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Elvis Aaron Presley

Published: 24.02.2014, Updated: 05.03.2017
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Elvis Presley

Elvis Aaron Presley became an idol for many young people in the 50s and 60s and is still famous today, long after his death. "The King of Rock and Roll" is one of the most celebrated musicians of the last century and one of those who has sold most albums worldwide.

 

Resources:

 

Elvis PresleyElvis Presley

 

Youth Culture (NDLA article)

 

Elvis Exhibition (From Museum in Liverpool)

 

Elvis Fan Page (The Official site of the "King")

 

 

The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. SalingerJ.D. Salinger  

The Catcher in the Rye - Spark Notes 

 

ElvisElvis Presley

His Life - Some Facts and Turning Points

Elvis was born on January the 8th, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. Since his identical twin brother was stillborn, Elvis grew up as an only child.  In 1948, the little family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. With the aid of Sun Records his music career took off in 1954. His first record "Heartbreak Hotel" became a No. 1 hit in the USA.
Until the 1950s there was no specific culture that young people could relate to.The young generation had no particular idols or arenas to identify with, and they were on the outlook for a framework of their own. This was also a time when racial tension was at its peak in the USA, and the Civil Rights Movement was emerging. Gospel music traditionally was a way by which the blacks could express their agony, frustration and longing. Thus, Elvis, through his music became the spokesman of the young generation's frustrations and dreams.

Elvis's music picked up all these currents in Memphis in the 50's, and he incorporated both traditional music expressions and contemporary trends. His music became a blend of pop, country, gospel and black R&B. By 1956 he was a sensation worldwide. He was soon recognized as the "King of Rock and Roll" or for short, "The King". He died at his Graceland home in 1977. His legacy, however, lives on.


 

Tasks

Find Out

  1. Why did Elvis have an enormous appeal to young people? Some key words to consider:
    • Identification
    • Stage performance
    • Lyrics
    • Musical style
    • Clothing and style
    • Films
    • His voice
    • Counter-reaction
  2. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, in J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is one of the most famous literary youth rebels from the 50's. In many ways he became the spokesman for the awakening of the young generation's new search for identity. Find and read excerpts from the novel and find out in what ways Holden is a rebel.

Quotes on Elvis and the Beatles

Based on the two quotes by John Lennon to be found here:

"Before Elvis, there was nothing."
"Without Elvis, there would be no Beatles"

Write a blog entry where you discuss one of the statements.

"In the Ghetto"

Look up the lyrics of the hit from 1969 and listen to Elvis's interpretation. Make a collage of pictures available on Flickr, Google or deviantART where you portray the boy from childhood up to manhood in the ghetto in the 60's. Then, imagine possible future outcomes for the new baby who is "born" in the last stanza. What do you think may be his/her destiny?

Elvis is Dead

Imagine that you are a TV talk show host in 1977 and you have recently learned that Elvis has died. You are going to host a program following the news of his death and are preparing your introductory script where you comment on his life style and include the latest events that led up to his death. You should also comment upon his significance as a musician and idol.
Record the opening of the program.

The Catcher in the Rye and Holden Caulfield

Based on your research in the Find Out assignment on Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye, create Holden's "fake" Facebook-profile from the 50's. What would he "like", who would be his friends, whom would he admire/whom would he dislike, his interests and personalia? "Post" three entries where he communicates his views.