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The King of Rock `n` Roll



The King of Rock`n`Roll

Atestat la limba engleza 2014

Gabriela-Georgiana Seliuc
Profesor coordonator:
Luminia Brndua Cmpan


l.Ealy time...5
ll.Musical influences ..6
1.First recordings...6
2.First public performances...7
3.Controversial king.8
lll.Hollywood years.10
lV.Final year11
1.The decline..11
2.Elvis Presley`s grave at Graceland11
V. Awards and Recognition..12
Vl.Years Later - Elvis Presley's Fans.13


The reason I chose Elvis Presley as a subject for this paper is that Elvis Presley was
a spectacular singer, musician and actor. He is a cultural icon, often known as 'The King of
Rock 'n' Roll', or simply 'The King'.
Almost everyone knows that Elvis Presley was a famous singer, but many people
dont fully understand what he contributed to popular music to earn his widespread fame.
Elvis combined different types of music to form a style called rockabilly, which became
one of the key sounds in rock n roll.
Elvis Presley impressed me since when I was a child.His music created me a lot of
admiration and power to fight and be like him one day,because he is an example for us, he
started to sing since he was a child; at beginning no one apreciadet his voice, his talent, but
he did not stop to believe in his own forces so he break the limits and he finally become a
complex artist. This inner strength sparked my curiosity in knowing his life, and after the
more I read about him the more I was finding myself more closer of him, and af his life
because I was retrieveing myself in his life story. That glam and his charm broke the walls
of my soul and created me a revelation about the fact that I should fight like him , and to be
more self-confident If I want to become someone; not be just a shadow of the society, just
print my real character to everyone.I love his songs and two of my favourites are :Love me
tender and JailHouse Rock. The first song is one of the most intense and beautiful song of
love which can create a vintage,romantic frame, and the second melody is definitely
describing his style of music which in Rock`n Roll; this is a song full of energy and exudes
Another reason why I choose Elvis Presley is because I am a musician too, since
when I was a child I ejoyed music, and whn I was in the senenth grade my mother let me go
to the guitar courses.For me singing and playing guitar was a new start in my life, which
make me to discover the real and the intense value of Elvis Presley`s music, and also
discovering what art means.After I learned a big part of his songs I realized that Elvis
Presley in my graven image, and I changed my conception about life in trust more in
myself and have the strength to fight for becoming like him one day.He is the KING.

The paper has 6 chapters in which you can find all about The Kings life and death,
about his influence on people through music and movies.
Chapter l talks about Elvis Presleys early life, his childhood and his passion for
Chapter 2 presents his musical influences and his first shows, his first recordings at
Sun Studios, his first public performances, his breakthrough year(1956) .
Chapter 3 is about his Hollywood years, the most successful years in his life.
The last year of his life is presented in chapter 4, a year full of agony.
In chapter 5 I talk about the last year and about the fact that even if he died he still
lives in the fansminds and in our souls.

l.Early life
In the old side of Tupelo, Mississippi, lived a farmer,
Vernon E. Presley and an adolescent, Gladys Smith, worker
at a manufacture factory. Gladyss parents were farmers too.
She had a big family: 5 sisters and 3 brothers. Mr. Presley
had one brother and 3 sisters. When they started dating, they used to go skating or having
picnics. In 1933, Vernon was 17 and Gladys 21, 4 years older than Vernon. On January
8,1935, Gladys gave birth to Elvis Aaron Presley and Jessie Garon Presley. Jessie died 6
hours after birth. Elviss first significant step towards a musical career took place at the age
of 8 when he won $5 in a local song contest performing the lachrymose
Red Folley ballad Old Sheep. At the age of 10 he took part in a contest for
amateurs at the Mississippi Alabama Fair and Daily show, singing again Old Sheep. He

