A legendary singer. This man was one of the most important forces in all of rock and roll history. Did he invent rock and roll? No, of course not. But he did revolutionize it. To people that say his music in the '50s was "watered down blues and rock and roll", maybe you should get your head checked because you couldn't be any more wrong. He invented his own original sound (he had an enormous hand in creating the rockabilly genre), based off of other artist's songs. Does this make him less talented? No, because while artists who write their own music and lyrics are great (The Beatles being a good example), Elvis had soul, an unbelievable voice, and an incredible energy. Of course, he was drafted in '58, and came back in 1960, and cut a stupendous album, "Elvis Is Back", before starting his '60s movie career that would basically destroy his career. He made some good songs in the '60s, but they were overshadowed by the seemingly infinite amounts of mediocre movies and their equally lackluster soundtrack LPs. The fact that The Beatles had practically taken over the music world at this time didn't help, either. In 1968, everything changed. He was signed to do a TV special (originally planned to be Elvis doing some Christmas songs), but Elvis fought hard to get what he wanted, to let the public know he was still here. The NBC TV special (now dubbed "The '68 Comeback Special"), while containing some Hollywood style musical numbers not very different from the ones in his movies, had four sections that rekindled the flame in Elvis' career: The opening "Trouble/Guitar Man" performance, the informal jam session later released as "Tiger Man", the legendary concert performed before a studio audience, where Elvis' 1950s energy came back better than ever, and the final number, "If I Can Dream", a protest song released in the wake of turbulent times (the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy). The TV special was an immense success, with people remembering why they liked Elvis in the first place. In 1969, under complete creative control, returned to Memphis, where he had not recorded a song since 1955, to record the now legendary album "From Elvis In Memphis", an LP showing very diverse genres, including blues, rock, gospel, country, and soul. It was a huge success and only added to Elvis' new stardom. Throughout the '70s, Elvis released an endless supply of studio albums, live albums, compilations, singles, and held hundreds of sold-out concerts. Now to those that say Elvis became a fat loser in the '70s and couldn't sing anymore, I beg you to purchase the "Walk A Mile In My Shoes: The Essential '70s Masters" box set. Elvis remained an amazing artist until the end. Throughout the early '70s (1970-1973), he released many wonderful singles and albums and one of the best live albums of all time "Aloha From Hawaii". Now in the later years (1974-1977), it was obvious something was wrong. His weight gradually increased, his behavior more bizarre, and drug use more evident. But what you need to see, is how even when so many things were wrong with the man, he always pulled through and gave his scheduled performances, no matter how much pain he was in and how sick he felt. Listen to some bootlegs of his late '70s concerts just to hear, his voice had gotten more powerful than ever. Sadly, he passed away in 1977, leaving behind one of the largest and most successful music careers of the 20th century. Honestly, every time I've talked to someone who hates Elvis, I ask them the same question, "What songs have you heard from him?", and I always get answers like, "Uhh... Blue Suede Shoes, and uhh... other ones but I can't remember the names." Well I guess that's their problem, that they will miss such great songs like "Good Rockin' Tonight", "One Sided Love Affair", "Easy Question", "Surrender", "Power of My Love", "Burning Love", "Unchained Melody", "Way Down", and hundreds of others.
Elvis Presley was a revolutionary performer, a great showman, and a talented actor (watch King Creole or Jailhouse Rock).
John Lennon put it best:
"Before Elvis, there was nothing."