American Pop 33

AMERICANPOP33: ELVIS PRESLEY (Rock n Roll Iconoclast/ Enduring Legacy)

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THE ONCE AND ROYALLY MISUNDERSTOOD KING… 

Like many of us, the halcyon days of my pre-voter registration youth were dominated by the music of the era. In my case, those halcyon days were the mid 1980’s, and the music that dominated my life, (prior to Hip-Hop) was rock and roll. Modern 1980’s MTV rock. 1970’s rock was cool but they had no music videos. Besides, 1970’s was already deemed ‘Classic’. That said, I remember hearing about this guy named Elvis … quite a bit in fact. That said, I learned very early the truth behind the ‘first impressions’ idiom. Suffice it to say that Elvis Presley did not leave a good impression on the 1985 version … of this author. I couldn’t shake the image of the overweight, beer bellied, sweat drenched guy, with big-foot hairy sideburns, wearing sequined pants. What do you want from me? I was 13. Anyway, I was definitely not interested in listening to his music.

Later on in life (much later) I would come to fully understand who Elvis Presley was, and the extent to which his music meant to so many people. I began to listen to his music catalog at the same time I was learning how prolific a recording artist Elvis was. How he created many more musical molds than he ever broke. I learned how his music defined prolific commercial success. Then I was surprised to learn that for a significant moment in time, Elvis Presley was a bona fide member of Hollywood’s ‘A -List’. A leading man who starred in over two dozen films. Surprising. Cool. Admittedly,  I was forced to take a minute and regain my composure after learning Elvis Presley is the best-selling solo recording artist …  in the history of recorded music. Doesn’t that also mean in the history of mankind?  

Elvis’s career accomplishment’s exist as all manner of noteworthy, remarkable, amazing, unbelievable, inspiring, and certainly influential … HOWEVER … I would be remiss if failed to express a truth that may be uncomfortable for some … 

(A)   Elvis Presley is Not the ‘King of Rock & Roll’. 

(B)   He Never was. 

(C)   The following Reason is espoused with all due Respect to Elvis.   

Rock & Roll music doesn’t have a ‘King’. Rock & Roll music does not Need a ‘King’. Furthermore, Rock & Roll music has Never been Want of a ‘King’ … not even once. 

There isn’t a single nucleic acid in Rock & Roll’s DNA that isn’t submerged in the hot blood of social rebellion. Indeed, by definitIon Rock & Roll is about unfettered freedom, and the Rock & Roll attitude is the primal scream that exists for the sole purpose of rank insubordination. Admittedly, this notion has an anarchistic fell to it, however, it’s a intent is purely existential. 

Rock & Roll is more likely to fuel the engines of revolution, supply keys to unshackled the imprisoned, even facilitate the unseating of a despot, before it would ever exist in service of any ‘King’. It could easily be argued that Rock music exists to foil the tyranny ‘Kings’ … not to be ruled by them.

So, you see? By now it should be clear. Even as Great as he was, and he was great.  Elvis Presley cannot be the ‘King of Rock & Roll’ because there has Never Been a ‘King of Rock & Roll’. Moreover, there will Never ba ‘King’ of Rock & Roll. 

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THE SPIRITUAL WISDOM OF UNCLE TUPELO 

The life, times, and influence of Elvis Aaron Presley are forever engraved on the monumental edifice of American pop culture iconography. In literary terms, the story of Elvis is the quintessential ‘rags to riches’ American fable. A tale thematically defined by the remarkable, deity like musical ascension of an only child from the conservative backwoods of Tupelo, Mississippi. A sleepy southern town defined by the omnipresence of religion, laced with the spirituality of gospel music. Elvis was born into an environment that exists today only as an example of a largely by-gone America. A place where the print on the road map to success rarely indulged in the luxury of inspired assumptions, to the extent that such a map existed at all. Indeed, Elvis was raised in the lower, lower half of America’s socio-economic strata. To wit, the modest confines of his pre-teen youth was the ‘shotgun shack’ built by the determination of his father’s hands. Despite this depressed economic reality, Elvis was able to grow the talented wings needed to fly through the winds of music … to extraordinary altitudes, rarely if ever, imagined.    


