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Elvis Presley - Songs


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Elvis Presley

A look at Elvis Presley songs can be an eye-opening experience. As one of a handful of artists who are immediately recognized by their first name only, Elvis is arguably one of the richest legacies in pop music history. He was an innovator, a groundbreaker, and a rule maker, and he served as a musical inspiration for generations to come. Even now, more than 30 years after his death, he is still setting the bar for young musicians the world over.

Elvis had his humble beginnings in Tupelo, Mississippi. His Southern roots would provide the basis for his unique musical style. Even as a young white man growing up in the segregated Deep South, he was always attracted to the sound and feel of African American music, from R&B to gospel and everything in between. When he began to forge his own musical identity, he fused that sound with traditional country music and gave birth to a new form known as rockabilly.

It was a sound no one had heard before and in his early career, music producers didn't know what to make of this talented and handsome young white boy with the "black voice." This didn't slow him down one bit, and Elvis Presley songs from this early era clearly reflect his own earthy, gritty take on R&B classics. His early recordings, at Sun Studios, were nothing short of groundbreaking and he soon came to the attention of both bigger studios and, more importantly, the American public.

His first single, "Heartbreak Hotel," which topped the charts in 1956, combined rockabilly with a more intense, driving beat. Once again, Elvis was at the forefront of a whole new sound, this one dubbed "Rock and Roll." Before long, countless young artists would be following in his footsteps and taking the rock sound to new heights.

But it was Elvis who remained the driving force. Over the 20-year span of his career, Elvis Presley songs set chart records that still stand to this day. From ballads such as "Love Me Tender" and "Can't Help Falling In Love," to more up-tempo numbers such as "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock," it seemed that whatever Elvis put his finger to turned to gold.

In the 1960s, after a brief stint in the Army, he brought his talent to Hollywood. He made a long string of movies, all of which spawned record selling soundtracks. He instantly became one of Hollywood's biggest box office draws, even as he cringed over the quality of the material he was being given. But as with everything in his life, he managed to put the Presley magic on it and turn it into a success.

He stopped making movies in the late 1960s and for the last decade of his life focused almost solely on live concert performances, where Elvis Presley songs were given a new lease on life. And through it all, he never lost sight of his roots and his first love, gospel music. In fact, the only three Grammys he won in his long career were all for gospel recordings. It was a sound he deeply loved and beautifully interpreted.

Though his voice was silenced for good in 1977, posthumously released albums continued to chart until as recently as 2009. This is a fitting testament to the talent and drive that earned him the title, "King of Rock And Roll."

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Elvis Presley

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