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"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)



"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)


"The image is one thing and the human being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image"


(Elvis Presley, Madison Square Garden press conference, 1972)


"Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was actually stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something"

(David Bowie)


"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme"

(Mick Jagger)


"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother...there'll never be another like that soul brother"

(Soul legend, James Brown)


"Before Elvis there was nothing!"

(John Lennon)


"There were rock 'n' roll records before Heartbreak Hotel, but this was the one that didn't just open the door…it literally blasted the door off its rusted, rotten, anachronistic hinges...producing, no propelling, a fundamental, primordial and unstoppable shift in not only musical, but social, political and cultural history"

(JNP, BBC website)


"Elvis, the musician, is largely a relic belonging to the baby boomer generation...Elvis, the icon, is arguably one of the most potent symbols of popular culture"

( Dr. John Walker)


"It [rock & roll] was always about Elvis; not just because he was Elvis, but because he was the big star"

(Bono from U2)


"If they had let me on white radio stations back then, there never would have been an Elvis"

(Little Richard)


"Elvis loved opera, and he especially liked Mario Lanza. He would watch The Student Prince which was set in Heidelberg, over and over again. He loved the power of the big voices. And he loved big orchestras. He liked real dramatic things"

(Marty Lacker in 'Elvis and the Memphis Mafia')


"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead"

(Johnny Carson)

Elvis' #1 Pop Singles on Cashbox, USA:

Heartbreak Hotel (1956)

Don't Be Cruel (1956)

Hound Dog (1956)

Love Me Tender (1956)

Too Much (1957)

All Shook Up (1957)

Teddy Bear (1957)

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

Don't (1958)

Stuck On You (1960)

It's Now Or Never (1960)

Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1960)

Surrender (1961)

Good Luck Charm (1962)

Return To Sender (1962)

In The Ghetto (1969)

Suspicious Minds (1969)

Burning Love (1972)

(The Cashbox chart is now defunct)

Elvis Facts:

Elvis was 5' 11" tall


Elvis' natural hair color was dark blond


Elvis' blood type was O Positive


Elvis' shoe size was 11D


One of Elvis'( maternal) ancestors, Morning White Dove (born 1800, died 1835), was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian


Elvis' uncle, Noah Presley, became Mayor of East Tupelo on January 7, 1936


The Presley family moved to Memphis on November 6, 1948


Elvis was issued a Social Security card in September 1950 with the # 409-52-2002


In 1954 some of the shows played by Elvis & The Blue Moon Boys were at the Overton Park Shell; the Bel-Air Club; Sleepy-Eyed John's Eagle's Nest Club and the Louisiana Hayride


Elvis' first manager was Scotty Moore, then Bob Neal, before signing with Colonel Tom Parker


The first DJ to play an Elvis record was Fred Cook (WREC), not Dewey Phillips (WHBQ). However, Dewey had the distinction of being the first DJ to play an Elvis record in its entirety


Elvis once dated famous stripper, Tempest Storm


Elvis was filmed from the waist up only during his 3rd and final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show


In the 50s Elvis was friendly with rising stars, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner and Ty (Bronco Lane) Hardin


Gladys Presley was 46 years old when she died, not 42, as many books suggest


The Roustabout album sold 450,000 copies on its initial release, 150,000 copies more than any of the preceding three soundtrack LPs. It was Elvis' last "soundtrack" album to reach #1 on the major album charts in the US


Elvis received $1m for filming Harum Scarum (aka Harum Holiday). The film grossed around $2m in the US


Elvis and Priscilla married on May 1, 1967


They were officially divorced on October 9, 1973


Elvis earns nearly $3.5m in 1968 and pays just over $1.4m in income tax


Elvis' return to live performing in Las Vegas on July 31, 1969 was in front of an "by invitation only" audience. Stars in attendance included Wayne Newton, Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey, Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson


On January 9, 1971, the national Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) announced Elvis as one of "The Top Ten Young Men of the Year". Elvis spoke at the official awards ceremony on January 16


"Elvis: Aloha From Hawai" made entertainment history on January 14, 1973, when it was beamed around the world by satellite. In the Philippines it drew 91% of the audience, in Hong Kong 70%. The viewing audience was estimated at more than 1 billion