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DIVORCING OBSCRURITY

As fate would have it, the Presley family relocated to country music’s heartland, Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948. The truth is that the ‘overnight success‘ portion of the Elvis Presley saga took the better part of seven years, during which time he suffered the failure of multiple initial recordings, as well as a failed audition for a local singing quartet. Moreover, there was also the now humorous anecdotal irony of obscure persons explaining to Elvis Presley that ‘he couldn’t sing‘. Then on a nondescript night in the Summer of 1954, the precursor to the Elvis phenomenon suddenly broke ground. It came in the form of Elvis’s spontaneous, ad-hoc produced acetate recording of a 1946 blues song originated by Arthur Crudup, That’s All Right’. This record of unassuming birth, instantly made this obscure local singer the man whose name everyone in town wanted to know … and commit to memory. As the story goes, three days following its hastily constructed recording, the record found its way into the rotation of a popular Memphis Deejay named Dewey Phillips, the host of a night-time radio show with a strong cult following called, ‘Red, Hot, and Blue’. Phillips played ‘That’s All Right’ and the station phone switchboard lit up … all night. In fact, the song was such a sensation, Phillips was compelled to play the record over and over in succession … for the final two hours of his show.   

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By late January of 1956, Elvis Presley had signed with the man who would be his career long manager, Colonel Tom Parker. He also entered into a contract, recorded, and released his first single for his new record label RCA. Elvis’s first major label  release was called, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’.  This single would go on to enjoy legendary status, and one of the more memorable of Elvis’s early career. It held the #1 spot on Billboards Top 100 chart for seven weeks, the #1 spot on Billboard’s Country and Western chart for a remarkable seventeen weeks, while also peaking at the #3 spot on Billboard’s R&B chart. The crossover effect of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ was immediately obvious and would become ubiquitous for a litany of Elvis’s future musical efforts. Of addition note, “Heartbreak Hotel” would become Elvis Presley’s very first record to surpass the one million in sales mark. History instructs us that it would certainly not be his last. 


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DECADES OF DOMINATION:  GREATEST  #1  HITS  (1956 – 1969)  



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I WANT YOU, I NEED YOU, I LOVE YOU               Released:   May 12th 1956 

This #1 single was a country music chart topper. Recorded by Elvis and published by Maurice Mysels and Ira Kosloff,the 1956 release of ‘I Want You, I Need You, I Love You’ marked Presley’s seventh single release on the RCA Victor label. It was also Elvis’s second #1 charted single on Billboard’s Country Music Chart.True to form, Presley’s transcendent style, vocal range, combined with the remarkable magnetism of his appeal … worked to quickly catapult ‘I Want You, I Need You’ straight up the Billboard Top 100 Chart. This early Presley hit, finally reached its commercial peak at #3  in 1956. Not bad for a simple love song, recorded as an in studio afterthought.  The earnestness of Presley’s vocal expression contains a disarming notion of yearning,  and haunting possibilities.   

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DON’T BE CRUEL                             Released:  July 13th 1956 

‘Don’t Be Cruel’ is a  2002  Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, which is kind of big deal. Elvis recorded this single on July 2nd 1956. Song publishing went to Otis Blackwell. The opening guitar riff on ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ is fantastic, albeit it simple. It exists as legendary, simply because at 62 years old it still rocks and never gets old. Having achieved 6 million copies sold, ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ ranks as the 88th best-selling single in the history of recorded music. In addition, it’s ranked 197th on Rolling Stone Magazine’s  ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’, in addition, ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ was the 6th most successful song in the world for 1956

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HOUND DOG                               Released:  March 23rd 1956 

‘Hound Dog’ is arguably the most enduring and popular song of Elvis Presley’s career. It’s a twelve-bar single that is categorized under ‘Blues’, However, American Pop believes this to be an erroneous classification. For all intents and purposes, ‘Hound Dog’ is a bonafide ‘Rock-A-Billy’ song and for our money, is perhaps the grand daddy precursor of the ‘Rock-A-Billy’ sub-genre. Elvis’s version of ‘Hound Dog’ was written by the duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The song was recorded and released in August of 1952, approximately five years earlier by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. Interestingly, Thornton’s version was a commercial hit, in fact the biggest of Thornton’s career, spending over three months on the Billboard R&B Chart, and selling over 500,000 copies. For Elvis’s part, all his version did was sell in excess of 10 million copies world-wide, making it the #1 best-selling single release of his entire career. To state that ‘Hound Dog’ was a smash crossover hit for Presley would be an understatement. To wit, it was #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart, R&B Chart, and Country Chart, simultaneously. It held the #1 spot on the Hot 100 for 11 weeks in 1956, which became a world record that stood unbroken for 36 years. In 1988, Elvis’s version of ‘Hound Dog’ was officially inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In addition, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has it listed on their ‘500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll’.  

