Alright, so today’s the 28th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. What I have never figured out is: why is he considered the “king” of rock ‘n roll when there have been so many better rockers since then? What’s your opinion?
Ah yes, we should all stop and pause for a moment to remember Elvis Presley. Not the strung-out overweight sad sack after he and Priscilla split up in 1973, but the young, vibrant man who brought rock ‘n roll to the masses in the 50′s.
Prior to Elvis, remember, it was primarily black musicians who were championing this radical new form of music, but without much success. Much more popular in the late 40′s and early 50′s were performers like crooner Frank Sinatra, who was a wonderful singer but boring by comparison.
While there have been better musicians since Elvis – and certainly better overall performers – Presley brought a sense of showmanship, of being the center stage in a way that the big bands and 40′s singers never did.
And he brought sex on stage, with his pelvic gyrations and dance steps that shocked and titillated youngsters while horrifying their parents. (Rock hasn’t lost that aspect either, though the cutting edge has splintered into punk, industrial, metal, and various other genres that continue to excite the audience and horrify their parents to this day)
June 5, 1956 was the first time that Elvis Presley really scandalized the public, specifically the audience of the The Milton Berle Show, with suggestive hip movements while performing his second RCA single “Hound Dog.” Television critics across the country slammed the performance for its “appalling lack of musicality,” “vulgarity” and “animalism”, but this was the first appearance that generated significant publicity and, of course, his primary audience, teen girls, were too busy swooning to see anything vulgar in what Elvis was doing on TV.
In his long, illustrious career, Elvis Presley had over 110 top 40 hit singles, including 18 number one songs. He also starred in 31 motion pictures, notably Jailhouse Rock, Blue Hawaii, Viva Las Vegas and King creole. No other performer has come closer to this amazing record of success and critical acclaim.
So is Elvis still the King of Rock ‘n Roll? Oh yeah!