won second prize. His earliest musical influence came from attending the Pentecostal
Church and listening to the psalms and gospel songs. With his first guitar, an 11 years
birthday present, he began strumming country music and a little blues. He had a strong
grounding in country and blues and it was the combination of these different styles that was
to provide his unique musical identity.
At the age of 13, Presley moved with his family to Memphis, Tennessee, looking
for a better living. They stayed in a social dwelling in one of the poorest neighborhoods of
Memphis. The income of the family was of $35 a week. It was very hard, so they soon
moved into an apartment on Winchester Street 185, where they stayed 3 years and half.
Elvis studied at L.C. Humes High school, a 1600 students high school. He was unnoticed,
even from the musical point of view. During his later school years, he began cultivating an
outsider image, with long hair, spidery sideburns and ostentatious clothes: he used to wear
pink trousers with black jacket, or black trousers with pink jacket. He ventured singing to
his friends drumming at his guitar the few chords he knew, but became shy when singing in
front of an auditory. He overcame his fear only when his history teacher introduced him in
the school show. His melancholy song used to attract like a magnet. As he grew up, he was
introduced by country and western singers, and by black musicians, imitating their hair
style and dress.
In November 1950, he took a job at the Low Theatre. He used to work every
evening from 5 to 10 for $12,75 a week. His next job was at the Marl Metal Products
Company, where he worked full time, from 3pm to 11pm. Sometime, he went to mow grass
to have money for small pleasures tickets for cinema or circus. He learned singing by ear.
He liked dating a lot of girls. On Friday or Saturday nights, when he had no date, he used to
go to the cinema with the boys. His idols were Tony Curtis, Marlon Brando, James Dean,
Karl Malden or Rod Steiger.
In high school, Elvis wasnt considered the most popular, the most talented, the
most attractive, the best or the one who was to succeed the fastest. He wasnt the most at
anything. At June 3,1953, he graduated high school and started looking for a job.


ll.Musical influences
1.First recordings
In the summer of 1953, Elvis got a truck drivers job at the Crown Electricity Company,
earning $1,25 an hour, a role in keeping with his unconventional appearance. In spite of his
rebel posturing, Presley remained seriously polite to his elders and was devoted to his
mother. Indeed, it was his filial affection that first prompted him to visit Sun Records
Studio, whose studios offered the sophisticated equivalent of a fairground recording booth
service. As a birthday present for his mother,
Presley cut a version of the Ink Spots My
Happiness, backed with the
Raskin/Brown/Fisher standard Thats When
Your Heartaches Begin. The studio manager,
Marion Keisher, noted Presleys unusual but
distinctive vocal style and informed Suns
owner/ producer Sam Phillips of his potential.
Phillips, that was looking for a white boy
capable of interpreting in the south-American
style nurtured the boy for almost a year before
putting him together with country guitarist
Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black. Their early sessions showed considerable
promise, especially when Presley began alternating his unorthodox low-key delivery with a
high-pitched whine. The amplified guitars of Scotty Moore and Black contributed strongly
to the effect and convinced Phillips that the singer was startlingly original. In Presley,
Phillips saw something that he had long dreamed and spoken of discovering: the white boy
who sang like a black one.


2.First public performances
Presley debuted at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on October 2. He performed
'Blue Moon of Kentucky' but received only a polite response. Afterwards, the singer was
allegedly told: 'Boy, youd better keep driving that truck..'
Country music promoter and manager Tillman Franks booked Presley for the
Louisiana Hayride on October 16. Franks, having never
seen Presley before, referred to him as 'that new black
singer with the funny name'. As house drummer D.J.
Fontana who had worked in strip clubs complemented
Presley's movements with accented beats and Bill Black
engaged in his usual stage antics, the crowd was more
According to one source, 'Audiences had never
before heard music like Presley played, and they had never
before seen anyone who performed like Presley either. The
shy, polite, mumbling boy gained self-confidence with
every appearance, which soon led to a transformation on
stage. People watching the show were astounded and shocked, both by the ferocity of his
performance, and the crowds reaction to it.Roy Orbison saw Presley for the first time in
Odessa, Texas: 'His energy was incredible, his instinct was just amazing.I just didnt know
what to make of it. There was just no reference point in the culture to compare it.' 'Hes the
new rage,' said a Louisiana radio executive.'Sings hillbilly in R&B time. Can you figure
that out. He wears pink pants and a black coat.''Sam Phillips said Presley 'put every ounce
of emotioninto every song, almost as if he was incapable of holding back.' When he
collapsed after a concert in Florida, an emergency room doctor warned him to slow down
because he worked as hard in twenty minutes as the average laborer did in eight hours.
Presley's sound was proving hard to categorize; he had been billed or labeled in the media
as 'The King of Western Bop,' 'The Hillbilly Cat', and 'The Memphis Flash.' On August 15,
1955, he was signed to a one-year contract with 'Hank Snow Attractions,' a company
owned by Hank Snow and 'Colonel' Tom Parker. Parker became Presley's manager

thereafter. By August 1955, Sun Studios had released ten sides credited to 'Elvis Presley,
Scotty and Bill,' all typical of the developing Presley style.