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LOVE ME TENDER                                          Released:   September 28th 1956 

Much like the ‘chicken and egg’ conundrum, it is near impossible to ascertain if  ‘Love Me Tender’ the film is the eponymous title beneficiary, or if Love Me Tender‘ the song is the primary chicken  … nevertheless, this was a song recorded by, and published through Elvis Presley in 1956, expressly for use in 20th Century Fox’s feature release … ‘Love Me Tender’.  Interesting side note, although songwriter Ken Darby performed as hired, he chose to credit the work using the pseudonym of ‘Vera Matson’ … as it turns out the assumed  potential for cut throat Hollywood intrigue … really wasn’t. ‘Vera’ was Darby’s wife.  ‘Love Me Tender’ hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  

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ALL SHOOK UP                  #1   Billboard R&B Chart   Weeks:  8  

‘All Shook Up’ is a song title is a befitting description of Elvis Presley’s commercial dominance in 1957. Indeed, his run through 1956 and 1957, shook up the world. Publishing for ‘All Shook Up’ went to the offices of Elvis Presley Music‘. The talented Otis Blackwell did the song composition and arrangement. By any reasonable estimation,  ‘All Shook Up’ was a remarkable success, it also became America’s Springtime anthem. Indeed, ‘this single quickly reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1957 and took up residence …  for eight consecutive weeks. Not to be restrained by genre, ‘Shook Up’ also went ahead and took up a 4 week residence at #1 on Billboard’s R&B Chart. Thus making ‘Shook Up’ Elvis’s second single of an eventual four in 1957 to hit  #1.  When the dust cleared following all of that shaking, ‘All Shook Up‘ had achieved the RIAA 2X Platinum Certification. ‘All Shook Up’ currently holds the rank of #352 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’.

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(Let Me Be Your) TEDDY BEAR      #1   U.S. Billboard    Weeks:   7 

‘Teddy Bear’ became an instant classic in the Summer of 1957. It has survived as one of the more memorable love songs of the late 1950’s. ‘Teddy Bear’ was a tremendous crossover hit, claiming the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and refusing to let go for 7 weeks. This accomplishment marked Elvis’s third of an eventual four #1 singles in 1957. ‘Teddy Bear’s’ crossover bona fides is evidenced by the fact that it also hit #1 on both the Billboard R&B, and Country Charts. A remarkable showing. 

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JAILHOUSE ROCK                                2016   Grammy Hall of Fame Inductee  

‘Jailhouse Rock’ is perhaps the most entertaining single release of Elvis Presley’s career.  There is always potential jeopardy when issuing such declarative statements. To be sure, all corners have been considered, and none of them whimsically.  ‘Jailhouse Rock’ was co-written by the legendary song writing duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The motivation for this song’s creation is intrinsically linked to the existence of the feature film of the same title. It comes as little surprise that ‘Jailhouse Rock’ has stood the test of time … with ease. In addition to its 2016 Grammy Hall of Fame induction, ‘Jailhouse’ is currently ranked #67 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ and can also point to acknowledgement from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as being one of their ‘500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll‘.

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1958 :  UNCLE SAM’S ARMY CALLED  …  ELVIS  PRESLEY ANSWERED

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At the dawn of 1958, Tupelo, Mississippi native Elvis Presley was already a millionaire recording artist with a worldwide cadre of fans, concert promoters, booking agents, and anyone else you might imagine in the spaces between … all virtually willing to eat out of the palm of his hands. Presley was living the kind of charmed life that most people only dream about. However, it’s a well-known fact that all dreams, no matter how wonderful eventually come to an end. For the vast majority of Americans the end of a wonderful dream comes to an end via the unholy sounds from an infernal alarm clock. For 22-year-old superstar Elvis Presley, it came in the unlikely form of conscription into Uncle Sam’s Army.    

