Talk:Elvis Presley/Archive 30

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Looking over at the James Brown, Bob Dylan, Elton John and Stevie Wonder articles on here, I've added similar notes in respect to their formats; formats in regards to notation that Elvis' article is lacking in. To start with, Elvis was more than just a popular singer and cultural icon, he was also an anti-drug activist, as heavily campaigned when meeting with Nixon, which is in this article. (Note that opinions of hypocrisy do not denote the fact that he was an anti-drug activist). He was also a sex symbol for three decades, in which there was much alarm to many, which is also included in this article. Next Presley reached the rank of sergeant in the army, which of course should be included as one of his occupations. He was an avid philanthropist that didn't receive the public's attention in that respect, Aloha from Hawaii raised 75,000 dollars or so for a cancer fund. He co-wrote and helped compose numerous songs (Heartbreak Hotel), though generally only in the mid-late 50s. In addition, Elvis was also a black belt in the 8th degree, so a martial artist. There's various excerpts of Elvis sparring and practicing around the web, and I believe his martial arts ventures are also mentioned in this article. In compliment to being a sex symbol and cultural icon, Elvis was a huge visual artist, most notably known for his dazzling stage presence and unheard of dance moves.

I also added his aliases to the infobox, I'm sure there's more, but I'm not sure why those weren't added there before. (This is a featured article after all). While I know for a fact Elvis explored more genres than what I listed combined to what was already here, I'll have to save that research for later today. The article itself mentions Elvis as doing many ballads, which is also what he's credited as mainly doing later on in the Moody Blue article. I added such to his list of genres of course. Next I added hymns, because Elvis did sing a variation of Christian hymns, not to be confused with gospel music, as they're two separate forms of music. Folk rock was something Presley sang namely in the 70s, with such songs as "Bridge over Troubled Water". Country rock was also a featured in numerous amounts of his 70s concerts, as featured on his "Country Rock" 2001 compilation album. KirbyPresley (talk) 12:37, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

The problem with your edits is that adding endless lists of "occupations" and "genres" dilutes focus on the main things he was known for, and adds undue weight to relatively minor aspects of his career and legacy. His legacy is that of a musician and actor—people don't say, "Remember that martial artist and anti-drug activist we saw in Vegas? Elvis!" --Laser brain (talk) 13:16, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Actually, a lot of people I know do remember him for his activities revolving around martial arts. Fair enough with drug activism, if we're going by remembered, seeing that his usage is by far more pertinent to that context. However, if you look at the few artists' articles above, you'll see either a short list or very large list of genres. I don't know why one wouldn't include his explored genres, seeing that what made him the king was his versatile voice. I also don't see why his philanthropy shouldn't be included, because regardless of the public exposure to it, it was very evident and definitely a big part of his legacy. Plus it seems absolutely ridiculous not to include a genre mentioned in the first paragraph, not in the infobox, especially when the same principle is being applied to other genres. I'll tone the edit down a tint and re-look the consensus later in the day.

Edit: I don't even see the point of removing his aliases, might as well and remove all of James Brown's while you're at it. KirbyPresley (talk) 13:37, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Genres tend to be a very contentious topic in music articles. If you start watching articles about bands and musicians, you will quickly notice that an endless series of anonymous editors comes through and adds/removes genres to suit their opinion. So, what we must do is endeavor to include a short list of principle genres that defined the musician's career, backed by material in reliable sources—not a comprehensive list of genres explored. --Laser brain (talk) 13:58, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I've removed the hooey. "Occupation: sex symbol"? Come on. Not good at all. Even toned down, these edits are not good. --jpgordon::==( o ) 14:35, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Re: "aliases": According to MOS, what goes in the alias/aka parameter are official stage names and legal names but, not nicknames. Now, personally, I'm not sure why the name "The Hillbilly Cat" isn't listed, because that was his stage name in the early '50s. --Musdan77 (talk) 01:41, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
First, big thanks to Jp and Laser brain for dealing with the hooey.
Now, to your question Musdan77: These are judgment calls, of course, but this seems a pretty clear one: Yes, we know that Presley was billed more than once as "The Hillbilly Cat", but in the scope of his entire career, that's a very obscure stage name, and I'm not aware of any evidence that he was ever so referred to outside of a few poster billings. To say that it was "his stage name in the early '50s" is surely an exaggeration--it was probably not used for him for more than a year, if even that. If someone comes up with a serious historical reference asserting that he was actually widely known as "The Hillbilly Cat", then it might be worth including. We'll see... DocKino (talk) 03:29, 9 May 2012 (UTC) seems widely accepted, plus, TCB was a huge part of Elvis' act, and still is to this day - they're preforming at his concerts still, more over the one in august this year. Elvis was indeed a huge philanthropist, and thus should be added to occupations. Ballads was a signifying genre for Presley in the late 1960s and 1970s, why it's mentioned in the first paragraph and not in the genre box given its importance is just ridiculous. KirbyPresley (talk) 03:55, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

You're basing the claim that Hillbilly Cat "seems widely accepted" on a blank Google word string search? Hardly! BIG fail. Please get real, real gone for a change...(sorry, old-school Elvis ref)...get real, real familiar with our policy on reliable sources. Philanthropist "should be added to occupations"?? No, it shouldn't! Look at any other general-interest or topical encyclopedia you can think of--how many, if any introduce him as a "philanthropist"?! Come ON. "Ballads" is covered by "pop" in this summary context--seriously, it seems as if you have never read a work of music criticism. DocKino (talk) 04:03, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately I've had to block this KirbyPresley character for an over-the-top racist/bigoted diatribe he just posted on his user page. --Laser brain (talk) 04:09, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

According to Guralnick, in 1954 Elvis extensively toured in the South as the "Hillbilly Cat" and "King of Western Bop." An early article in the Memphis Press Scimitar called Elvis a "Hillbilly Cat," "the Tennessee Tornado," "the Memphis Flash," and "Mrs. Presley's son," poking fun at Elvis's closeness to Gladys. "During his first two years as a performer, fans and critics alike called Presley the 'Hillbilly Cat' or the 'Bopping Hillbilly,' labels that correctly diagnosed cultural dichotomy and detachment." See Michael T. Bertrand, Race, Rock, and Elvis (2000), p.103. "As for the music, Elvis was never satisfied being the 'Hillbilly Cat' or even the 'King of Western Bop.' " See Glen Jeansonne, David Luhrssen and Dan Sokolovic, Elvis Presley, Reluctant Rebel: His Life and Our Times (2011), p.102. Onefortyone (talk) 22:44, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Elvis of German descent

Please include more information of Elvis' German ancestery. Johann Valentin Pressler - German ancestor of Elvis Presley who changed his name to Presley during the Civil War. Thanks. [Family Pressler of Hochstadt]

Elvis's ancestor winegrower Johann Valentin Pressler emigrated to North America from Niederhochstadt (now Hochstadt), Germany in 1710. Pressler first settled in New York, but later moved to the South. Sometime during the American Civil War, Pressler was anglicized to Presley by a Pressler serving in the Confederate Army. (talk) 21:11, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
And a high-quality source states that Presley's forebears on his father's side were Scottish. We don't have a basis for favoring one position over the other, and at any rate, no more detail is called for. DocKino (talk) 22:42, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Service in the Army

The 32nd Armor Regiment is best known as the unit that Elvis Presley served with. However, Elvis trained until September 1958 with Company A, 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 37th Armor at Fort Hood, Texas reaching the rank Sp1. He then served in Germany from October 1958 until March 1960, with the Headquarters Company of the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor, 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, when he was promoted to Sp4. Only towards the end of his tour did he qualify as an MOS 19D Cavalry Scout, and later rank of Sergeant E-5, serving in Company D, 1–32 Armor, through to March 1960. Elvise's uniform is on display at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, in a special exhibit called "Sgt. Presley, Citizen Soldier." In G.I. Blues (1960) Elvis' character "Tulsa McLean" is a U.S. Army Specialist Fifth Class (SP5, a rank which no longer exists), a tank crewman with the 3AD in West Germany. McLean is also a singer who dreams of running his own nightclub when he leaves the army. His character in 1961's Blue Hawaii was "Sgt. Chad Gates", newly discharged from the 3rd Armored Division. (talk) 07:32, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Hall of Fame and Influences

I want my changes, such as [1] to be rechecked once again, I believe that hall of fame's page should be recognized, and the names should be added here who have been influenced by the artist, because other pages like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, etc have included as well. Clarificationgiven (talk) 07:00, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Change to legacy sec.