For his 4 week Hilton Vegas season in August 1973 Elvis received $610,000

Sales of Elvis' 1973 album, Raised On Rock, were less than 200,000 units on its initial release


Elvis paid $2,959,000 in income tax in 1973


In December 1976 Elvis was sworn in as a special deputy sheriff of Shelby County (Memphis) by Sheriff Gene Barksdale


Elvis' final live concert was in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977

When Elvis died, he and his father Vernon, were embroiled in an FBI investigation called Operation Fountain Pen

More than 1,500 books have been published about The King in more than 30 languages


At Dec 2005 Elvis' biggest selling album in the US is the budget priced, Elvis' Christmas Album, with accredited sales of 9 million units (fingers crossed it reaches 10 million to give Elvis his first "Diamond" award)


By early2006, Sony BMG's "collectors label", Follow That Dream, had released more than 50 Elvis CDs


During the 1980s, tour guides at Graceland stated that Elvis' biggest selling album (globally) was Moody Blue, with sales exceeding 14 million


While Sony BMG estimates Elvis' global sales exceed 1 billion, the company is unable to substantiate this figure. Accredited sales worldwide are estimated to be less than 400 million
















































































































































































































































































Looking back on America's watershed year of 1956

By Alfred Lubrano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

It was a time ahead of its time.

Misunderstood as a banal moment in an era of happy days and bland conformity, 1956 was a watershed year whose churning events helped form modern America. Fifty years ago, the era of popular culture as we now know it - with television at its core - was born.

Youth culture based on music and the incorporation of African American ideas and attitudes began to take shape, and quicken the pulse and pace of everyday life. The interstate highway system was created, literally altering the landscape, hastening white flight, suburbanization, endless sprawl, and the decay of many U.S. cities.

Against a backdrop of exploding hydrogen test bombs, a frigid Cold War, and the nascent civil-rights movement, the year 1956 was not understood as an important precursor to the 1960s and beyond until recently.

"People are stunned to realize all the things happening in the 1950s," said social historian Stephanie Coontz. "The women's movement, the sexual revolution, civil rights, the beginning of national consumer culture - all took place in the `50s, not the `60s."As writer David Halberstam put it, "We saw then a slow speeding-up of the cycle of life, particularly as TV moved into the center of things."

Opposite: Elvis in Miami, 1956

A new American identity began to form, one that questioned the status quo of parental fiat and the primacy of white culture. The sense of individual freedom - symbolized by the construction of a clean, wide system of open roads - started to eclipse unquestioning compliance with social convention.The way things felt, sounded and looked began to change, morphing from a staid America to something louder, bigger and thoroughly modern.

Elvis has entered the building.When the 21-year-old musician made his national television debut on Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey's "Stage Show" on Jan. 28, 1956, popular culture changed forever.

All swiveling hips and smirking self-confidence, Elvis either offended or exhilarated stunned viewers. A regional phenomenon before his TV spots, Elvis made five more appearances on the Dorseys' program, then followed those up with equally incendiary guest shots that year on the Milton Berle, Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan programs, and he showed up in theaters with his debut film, "Love Me Tender."Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed - the man credited with calling the music "rock-and-roll" - began the first regularly scheduled, nationally broadcast rock-and-roll show, on the CBS Radio Network.

Also in 1956, Dick Clark became full-time host of "Bandstand" (initially produced in Philadelphia). The program, which debuted in 1952, became the nationally broadcast "American Bandstand" the following year."Rock Around the Clock," which is said to be the first rock-and-roll movie, started riots in theaters around the country that year, provoking frenzy among kids unaccustomed to in-your-face delivery of relentlessly potent, guitar-based music.

And, significantly, for the first time at Billboard magazine, five songs showed up in both the pop and R&B top-10 charts. These were some of the first major crossover hits: Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel," Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes," the Platters' "Magic Touch," Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally," and Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers' "Why Do Fools Fall in Love." John Lennon once said this was the era of the greatest rock-and-roll music ever made.

And crossover music energized the groove."One thread that runs through a lot of things in 1956 is race," said Anthony DeCurtis, contributing editor to Rolling Stone. Elvis combined white, Southern rockabilly with a black sensibility - some say he stole African American style - to create something that seemed fresh to much of the country."