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It would be difficult to accurately quantify the full extent of Elvis Presley’s international celebrity largess. In any event, the fact of the matter was Elvis Presley was a bona fide superstar and certainly not your prototypical U.S. Army recruit. Yet, an army recruit is precisely what Elvis Presley, the most celebrated superstar in America, became as the calendar turned to March of 1958

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Upon enlistment, Elvis Presley was offered a very comfortable by comparison position in the army’s ‘Special Services’department. To the surprise of many fans and outside observers, Presley turns the offer down, choosing instead to serve as a normal soldier with no special circumstances or treatment. This earned Elvis a great deal of respect and admiration from his army brothers in arms. While on active duty Elvis’s mother Gladys passed away which absolutely devastated Elvis. At times, he was reportedly inconsolable. Elvis returned to his unit after his bereavement time, and was stationed in Germany for the vast majority of his two-year enlistment, and it was there where he met a pretty teenage girl named Priscilla Beaulieu. Years later she would become Elvis’s 1st and only wife. In early March of 1960, Elvis Presley’s time in the U.S. Army came to an end, and he set upon returning to his life and show business career.



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STUCK ON YOU               13th  Elvis Presley #1 Billboard Charted Single       

At the time ‘Stuck on You’ in the Spring of 1960, Elvis Presley had literally just returned from Germany after he had satisfied his 2 year Army commitment. The fact that he had a single up, running and ready to go within his first month back home, March of 1960, translates in virtual time, as the equivalent of walking off a bus following a 2 year cross-country excursion, going directly into a recording studio, and promptly recording a single. It’s only because we are referencing Elvis Presley that most observers weren’t necessarily surprised when Elvis’s fresh off the boat recording was an immediate hit. To wit, before the following month, April, had expired, ‘Stuck on You’ hit #1 on the Billboard R&B Chart. The reality of which signified the 13th number one single of Presley’s career. It was a wonderful welcome home for Elvis. 

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IT’S NOW OR NEVER                            Elvis Presley  #2  Best Selling Single / Career 

‘It’s Now or Never’ is a beautiful love ballad imbued with the grace of timeless poignancy. ‘Now or Never’ was written by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold, and recorded by Presley in 1960. In historical terms, this single would go on to become the 2nd most commercially successful single release of Elvis Presley’s career, and by extension, one of the best-selling singles in the history of recorded music. 

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Generational Summit: Elvis Presley appears with Frank Sinatra in 1960. 

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ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT?              #1  Billboard  Top 40  /  Weeks:

‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ was the final recording made during the 1959-60 production of the Elvis is Back’ album. Ironically, there was notable hand wringing in the decision to release it at all.  At the end of the day it was Elvis’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker who pushed it through to release, and the rest as they say, is history. Released on November 1st 1960, the single sold 900,000 units in the first week, hitting 1.2 million by the end of its 2nd week of release. ‘Lonesome’ is in fact a remake of the 1926 original which was written by Roy Turk and Lou Handman. This single spent 6 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Top 40 Chart  (November 28th 1960 – January 9th 1961) and an additional 10 weeks at #3 on Billboard’s R&B Chart. ‘Lonesome’ achieved RIAA Gold Certification in 1961, and as of 1992…it has achieved RIAA Certified Double Platinum.  


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SURRENDER                                        6th  Best Selling Single All-Time 

‘Surrender’ is a modern adaptation of the 1902 Italian ballad (Neapolitan) ballad by Giambattista and Ernesto de Curtis entitled“Torna a Surriento”. The modern Elvis Presley version was written and composed by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, and published through ‘Elvis Presley Music’ in 1961. It became a hit #1 single almost immediately upon its release in the United States (Elvis’s 16th). Interesting side note, ‘Surrender’ is one of an astounding 25 singles that the song writing duo of Pomus and Shuman can boast that Elvis Presley recorded over the course of his career. It is currently ranked as the 6th best-selling single of all-time. 