I replaced the President Carter quotebox with one of Robert Christgau's quotes on Presley, feeling that he is a more credible source/opinion, with this edit. I just want to run it by the main contributors and see if my view is valid. Dan56 (talk) 23:18, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Sounds like a fine improvement to me. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 23:37, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for sounding me out on this Dan. I think the point of featuring the Carter quote so prominently was that American presidents' comments on people who have just died are quite rare, thus emphasising the significance of Presley's impact. I wonder why the quote chosen is more significant in this context.
As for the quote itself, Presley's name is buried deep in the Origins of rock and roll article; the Presley article, if anything, credits Presley more with originating rockabilly than rock and roll, so Christgau's assessment is at odds with the article. I think it may therefore appear strange to neutral readers to give such a comment such prominence.
A final thought is the emphasis Christgau gives to Presley's continued affect on women; I'm left thinking this is such a partial summary of Presley's effect on people that it really isn't the best quote to encapsulate Presley's legacy. Rikstar409 10:00, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
well, the leading line in Xgau's quote is a quip at Presley being known by people as the "king" [of rocknroll], while the subsequent lines refer to his legacy with fans. The "manner of speaking" line is also a nice reference to the raciap issues with black music that's covered before. Overall, the quote seems appropriate following the preceding sections on musical influence/style and sex symbol. Carter's quote was right after the death, so it doesnt seem to be a retrospect, which I think is more appropriate in a legacy section. It doesnt mention anything about rock n roll either and seems pretty stale/general. And while it's an honor to be esteemed by a president, it doesnt make him a more appropriate source than a writer or critic with more perspective. Dan56 (talk) 16:35, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Dolly Parton I Will Always Love You

Can anyone add a section where it tells how Elvis expressed an interest in covering Dolly's song? I think it would be cool for people to find out that the King of Rock n' Roll wanted to cover a simple country song from a singer that really wasn't as famous yet. Here is the link for proof: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:16, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Cause of death

Somebody really should translate the German wiki article on Elvis' afterlife. There are some very interesting facts in there regarding new theories about the cause of death.

The theory put forward by Chris Lahr and Thomas Abell in 2009 was that Elvis was suffering from Morbus Hirschsprung and that this was one of the initial causes that lead to his heart attack.

His doctor Nichopoulos is being quoted from the book The King and Dr. Nick as saying "I hope I can make this clear for the last time. Elvis Presley did not die of a drug overdose… It makes a better story [for the media], but it’s not true. That poor guy had issues with his physiology that were in large part genetic." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:22, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 31 October 2012

Elvis Presley's middle name was Aron, not Aaron, his middle name was in respect of his twin brother Jesse Garon Presley. Thank you docsea1970 Docsea1970 (talk) 04:38, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

See footnote A in the article - this is already explained. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:44, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
Setting this edit request to "answered" as Not done: per the response above. —KuyaBriBriTalk 15:03, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Excellent Nonsense Deleted

There was an excellent rant (dated Oct 31 2012) on this talk page by several conspiracy theorists that Elvis was actually Jewish. It was so insane that it was actually useful to show the extreme notions that some folks pick up as they obsess about "rock stars". Why was the rant deleted without discussion? Santamoly (talk) 06:32, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Further reading

Nash's garbage book is in the further reading page, but Guralnick's masterpiece isn't? Seriously? He's the definitive biographer on the subject of Elvis Presley, and he's not in the further reading section? Someone fix this mistake, as fast as possible. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:28, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Guralnick's excellent books are listed in the References section; the Further Reading section is for material beyond the References section. Pstoller (talk) 22:47, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Addition of brackets around "hepatitis" in Military service section

For my edit, I dealt with the section of "Military service and mother's death," and placed double brackets around the word "hepatitis" so that it was link to the Wikipedia page on hepatitis. August 7th, 2012 approx. 21:40 hours EDT. EnglishHornDude (talk) 01:41, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Sweet Inspirations NEED to be mentioned in the Associated acts list PLEASE!

Just wondering: Aren't The Sweet Inspirations as essential to the Elvis 70's sound as The Jordanaires where to his 50's sound? if so, they ought to be mentioned in the Associated actd list. Same goes for the TCB Band . — Preceding unsigned comment added by Burroughs 666 (talkcontribs) 07:24, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't see why not. I think the group was there before. Any objections to adding (or re-adding)? --Musdan77 (talk) 17:34, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Adding the Sweet Inspirations seems obvious and essential to me. As for the TCB Band, it was formed specifically as Elvis' backing band, and while it has a fan page and its members have played together often over the years, it hasn't really been active as the TCB Band since Elvis died. So, while the band merits a mention and link somewhere in the text—perhaps the Comeback Special section—I wouldn't list it under "associated artists." Pstoller (talk) 20:13, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Elvis's Irish ancestry

Is this direct enough proof of Elvis's Irish ancestry? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:03, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Half the people in the New World share this same history. It's neither novel nor significant Santamoly (talk) 09:09, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Elvis is the greatest artist of the 20 th century

please it is vital in the beggining blurb of elvis to list him as the greatest entertainer of the 20th century .The Smithsonian in Washington D.C. declared Elvis "The Greatest Entertainer of the 20th Century".

Sources: RIAA, ASCAP, BMI, BILLBOARD MAGAZINE, RCA RECORD/BMG RECORDS. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:304:5B71:A029:C97E:2EEC:CD6:336D (talk) 19:24, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Calm down. It's not in the least "vital" to include inconsequential PR fluff like this in an encyclopedic article. Santamoly (talk) 09:13, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

In the beginning of the wiki article about him it should state " elvis has been called the greatest artist of the 20 th century

1) in 1992, the riaa proclaimed elvis as " the greatest recording artist of all time. "

Riaa is the governing body of us sales

2) the smithsonian declared elvis. " the greatest entertainer of the 20 th century " — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:53, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Could you give a link to where it says these things? --Musdan77 (talk) 05:36, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
It wasn't the RIAA that called Elvis, "the greatest recording artist of all time," it was RCA: "In August 1992, BMG/RCA Records and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) posthumously awarded to Elvis 110 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums and singles, the largest presentation of gold and platinum record awards in history. … RCA also presented a 9-foot glass sculpture proclaiming Elvis the greatest recording artist of all time"[1] (emphasis added). As for the claim about the Smithsonian, this has been disseminated on the Internet in blogs, forums, and YouTube commentary; but I can't find a single source for it in the press, the Smithsonian's website, or the official Elvis Presley website. In the absence of a legitimate citation, I'd say the claim is apocryphal. Pstoller (talk) 22:37, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Elvis is considered the greatest recording artist of all time

Please state in the beginning line of elvis that " elvis is considered the greatest recording artist of all time "

1) in 1992 the RIAA proclaimed elvis the greatest recording artist of all time " [2] "Top Tallies: Artist Tallies" (PHP). Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 10, 2011. close

2) guiness book of world records 2013 " elvis is the biggest selling solo artist in history " (talk) 04:06, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

In 1992 at the American music awards , the riaa presented a award declaring " elvis the greatest recording artist in history "

August 1992, RCA Records and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) posthumously awarded to Elvis 110 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums and singles, the largest presentation of gold and platinum record awards in history. The idea was to present all at once Elvis' entire American record sales achievement from the start of his career to the present day - recognizing again all the certifications that had ever been made up to that time, recognizing sales during Elvis' lifetime that had not been properly certified, and recognizing sales since his death that had not yet been certified. It was determined that Elvis had, by that date, 110 different albums and singles that had earned gold, platinum or multi-platinum status. One award was presented for each of the 110 titles, with an indication on the award whether title was gold or platinum or how many times platinum. RCA also presented a 9-foot glass sculpture proclaiming Elvis the greatest recording artist of all time

Please change the opening line to elvis Presley is considered the greatest recording artist in history please . (talk) 03:24, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

No. Firstly, you haven't cited a source for that, and secondly, this is, or was, (apparently) the opinion of the RIAA - others may have other opinions. We don't state opinion as fact... AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:13, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Thirdly, as stated above, it was not the opinion of the RIAA, but rather of RCA—Elvis' record company—which had an obvious bias and commercial interest in declaring him "the greatest recording artist of all time." Pstoller (talk) 08:16, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
@Pstoller ... I Agree!!
To those who keep parroting one *billion this and that for EP - ( with some fans even go as far as to quote 2+ billion sales, which is beyond laughable) – there are two links further down.
The one *billion sales myth is just one of two hyped myths that were created for and around Elvis Presley, by both Colonel Parker, (Aloha from Hawaii) and the other - (One *billion sales) claimed as far back as 1982, (which makes the claim even more crazy) by RCA records, who had just taken over as his record label.
Below is a link – which is actually from an Elvis Presley Web site, and which tackles this myth:
As things stand, the 1 billion sales myth is just that…Unproven…A myth, regardless that Elvis Presley Enterprises had obviously contacted, (That is what you have to do to have something listed) GBof WR to make sure this figure was listed for 2012’s edition. Oddly enough, GB of WR seems to have taken the RCA record label’s own one *billion sales claims plaque hanging in Graceland as fact/proof of actual sales.
This yet unquestioned and un-tested mathematical result seems to be blindly taken as gospel by some.
For starters, where are the phenomenal global chart positions/sales of the past regarding Elvis Presley sales? …And on and on. The claim never adds up, no matter what way one tries to spin it – Apart from doing well in the UK, there is no constant stream of visually documented chart-toppers /sellers of the past, on a GLOBAL scale, etc… The claimed figure just never adds up.
In further contradiction to this claim: There was a particular star, (Probably better off not mentioning the name right now) who has *officially* been awarded on live TV, and by one of the well-known world music establishments, back in 06 - for being the “First Artist to Sell Over 100 million Albums Outside of the US” …Another fact that makes this *billion claim for said artist even more odd. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:51, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Below is an excerpt – again, an Elvis Presley Web site, which talks more realistically about the second myth - Which, funny enough, just happens to be yet another one *billion claim, (This time for viewership) for the same person, This now being the one *billion claim for ‘Aloha From Hawaii’:
"In what was perhaps the greatest snow job of his career, Colonel Parker convinced four decades of Elvis experts and fans that every single living person in 38 countries tuned in to Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii."
Further reading:

Then, we have the Washington Post repeating a claim as far back as when Elvis Presley died in 1977, that: “Overall, he sold more than 500 million records worldwide”.
So, the RCA record label takes over in 1982 then makes the one *billion claim in sales. So, that means, 5 years after Elvis Presley dies ANOTHER 500 million records have been sold, (which would have to be spread worldwide) …So that is equivalent to approx. a further 100 million sales a year from 1977 to 1982.
See the craziness of all these claims?

