"Before Elvis there was nothing," John Lennon famously said. Few performers have been as influential as the man whose sexy voice, good looks, and gyrating hips redefined rock ’n roll. Although he made many poor choices and died far too young, Elvis Presley lives on for legions of fans and generations of musicians.
This fresh interpretation explains how an untutored musician changed music while at the same time playing an inadvertent role in the youth rebellion that has shaped the Baby Boomer generation into the 21st century.
Elvis Aaron Presley was born in a two-room house in Tupelo, MS, on January 8, 1935. He died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977. In those 42 years, Elvis made an indelible impression on pop culture the world over. Elvis Presley, Reluctant Rebel: His Life and Our Times probes both the man and his influence, delving deeply into the personality of its protagonist, his needs and motivations, and the social and musical forces that shaped his career.
Elvis's musical talents and liabilities are explored, as are his records, films, and live performances and his relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, whom he allowed to manipulate him as a money-making machine. Readers will learn about Elvis's personal life, his devotion to conventional religious and political beliefs, and his decline into self-destruction and death. Finally, the book explores Elvis's impact on the musical and racial revolutions of the 1950s and 1960s, his legacy, and his importance in shaping a generation of Baby Boomers.
• A bibliography
• Offers a fresh interpretation of Elvis, integrating his life into its Southern context and exploring the influence of his upbringing, as well as the downward spiral of his career after his army service
• Analyzes Elvis's music and the synergy of his performances
• Shows how Elvis impacted a generation of fans and influenced both his contemporary musicians and subsequent performers
• Portrays Elvis as a conflicted, complex, powerful personality, a man of many moods with an inimitable style