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GOOD LUCK CHARM                  #1  Billboard Hot 100  /  Weeks:  2  

‘Good Luck Charm‘ was recorded by Elvis Presley in early 1962, by the 3rd week of April that same year it had been released and reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and held that position for a relatively short (for Elvis) 2 weeks. In the United Kingdom ‘Good Luck’ hit #1 on the singles chart, and held that spot for 5 weeks. Publishing for ‘Good Luck’ went to ‘Gladys Music’, a subsidiary of ‘Elvis Presley Publishing‘.  

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SUSPICIOUS MINDS                18th  Elvis Presley  #1  Single  (Final U.S. #1)  

Full disclosure from your author, at times it is difficult not to feel competing emotions of sadness and/or nostalgia, in those moments my ears recognize the unmistakable melancholy melody of ‘Suspicious Minds’ lofting through the air.    Indeed, the song’s hauntingly thematic sounds elicit various emotions that undoubtedly exist due to the historical reality that ‘Suspicious Minds’ marks the tail end of Elvis Presley’s illustrious career arch, and as time would discover, the beginning of the aesthetic end of what we knew as ‘young’ Elvis. However, there was a reality deeper than the transactional end of Presley’s remarkable run of #1 singles. It also serves as reminder that Elvis Presley would not live to see the dawn of the 1980’s.

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‘Suspicious Minds’ was originally written and recorded by journeyman singer/songwriter Mark James. For James, it missed its commercial mark. Producer Chips Moman gave the song a fresh opportunity when he handed it to Elvis Presley. The rest as the saying goes, is history. Indeed, the same history which instructs us that in addition to becoming Presley’s 18th and final Billboard #1 single in the United States, ‘Suspicious Minds’ is also  widely considered among the most beloved song in his catalog. Just ask his legions of fans. As of 2018, ‘Suspicious Minds’ is firmly seated at #91 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’.

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COMMERCIAL LEGACY

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MR. ELVIS GOES TO HOLLYWOOD     /     FEATURE FILMS:  33  

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In 1984, theatre audiences were taken by surprise following the release and subsequent runaway international success of the feature film ‘Purple Rain’, a music infused bio-pic starring  the late Prince Rogers NelsonAudiences marveled at Prince’s dual roles as actor and soundtrack musician. The example of Prince’s multi-talents and film exploits are germane examples when discussing Elvis Presley because history instructs us that American culture had witnessed this Prince type phenomenon. Indeed, some three decades before Prince, there was Elvis Presley. 

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To be certain, Elvis Presley was the trail blazer of this hybrid road of musician/film actor cross over accomplishment. To reinforce this premise, and for the sake of respectful, albeit friendly,  comparison, we present:  Exhibit (A): Prince Rogers Nelson starred in feature films in his career, in which he also produced and recorded their successful soundtracks:  Exhibit (B):  Starting in 1956, Elvis Presley was pioneering the notion of dual artistic contribution in his films/soundtracks. The truly remarkable thing about this was that Elvis repeated the feat of dual artistry … for thirty-three 33 films. Moreover, he did so consistently, over the course of three decades (1956 to 1972). In fact, during the 1960s, Elvis starred and performed in an average of three movies per year, in each year of the decade. By any measure, modern or future, that level of production is nothing short of remarkable, if not legendary.  

For your consideration, American33Pop has compiled 5 of the Elvis Presley’s most memorable and culturally iconic films. 


JAILHOUSE ROCK            Release Date:  November 8th 1957

Production Budget: $1 Million  Box Office: $4 Million

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Elvis Presley, Judy Tyler, Mick Shaughnessy, Vaughn Taylor, Jennifer Holden

Released in 1957 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), and directed by Richard Thorpe, ‘Jailhouse Rock’ would be the first of over thirty feature films in which Elvis Presley (22 at the time), would star. At its zenith, ‘Jailhouse Rock’ grossed in excess of $4 million, and reached #3 on the Variety Box Office Chart. By year’s end ‘Jailhouse’  had achieved a commercial ranking of #14 in box office totals. ‘Jailhouse Rock’ was picked by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry, as a cultural treasure. 