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:27, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

1) mj wiki in the beginning blurb uses an outdated 1996 record of " most sucessful entertainer" isn't that GWR opnion ? Also if mj wiki can cite a 1996 outdated award why can't elvis wiki do the same . Per billboard elvis is recognized with 17 number ones . Mj only 13 . Obviously more sucessful . Per billboard elvis has more number albums too( more sucessful ) elvis was the first artist to have a number one movie , song and album at the same time . ( love me tender , heartbreak hotel , elvis Presley )
2) TV guide proclaimed elvis the greatest entertainer of the 20 th century
3) Sony bmg on his album proclaimed elvis the artist of the century
4) 1998 Sony bmg press release " unequivocally , elvis Aaron Presley is the biggest selling artist in POPular music "
5) chart company in 2012 declared elvis the biggest
I have shown 4 verifiable statements that support changing the blurb of elvis to . Elvis was considered the greatest recording artist "
Here is a link from a 2009 article proving the 1 billion sales claim now
Please if the mj wiki can put there GWR opinion , please do the same for elvis (talk) 03:32, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
"Most successful" implies measurable financial success. "Greatest" is purely a value judgment. The TV Guide "proclamation" was not official: it was a cover story headline to sell magazines. Sony/BMG's "proclamation" and press release are vastly less impartial. The OfficialCharts link appears to be talking only about the UK. And the Elvis Australia Fan Club link not only fails to prove the 1 billion sales claim, it actually refutes it.
In short, your sources are not "verifiable statements that support" changing the Wiki to include the statement, "Elvis is considered the greatest recording artist of all time." Pstoller (talk) 00:46, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. Saying that Elvis was the "greatest recording artist of all time" is like saying Isaac Newton was the "greatest scientist of all time". It's hyperbole, something that can be neither measured nor proven. Santamoly (talk) 02:28, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Saying he "is considered…" is as bad. Of course, the statement is true on its face: clearly, many people consider him to be so. But, then, many recording artists are considered by their biggest fans to be "the greatest of all time," too. The article plainly and accurately states that Elvis Presley is "a cultural icon" and "one of the most popular musicians of the 20th century," often called "the King." It's not Wikipedia's function to put a crown on his head. Pstoller (talk) 03:06, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Elvis is the worlds greatest idol

American idol live broadcast publically stated " Elvis is and will always be the worlds greatest idol "

Please put that in the beginning worded like " he is considered by ..."

Thank you (talk) 00:46, 16 February 2013 (UTC)


In the "Racial Issues" section, please change:

Dudley Brooks an African-American composer and studio musician who worked with Presley during the 1950s and 1960s also disputed allegations that Presley was a racist.


Dudley Brooks, an African-American composer and studio musician who worked with Presley during the 1950s and 1960s, also disputed allegations that Presley was a racist. (talk) 17:53, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Done. Pstoller (talk) 03:08, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

elvis is the most sucessful artist in history

Please state in the beginning line of elvis that " elvis is considered the greatest recording artist of all time "

1) GWR 2013 Elvis Presley (USA) is the best-selling solo artist, with 1 billion sales worldwide (129.5 million in the USA). that is the exact statement by gwr. in 2012 gwr list elvis as the most sucessful based on sales.

2)per billboard elvis is clearly the lead in charts Billboard book of top 40 hits ( ninth edition ) 2010

Top 100 artists 1955-2009

1) elvis 7,537 points 2) the beatles 4,611 points 3) Madonna 4,317 points 4) Elton John. 4,176 points 5) Mariah Carey 3,942 points 6) Stevie wonder 3,470 points 7 ) michael jackson 3,410 points 8) Janet jackson 3,260 points

3)2009 elvis article proving the one billion in sales In the case of Elvis other indicators include:

  1. The considerable number of known singles which according to RCA managed to sell over a million copies worldwide, all in the period between 1960 and 1977, despite selling LESS than half of that total in the USA.
  1. Yet more singles which achieved an RIAA award for selling just over half a million copies at home, but thanks to healthy international sales are said by RCA to have EASILY passed the million mark all told. At the request of the Colonel himself RCA did at least attempt to track the world wide sales progress of singles for possible inclusion on a subsequent gold disc album of which there are five. Specific evidence of this can be found, for example, in the RCA brochure which accompanied the tour of Australia by Elvis Presley's gold Cadillac in 1968. This listed no less than 45 million sellers and 19 half million sellers up to that time.
  1. Those singles which were NEVER released in the States, but were huge hits in a wide range of countries overseas, including amongst others 'A Mess of Blues' (1960), 'Wooden Heart' (1961), 'I Just Can't Help Believing' (1971) and 'The Girl of My Best Friend' (1976).
  1. In several key overseas markets some sales were documented and certified - even as far back as the 1950's. In the UK for example the now long moribund 'Disc and Music Echo' pop magazine had by the time it folded awarded Elvis around two dozen silver discs-currently assumed to be lurking in the Graceland vaults - each for AUDITED sales of over 250,000 copies apiece.
  1. Even more tellingly an RCA press release issued in May 1965 and subsequently published in Billboard magazine stated that only some 14 million, out of a total of the first 100 million Elvis records sold around the world were in fact for albums. That figure then doubled within the next 3 years although in Elvis' case much of this should be credited not to the film soundtrack recordings, whose sales were solid rather than spectacular, but to the album releases of the fifties and early sixties since these clearly achieved the bulk of their sales only AFTER the end of 1964. All that can be easily deduced from a glance not only at the overall industry figures which showed album sales suddenly accelerating to the point where they had overtaken sales of singles by 1968 but at Elvis' actual certified domestic sales for albums released in the years between 1956 and 1964 and then observing by just how much those figures exceeded the May 1965 statement. Indeed it was the sustained upsurge in the dollar sales of his old albums that enabled RCA to proudly claim in a 1966 New Year's Day telegram to the Colonel that 1965 had been Elvis' best year to date beating out even 1956.
  1. What seems to have caused this spectacular increase in the sales of records especially albums at a time when Elvis' popularity was hardly at a career peak? Well remember this was around the time when the Beatles, the Stones and the rest of the 'beat' groups first sprang onto the scene and caused sales to leap to unheard of figures benefiting everyone even Elvis. Happily - at least for record company profits - this musical revolution coincided with teenagers all over the world, including the post army 'second' wave of fans picked up by Elvis, discovering that they were able to persuade or cajole their parents into shelling out a bit more pocket money than their elder brothers or sisters were used to receiving during the post war years. In addition many of the latter, who would have been amongst the first wave of Elvis fans back in the mid 1950's, were ten years on, beginning to get into regular employment . Very probably many of these fans used their newly found purchasing powers to acquire ALL the classic Presley albums they had previously been unable to afford and in particular to replace worn out singles with the gold disc albums.
  1. In 1987 RCA gave Graceland a somewhat baffling award which listed no less than 48 titles that for the most part had not gained due recognition for past sales. The titles included a HOST of mid sixties soundtrack albums and mid seventies singles which even today have failed to achieve domestic certification. That can only mean that the majority of these sales had been accrued from foreign parts.

All this evidence seems to point towards an overall international sales figure that at the very least now represents over 60 % of total global sales to date i.e. a minimum of 600 million copies or units once the US figure is duly adjusted. It is almost certainly greater than that but I just don't see on the basis of the available evidence how any researcher can be more precise.


Finally I feel that it is now safe to say that the sales of Presley records have passed that coveted one billion milestone and possibly may even have done so about 5 years ago. That places him several hundred million ahead of anyone else. And I would add that despite Michael Jackson's periodic claims I very much doubt that the gloved one is anywhere near the Beatles (600 million) far less Elvis.