3.Controversial king
Regarding Presley's hybrid style of music, others have observed: 'Racists attacked rock
and roll because of the mingling of black and white people it implied and achieved, and
because of what they saw as black music's power to
corrupt through vulgar and animalistic rhythms The
popularity of Elvis Presley was similarly founded on his
transgressive position with respect to racial and sexual
boundaries White cover versions of hits by black
musicians often outsold the originals; it seems that many
Americans wanted black music without the black people
in it.' To some, Presley had undoubtedly 'stolen' or at
least 'derived his style from the Negro rhythm-and-blues
performers of the late 1940s.'[79] But some black
entertainers, notably Jackie Wilson, claimed, 'A lot of
people have accused Elvis of stealing the black mans music, when in fact, almost every
black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.'
Presley was considered by some to be a threat to the moral wellbeing of young
women, because 'Elvis Presley didnt just represent a new type of music; he represented
sexual liberation.' 'Unlike Bill Haley, who was
somewhat overweight and looked like everyone's
'older brother,'' Presley generated an 'anti-parent
outlook' and was the 'personification of evil.' To
many adults, the singer was 'the first rock symbol of
teenage rebellion. they did not like him, and
condemned him as depraved. Anti-Negro prejudice
doubtless figured in adult antagonism. Regardless of

whether parents were aware of the Negro sexual origins of the phrase 'rock 'n' roll', Presley
impressed them as the visual and aural embodiment of sex.' In 1956, a critic for the New
York Daily News wrote that popular music 'has reached its lowest depths in the 'grunt and
groin' antics of one Elvis Presley' and the Jesuits denounced him in its weekly magazine,
America. Time magazine of June 11, 1956, mockingly referred to the singer as 'dreamboat
Groaner Elvis ('Hi luh-huh-huh-huv-huv yew-hew') Presley.' Even Frank Sinatra opined:
'His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac. It fosters almost totally
negative and destructive reactions in young people.' Presley was even seen as a 'definite
danger to the security of the United States.' His actions and motions were called 'a strip-
tease with clothes on' or 'sexual self-gratification on stage.' They were compared with
'masturbation or riding a microphone.' Some saw the singer as a sexual pervert, and
psychologists feared that teenaged girls and boys could easily be 'aroused to sexual
indulgence and perversion by certain types of motions and hysteria,the type that was
exhibited at the Presley show.' In August 1956, a Florida judge called Presley a 'savage' and
threatened to arrest him if he shook his body while performing in Jacksonville. The judge
declared that Presley's music was undermining the youth of America. Throughout the
performance (which was filmed by police), he kept still as ordered, except for wiggling a
finger in mockery at the ruling. Presley seemed bemused by all the criticism. On
another of the many occasions he was challenged to
justify the furor surrounding him, he said: 'I don't see
how they think [my act] can contribute to juvenile
delinquency. If there's anything I've tried to do, I've
tried to live a straight, clean life and not set any kind of
a bad example. You cannot please everyone.' In
1957, Presley had to defend himself from claims of
being a racist: he was alleged to have said: 'The only
thing Negro people can do for me is to buy my records
and shine my shoes.' The singer always denied saying,
or ever wanting to say, such a racist remark. Jet magazine, run by and for African-
Americans, subsequently investigated the story and found no basis to the claim. However,
the Jet journalist did find plenty of testimony that Presley judged people 'regardless of race,

color or creed.' His parents moved home in Memphis, but the singer lived there briefly.
With increased concerns over privacy and security, Graceland was bought in 1957, a
mansion with several acres of land. This was Presley's primary residence until his death.
Presley's record sales grew quickly throughout the late 1950s, with hits like 'All Shook Up'
and ')Let me Be Your) Teddy Bear.' Jailhouse Rock, Loving You both in 1957 and King
Creole in 1958 were released and are regarded as the best of his early films. However,
critics were not impressedvery few authoritative
voices were complimentary. In response, it has been
claimed that while 'Elviss success as a singer and
movie star dramatically increased his economic
capital, his cultural capital never expanded enough for
him to transcend the stigma of his background as a
truck driver from the rural South 'No matter how
successful Elvis became he remained fundamentally
disreputable in the minds of many Americans He was
the sharecroppers son in the big house, and it always
lll.Hollywood years
In April 1956, Presley went to Hollywood to the Paramount Studious. Tom Parker
wanted him in cinematography too. The film producer Hal Wallis offered the Colonel a
contract for 3 movies. Elvis was to gain $100,000 for his services, and the sum was to grow
to $150,000 for the second film and $300,000 for the third. 2 LPs and a splendid Christmas
album followed. Meanwhile, Colonel Parker was taking full advantage of the singers
popularity, organizing a sales organization that would make enormous profits by selling
wallets, t-shirts, belts, lipstick and all kinds of other gadgets and souvenirs. Time as well
as Newsweek greeted Elvis in praise articles, pretty vacillating, though. Time named
Presley the adolescents hero, appreciating him to have a rich voice, sexy movesbut a
bad spelling. And it was true. The teenagers were driven mad when seeing Elvis.For a
recreation, Presley used to go to the amusement park. Because of his popularity, he
couldnt go at regular hours, but he used to rent the park after its closing. Elvis started