KING CREOLE                            Release Date:   July 2nd 1958 

Director:  Michael Curtiz  /  Producer:  Hal B. Wallis 

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Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau

‘King Creole’ was Elvis’s last film project before starting his stint in the United States Army. In fact, Presley was able to push back his induction for a couple of months so that he could complete this 1958 film musical, which was directed by Michael Curtiz.  Released by Paramount Pictures in July of 1958, ‘King Creole’ was a success both commercially and critically. ‘King Creole’ reached #5 on the Variety Box Office Chart. For it’s part the film’s soundtrack rose to #2 on Billboard’s Album Chart.  


G.I. BLUES                      Release Date: November 23rd 1960 

Director: Norman Taurog    /   Box Office:  $4.3 Million 

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Elvis Presley, Juliet Prowse, Robert Ivers

‘G.I. Blues’ stands as one of, if not the funniest film of Elvis’s career. Released in 1960, ‘Blues’ was a commercial success directed by Norman Taurog. It rose all the way to #2 on the Variety National Box Office Chart for 1960. ‘G.I. Blues‘ earned a 2nd place nod at the ‘Laurel Awards’ forTop Musical’ of 1960.

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BLUE HAWAII                           Release Date:  November 22nd 1961

Director: Norman Taurog    /   Box Office:  $4.25 Million

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Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Angela Lansbury

In an effort to out-comedy 1960’s ‘G.I. Blues’, in 1961 Elvis starred in the romantic musical comedy Blue Hawaii’ After and opening weekend in which it hit #2 at the box office, audiences weren’t quite sure whether to make heads or tails of it. Critically speaking, ‘Blue Hawaii’ was a well written film. So well written in fact, that the Hal Kanter penned screenplay became Writer’s Guild of America nominated for ‘Best American Musical’‘of 1962. In addition, box office returns in excess of $5 million by the end of 1961, earned ‘Blue Hawaii’ the rank of #10 in box office grosses for the year. 

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VIVA LAS VEGAS                   Release Date:    May 20th 1964  

Director: George Sidney   Box Office: $9.5 Million

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Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret

‘Viva Las Vegas’  was helmed by legendary Hollywood director George Sidney.Another Elvis musical, it was released in 1964, and brought Elvis Presley’s talents together with the always adorable stylings of Ann-Margaret. The silver screen chemistry between Presley and Margaret quickly transcended notable, and rose to the ranks of legendary. For this reason and a litany of others, ‘Viva Las Vegas’ is widely considered by critical observers to be certainly one of, if not the best overall film of Elvis’s Hollywood career. In commercial terms, ‘Viva Las Vegas’ was an overall hit film, landing comfortably in the #14 slot on Variety’s Box Office Chart for 1964.  


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MEASURING GRAVITY:   ‘THE ELVIS EFFECT’

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There is little doubt that the scale and breadth of the Elvis Presley phenomenon had as much to do with the seismic shifts within America’s youth culture. A simmering movement with a yearning to break free of the prevailing conservative ethos and puritanical attitudes which had metastasized in the decade and a half immediately following World War II. To be sure the youth of America were primed for a man just like Elvis Presley, who for his part had a sound that was in no way typical, and typified nothing. His sound was a completely different jambalaya which was at once foreign yet engaging. As a performer Elvis was brash, uninhibited and his sexually suggestive manner of expression was the perfect amount of irresistible taboo for teenage girls, and just the right amount of sexual innuendo explicit, to promote outrage from their parents, who for their part, were successful examples of assimilation in a sexually repressed culture. Add in the fact that Elvis had movie star good looks with a demeanor akin to a cat who ate the canary, with the fact that the kid was pretty damn good, and boom. Next exit … Superstar. Cultural icon the next three exits.   

By the mid 1950’s the stage was set. American youth was eager to let loose. They were primed and ready for the Pied Piper who could drive through walls. The vanilla attitudes and repressive nature that defined adult America, stood guard at those walls out of fear of where the path behind those walls might lead to. Then as if on cue, enter stage left the kid from Mississippi, Elvis Presley. A confident young man. A  brash and handsome bad boy with the style to sell it. .The kid with the slicked back hair and a guitar … was ready to emancipate America’s youth …with this brand new rock and roll sound.

The rest is history, and history is precisely what Elvis Aaron Presley made.   

END.

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