- See more at:

please put in the beginning elvis is the most sucessful artist based on sales and billboard (please) (talk) 20:14, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

All this is a synthesis of published material that advances a position (see WP:SYNTHESIS for more info). Would need one ref that says this explicitly- and one not related to Elvis official or fan pages. That said i do think its a correct statmnet - unless we have modern numbers for Guy Lombardo .... this guy was a selling machine - what has he sold since his death in 1977 300 million + before he died in 1977. (PS is not a good source at all. Moxy (talk) 21:03, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

elvis is the most successful artistof all time

please put in the beginning that elvis is considered the most successful artist of all time per

1)gwr 2013 "elvis is the biggest selling solo artist is history with a BILLION in sales"

2) rolling stone (exact bio on there website)

As a recording artist, Presley’s accomplishments are unparalleled. He is believed to have sold more than one billion records worldwide, about 40 percent of those outside the U.S. Presley still appears to hold the largest number of gold, platinum, and multiplatinum certifications of any artist in history; as of While certainly other artists preceded him to the alter of rock & roll, he is indisputably its king.'2010, 151 different albums and singles. He remained an unmatched chart performer from the Seventies until the first decade of the 21st Century when, as the population of record buyers increased, the chart numbers of top sellers like Mariah Carey and Madonna began to challenge his. According to Billboard, Elvis had 149 charting pop singles: 114 Top 40, 40 Top Ten, and 18 Number Ones

rolling stone bio (talk) 18:17, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Sounds like alot of guess work any references for these claims like the BILLION mark...not sure people understand what a BILLION is.Moxy (talk) 19:50, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

I am quite confident the general populace understands what a billion is from the forbes yearly accounting of billionaires and movie grosses. please put that elvis is the most successful artist in history per GWR 2013. IT STATES EXACTLY A BILLION. that is a quantifieable measure of success. the mj article has no problem using an outdated record stated for Michael Jackson in 1996. please put a current one for elvis. GWR 2013 'Elvis is the biggest selling solo artist in history with a BILLION in sales" that clearly means most successful

thank you (talk) 19:47, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Do you meant that he generated a BILLION in revenue or sold a BILLION albums. Two very different things. This does not say for what - but can assume is total revenue - not just album sales. Not a fan of this type of info - but we could say "According to Guinness book of world records, Elvis has generated a BILLION in revenue as of 2013" Moxy (talk) 20:48, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
A billion albums is impossible, a billion units is improbable. A billion in revenue would be an easy accumulation for an artist like Presley, especially with such high posthumous earnings. Mc8755 (talk) 00:51, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Please put in the beginning tagline that per gwr and rolling stone elvis is considered the most succesful artist in history. in this page i have provided the exact link for the gwr that STATES ONE BILLION IN SALES and the current rolling stone bio that states ELVIS LEVEL OF SUCESS IS UNPARALLED. thank you (talk) 17:24, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Elvis Presley (USA) is the best-selling solo artist, with 1 billion sales worldwide (129.5 million in the USA). (talk) 17:27, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Rolling Stone fails to mention any indication as to where they ascertain these figures and GWR says sales of one billion "units" not records which doesn't really make sense for an artist like Elvis who would have almost exclusive sales in records. Elvis' intro says very clearly he is the best-selling solo artist of all time, which his claimed sales of roughly 500 million (see here) attest to. That link also shows that all sources concur that The Beatles have far outsold Presley so calm down with the unparalleled hyperbole. I'm sensing a ridiculous amount of Wikipedia:Sock puppetry going on with these poorly written requests on the talk pages here and for Talk:Michael Jackson. Mc8755 (talk) 18:55, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

please understand i only ask for changes that credible organizations state about elvis. i fail to understand why mj accomplishments are stated in the beginning for him and barely anything is stated for elvis. for example, it states in the beginning that mj is considered the most succesful per gwr and that he has 13 number one hits. why then does it not state in the beginning that elvis sold a billion per gwr and he has 18 number one billboard hits(per billboard) all i am asking is the sAME RESPECT you afford the mj wiki article. i also provded above that per billboard point system elvis dominated the charts, even over the beatles. lastly, mj wiki authors admitted that the most sucessful is ambiguous but you still use it. why then do you dismiss the gwr record for elvis then. that is clearly biased. please put the changes i posted. per wiki, billboard, gwr and rolling stone are well respected sources. also please include philanthropist for elvis too. there are numerous credible sources that show he consitently gave to chariteable orginaztions.

respectfully, the silent majority thank you (talk) 21:02, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

First, your idea of "credible" is apparently not the same as the Wikipedia standard.
Second, the Elvis Presley article starts by calling him "a cultural icon," "one of the most popular musicians of the 20th century," "the most important popularizer of rockabilly," "the leading figure of the newly popular sound of rock and roll," and "one of the most important figures of 20th-century popular culture." It also cites his Grammy nominations and awards, his groundbreaking global concert broadcast, and his hall of fame inductions. So, it is hardly true that "barely anything is stated for Elvis." As for his #1 hits, Elvis' chart appearances are detailed at the end of the article; they don't have to be in the opening section.
Third, in terms of according respect, I'm not sure who you mean by "you." Wikipedia isn't a handful of people holding board meetings in which they decide such things; it's countless editors around the world working to a constantly evolving standard that is open to interpretation. The people working on this article are probably not the ones working on the Michael Jackson article; the two sets of editors may have different notions of how best to structure a Wikipedia article (as may all the individual editors within each set); and the two articles are not significant frames of reference for each other. "We" are not biased with regards to Michael Jackson vs. Elvis; rather, "we" are not writing both articles.
Fourth, this is an encyclopedia article, not a fan page. It's wonderful that Elvis Presley was a philanthropist, but that's not why he was famous. Consequently, it is probably not essential that it be included. There are credible sources that he did a lot of things that aren't in this article because they don't belong here: they belong in books, films, websites, etc. that celebrate (or denigrate) Elvis. The point of Wikipedia articles is not to foster competition between the subjects (or their fans), so please stop asking for things in this article because some other article has them.
Finally, you are not "the silent majority," nor are you empowered to speak for it. Presuming that millions of people agree with your arguments you does not bolster them, any more than does regular repetition. You've made your case many times now. If it hasn't worked already, then it seems unlikely that pleading it again will make any difference. So, please, give it a rest. Pstoller (talk) 22:14, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

I respect your opnion, but completely disagree. how can wiki use a source (GWR) but disavow the same source for another person. I hardly think gwr would risk there reputation to 'hype" elvis record sales. I fail to understand why it cant be stated "elvis sold a billion units per gwr" or elvis level of success is unparalled per rolling stone and billboard" it was never my intent to bash or diminish mj accomplishments, only to show that credible sources (which wiki cites all the time) to improve the bio of elvis and mj. I submitted prior the exact link that shows the governor of Hawaii proclaiming aloha elvis day(the official proclamation)2013. i would assume that would be a nice ending on aloha elvis wiki article. editors were shown proof m billboard and soundscan that mj was never the most downloaded artist(ever). there reply was that at one point he was which is clearly not true. (I provided the 2009 soundscan/billboard top ten downloaded artists)mj was not even in the top ten. anyone looking at that would realize the two articles that state mj was are not credible and are not large downloading sites either. lastly, all I asked is that you put elvis as a singer, actor and philanthropist. he is indeed famous for giving and chariteable contributions. there is multiple credible data that shows he was. isn't the point of wiki to educate people? (talk) 01:14, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

"Wiki" isn't using or disavowing anything. The editors of the MJ article have elected to use GWR; the editors of this one thus far have not. GWR online has no entry for "most successful entertainer of all time," as claimed in the MJ article. MJ is currently GWR's "highest earning deceased artist," but GWR is vague about whether that's in any given year, in 2009-2010 only, cumulatively since death, or what. This is similar to the issues with the "best-selling solo artist" entry, which doesn't say of what Elvis has sold a billion, nor how (or by whom) the figure was determined. That sort of problem makes GWR a poor source of encyclopedic information. The answer is not to compound the problem in this article. Whatever problems you have with the MJ article, they don't belong in the talk section for the EP article.
As for GWR risking its reputation on hype: GWR's entire reputation is for hype. Hype is also the best description for "'Elvis Aloha from Hawai'i via Satellite' Day," which is not even an annual day of celebration but only in 2013. The term "unparalleled" is just more hype; to the extent that it's true, the facts in this article already make it clear. There is credible data that Elvis was a philanthropist, but not that he was especially famous for it, beyond dispensing an unusual quantity of Cadillacs. He's more famous for eating deep-fried peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwiches, and for appearing after his death at a 7-11 in Kalamazoo, MI. Do you really want to open the door for including those things here? I don't. Elvis Presley is famous as a singer, an actor, and an icon. Considering that few people in world history are as famous, that should be enough. Pstoller (talk) 03:01, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
  • The same conversations by the same user were archived for going nowhere and being pointless on the Talk:Michael Jackson page. Maybe consider the same thing here. Mc8755 (talk) 11:38, 23 March 2013 (UTC)


A cultural icon, he is commonly known by the single name Elvis. I think this needs a cite; "commonly" implies "more commonly than not" and I don't see that. The link reinforces that impression. There shouldn't normally be anything in the lead that isn't in the article. --John (talk) 22:33, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

I hear and see people refer to "Elvis" more often than to "Elvis Presley," just "Presley," or "The King." A quick, unscientific Google check generated the following results: "Elvis" = 183M hits; "Elvis Presley" = 62.3M hits; "Elvis Costello" = 10.2M hits. The next most famous Elvis apparently being Elvis Dumervil at under 2M hits, I subtracted 72.5M from 183M to get @110.5M references to "Elvis" alone. Even allowing for several million references to other Elvises, this offers some support for the "commonly" claim. Another unscientific test: If someone refers to "Elvis," do you assume they mean "Presley," or do you wonder which one? Wikipedia doesn't wonder: it forwards "Elvis" to the "Elvis Presley" article. For citations, his page ( says, "A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis." Also, the Sun Records Elvis page ( states, "Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture." They don't use the word, "commonly," but do they really have to? Pstoller (talk) 04:04, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
That's some interesting original research you've done. Are there any published sources that back it up? --John (talk) 06:42, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
I gave you two published citations. How many do you want? If your hangup is over the word "commonly"—although, frankly I do see that Elvis is referred to by his give name alone more commonly than not—would "widely" satisfy you? Pstoller (talk) 18:55, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
I would like to see two high quality sources for this please. Not a record company or a radio station but a serious academic source like an old-style book. It's not a big deal just to remove it for now if this does not exist or cannot be found. --John (talk) 19:18, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
From the New York Times: "It has become a truism that the three most identifiable names in the whole world are Jesus, Coca-Cola and Elvis." ( Charles Kuralt, from his 1977 CBS TV special tribute/eulogy to Elvis, as reported in the book, When Elvis Died (by Neal and Janice Gregory, 1980, Communications Press, p. 63): "In looking at his life, you have to start with the fact of his name. It was perfect for fame, giving him an instant idiosyncratic identity … You never heard anybody ask, 'Elvis who?'" Pstoller (talk) 21:56, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Those are great sources for Elvis being a famous name, but mononymous? I'm not convinced. Separate issue, it should not be in the lead, and not in the rest of the article. --John (talk) 22:53, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Both references are explicitly about "Elvis" as a universally recognized mononym; "Presley" is purposefully excluded to make precisely that point. In the Wiki on mononyms, it gives the following example: "Some mononym stage names are merely the performer's given name (e.g. Britney, Rihanna, Kesha, Cher, Madonna, Beyoncé)…" If "Britney" (Spears) and "Beyoncé" (Knowles) are mononyms—and likewise such other examples from that article as "Oprah" (Winfrey) and "Hillary" (Clinton)—then "Elvis" unquestionably is. As such, it belongs in the lead, and should be reinforced in the article with one or more relevant citations. Pstoller (talk) 02:11, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Elvis has been ranked the top solo artist of all time

Please put in the beginning that according to all chart . Com elvis is ranked the top solo artist in hx .

