They called him the King. In reality, Elvis didn’t invent rock and roll, but what the boy from Memphis did do was give it an image. He helped push to the mainstream what intrinsically was music’s dirty little secret.
Elvis Presley had been recording music for and at Sun Studios since 1953. He had become an established artist in the south, but it wasn’t until his 1956 major label debut with RCA Records that he hit the headlines and became the “kids” unofficial spokesperson for rock and roll.
This iconic album spawned hundreds of copycats including the album cover design and even down to to the songs themselves.
This was the album that put Elvis on the map globally, and the album created a teenage frenzy that wouldn’t be repeated till the Beatles ushered in Beatlemania in 1964.
Elvis was a record company’s dream. His sex appeal, distinctive vocals and rock n roll swagger made overlooking him impossible, and Elvis was totally embraced by the mainstream media.
Taking hits that had already been recorded by Little Richard, Ray Charles and the Drifters, Elvis put his rock n roll twist on them. During a time when civil rights were fiercely being fought for, Elvis in part raised awareness and showed the important influence of black musicians in music.
Elvis Presley, the artist, and the album, took influences from country and rockabilly and molded them into what we now perceive as, rock and roll.