work on his first movie, Love Me Tender in August,1956. The film was initially
entitled The Reno Brothers and had no song included. In the end, 4 songs were
introduced. The premiere took place at November 16. In 3 weeks, the million dollars spent
was retrieved. Love Me Tender represents the beginning of a series of 31 movies shot in
13 years. Even if most of the scripts were conceived to highlight Elviss talent and
personality, they had an enormous success contributing to the launching of a number of
songs: So Glad Youre Mine, Hows The World Treating You, Ready Teddy. In a
few weeks, the album was hitting number 1. Loving You, his second film, boasted a
quasi-autobiographical script with Presley playing a truck driver who becomes a pop star.
At January 4, 1957, 4 days before reaching the age of 22, Elvis presented at the
Kennedy Veterans Hospital from Memphis for the
medical examination needed for the enrolment. He was
to begin the instruction at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. In the
first day of May he began filming Jailhouse Rock, his
third film, considered by many specialists the best from
his entire career. The Leiber and Stoller title track was
an instant classic that again topped the US charts for 7
weeks and made pop history by entering the UK lists at
number 1. When he finished the movie, in March 1957,
Elvis bought the Graceland domain ( $100,000), situated
a few miles from the Mississippi state boundary. It had 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. 23
rooms totally. In front of the house were statues of Elvis playing his guitar. The
fourth celluloid outing, King Creole, adapted from the Harold Robbins novel, A Stone
From Danny Fisher, is regarded by many as Presleys finest film indicator of his sadly
unfulfilled potential as a serious actor. Once more the soundtrack album featured some
surprisingly strong material such as the haunting Crawfish and the vibrant


lV.Final year
1.The decline
Presley began to feel trapped in his own myth, becoming a virtual recluse, surrounded by
an impenetrable court of relatives, friends and assorted shady characters who wouldnt
allow him to lead a normal life. His divorce from Priscilla in 1973 marked the beginning of
the end. Alcohol and drug abuse took over and lead to frequent depressions. Overeating and
drinking made him so heavy that he had to resort to exhausting weight loss treatments.
These made his condition even worse and on several occasions he needed to be
hospitalized. On February12,1977, even with his precarious physical condition, he began a
new tour which ended on June 26 at the Marked Square Arena in Indianapolis. The TV
special Elvis in concert would be taken from this last tour programmed to air on CBS on
October 3. Decided to take a rest from performing, he returned to Graceland, his home in
But at about 3oclock in the afternoon on August 16, he was taken to emergency
room of Baptist Memorial Hospital, where, at 3:30 pm the doctors declared him dead due to
cardiac arrythmia. In the weeks following his demise, his record sales predictably rocketed
and Way Down proved a fittingly final UK number 1.
2.Elvis's grave at Graceland.
An annual procession through the estate and past
Elvis's grave is held on the anniversary of his death. The
largest gathering assembled on the twenty-fifth
anniversary in 2002. One estimate was of 40,000 people
in attendance, despite the heavy rain.
The biggest crowd in Memphis for an Elvis
Week is generally regarded as the 20th Anniversary in
1997. At this time several hundred media groups from around the world were present and
the event gained its greatest media publicity as an estimated 50,000 fans visited the city.
The Graceland grounds include a museum containing many Elvis artifacts,
like some of his famous Vegas jumpsuits, awards, gold records, the Lisa Marie jetliner, and

Elvis's extensive auto collection. Recently Sirius Satellite Radio installed an all-Elvis
Presley channel on the grounds. The service's subscribers all over North America can hear
Presley's music from Graceland around the clock. Two new attractions have been added,
Elvis Presley After Dark and Elvis 56; these can be found on the plaza.