It's based on rolling stone , vh1 , billboard and Wikipedia ( all credible sources )

Thank you. (talk) 16:31, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

The lead already says, "He is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music." --Musdan77 (talk) 20:38, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

I would like a page " list of elvis awards received "

Elvis has won hundreds of awards and numerous riaa certifications. Please post a page list of awards elvis won. I and fellow elvis fans will post awards and the links to them

Thank you (talk) 21:56, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

RIAA certifications aren't technically awards, and there would have to be a lot more than that anyway. --Musdan77 (talk) 04:50, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
Elvis has won hundreds of awards per Graceland . The mj list page of wards uses riaa certifications , magazine articles and even polls . Please put a list / heading so fans can list his awards and add links . I do not know how to use HTML . The purpose of wiki is to educate . Please allow us to do so.

Thank you (talk) 13:14, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Please give some sort of source to back up what you're trying to say. --Musdan77 (talk) 00:06, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
If you are proposing that we start an article entitled 'List of awards won by Elvis Presley', it is very unlikely to be accepted. This isn't a fansite blog. This is an encyclopaedia. We don't create lists of trivia... AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:32, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

please make an article listing all the awards and nominations received by elvis. michael jackson wiki has one.i dont see anyone having a problem with that, IMDb > Elvis Presley > Awards

International Acclaim Elvis Presley’s trophy room at Graceland is filled with gold and platinum records and awards of all kinds from around the world. Some of the countries represented are: Norway, Yugoslavia, Japan, Australia, South Africa, England, Sweden, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, and The Netherlands.

It is interesting to note that, except for a handful of movie soundtrack songs, Elvis did not record in other languages, and, except for five shows in three Canadian cities in 1957, he did not perform in concerts outside the United States. Still, his recordings and films enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, popularity all over the globe, and he is known throughout the world by his first name.

thank you (talk) 12:41, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Please stop starting new sections for the same topic. This has already been answered above. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:15, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Please give some sort of source to back up what you're trying to say. --Musdan77 (talk) 00:06, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

this topic has not been answered per musdan77 i listed stating he has hundreds of awards and the imdb data base

again, the purpose of wiki is to educate. the michael jackson wiki has one, so why doesnt elvis has one?? please allow it

thank you (talk) 14:05, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't know... I question why awards seem to be in portions of Michael's article. This article at least cuts to the chase of who Elvis was as a musical talent and cultural icon while the awards are given its own page. Michael's page is a little messy. Like Whitney's page, his awards mention is in the introduction and mentioned elsewhere though it has its own page. Without sources, I don't know if we can include how many awards Elvis received in that country or whatever. BrothaTimothy (talk · contribs) 16:29, 8 June 2013 (UTC)


Shouldn't the quoted discussions of Presley's vocal range supply (in parentheses) the standard notation of octave denomination? For example: "Presley's best octave is in the middle, D-flat to D-flat." (D-flat 3 to D-flat 4). Also, mention should be made of the drastic deterioration of his tessitura with age and abuse. By the time of his 1968 "comeback" he was quite obviously well below the two and quarter octaves he had boasted just a decade earlier. Orthotox (talk) 21:38, 15 June 2013 (UTC)


  • "His energized interpretations of songs, many from African-American sources, and his uninhibited performance style made him enormously popular—and controversial."
I propose that the phrase: "many from African-American sources", be removed from the lead per WP:UNDUE. This text-string is referring to pre-1957, and pre-1957 Elvis had released 7 "black" songs, 14 "white" songs and 3 from a mixed-race writing team.

Side one of his first release, Elvis Presley

  1. "Blue Suede Shoes" Carl Perkins January 30, 1956 2:00 White writer
  2. "I'm Counting On You" Don Robertson January 11, 1956 2:25 White writer
  3. "I Got a Woman" Ray Charles January 10, 1956 2:25 Black writer
  4. "One-Sided Love Affair" Bill Campbell January 30, 1956 2:11 White writer
  5. "I Love You Because" Leon Payne July 5, 1954 2:43 White writer
  6. "Just Because" Bob Shelton, Joe Shelton, Sydney Robin White writers

Side two of his first release, Elvis Presley

  1. "Tutti Frutti" Dorothy LaBostrie, Richard Wayne Penniman January 31, 1956 1:59 Black writer
  2. "Tryin' to Get to You" Rose Marie McCoy, Charles Singleton July 11, 1955 2:31 Black writers
  3. "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)" Howard Biggs and Joe Thomas January 31, 1956 2:01 Black writers
  4. "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')" Jimmy Wakely September 10, 1954 2:24 White writer
  5. "Blue Moon" Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart August 19, 1954 2:40 White writers
  6. "Money Honey" Jesse Stone Black writer

So Elvis' first album included 7 compositions from white artists and 5 from black ones. Why not add, "many from country-western artists" as well as "many from African-American sources"?

Side one of his second release, Elvis

  1. "Rip It Up" Robert Blackwell and John Marascalco September 3, 1956 1:50 One White and one Black writer
  2. "Love Me" Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller September 1, 1956 2:41 White writers
  3. "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again" Gene Sullivan and Wiley Walker September 2, 1956 2:18 White writers
  4. "Long Tall Sally" Robert Blackwell, Enotris Johnson, Richard Penniman September 2, 1956 1:51 Black writers
  5. "First in Line" Aaron Schroeder and Ben Weisman September 3, 1956 3:21 White writers
  6. "Paralyzed" Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley September 2, 1956 2:18 One White and one Black writer

Side two of his second release, Elvis

  1. "So Glad You're Mine" Arthur Crudup January 30, 1956 2:18 Black writer
  2. "Old Shep" Red Foley September 2, 1956 4:10 White writer
  3. "Ready Teddy" Robert Blackwell and John Marascalco September 3, 1956 1:55 One White and one Black writer
  4. "Anyplace Is Paradise" Joe Thomas September 2, 1956 2:26 White writer
  5. "How's the World Treating You" Chet Atkins and Boudleaux Bryant September 1, 1956 2:23 White writers
  6. "How Do You Think I Feel" Webb Pierce and Wiley Walker September 1, 1956 2:10 White writers

So, on Elvis' second release of 1956, the album contained only 2 songs written by black writers and 7 written by white writers, with 3 tracks from a mixed-race writing team. So again, why not add, "many from country-western artists" as well as "many from African-American sources"? Any thoughts? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 00:41, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

GabeMc – In the 1950s, the primary format for popular music was not the LP, but the single. Focusing on Presley's RCA albums thus distorts the true shape of his output. So, let's first look at his five singles for Sun Records:


  • Sun 209: "That's All Right (Mama)" b/w "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" – A-side by black writer/performer, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup
  • Sun 210: "Good Rockin' Tonight" b/w "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine" – A-side by black writer/performer, Roy Brown


  • Sun 215: "Milkcow Blues Boogie" b/w "You're A Heartbreaker" – A-side by black writer/performer, Kokomo Arnold
  • Sun 217: "Baby Let's Play House" b/w "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" – A-side by black writer/performer, Arthur Gunter
  • Sun 223: "Mystery Train" b/w "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" – A-side by black writer/performer, Junior Parker
I assume you see the pattern. Now, let's look at the RCA singles:


