During the time he was famous, teens everywhere were in a frenzy over the hip-swinging Presley. However, parents weren’t impressed and soon became concerned for their children. History.com reported that Presley was seen as so sexy that people burned and hanged his effigy after one of his performances.
Who was Elvis Presley?
Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. According to Britannica, he grew up in poverty, and when Presley was a teenager, the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
He sent an audition tape to Sun Records, and after listening to it, producer Sam Phillips gave him a contract. Presley performed blues and country songs, Tin Pan Alley ballads, and gospel hymns with a band.
Presley already has a flashy personality, and he always liked to wear outlandish colored clothing combinations. Still, his musical personality became more developed when he began performing blues singer Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s song “That’s All Right Mama.”
By 1955, Presley had started to gain a substantial following in the South. This same year, Presley’s management was handed over to Colonel Tom Parker. Parker negotiated a contract with the larger recording label, RCA.
After this, Presley’s career took off. His debut album topped Billboard’s pop album chart in 1956, and his single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” sold more than one million copies. According to All That’s Interesting, the song was inspired by a newspaper article about a man who died by suicide by jumping from a hotel window in Florida.
Also, in 1956, Presley made his acting debut in the movie Love Me Tender. The film was named after Presley’s hit song.
The Army drafted Presley in December 1957, after he was already famous. While stationed in Germany, Presley, who was 27 years old, met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu.
Eight years later, the two married, and they had only one daughter. However, by 1973, the couple divorced. During the 1960s, Presley was no longer such a controversial celebrity, and his career had its ups and downs.
Elvis had a unique style
Presley was quite a trailblazer when it came to his style. He was wearing and doing things that had never been done before, especially during the 1950s, when society was more proper.
It was once suggested that Presley perform on television without his guitar. This was the beginning of his iconic hip swinging and earned him the nickname “Elvis the Pelvis.”
In addition to this, Presley’s signature shiny black pompadour was professionally dyed. He tried to color it himself once with black shoe polish.
How society responded to his style
In the Summer of 1956, Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, arranged a deal to make three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show for a fee of $50,000. Ed Sullivan considered his television show to be family-oriented.
So he initially said he would not book Presley because of his hip-swiveling and lip curling. Sullivan changed his mind after Steve Allen hosted Presley on his show in July 1956, and his rating skyrocketed past Sullivan’s.
Presley’s first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show happened in September 1956. Sixty million people tuned in, which was more than 80 percent of the TV audience at the time.
After his second appearance on the show in October, people in Nashville and St. Louis were angry by his sexy performance. They were worried rock music would corrupt teenagers. So, they hanged and burned Presley’s effigy.