Elvis Presley's Rock Revolution

By Agnibho Roy

How did Elvis Presley Change rock and Roll/Rythm and Blues Forever?

Introduction to the Revolution

Elvis Presley is a significant figure in the history of Rock and Roll because he was able to revolutionize music and his vast influence was felt by the entertainment industry. Also, during an era of social turmoil, Elvis Presley utilized his influence to resolve a much larger controversy: racial segregation. His music's accessibility allowed many African Americans, especially the youth, to assimilate themselves into the environment and become part of a more close-knit society. Additionally, Elvis Presley challenged social and moral values since his more flamboyant and provocative dance helped to develop an entire new generation of dancers and singers.

Type of Music and the Social Revolution

By 1955, Elvis Presley soon become a sensation for America. People quickly fell in love with his unique style of pelvic thrusting hips and superlative singing. The drew the attention of many critics and attracted the attention of the girls with his outgoing and "bold" nature. As Elvis became more popular, the generation of older citizens started to resent and they were forced to prevent their children, especially the girls, to not pay attention to him so that they would not be influenced. The fact that Elvis shook his hips, thrust his pelvis, and danced passionately on stage, turned parents against his music since it was so provocative. Presley also went against societies idealization of the white population in contrast to the blacks as he “set in motion a style of music that dominated the world for the rest of the century. It was the beginning of youth culture, the breakdown of sexual inhibition, and the end of racial segregation.” (Source: Lagrange.edu)
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Change on Rock and Roll and Other Implications

Elvis changed so much of the entertainment industry in the United States and his music definitely set the stage for other musicians in the future. Presley inspired and influenced styles of dance and music such as pop culture, rock, potential musicians, and cinemas. Susan Doll, a critic of his music, believes that “today’s generation automatically perceives music of the 1960’s to be the model they return to for inspiration and influence. They look to art- ists such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and James Brown.” However, one must acknowledge Elvis's influence the 1960’s generation and the music that derived out of that time period. The “rhythm, beat, sensuality, and atti- tude of rock n’ roll all began with Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys. That influence cannot be underestimated.” Most importantly, all of the bands ensuing his presence focused on the style of rock and roll, as this was the most popular and attracted the most viewers for more money.

What Components of this Group Made Them so Appealing in the 1950's, 1960's, or 1970's?

Appealing Features

What made this artist so appealing was the way that he portrayed himself on stage and his revolution of dance steps and singing. The way that he sung was completely new and struck the new generation heavily. He was a man that could truly include sex appeal in his performances and was also able to introduce the first hip thrust to the nation. Thus, he was able to push past the societal strictures and wasn’t afraid go beyond the status quo.
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The Glitz and the Glamor

Although coming from a humble beginning, Elvis definitely made up for that once his career took off. One of his most famous dances was "Graceland", which was one of the most famous residences in the nation, and appealed heavily to the general public. He was able to create distinct fashion lines and the flare that he had in his performances were unparalleled. More, so the glamor could be seen by simple statistics, as stadiums were packed and he attracted about 60% more viewers than previous bands did in the 1930s and 40s.

The Roots of Rock and Roll and Blues

Rock and Roll

Rock and roll emerged as a defined musical style in the United States in the early to mid-1950s. It derived most directly from the rhythm and blues music of the 1940s, which itself developed from earlier blues, boogie woogie, jazz and swing music, and was also influenced by gospel, country and western, and traditional folk music. Rock and roll in turn provided the main basis for the music that, since the mid-1960s, has been generally known simply as rock music.


The blues has deep roots in American history, particularly African-American history. The blues originated on Southern plantations in the 19th Century. Its inventors were slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves—African-American sharecroppers who sang as they toiled in the cotton and vegetable fields. It's generally accepted that the music evolved from African spirituals, African chants, work songs, field hollers, rural fife and drum music, revivalist hymns, and country dance music.

The blues grew up in the Mississippi Delta just upriver from New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. Blues and jazz have always influenced each other, and they still interact in countless ways today.

What Makes This Artist Still Popular?

Today, the reason that Elvis Presley is still respected is because of his vintage and classic style, and modern critics deem it as more "original" than modern singing and dancing styles. However, it is more to commemorate the great dancer and singer's revolutions in the entertainment industry that we listen to them, and it is often a remembrance of our nations great musical history. The audience today is mostly senior citizens, as it makes them feel nostalgic about their childhood.

Important Timeline of Events

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Top Hits/Songs of Elvis Presley

  • "Heartbreak Hotel" (1956)
  • "Don't Be Cruel" (1956)
  • "Hound Dog" (1956)
  • "Love Me Tender" (1956)
  • "Too Much" (1957)
  • "All Shook Up" (1957)
  • "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" (1957)
  • "Jailhouse Rock" (1957)