  • RCA Victor 47-6420: "Heartbreak Hotel" b/w "I Was The One" – B-side co-written by black writer, Claude Demetrius
  • RCA Victor 47-6540: "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" b/w "My Baby Left Me" – B-side by black writer/performer, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup
  • RCA Victor 47-6604: "Hound Dog" b/w "Don't Be Cruel" – A-side originally written for and recorded by black singer, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton; B-side written by black writer, Otis Blackwell
  • RCA Victor 47-6636: "Blue Suede Shoes" b/w "Tutti Frutti" – B-side written by black writers, Little Richard and Dorothy LaBostrie; originally recorded by black singer, Little Richard
  • RCA Victor 47-6637: "I Got A Woman" b/w "I'm Counting On You" – A-side written by black writers, Ray Charles and Renald Richard
  • RCA Victor 47-6638: "I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')" b/w "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)" – B-side written by black writers, Joe Thomas and Howard Biggs; originally recorded by black singer, Roy Hamilton
  • RCA Victor 47-6639: "Tryin' To Get To You" b/w "I Love You Because" – A-side written by black writers, Rose Marie McCoy & Charles Singleton; originally recorded by black singers, The Eagles
  • RCA Victor 47-6640: "Blue Moon" b/w "Just Because" – The first single with no African-American sourcing—indeed, the only one through 1956—features "oldies" dating back to 1934 and 1929, respectively
  • RCA Victor 47-6641: "Money Honey" b/w "One Sided Love Affair" – A-side written by black writer, Jesse Stone; originally recorded by black singers, The Drifters
  • RCA Victor 47-6642: "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" b/w "Shake Rattle And Roll" – A-side by black writer/performer, Lloyd Price; B-side written by black writer, Jesse Stone; originally recorded by black singer, Big Joe Turner
  • RCA Victor 47-6643: October 6: "Love Me Tender" b/w "Any Way You Want Me (That's How I Will Be)" – B-side co-written by black writer, Clyde Otis (under the pseudonym Cliff Owens)

†All songs credited Blackwell-Presley were written by Blackwell alone; Presley's name was added as a contractual term

The RCA singles (and the non-single material on Presley's 1956 EPs) followed the basic pattern of the Sun sides, which was to mix "white" country with "black" R&B material on nearly every record. "Blue Moon"/"Just Because" is a "high concept" exception; otherwise, the only exceptions were when a single featured R&B songs on both sides.
Obviously, one could say, "many from country-western artists". However, to put this statement on a par with noting Presley's black sources ignores the historical context in which these records were made, in which Presley's career was launched, and in which that career generated significant controversy. Simply put: Elvis Presley was a white southern singer who would have been expected to record songs by white C&W writers and performers. What distinguished him from virtually every other popular white artist of his time and place was that 1) he devoted half his output to material by black writers and/or artists, and 2) he infused both his R&B and country recordings with stylistic elements gleaned from R&B. (This latter point is made in the lead and elsewhere in the article; country does not get short-shrift.)
Thus, it is not only wholly accurate to note that "many [of his songs are] from African-American sources", but it is also an essential point in communicating what was important and controversial about Presley. As such, it belongs in the lead, unleavened by a "me too" mention of C&W. Pstoller (talk) 04:38, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
I hear you, but the Sun Sessions wasn't commercially released until 1976, so how could the lead be talking about those recordings while not breaking the chronology? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 04:53, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
GabeMc - Those Sun singles were all issued in the years 1954 and 1955, as I said they were. The Sun Sessions was a compilation of previously-issued singles in LP form: as I said above: "In the 1950s, the primary format for popular music was not the LP, but the single." Those early singles were the original basis for Presley's fame and controversy, and the reason Sam Phillips was able to get $35,000—a princely sum in 1955-56—for Presley's contract. In fact, there was a bidding war for Presley, with RCA's deeper pockets beating out Atlantic Records.
This is Rock & Roll History 101, and while I don't want to be too harsh, simply put: anyone who doesn't already know these things has no business whatsoever editing this article for content. Even understanding little things such as the fact that Elvis was known both as "the King of Rock & Roll" and simply "the King," and that these are not redundant in this context (and that they belong in scare quotes rather than italics), is critical to working on this article. Pstoller (talk) 05:30, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
I have to agree, Pstoller. Elvis mixed R&B and country in a way few artists did and he never did pretend to be an R&B artist, he was just Elvis. The way the wording is, it makes the reader think Elvis got where he was only through black music sources when obviously that wasn't the case. BrothaTimothy (talk · contribs) 06:40, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Near the beginning of that very paragraph, it says: "Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues." Now, the only way that paragraph can possibly "[make] the reader think Elvis got where he was only through black music sources" is if the reader either cannot read or has not bothered to do so. Pstoller (talk) 07:46, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
It's marginal, but I tend to agree with User:GabeMc. Presley was not the first white musician to use material from black writers - Bill Haley's "Rock The Joint" and "Rocket 88" come to mind immediately - and although his popularisation of R&B styles was hugely important, it doesn't seem necessary to me to over-emphasise it and imply that he was the only, or first, person to do so. Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:55, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Neither I nor the relevant phrase in the article imply that Presley was the first or only white musician to use material from black writers and performers. Bill Haley is hardly the first, once you take jazz into account. Rather, the sentence says that Presley's incorporation of African-American sources in his music—in terms of both material and performance style—was a major factor in both his success and the attendant controversy, to which the phrase is directly linked in the paragraph under discussion. It's not necessary to over-emphasize anything, but it is necessary to emphasize this if this article is to accurately represent the root of its subject's importance. As it stands, the piece only begins to get at an understanding of the significance of this near the end, in the "Racial Issues" and "Legacy" sections. Thus, the emphasis belongs in the lead. Pstoller (talk) 20:31, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
  • User:Pstoller, I'm not stating that Elvis didn't liberally use material from African American writers. I'm stating that he just as liberally borrowed from white country-western artists. User:Ghmyrtle makes a good point that Elvis was not unique or innovative in this regard and User:BrothaTimothy supports my assertion that at the heart of Elvis' inspiration was a mixing-pot of influences. Its not that the statement isn't at least partially true, it just smacks of WP:UNDUE, IMO. Let the article body go into these types of details, but to have this in the lead sounds like "if not for black artists", Elvis would not have made the impact he made pre-1957, which is a half-truth at best. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:30, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
GabeMc - It's not "a half-truth at best"; it's a well-established fact. Yes, his early music was influenced in equal parts by white (mostly country) and black (R&B, which, like "race music," was a euphemism for "black music" of whatever type) music. What's missing from this analysis is that Presley was a white American southerner in the mid-1950s, which means that the country influence was not "borrowing" in the same way as the R&B influence, nor was it even remotely as controversial. You might find the following quote from American RadioWorks Sex, Race and Rock & Roll enlightening:
"It's almost hard to imagine it actually happened. The stir that rock and roll caused is so well documented in movies and pop culture. People burning Elvis records. A nation seemingly terrorized by its teenagers. It's such a symbol of the repressed, paranoid, square, Eisenhower era, it's hard to remember that in 1955, the feelings were raw and this moment was powerful."[2] (emphasis added)
I shouldn't have to tell you that this happened, just as I shouldn't have to tell you that it wasn't because of his country influences or his burlesque moves. This Wikipedia article, however, should make it absolutely clear. As history, this is neither controversial nor trivial, and the attempts to render it either or both smack of ignorance or worse. Pstoller (talk) 20:31, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

I'm a bit late to the party, but, the interplay between the major "ethnic" groups in this country has a very long, and arguably uninterupted history. The first early, popular, recorded blues were by whites. Swing, played by both major "racial" groups, made liberal use of material from the blues, including Western Swing groups such as Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Ella Mae Morse was a white girl who sang like a black woman. Johnnie Ray was an almost immediate predecessor of Elvis, as are Bill Haley's various groups, and both (all) had sounds that were similar to what black artists were/had been recording. This prehistory is in my opinion completely overlooked by most writers. We had a long discussion here about whether or not Elvis was an "orgininator" of rockabilly, and, I think the evidence was that he wasn't. Likewise, I hope that whatever comes out of this discussion does not overlook the history of "mixing" influences that preceeded Elvis. Steve Pastor (talk) 17:16, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

On the one hand, you're absolutely right about the long history of musical influences across color lines, and you examples are good ones (and by no means an exhaustive selection). On the other hand, Presley was controversial for the ways in which he crossed those lines, even if he was far from the first. So, I'm trying to find a simple sentence—this is the lead, remember—that alludes to the source of the controversy without implying that Presley was the first white singer to discover the blues. Pstoller (talk) 04:46, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Straw poll

  • "His energized interpretations of songs, many from African-American sources, and his uninhibited performance style made him enormously popular—and controversial."
I propose that the phrase: "many from African-American sources", be removed from the lead per WP:UNDUE.

Support proposal

  1. As nom. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 20:37, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
  2. I add to one of those who agree to such a proposal. BrothaTimothy (talk · contribs) 01:17, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
  3. I also agree with this particular proposal. Lord Sjones23 (talk - contributions) 02:57, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Oppose proposal

  1. I not only oppose the proposal, I oppose the very idea of the proposal. History should not be determined by straw poll, and it's that much worse when such a poll is proposed by someone who has demonstrated a lack of basic knowledge about the relevant history. ("…the Sun Sessions wasn't commercially released until 1976, so how could the lead be talking about those recordings while not breaking the chronology?") Pstoller (talk) 22:57, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Extended discussion

  • I am opposed to polling on something like this. The best solution is usually to come up with a new wording. How about something like:

    "His uninhibited style and energy in performing and interpreting songs from both R&B and country traditions made him enormously popular—and controversial."

