Elvis Presley's Impact on Twentieth Century Culture

Elvis Presley's Impact on Twentieth Century Culture

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Elvis Presley's Impact on Twentieth Century Culture

(1) Source A is an article from the “Billboard” U.S music
magazine on March 3rd 1956. At the time the ‘Billboard’ magazine was a
successful youth magazine paper which had mass readership; its main
target audience was teenagers. The magazine says that Elvis is, ‘…the
hottest artist on the RCA label’. The very fact that one of the most
popular youth papers in America describes Elvis as being, ‘the hottest
artist on the RCA label’ clearly shows that Elvis had a huge impact on
popular music. In 1956 RCA was an extremely well known label, so for
the ‘Billboard’ magazine to say that Elvis was ‘the hottest artist on
the RCA label’ demonstrates how popular Elvis was. The article states
that Elvis had ‘six hit singles in the company’s hit list of top-25
best sellers’. This shows me that not only was he supported by the
‘Billboard’ magazine; his music was very successful and liked by many
fans. (The ‘Billboard’ magazine is directly linked to the charts). The
article says, ‘…none other than the amazing country warbler, Elvis
Presley’. The quote reflects Elvis Presley’s routes and backgrounds
because Elvis was influenced by Country music as a young child when he
lived in Mississippi.

(2) Source B shows extracts from newspaper articles describing
Elvis Presley’s appearance on the Milton Berle show on NBC-TV on 5
June 1956. The New York Times says ‘Mr Presley has no signing
ability’. The fact that Elvis Presley made a no. 1 smash hit with
‘Heartbreak Hotel’ earlier that year discredits the comment. The
‘Daily News’ (a well established newspaper) says that, ‘Popular music
has reached it’s lowest depths in the grunt and groan antics of one
Elvis Presley. It shows that the newspaper thinks that Elvis’s
behavior is unacceptable. In contrast the ‘variety’ radio and TV
magazine from source C says, The Milton Berle show topped Phil
Silver’s sergeant Bilko in the ratings for the first time all season’.

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This positively praises Elvis for his contribution to Milton Berle’s
ratings. Prior to the show Milton Berle was achieving poor ratings
then he took a gamble by employing the up and coming star Elvis
Presley his gamble paid off. Source D shows Elvis dancing on stage. He
is dancing in a sexual manner and most of his audience are females,
who look happy and excited. Source D is similar to source C because
they both describe Elvis as being successful. However source D also
supports Source b which says his , ‘physical movement is difficult to
describe in terms suitable to a family newspaper’ (New York Times)
because the photo shows Elvis dancing in an explicit manner. Source B
from the New York Times states that ‘Mr Presley has no signing
ability’. However source C says that Milton Berle managed to achieve
high ratings because of Elvis. This shows that the ‘variety’ magazine
doesn’t support the views of the ‘New York Times’. The ‘Variety’
magazine attracts working class Americans, whereas the New York time
is a traditional newspaper which attracts an older generation. The
‘New York Journal’ says that Elvis’s primitive movement is difficult
to describe in terms of a family newspaper’. The ‘Daily News’ says
that ‘he gave an exhibition that was suggestive and vulgar’. These two
statements are against Elvis’s physical movement. However source C and
D show Elvis’s as being a sexy dance mover who can attract a huge
female audience and achieve high TV ratings. Therefore source B is
against Elvis’s impact to music is vulgar and unacceptable. On the
other hand source C and D Show that Elvis is popular and highly

(3) Source E contains 3 different extracts, one from a
congressman, a member of the Ku Klux Klan and Billy Graham (a well
known evangelical preacher). The Congressman says that ‘Elvis Presley
and his animal gyrations violate all that I know to be in good taste’.
I think this source is unreliable because the Congressman’s opinion
doesn’t reflect the majority of people who buy his songs. Also this is
just his opinion, it doesn’t have any factual evidence behind it.
However he says that ‘Rock and Roll has it’s place and has given great
opportunity to talent’. The fact that the Congressman praises Rock n’
Roll but discredits Elvis is very inaccurate and non factual because
Elvis was the most successful Rock and Roll artist at the time. He had
a number one and had boosted TV ratings. This shows that the source is
unreliable. Source E (ii) is quoted from a member of the Ku Klux Klan
speaking in 1956. The member goes on to say, ‘We’ve set up a
twenty-man committee to do away with this cannibalistic, negro-loving
rock and roller’. The Ku Klux Klan wanted segregation between black
and white people. Elvis challenges this because he creates a fusion of
black Rhythm and Blues music and white Country music. Elvis created a
type of music which black and white people could both enjoy. This is
against the beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan. At the time there was
segregation in the southern states and racism occurred. The Ku Klux
Klan carried out lynches (persecution outside of the law) on Black
People. Therefore it is ironic for the member of the Ku Klux Klan to
say, ‘We’ve set up a twenty-man committee to do away’ with Elvis. The
quote, ‘cannibalistic’ is a racist statement which is racist against
black people describing them as being uncivilized. This statement is
said about Elvis because he has elements of black music in his songs.
This Extract is biased and unreliable. It only agrees in favor of the
organization and it has no factual evidence behind it. The statement
is racist and it doesn’t reflect Elvis’s impact to music. Source E
(iii) is quoted from Billy Graham, an evangelical preacher, speaking
in 1957. The quote says, ‘I would not let my daughter cross the street
to see Elvis Presley’. His views show that he feels that Elvis’s music
is inappropriate. His views also reflect the views of parents across
the U.S.A. There fore this source is quite useful. However he later
goes on to like Elvis this is due to the gospel song which he sings.
Source F shows the top five singles of the year 1955, 1956 and 1957.
In 1955 Elvis did not make it to the top five singles however in 1956
and 1957 Elvis appears in the top five singles at least 3 times. This
source demonstrates how successful Elvis’s music is. It reflects a
large amount of fans that buy Elvis’s music therefore the source is
reliable. Also the source is based on factual evidence it is not just
an opinion. Therefore this source is more reliable than source E which
is based on opinions which haven’t been backed up by factual evidence.

Source G is from a magazine article about Elvis Presley’s service in
the US Army in 1958. The magazine goes on to say, “where else could a
nobody like Presley become a somebody so quickly’. This quote
symbolizes the American dream that says everybody has an equal chance
to be successful and that you can be successful. At the start of
Elvis’s career he was very controversial.
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