Elvis Presley, Elvis Aaron Presley or Elvis Aron Presley (born 8 January 1935, Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.A.—died 16 August 1977, Memphis, Tennessee), famous American singer commonly regarded as the “King of Rock and Roll” and one of the main artists in rock music from the mid-1950s until his death.
Presley grew up dirt-poor in Tupelo, relocated to Memphis as a child, and was off welfare with his family just a few weeks before manager Sam Phillips at Sun Records, a small blues company, replied with a phone call to his audition tape. Recording sessions for several weeks followed with a band consisting of Presley, guitarist Scotty Moore, and bassist Bill Black. Their repertoire consisted of the kind of material that would make Presley famous for: blues and country songs, ballads from Tin Pan Alley, and hymns from the gospels.
Presley heard some of this music from the press, others from the Pentecostal church of his father, and the community sings that he joined at the Black Memphis Church of Rev. H.W. Brewster, and others from the Beale Street blues clubs that he started to visit as a child.
Presley was already a flamboyant man, with reasonably long greased-back hair and wild-colored variations of clothes. Still, his true artistic style did not appear until he and the band began performing the song “That’s All Right Mama” with blues singer Arthur (“Big Boy”) Crudup in July 1954. We arrived at a surprising fusion, finally called rockabilly, keeping much of the initial blues inflections and Presley ‘s strong tenor voice providing a lighter touch and a much more supple groove for the simple rhythm pounding.
The five singles Presley released this sound on Sun over the next year was the hallmark of that. While none of them was a mainstream success, he had gained a significant Southern fanbase for his albums, his live shows in regional roadhouses and clubs, and his radio plays on the nationally aerated Louisiana Hayride by August 1955, when he issued the fourth, “Mystery Train,” possibly his greatest song ever. (A key musical change came with the addition of drummer D.J. Fontana, first for Hayride shows, but also on records starting with “Mystery Train”).
First Vinyl List:
This was the fusion of jazz , blues, soul, country and rhythm and blues by Elvis Presley and Elvis Presley Vinyl that helped create rock and roll in the 1950s, and his series of recordings represents the far-reaching trends that preceded him in the 1960s and 1970s. Presley was a fan from Chuck Berry to Beethoven, to Bobbie Gentry.
Graceland cataloged the compilation and EPE with 1,000 records and singles filled a 24-page top-heavy chart of the “big personalities” and “simple and recognizable” styles that became a draw for Presley.
Comments on Elvis Presley:
“Elvis used to say, ‘I will enjoy the greatest of all,'” says his Elvis associate and disk jockey George Klein. They once told Elvis whether Mario Lanza and Enrico Caruso preferred the opera stars.
There is only one opera album (by Lanza) in the Elvis set, which EPE’s Todd Morgan notes “links strongly to black rhythm and blues and to black and white music.” Graceland archivists cataloged the records by theme and artist’s last names, and there are no publicly accessible precise figures in each genre. That’s how many of the bands and individual musicians that began off as gospel performers moved into rock and rhythm and blues and then returned to their origins in the gospel.
The near harmony always made him a huge fan of the Ink Spots and The Platters, says West. Yet the interests of Elvis were always influenced by his personal opinions, and the flower-power appeal of The Mamas and the Papas, one of the 1960s and 1970s’ biggest close-harmony acts, became too radical for his tastes, says West.
The Blackwood Sisters, the Imperials, the Statesmen Quartet, the Stamps, the Harmonizing Five, the Revivalaires, the Jubil-Aires and the Oak Ridge Boys are gospel groups in Elvis’ set.
Another big aspect of the set was jazz and rhythm and blues musicians, so a few of them will be on top of Elvis’s all-time favorite solo artists, says Klein. Former church choir singer Roy Hamilton, whose powerful baritone voice transformed him into a big rhythm and blues star who crossed into pop in the 1950s, may have been the favorite singer of Elvis’ No. 1. He especially liked the Unchained Melody interpretation of Hamilton, and eventually produced it himself.
Singer Jimmy Jones of the Harmonizing Four Gospel collective was another favorite of Elvis, says Memphis Mafia leader Marty Lacker, who stayed at Graceland and then formed the city’s music council. One night at dinner in the Graceland dining room, Elvis told him the men who “most inspired” him were big band and rock star Billy Eckstine, rhythm and blues musicians Brook Benton and Arthur Prysock, as well as Gospel singer Jake Hess.