    Ghmyrtle (talk) 23:18, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Alas, wording is not the issue. The question is whether specifically stressing black influences on Presley's '50s work amounts to WP:UNDUE. I maintain that it doesn't, and that it is in fact essential to stress that influence above others—not because it was a greater percentage of his total range of influences than C&W, but because it was a distinguishing characteristic for a white singer from Tennessee in a way that a white, C&W influence was not, and because it was the greatest locus of the controversy associated with Presley's rise. Now, I'm happy with the idea of rephrasing the sentence; but, not if that singular emphasis is lost in the process. Pstoller (talk) 23:34, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
I think User:Ghmyrtle makes a fine suggestion. Nobody questions whether or not Elvis was influenced by multiple genres, so why shouldn't the lead reflect this well-known fact? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 01:12, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
With or without the phrase in question, the lead already makes the point that Presley was influenced by multiple genres, including the phrases: "Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues"; and "His versatile voice and wide success encompassed many genres, including country, pop music, gospel, and blues." Nobody is suggesting that the article should back away from that stance. That would be as problematic as minimizing the special significance of black music in his career. Pstoller (talk) 01:54, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
Right, and I tend to agree with you, but that's exactly why I see the phrase, "many from African-American sources" as excess and perhaps even redundant, if not a POV, since afterall, doesn't the mention of rhythm and blues and blues imply an African American influence? Why don't we go out of our way to emphasize the fact that country-western music was driven primarily by white artists at the time? Do you see my point here at all, User:Pstoller? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 02:02, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
I've already repeated myself, but at the risk of doing so again: To merely equate Presley's C&W and R&B influences is to negate what made him and his work culturally significant. It is pretending that the complex social context in which he arose—a context that infused Presley's music and the entire Presley phenomenon with layers of meaning that resonate to this day—didn't exist. To remove this key phrase from the one segment of the lead that notes Presley's controversiality is to duck the most important source of controversy and ascribe it solely to his "energized interpretations" and "uninhibited performance style". That is a POV, and a very dangerous one for any encyclopedia to take. It would render this article impotent and fundamentally unreliable. Now, there may be a way to avoid that problem and also avoid the phrase that's bothering you; I'm open to suggestions that accomplish both goals. However, while I have great respect for Ghmyrtle, I must point out that the new wording proposed above doesn't do that. Pstoller (talk) 02:41, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
My view parallels Pstoller's, such that I think it critically important to point out that Elvis became famous because of the very effective way he mixed black music with white. It was more than the Pelvis, more than the "energized" performance aspect. Let us retain the phrase about African-American music. Binksternet (talk) 02:57, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
FWIW, the song that piqued Sam Phillips interest in Elvis, after he was closing down shop and the mics were turned off because he thought Elvis was a dud, was Blue Moon of Kentucky by Bill Monroe. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 03:31, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
FWIW, according to this very article and sourced from the very reliable Guralnick, it was "That's All Right," not "Blue Moon of Kentucky," that first caught Phillips' ear. Pstoller (talk) 04:17, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
I stand corrected. "BMOFK" was the b-side to "TAR", which was the first song that caught Phillips' ear. Nevertheless, I don't see the need to get personally insulting, User:Pstoller. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:01, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Pstoller, re: the Sun Sessions. You seem to think that you caught me not knowing the topic, but you havn't (Elvis is my favorite signer of all-time), all I meant was that Elvis' first two albums were comprised of 2/3 "white" songs, but yeah, if you stick all the singles and outtakes together its more equal, but do you have a verifiable figure that Elvis recorded more "black' music than "white" music, because if you do, I still haven't seen it. Anyway, nobody is questioning the "black" influence; I'm questioning the weight given to it in the lead. Also, how long did this overwhelming black influence last? Was Elvis still singing "black" music in the 1960s and 1970s, or had his interests shifted radically toward country and gospel? I know the answer and so do you, so don't feel you need to answer. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 03:31, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
GabeMc - Whether or not Elvis is your favorite singer, the fact remains that you began editing this article while ignorant of basic, widely-known, and widely-published facts about the beginnings of his career and other aspects of those times. Your recent post above about "Blue Moon of Kentucky" is more of the same, and strongly indicates that you did not even bother reading the article before commencing to edit it. This is not necessarily a problem for basic CE, but it is a very big problem when editing content.
None of the records I listed were outtakes: they are all the original US singles issued from 1954-1956. That 1) is verifiable, and 2) demonstrates that approximately half his recordings in that time frame were by black writers and/or had first been performed by black artists in an R&B style.
I never said Presley recorded "more black music than white"; I said the R&B material and influence was of greater significance, both immediately and in the long historical view. I have also explained at some length why this is so. That, not mere quantity, is why I maintain that it should be stressed in the lead.
I can only speculate as to why his LPs leaned "whiteward," but the fact that LPs were more expensive and more associated with musical forms that were relatively popular with white adults (not R&B) might explain it. At the time, Presley's LPs were relatively unimportant compared to his singles, and—as was typical of the time—they were assembled afterward, as compilations of singles and EPs. (Many people who came of age at any time from the late '60s through the end of the CD era don't appreciate this fact.)
The focus of Presley's output shifted almost as soon as he resumed his recording career after his stint in the army, and not only included more gospel (white and black) and country, but also pop and even opera, not to mention that abundance of soundtracks. However, the paragraph in question is addressing Presley's early years and the attendant controversy. So, what he would go on to do in the '60s and '70s is irrelevant to this issue (though of course vitally important in discussing Presley's life and career as a whole). Pstoller (talk) 04:17, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm a bit late to the discussion, but here's my take: I seem to have just skimmed over that sentence when I read the lead. I thought it was talking about how he was influenced by black singers (not writers). I don't have a problem with removing that part, but Elvis himself said, "Rock 'n' roll music is basically gospel [meaning "black" gospel music] or rhythm and blues, or it sprang from that." I know that the article includes some mention of "black" gospel (but mostly "white" gospel), but not in the lead. So, if anything should be added/changed, it should be that. --Musdan77 (talk) 04:27, 13 July 2013 (UTC)I think
  • I'm slightly reluctant to open this out further, but do we mention in the opening paragraphs on Big Mama Thornton that some of her songs were written by white songwriters? Or, for that matter, Louis Jordan? The point is that, especially after the War as I understand it, there was a process of cultural mixing taking place through which white teenagers listened to and appreciated black music, and vice versa. Presley was a major figure in bringing that mixing process into wider public focus, and the article should recognise that. But, is it so important, and so central to a biography of the man himself, that it needs to be stressed in the way that it is currently? I'm still not convinced that it is. I would add that, personally, I actually have no problem with either wording - whether the words are included or not - but, a debate is taking place and a response of "I don't care" would seem inappropriate. Ghmyrtle (talk) 06:54, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm not convinced of it either. In fact, as a black man, I'm kinda offended that "African American" is used to describe the type of music that influenced him. Rhythm and blues was never exclusively black except for those that were willing to divide the color lines and record industry's fears that the music was not sellable to whites, which Elvis among a group of others helped to shatter. But the man wasn't just into rhythm and blues. As his material will show, it was always evenly spread among different genres at the same time (rhythm and blues, country, gospel, pop). I don't see nothing wrong in editing this part of the article. BrothaTimothy (talk · contribs) 19:46, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • While much has been made of The Sun Sessions and my assumed lack of knowledge about the release of the singles, I will say this: of the 10 tracks included in the compilation that were released prior to 1956, at least 6 of them were written or co-written by white writers. So, the Sun singles were at least 50/50 white/black and Elvis' first two albums contained songs written by 14 white, 7 black and 3 mixed-race writing teams. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 19:09, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
I took the weekend off from Wikipedia to think about some of the points of view voiced about this issue, and to be better prepared to discuss the additional points of view that inevitably arose over the past couple of days. From the vantage point of that bit of distance, I'd like to start by saying that GabeMc is a valued contributor to Wikipedia as a whole, and that his edits here, regardless of whether I share his POV, were at least made in good faith. I stand by my criticisms—a demonstrated lack of knowledge is not "assumed", and can lead to editorial problems—but not by my tone, which was more confrontational than I'd have liked it to be.
I understand the discomfort with labeling certain musics by race/color/ethnicity, as if nobody from outside a given community ever contributed to the development of these art forms; as if nobody within one tradition ever took anything from others; and as if these genres didn't all ultimately "cross over" to wide audiences. That said—and please forgive my pedantry, but this apparently needs to be stated here—it would be a monumental distortion of history to say that blues, jazz, and R&B were anything but primarily black American inventions. (With all due respect to BrothaTimothy, the term "rhythm & blues" was coined in the '40s to replace the term "race music," making it by definition as "exclusively black" as any music could possibly be.) As for rock & roll, well, that depends very much on how you define it. Elvis himself equated early rock & roll with rhythm & blues, and he is hardly alone in doing so, though some think that rock & roll arrived with the advent of Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, and others who combined R&B with more elements of C&W (esp. western swing). In any case, while all these genres were adopted, adapted, and developed by musicians of all ethnicities (and nationalities), that doesn't alter the facts of the musics' origins.
I think Musdan77 is right that the "African-American sources" mentioned in the lead are, or were intended to be, performers rather than writers; but, either way, simply counting up influences and labeling them "black" and "white" is divisive in a way that runs directly counter to Presley's art. Arguably his signature achievement at the outset of his career was mixing his influences so deftly that, before anyone had seen him, DJs and listeners alike were unsure whether he was black or white, regardless of whether the record in question was of an R&B or country song. Unlike his white contemporaries, Presley didn't water down his performances to established pop comfort levels (even if his lyrics were occasionally bowdlerized), which is why it's Presley who was a lightning rod for controversy and Presley who was credited with opening the gates for black and white rock & rollers alike.
Ghmyrtle asks if this is so important that it needs to be stressed as it is currently. Well, yes, it's so central to what Presley accomplished and why we still care that it needs to be stressed in the lead; but, no, not precisely as it is now. Although I disagree with GabeMc that the reference to "African-American sources" constitutes WP:UNDUE, I am increasingly inclined to agree that the phrase is problematic because it doesn't begin to explain why this particular influence matters so much; it merely implies it to those who already know the history, and can appear gratuitous and/or misleading to those who don't. If we could simply assume that everyone already knows why "a white Southerner singing blues laced with country and country laced with gospel" was so groundbreaking and controversial, we wouldn't need to stress it; however, this discussion has confirmed to me that such an assumption would be false.
I'll try to think of a way to capsulize the point in 25 words or less, but I don't feel any need to author the sentence; I hope others will have a go. The point is not to give majority ownership of Presley's music to African-Americans, but rather to suggest why that influence, on that man, in that place and time, helped to change American culture. Because, if not for that, Presley would be just another really good singer—with a Wikipedia article a fraction of the size of this one. Pstoller (talk) 22:19, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
  • User:Pstoller, the point about African sources is redundant with "Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues." We also mention gospel and blues in the lead. We don't need to also state that "His energized interpretations of songs, many from African-American sources, and his uninhibited performance style made him enormously popular—and controversial." To me the simplest solution is to remove the phrase, "many from African-American sources", as there is absolutely no need to reiterate that he was influenced by country nor is there any need to describe country-western as "white" music. Lets just remove the contentious phrase so that the lead talks about Elvis' musical influences in terms of style, not race. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 22:45, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
GabeMc, there is no question that your "solution" is (almost) the simplest; however, as it creates greater problems than it solves, it is not the best. Leaving things exactly as they are is both simpler and better. However, rewriting the passage to be more explicit and more clearly "unweighted" is the best solution. Pstoller (talk) 23:58, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
User:Pstoller, do you think that this edit introduces an acceptable and simple compromise? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 00:12, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Well, not yet, but I do appreciate the effort. What I'm suggesting is not simply to list ethnic influences, but to briefly(!) characterize them in relation to the times, explaining how they would, in combination, result in immediate controversy and long-term cultural impact. Again, just to be clear—this isn't about giving any race, or races, "credit" for Presley's music; this is about communicating that race was a defining issue of the era, and that Presley's music of that time had a significant impact on that issue. Pstoller (talk) 01:21, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Possible compromise

