The article points three of the most salient reasons behind the huge success and enormous impact of Elvis Presley to the American society– the unique personality of Elvis, the way his manager has handled him, and the right timing when he emerged. Although these factors apparently shows direct effects on Presley’s popularity and impact, it should still be noted that his success would not be possible if he sticks to bigotry and conservatism. According to the article, Presley’s singing like a Black man primarily attracts people’s interest.
However, it should be emphasized that Presley’s popularity could be contributed as well to his rich background in music. Presley’s music was considered having the combined elements of Gospel, Country, and Blues. (Saffle, 2009). In fact, he was a church singer when he was just young, explaining his exposure to gospel songs. However, just like what the author of the article has pointed out, Presley was not the sole artist who is like that during the time.
In fact, he was not the first White American to sing blues. (Gilmore 1998).
To make things worse, when Presley started to perform songs of that particular genre, he was even accused of stealing it from the Black Americans (Bertrand 2000). Amidst controversies like these, Presley somehow managed to continuously attract the eye of the public not only through his flamboyant costumes, teasing movements, and energetic performances but through his unique and charismatic personality. It could also be argued that part of this huge success came from the effective handling of his manager—Colonel Tom Parker.
The presence of Presley’s manager was also considered a great help for the King’s success. Identifying the potentials and the unique gift of his talent, Colonel was able to utilize the man’s gift to transform into a name that would be forever engraved in the history of American music. It could be true that Presley would have never achieved such success without the partnership with Colonel. Though this could be primarily attributed to Colonel’s outstanding management, the treatment of the two for each other also helped.
Their relationship has surpassed that of a manager and a talent. There came a time that people were joking that they were like a married couple (Nash, 2003). They spent most of their time together that is why Colonel has successfully crafted Elvis’ career. However, when Colonel decided to stop Presley’s world tours and accepted television and movie projects instead, critics considered it a wrong move and death of Presley’s music career. They accused Colonel of being too greedy by accepting lucrative projects for his client, thus sacrificing the true talent of Presley.
Nonetheless, Colonel has managed to regain his glory when Presley had his successful comeback in the music scene. There is also no doubt with the article’s argument regarding the emergence of Presley at the right time in the American history. However, in this particular situation, time is not the factor. Presley’s enormous impact to the American society could be accounted for his liberal ideas and decisions. He opted not to conform to bigotry. Instead, he used his music to propagate liberating ideas to his audience, who were mainly adolescents looking for freedom.
Presley also paved way for the introduction of the Black music into the music mainstream. That would undeniably resolve the question as to why he is worthy for the title King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Gilmore, Mikal. Night Beat: A Shadow History of Rock & Roll. USA: University of Michigan, 1998 Nash, Alanna. The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley. USA: Simon and Schuster, 2003 Saffle, Michael. The Musical Characteristics of Elvis Presley. Published by The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Education Bureau, 2009