collared shirts, which eventually led to the clothing we have today.

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