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The King of Rock and Roll

How did it evolve?

Elvis is 19 when he is noticed by Colonel Tom Parker who manipulates him at will in the face of his passivity. The colonel uses all kinds of tricks to promote him until he gets a generous contract with the RCA label.

In 1956, he settles in Nashville. With rockabilly, local studio musicians and his unpredictable voice, he creates the song Heartbreak Hotel. With it he gets his first number one and becomes known among teenagers, who identify with him.

Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel (1956)

Blues song composed by Thomas Durden and Mae Boren Axton, to which Elvis makes changes in the rhythm, phrasing, lyrics and sound. The lyrics include part of the letter left by a suicide.

Heartbreak hotel was recorded by Elvis in his first session at RCA. Since he knew the composer Mae Boren Axton and had promised to record it, he brought it prepared and proposed it to the rest of the team. Although nobody liked the idea, producer Steve Sholes recorded the song trusting that Elvis knew what he was doing. At the end of the session, everyone thought it was a big mistake, because it sounded like the albums that Elvis had previously released on Sun Records. No one could have imagined the impact it would have.

What does he do afterwards?

Heartbreak hotel is followed by a flood of memorable songs. He likes his voice, his image and his pelvic movements. He lives his best moment and makes records, tours and movies like Jailhouse rock (1957) or King Creole (1958).

That same year his mother dies and he leaves for military service. While giving the image of a loving son and patriot, Colonel Parker does business by publishing unreleased records, of which he controls the publishing rights.

Elvis Presley - Hound Dog (1956)

Version of a song composed by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that had been recorded in 1952 by the blues singer Big Mama Thornton. It represents the golden age of Elvis.

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Elvis was hooked on Hound Dog when he heard it from Freddie Bell and the Bellboys during a performance in Las Vegas. This vocal group performed in a personal, ironic and burlesque way that he loved. In his adaptation, Elvis mixed lyrics from the original version with Freddie Bell's and added his sound and style. Hound Dog was presented on June 5, 1956, on the Milton Berle Show, a nationally broadcast television program.  The novel and spectacular interpretation of Elvis was followed by 40 million people.

How was he doing in the sixties?

In 1960, he returns from military service and begins his decline. He reappears in a TV musical with Frank Sinatra and shows himself as an artist for the whole family. In 1961, he leaves live performances and goes into films.

In 1968, he reappears and records a television program. He publishes some records and returns to number one. The album From Elvis in Memphis (1969) stands out. It seems that he has recovered but it lasts a short time. It's just a mirage.

Elvis Presley - In the Ghetto (1969)

Song composed by the country musician Mac Davis. It is one of Elvis' best songs after his return in 1968. It was released as a single from the excellent album From Elvis in Memphis.

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In the sixties Elvis loses his bearings. He makes three mediocre movies a year and charges a million dollars for each one. He publishes soundtracks with tiny songs. He doesn't think rock and roll will last long, he thinks it's just a fad. He moves up the decade and lives in Graceland. He marries Priscila Beaulieu, whom he had met during his military service at a base in Germany, and their daughter Lisa Marie is born. He doesn't attend to the Beatles, Dylan, etc. He remains anchored.

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