Elvis Presley recorded hits that changed the course of popular culture in this country and around the world, and his decades of hit-making success included music that crossed the stylistic lines among genres, with rock ‘n’ roll, country, rhythm and blues and gospel, to name a few, and his songs have stayed a staple on many radio playlists ever since.
All you have to say is “Elvis,” and folks around the world will right away know who you’re talking about because Presley owns that single name the way only a few enormous celebrities can claim instant recognition by simply uttering their first name. LP records from Elvis took a while to appear on the market, and they were brought out after Presley’s Sun Records contract was sold to well-known record label RCA, but prior to that, the Tupelo, Miss., born singer released a number of 78 and 45 RPM single recordings that helped cement his reputation as a musical legend.
Soon, Elvis Presley vinyl became one of the hottest commodities around the world, because not only was the music fresh, powerful and original, RCA’s marketing organization was considerably stronger and more far-reaching than any promotions that Sun Records could possibly have mustered. Elvis was at the top of his game, or at least he was until he received his draft notice and was forced to serve a tour of duty that would put his career on the back burner for two years, but when he returned to civilian life, his fans were waiting for him and he picked up where he left off, but along with recording, performing live and appearing on TV, he now added movies to the list of media in which he performed.
The quality of his music remained excellent, and he earned a dedicated legion of followers who awaited each new release and rushed out to purchase tickets to his frequent movies as well as his many live concerts, because throughout his career Elvis was always the total entertainer. Elvis was top dog in the pop music world, until groups from the U.K., such as the Kinks, Beatles and Herman’s Hermits exploded onto the American music scene and stole some of The King’s thunder for a while, yet all of the musicians from the other side of “The Pond” were quick to credit Presley as a musical inspiration, and in fact the single most important influence that persuaded them to become musicians.
It took a broadcast special in ’68 to help rebuild Elvis’s name to the place it had held prior to his stint in the Army, and it was in the TV special, where he famously was dressed in black leather and regaled a small audience with an impromptu jam session performed by himself and a few sidemen, that Elvis was once again touted as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Later, Las Vegas just about became Elvis’ home away from home, and he performed there often and always to great fanfare, as visitors to that desert oasis wanted to see the legend himself show off his unique talents and still stunning vocal abilities.
Elvis will be remembered as one of the greatest singers of all time, and that’s what he was right up to the time of his tragic death – a huge loss to fans and music lovers all over the world.