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April 04,  2017   -   tctimes   /   Elvis Express Radio
Over the past 50 years, music has gone from doo-whoppers with nerdy glasses and suits, to the artists of today having almost complete freedom of expression. The message of
music has changed significantly over the years. From early rock being based almost entirely upon love songs and the heartbreak that follows their demise, to the anti-war ballads of
the ’60s, to the glorified excess that was the ’80s, the reasons why people turn to music hasn’t changed, though the story of the tune has. Music gives us something to feel,
something to believe in, and that will probably never change. The styles may be different, the fads that make the genre important may pass, but good music is eternal and that is
why it is considered the universal language.

The following is the first in a series about 50 years of music history. And what better place to start than with the legendary Elvis Presley.

In April of 1957, anyone with a radio was listening to Elvis Presley and his hit, “All Shook Up.” A couple of months later it was “(Let me be your) Teddy Bear” from the “Loving You”
album. Another favorite “Jailhouse Rock” came out later that year, as did “Treat Me Nice.” Those were only a few of Elvis’ many number one hits.

Other popular artists of the day were Pat Boone, Tab Hunter, Perry Como and Andy Williams to name a few. Those popular “crooners” could not quite keep up with all the shakin’
goin’ on when Elvis performed, however, and he soon became known as the king of rock and roll, and later simply “The King.”

Elvis’ life story began when Elvis Aaron Presley was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, on Jan. 8, 1935, according to elvis.com. His twin
brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948, and Elvis graduated from Humes High
School there in 1953.

Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black
R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager.

In 1954, Elvis began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was
an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he
ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture.

He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert
performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist.

His American sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards. Without any of the special privileges, his celebrity status might have afforded him, he honorably
served his country in the U.S. Army.

His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the
world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th century popular culture. Elvis died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on Aug. 16, 1977.

Sun Records on CMT
Starting on Feb. 23, a chapter of rock and roll history featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and others started playing out on primetime television.

CMT’s (Country Music Channel) new limited-run series “Sun Records” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. Spectrum (Charter) customers locally can find it on channel 40.

The eight-part series follows Chad Michael Murray as Sun Records founder Sam Phillips and a group of future music legends who famously crossed paths in Memphis.