The idea of race-mixing is at the heart of things in 1956," DeCurtis said. "And all this music is happening against a backdrop of the civil-rights movement."This is the first time you'd use the expression `youth culture.' But that's what was taking shape. There was a youth rebellion, with the Beats, and rock-and-roll and the desire for sensation, pleasure and excitement in the face of conformity and nuclear dread. And race-crossing made it all seem insurrectionary.

"All that energy was frightening to a lot of people."And this particular revolution was televised.

"You can make the case that 1956 was the start of the wedding of music and television, a precursor to MTV," said Barbie Zelizer, communication professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania."These were seeds of what supports or undergirds everything we experience today in culture. Here was Elvis on Sullivan, an early form of what we have today: whole channels built around music entertainment. The characteristics of events like that Elvis appearance, the nationalizing of (pop) culture, really did create the fabric of how we live today."Less public but no less important was the invention of the first videotape machine, demonstrated in Chicago in 1956, which ushered television from infancy toward adulthood.

Until then, television was live. But with the machine, networks could tape shows for later broadcast, meaning that if Elvis was on at 8 p.m. in the East, he could be seen at 8 p.m. in the West, rather than broadcast live at 5 p.m., when fewer viewers could watch. Tape afforded TV writers, directors and producers more flexibility and creativity. Shows could take on any form, as could national advertising, which began to blossom (Clairol's "Does she or doesn't she?" ad took off in 1956).

Television - not the movies, the town square, the general store - became the major conveyance of culture. As the highways would tie the country together physically, television began to unite it socially, creating a mass national culture that supplanted parochial thinking.America's physical landscape began to be reshaped on June 29, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, authorizing the Interstate Highway system.

Planned since the 1930s, the effort to build 41,000 miles of road for about $100 billion is still thought to be the largest public-works project in the history of the planet, said Vukan Vuchic, professor of transportation engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. The interstate system increased commerce and knitted together the country in new ways, linking cities with smooth corridors of concrete and asphalt.Suburbs exploded. Off-ramp communities sprouted. Malls sprang up nearby. In October 1956, Southdale Center mall, the first fully enclosed shopping center in the United States, opened outside Minneapolis."

It was positive, and the country needed the roads," Vuchic said, "but there were problems."Mass transit suffered. Before the interstates, Americans relied on a passenger rail system for long-distance travel. Amtrak's current failures can be linked directly to the act, Vuchic asserted.

It wasn't an accident. Historian Robert Caro, in his book "The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York," said Moses and others in charge of highway construction sabotaged mass transit by building highway overpasses too low to allow buses to pass, and by narrowing highway medians so no light rail lines could be laid there. By contributing to suburban sprawl, the interstates also initiated the abandonment of downtowns, Vuchic said. Because thousands of houses had to be demolished to make way for roads and parking lots, neighborhoods were destroyed, he added."

The decay of cities, excessive energy consumption, total dependence on automobiles . . . all were part of the tremendous emphasis on freeways only," Vuchic said.

Across the country in 1956, the look and feel of life was changing forever. Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy's misguided hunt for subversives had largely ended two years earlier, but Americans still considered communism a genuine threat to their way of life. By testing a hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific in May, the U.S. government was warning Russia (and assuring Americans) that democracy would prevail.

Six months later, Nikita Khrushchev famously extolled the Soviet Union's power, telling Western ambassadors visiting the Kremlin, "History is on our side. We will bury you." Such grand posturing was terrifying."No one knew the direction the Soviets in the post-Stalin era would take," said Penn history professor Thomas Sugrue. "It was an icy-cold moment in the Cold War, and with the Soviets invading Hungary that year, there was real fear.

"In part to assuage that fear, the Eisenhower administration called on God. Drawing on a distinction between the American way of life and "godless" communism, officials inserted the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.

On July 30, 1956, Eisenhower signed the law officially establishing "In God We Trust," which had appeared on some U.S. currency since the 19th century, as the national motto. As serious as the international scene was, domestic matters rivaled world events for gravitas.Nowhere was that more evident than in the South, where the civil-rights movement was evolving. The year brought progress, but at a cost.

Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white bus rider in December 1955 led to the nearly 400-day Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott. The political action was led by Martin Luther King Jr., whose house was bombed Jan. 30. But later in 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down segregation on public buses.

Although the laws began to change, the attitudes that fueled racism did not. During a 1956 concert in Alabama, singer Nat King Cole was beaten by a white-supremacist group known as the White Citizens Council of Birmingham. And while the enrollment of Autherine Lucy as the first black student at the University of Alabama provided many Americans with cause to celebrate, the feeling was short-lived: Her presence on campus caused riots, and, unable to quell the backlash, school administrators decided to expel her.

Coontz, the historian, who teaches at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., said people such as Lucy helped invent the spirit of protest for which the 1960s would later be known."You first saw a radical sense among young black people, who were attacked by dogs at demonstrations," she said. "The civil-rights movement was the precursor to the antiwar movement of the `60s."

Similarly, while the 1960s and 1970s were credited with starting to elevate women above long-held second-class status, it was during the 1950s that women made important gains.A 1956 McCall's magazine article titled "The Mother Who Ran Away" set a record for readership, causing an astonished editor at the magazine to declare a newly discovered notion: "Those women at home with their three and a half children were miserably unhappy."

By 1956, increasing numbers of women - especially working mothers - poured into the workforce. Like the civil-rights movement, the changing role of women proved difficult for some to accept. Life magazine published a story in 1956 saying that female ambition caused mental illness in women and homosexuality in boys.

On Sept. 13, the nation saw change of another sort, a harbinger of the future, when IBM introduced the computer hard drive. It consisted of 50 disks, each 24 inches in diameter. All told, they stored five megabytes of data. Complementing the advent of the drive was the first conference on artificial intelligence, a phrase that became part of the language that year, said Mitch Marcus, computer science professor at Penn.

Like so many changes in '56 - in mass culture, in transportation, in social norms - the computer advances were the seeds of modern life.

What happened was a kind of nationwide switching on, a quick-and-ragged break from long-established convention.

Bubbling beneath the surface of seeming tranquility were convulsions and cataclysms that would reverberate for decades, helping to form how we live, how we think, and who we are today.

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"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"

(Dr. Gary Enders)


"Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"



"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"

(humorist Dave Barry)


"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"

(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")


"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"

(Nick Tosches)


"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"

(Carl Perkins)


"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"

(Bob Dylan)


"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"

(Sir Paul McCartney)


"You can't say enough good things about Elvis. He was one of a kind"

(Johnny Cash)


"And don't think for one moment he's just a passing fancy....he's got enough of it to keep him on top for a long time"

(R. Fred Arnold, Fury magazine, Aug 1957)


"It isn't enough to say that Elvis is kind to his parents, sends money home, and is the same unspoiled kid he was before all the commotion began. That still isn't a free ticket to behave like a sex maniac in public"

(Eddie Condon, Cosmopolitan)

Elvis records reaching #2 & #3 on the Cashbox Pop Singles chart:

#2: A Fool Such As I (1959)

#2: A Big Hunk Of Love (1959)

#3: Hard Headed Woman (1958)

#3: One Night (1958)

#3: (You're The Devil) In Disguise (1963)

Elvis Facts:

Tickets for Elvis' show on March 29, 1957 in St. Louis cost $2.00 to $2.50

While in Germany Elvis was hospitalised with tonsillitis in October 1959

Despite being an illegal immigrant, photographic evidence shows Colonel Tom Parker traveled to Canada with Elvis in 1957

Elvis strongly believed there weren't enough good songs in King Creole to justify releasing a soundtrack album. RCA initially agreed, releasing two very successful EPs from the movie. A soundtrack LP eventually followed

During the 1960s Elvis had his own football team, Elvis Presley Enterprises, which played in the Memphis touch football league. In the 1962 final, EPE narrowly lost to Delta Automatic Transmission, 6-13

In Clambake, (Elvis) Scott Hayward's driving licence shows February 23, 1940...taking 5 years off Elvis' real age

In the 1970s Elvis was offered $5m to stage a concert in front of the Pyramids in Egypt. When the Colonel declined the offer, Saudi billionaires raised the offer to $10m