The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll
In 1956, Elvis Presley exploded on the music scene with his blockbuster hit “Heartbreak Hotel” and popular music was never the same again. Interestingly, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” began as a country singer in Memphis, Tennessee. Influenced by the Grand Ole Opry and blues music he heard on the radio, Elvis made his first recordings, country backed with rhythm & blues, with Sun Records and began touring as a promising newcomer to the country and western field.
His talent in rhythm & blues, as well as pop music, led to offers by larger recording companies, including RCA Victor, whom Presley signed on with in 1955. “Heartbreak Hotel” was just the first of 45 records that would sell over one million copies each. In fact, he released 14 consecutive million-selling records before being drafted into the Army in 1958.
Following his discharge two years later, Elvis made his movie debut in Love Me Tender. Concentrating on his movie career throughout much of the 60’s, he went on to make 32 additional movies. During the late 60’s he began to moderate his rebellious rock ‘n’ roll style, moving toward more traditional melodies with slower rhythms. Although his audience had aged, it continued to expand until his death in 1977.