Elvis Presley belongs on the short list of artists who changed the course of popular music in the 20th century. He may not have invented rock & roll, but he was indisputably its first rock star, a singer whose charisma intertwined tightly with his natural talent for a combination that seemed combustible, sexy, and dangerous when Presley seized the imagination of America in 1956 with four successive number one singles in 1956. Elvis spent the next two decades near the top of the charts, weathering changes in fashion, self-inflicted career missteps, and comebacks as his music expanded and evolved. Throughout his career, Presley never abandoned the rock & roll he pioneered on his early singles for Sun Records, but he developed an effective counterpoint to his primal rockabilly by honing a rich, resonant ballad style while also delving into ...
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