Tupelo is a sleepy southern town in the northeast corner of Mississippi. Locals call the area the Tennessee Hills, but on maps it is clearly the southwestern margin of the Appalachian Mountains. Few people who live outside of these hills would never have heard of Tupelo if it weren’t for the whirlwind born there in 1935. That whirlwind was named Elvis Presley, and he blew out of Tupelo into Memphis and then sped across the country and around the world with a force that has never been equaled. Elvis changed the course of popular music forever, and he also changed the course of people’s lives. He literally “rocked” the nation.
Elvis Aaron Presley was a “rock-and-roll singer and guitarist, and actor. The pivotal figure in the history of rock music, he not only defined rock-and-roll as a musical style but established it as a youth culture and the symbol of teenage rebellion. His success as a recording artist was unparalleled and though he almost never performed outside the USA he continues to be idolized by fans in many parts of the world” (The New Grove Dictionary of American Music 624).
Elvis soon became a local hit, which led to his first professional appearance, at Overton Park, Memphis, in August 1954. “His earthy, potent singing and highly charged


performing style immediately appealed to audiences” (The New Grove Dictionary of American Music).
The historical impact on the way the world perceived music was taken by storm when this young white man from the south was uniquely singing a blend of gospel, country, rhythm and blues, with a twist of pop. Elvis was a phenomenally successful performer. He made it big in the recording industry and live concerts, but this was only the tip of the iceberg. Hollywood beckoned and stardom was immediate.
One of the most celebrated entertainers is Elvis Presley, but he is more than a star. In Elvis’s music there is something original and exciting, something wild and excessive. This is partially the reason why Elvis Presley was and still is one of the most significant people in music history.