V.Awards and Recognition
In 1971, Presley was named 'One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the
Nation' by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce The Jaycees. That summer, the City of
Memphis named part of Highway 51 South 'Elvis Presley Boulevard', and he won the
Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
the organization that presents Grammy awards. Elvis received 14 Grammy nominations
from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). His three wins
were for gospel recordings - the album How Great Thou Art (1967), the album He Touched
Me (1972) and his live Memphis concert recording of the song How Great Thou Art
(1974). In 1971, NARAS also recognized him with their Lifetime Achievement Award
(known then as the Bing Crosby Award in honor of its first recipient). Elvis was 36 years
old at the time. Five of Elvis' recordings have been inducted into the NARAS Hall of Fame
- his original 1956 recordings of Hound Dog (inducted 1988) and Heartbreak Hotel
(inducted 1995), his original 1954 recording of That's All Right (inducted 1998), his
original 1969 recording of Suspicious Minds (inducted 1999), and his original 1956
recording of Don't Be Cruel (inducted 2002). The Hall of Fame recognizes 'early recordings
of lasting, qualitative or historical significance', with many inductees being recordings that
were created and released before the 1958 inception of NARAS and the Grammy Awards.
He is the only performer to have been inducted into four music 'Halls of Fame': the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame 1986, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame 1997, the Country Music Hall of
Fame 1998, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame 2001. In 1984, he received the W. C.
Handy Award from the Blues Foundation and the Academy of Country Musics first
Golden Hat Award. In 1987, he received the American Music Awards first posthumous
presentation of the Award of Merit. Presley has featured prominently in a variety of polls
and surveys designed to measure popularity and influence.

In 1994, the 40th anniversary of Presley's 'That's All Right' was recognized with its
re-release, which made the charts worldwide, making top three in the UK.
During the 2002 World Cup a Junkie XL remix of
his 'A Little Less Conversation' credited as 'Elvis Vs JXL'
topped the charts in over twenty countries and was
included in a compilation of Presley's U.S. and UK number
one hits, Elv1s: 30.
In the UK charts January 2005, three re-issued
singles again went to number one 'Jailhouse Rock', 'One
Night'/'I Got Stung' and 'It's Now or Never'. Throughout
the year, twenty singles were re-issuedall making top
five. In the same year, Forbes magazine named Presley, for
the fifth straight year, the top-earning deceased celebrity,
grossing US$45 million for the Presley estate during the
preceding year. In mid-2006, top place was taken by
Nirvana's Kurt Cobain after the sale of his song catalogue, but Presley reclaimed the top
spot in 2007.

Vl.Years later-Elvis Presley`s fans
They spill into Memphis from around the world, some for the first time, many more
for return visits to the shrine of their rock and roll god, Elvis Presley. They show a devotion
and knowledge of Elvis theology that is the envy of conventional churches. They speak
with a passion unknown and perhaps a little frightening to many of us. They are Elvis
fans, here to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death, and they are proud of it. They
personify the root of the word fan, which comes from the word 'fanatic.' Yet they do not
appear to be freaks, which is unsettling to those of us who don't understand their passion.
To them, Elvis personified many things, some of them contradictory: Rebellion and
respect; dangerous music and conventional charity.


They are unself-conscious as they walk the hallowed ground. Festooned with Elvis
buttons, 'TCB' pins, Elvis jackets, 20th anniversary T-shirts (and T-shirts from previous
death anniversaries), Elvis fans create a breeze in the close, hot, humid air. And there is no
concept of enough: They are happy to buy more souvenirs. They talk to old friends and
meet new ones. They share their knowledge of Elvis and their memories of previous visits
to Graceland. They critique the impersonators.

As we all can see, Elvis had a major influence on a lot of people and it would be
inspiring to find out what fans as well as people who used to know Elvis think about him.
Their memories are vivid and many of them refuse to believe that he is dead. For them he is
very much alive and still remains the King.
Elvis wasnt the first to sing in a rock n roll style, so he cant be credited with
inventing it. But, his version of this new music became widely popular during the mid-
1950s. He spread rock n roll music across the country, making it popular to a wide
audience, especially teenagers. In that regard, he was a true innovator.
Elvis also yielded 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 enjoyed a disposable income that they could
spend on themselves instead of contributing toward family survival.
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 appealed to
them. So it wasnt a surprise when Presleys rock n roll music, his hairstyle, and his
fashion sense became a part of this new culture for teenagers.
Later in his career, Presley changed his musical style and his personal look to keep
up with the times and gain popularity among older audiences. He became a movie star
during the 1960s and then returned to live musical performances during the 1970s.
Because his career went through so many changes, he was popular with different

types of people for different reasons. Even after his death, his popularity remains strong
among a wide variety of people. This wide popularity, as well as his important role in
American musical history, makes him a cultural icon.
I have to say that Elvis is an endless source of inspiration to me.I am a singer
myself and I am continually fascinated by his spirit and genius.I hope that in my future
career I will benefit from everything I have learnt from his perfect music and fascinating
personality. Even though music will change with the times , Elvis will always be * ON
OUR MINDS*, as he used to say in one of his most famous songs.





The movies: -Love me tenter
-Jailhouse rock
-Follow that dream
Jerry Hopkins-Elvis