Music made Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977)... and his audience... move inside and out. Born on this day in Tupelo, Mississippi, the King of Rock & Roll was a poor white boy when he recorded his first record.
"Let's get real, real gone," he said, a sexy rebel with swiveling hips that celebrated the joy of rhythm, shocked the norm, and drove women wild. Elvis was a phenomenon who redefined music.
Young Elvis sang uninhibited, his entire body gyrated. He merged racial barriers with his voice, blending passion with spirit. When he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1957, the cameras recorded him only from the waist up. Elvis and his music dominated the world.
"Do something worth remembering," he said.
Elvis was a revolution, a triumph. In two years he exploded with such hits as Blue Suede Shoes (1956), Teddy Bear (1957), and All Shook Up / Heartbreak Hotel / Jailhouse Rock (1958).
He died too young, his life dissected and pinned with abuses. About the darkness of fame, he revealed, "An image is one thing, a human being is another. It's very hard to live up to an image."
But even in death, he endures. Named Entertainer of the 20th Century by TV Guide, Elvis has sold more than one billion records worldwide, is honored with over 600 active fan clubs, and remembered by over 600,000 fans who visit his home in Graceland every year.
Beatle John Lennon, with typical outspoken eloquence, observed, "Before Elvis, there was nothing."
Long live the king!
More ROCK Quotations | Song: Jailhouse Rock
Music transforms, inside and out.