Elvis : A Cultural Obsession

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“Some people tap their feet, some people snap their fingers, and some people sway back and forth. I just sorta do ’em all together, I guess” (www.elvis.com). When one thinks of Elvis Presley, one immediately visualizes a tall, handsome man swiveling his hips and crooning love melodies while curling his lip in a way that made the men want to be him and the women want to be with him. Elvis Presley was literally an overnight phenomenon. As soon as he let loose and sang his first hit “That’s All Right”, every American listening on the radio that night wanted to hear more. Presley certainly went ‘from rags to riches’ in a matter of years. Elvis was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley on January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi. Living in a one-room shack, Vernon and Gladys strived to create a perfect environment for Elvis, for he grew up surrounded with the poverty his neighborhood struggled to deal with. Elvis was constantly surrounded by music, picking it up from everywhere, from dancing with his mother, to listening to the radio, to experiencing his neighborhood rhythms; Elvis was engrossed in the harmonies, which would later be the foundations for many of his hit songs. In reading two biographies on Elvis, I found them both to be unique. The first book I chose to read was Elvis by Albert Goldman. The second book, Elvis Presley, was by Bobbie Anne Mason. When I first began to read the biographies, I had an opposite reaction to each of the books. Before, I had felt that the first book portrayed Elvis in a much more dignified and organized manner than the second book. In reading more, I find that I have changed my mind. I feel that the second biography was written in a way that wa... ... middle of paper ... ...ed in the navy, and then when on to teach at numerous colleges, mainly in New York. His most famous piece of the comedian Lenny Bruce called Ladies and Gentlemen—Lenny Bruce!! attributed to his fame as a writer. He has also written in numerous magazines, including The New Republic, The Sunday Times, Vogue, and Book World. He is an active member in the Arts community and continues to exercise his interest by writing and teaching. Many critics praise Goldman’s writing, especially his biography Elvis, - - - Works Cited Goldman, Albert. Elvis New York: Avon, 1982. Marcus, Greil. Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession. New York: Doubleday, 1991. Mason, Bobbie Ann. Elvis Presley. New York: Viking, 2003. Print. www.elvis.com RollingStone.com

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