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How Did Elvis Presley Affect Society in the 1950s?

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Rachel Chicareli

on 7 May 2014

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Transcript of How Did Elvis Presley Affect Society in the 1950s?

How Did Elvis Presley Impact Society in the 1950s?
Who Was Elvis Presley?
Elvis Aaron Presley was a legendary American singer, musician and actor. ( From 1950s to late 1970s.) He is regarded as one of the most influential and significant cultural icon of the 20th century.
Nicknamed "The King of Rock & Roll " or just simply " The King" because he is said to have early popularized the genre of rock.
After "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1956 , he became a number one hit.
Popular songs that you might have heard : Jailhouse Rock , Heartbreak Hotel , Hound Dog, and Love Me Tender.
He was active from 1953-1977.
He became the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and provocative performance style, , made him enormously popular—and controversial.
Early Life and Musical Influence and Inspiration
Born in Tupelo, Tennessee , moved to Memphis at age 13 , which influenced and gave him better opportunities to get into and start off his music career.
His music career began there in the year 1954 when he started to work with Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records
According to multiple bio's , he couldn't find his "sound" and was constantly frustrated and struggling until he started playing around in the studio with this band members. He created a sound that was then described as a driven fusion between country and rhythm blues.
Elvis's music inspiration didn't come from one specific artist , instead many. He frequently attended the gospel singings' that lasted all night in Memphis at the Ellis Auditorium and this is said to be what sewed his seeds of his future stage act.

Many African-American singers such as Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry influenced his sound. He took many styles such as blues and R&B and mixed it with his personality and style.
In the 1950s , things were on the safe side. No one was provocative , especially celebrities -ranging from dancers to movie stars. Viewers and the rest of society were very strict on the wholesome image and felt the need for family friendly entertainment.
By the spring of 1956, rock 'n' roll sensation Elvis Presley became a national phenomenon. His first single "Heartbreak Hotel," was number one on the charts, and plans were in the works for his movie debut. Everywhere Presley performed, his sultry looks, swinging hips, and dynamic vocal style drove teenage listeners wild.

His appearance on The Milton Berle Show on June 5, 1956, triggered one of the biggest first controversys of his career. While Presley preformed his single "Hound Dog," of course he danced with all the pelvis-shaking intensity his fans scream for.
Television critics across the country slam Elvis's performance for its "appalling lack of musicality," for its "vulgarity" and "animalism." Concerns about juvenile delinquency and the changing moral values of the young find a new target in the popular singer.
However , this didn't stop Elvis's popularity from exploding. In the years to come his fame grew and grew, staring in movies , and preforming musically. His fan base grew as well. He was something new , something special , something unique and something that had never been seen or heard before. He became a sensation. Already, his mark on the 50s was at work.
Music that was soulful and fun , that could run through you like a wild fire started becoming popular due to Elvis.
Impact on Youth in Society -1950s
Elvis had a strong influence on youth culture. During the 1950s, teenagers had begun to think of themselves as being different from their parents’ generation. Because of the economic prosperity of the period, teens could easily enjoy things like purchasing records and listening to Elvis rather than helping their parents with money.
With that money, they dressed themselves in fashions marketed to their age group, went to movies that featured stars of their generation, and listened to music that they liked. It wasn't surprising when Presley’s rock ’n’ roll music, his hairstyle, and his fashion sense became a part of this new culture for teenagers. Elvis became an influence on the youth during the 1950s and caused a burst of expression amongst young people.
People, especially boys started dressing like him and mimicking him in either idolization or to impress. One person he even influenced and inspired was John Lennon of the Beatles.
The audience response at Presley's live shows became increasingly fevered and crazy. At two concerts he performed in September at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show, 50 National Guardsmen were added to the police security to prevent crowd trouble. This kind of rave from fans was a new, never really happening before.
Who Elvis Influenced
Not only did Elvis Presley's wild dance moves and unique style and voice influence and wake up the drive of teenagers, but he also influenced many celebrities that played a part in 1950s pop culture. He influenced people such as The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Billy Fury and so on.

Elvis not only shaped the 1950s himself , but also helped shape it by inspiring people that went on to become famous . If Elvis wouldn't have been so daring , different and unique ,most likely the 1950s wouldn't have been what they were.
Elvis's music changed music forever, listen to music of the 1950's..and after Elvis hit it big, listen to how it changed...seeminly overnight. He paved the way for groups like The Beatles and The Stones. Without his influence and popularity and his innovative ideas, music would never have "blossomed" into what it has become.
Changing the Course of Popular Music and Performances
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