From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Elvis Presley was a watershed figure in American music; his career, while never extremely innovative, marked the beginning of the acceptance of musical tastes crossing racial boundaries among all audiences. He was also the first in a long line of white performers to achieve what some perceive as undue fame for his influence, since many of his fans showed no desire to learn about the black pioneers he learned from." --Sholem Stein
"BY THE AGE of forty, Elvis Presley had earned a hundred million dollars-and was broke! The explanation for this astounding state of affairs is found in the deadly combination of profligacy and stupidity." --Elvis (1981) by Albert Goldman
Elvis Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), was an American singer, musician and actor. He is a cultural icon, often known simply as Elvis; also "The King of Rock 'n' Roll", or simply "The King".
Presley began his career as one of the first performers of rockabilly, an uptempo fusion of country and rhythm and blues with a strong back beat. His novel versions of existing songs, mixing 'black' and 'white' sounds, made him popular - and controversial - as did his uninhibited stage and television performances. He recorded songs in the rock and roll genre, with tracks like "Jailhouse Rock" and "Hound Dog" later embodying the style.
In the sixties, Presley's career declined rapidly. His death at age 42 shocked his fans worldwide.
Elvis and the sexual revolution
During the 1950s Elvis Presley introduced a very fast style of dancing and performing, using his body gyrations in a sexually suggestive manner. He was dubbed "Elvis the Pelvis" for his trade-mark hip movements. Millions of young women became his fans and he was their "idol". On stage and in concert thousands of young females would squeal, shriek, and cry at his performances. He has been noted as being a prime factor in the "loss of inhibition" and "youth rebellion" of the 1950s and 1960s.