How does this look?

Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of European-American country music and African-American rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who managed the singer for more than two decades. Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel", released in January 1956, was a number-one hit. He became the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style made him enormously popular—and controversial.

Any thoughts? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 00:19, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Not bad. Though I don't know about including "European American" and "African American" there. Besides, both country and rhythm and blues music are American music lol BrothaTimothy (talk · contribs) 01:16, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
I think its at least balanced if not a bit redundant, but I agree and if it weren't for User:Pstoller I would leave "race" out of the lead, but that is clearly not an option at this point regarding agreement with them. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 01:26, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
As I said above, this doesn't address the real issue; it just labels genres that are already pretty well defined in terms of their origins, and that are Wikilinked for more info besides. The question is: Why was it historically significant, and deeply controversial, that a young white southerner who was unreservedly steeped in the style and repertoire of rhythm and blues became the biggest pop star in America c.1956? If you really have no idea, then perhaps somebody else should address this section. Pstoller (talk) 02:27, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
It's a good quote, moving in the right direction; but, RS isn't an encyclopedia, isn't trying to make the same point with that phrase, and makes different assumptions (justly or otherwise) about its readership. Look, let me try to make you happy tomorrow. If nothing else, it will give us something fresh to disagree about! Pstoller (talk) 03:42, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

OK, here's my first draft [NOTE - now second draft, incorporating revisions suggested below]:

Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who was to manage the singer for more than two decades. Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel", released in January 1956, was a number-one hit in the US. He became the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines that coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, made him enormously popular—and controversial.

I believe this gets around the WP:UNDUE issue that disturbed GabeMc and BrothaTimothy and also avoids the pitfalls that concerned Steve Pastor, while clarifying the nature of the racial component in Presley's initial controversy (and popularity). I used "coincided" because we shouldn't paint Presley as a political activist. He was simply singing music he loved; the sociopolitical impact of his music, however significant, was an unintended byproduct. Anyway, it addresses my concerns, and hopefully the parallel concerns of Binksternet. Let me know what you think. Pstoller (talk) 04:46, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Looks pretty good, with the color and sexiness issues handled neatly. I would say about Parker that he "was to manage the singer" rather than "managed the singer". That puts the decades of management in the future. Binksternet (talk) 10:59, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Have to agree, Binksternet. That's a better way of describing just exactly what was going on at the time. Elvis, probably way more than Bill Haley, definitely played a hand in how the music industry changed after his arrival. I do agree about the Parker wording from Binksternet though. But this is really good. BrothaTimothy (talk · contribs) 15:56, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Looks good to me, unless you want to avert charges of US-centricism by saying that "Heartbreak Hotel" was #1 in the US, not necessarily everywhere (#2 in UK, for instance). Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:12, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree with the additional suggested revisions, and for simplicity's sake I have simply added them to the draft above. In truth, I wasn't even looking at those phrases other than as context for the one I was editing. I'd like GabeMc's input before I put it into the article, since this whole discussion started at his instigation. And I must note that, while he and I have clashed over this, he should be credited for pushing us to improve the lead. Pstoller (talk) 18:26, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Looks quite good to me, especially with User:Binksternet and User:Ghmyrtle's input. Nice work User:Pstoller et al, and thanks for working with me! GabeMc (talk|contribs) 18:37, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Great. I've dropped the version above into the article. I also moved the sentence about Presley's movie debut from the end of the second paragraph to the beginning of the third. However, it's really neither the end of the one thought (where it's related by timeline) nor the beginning of the other (where it's related by Hollywood content). So, move it back or otherwise make it fit if this change doesn't work for you. Pstoller (talk) 19:55, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Featured Article - No way!

This is one of the worst articles about a major 20th Century figure that I have seen on Wikipedia, probably THE worst. I came here looking for some facts about E.P. Specifically, his marriages and children. This information should be available in tabular form. Instead, I see some reference to Priscilla Beaulieu which as far as I can tell was NEVER her name. That's it. No kids, no girl friends, no boy friends (if some other sources have any merit). Not even dates for marriage! Wow. While you're at it, I also suggest trying to understand that writing something like: "On March 24, Presley was inducted..." is really really bad form. Try:"On March 24, 1958, Presley was ..." Does anybody really think the month and day eliminates the need for a year? Does anybody really think that the day matters at all? I suggest that the introduction should contain a skeleton of his arc, both biographical and as an artist. Born 1935 in..., raised in...,first sang..., first record..., first #1, Gold records, Platinum, Net worth at death, Marriage(s) Children, siblings. Later years drug addiction, death. Short and sweet. (talk) 07:07, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Well I hate to break it down to you but uh Priscilla's name was indeed Priscilla Beaulieu. She was born Priscilla Wagner but she was renamed Beaulieu when she met Elvis. Also what are you even talking about? LOL BrothaTimothy (talk · contribs) 19:22, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm with BrothaTimothy on, "What are you even talking about?" Elvis Presley is a popular singer and cultural icon. He is not primarily famous for his one marriage (which is discussed in the article) and one child (who is mentioned). The date of his marriage to Priscilla Beaulieu (she had been "Beaulieu" since age two; she didn't known she'd ever been "Wagner" until age 13) is given as May 1, 1967, and the date of their divorce as October 9, 1973. At least nine other key romantic attachments are also mentioned. None of this information is so important to an understanding of Presley's life and work that it "should be available in tabular form," although I wouldn't object to seeing Priscilla and Lisa Marie added to the info box. "Net worth at death" is, frankly, trivia for people who "keep score" between celebrities; it's not as if Presley were J. P. Morgan, nor even a pop star whose finances were as controversial as Michael Jackson's. Of course, if you can craft a clear, concise, and relevant segment on Presley's finances before, at, and after his death, by all means do so. And, yes, it would improve the section on Presley's military service to add a year to the opening sentence (which you could simply have done); however, the "1958-1960" date range in the heading makes it clear that the year of Presley's induction is 1958.
The intro already contains a skeleton of Presley's arc, with most of the details you mention—including all the important ones. Most of the other details are in this article, while some (such as RIAA certifications) are in linked articles dedicated to such information. I have no doubt that this article could be improved. However, no matter how good the article gets, it will still require reading the entire article, not just the intro, to know what's actually in it. Pstoller (talk) 21:56, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Bisexual allegations

Hi im not sure where to put this as but To add to what Santamoly stated can this page - Personal relationships of Elvis Presley - be either edited to remove the bisexual allegations or the whole page be deleted thanks Elvis was only into women this is a fact. (talk) 20:08, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

His name is wrong!?

He was born with the name Elvis Aron Presley. He later changed it to Aaron[3]. I think it would be fair to leave the spelling as is at the beginning of the article, but certainly below the photo on the right, it should read Birth Name: Elvis Aron Presley. (talk) 05:51, 2 October 2013 (UTC)Blake

The middle name spelling of Aron was a clerical error according to Elvis' family. They actually meant it to be Aaron and Elvis later had his middle name changed to Aaron before his death. So I don't quite agree that it's wrong. It's been discussed in this article's talk page before. BrothaTimothy (talk · contribs) 14:17, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

elvis dominated billboard

Joel whitburn ( official billboard expert)

Puts elvis by far as the number one artist on billboard 1955-2009

Top 100 artists Elvis 7,537 points The beatles 4,611 points Madonna 4,317 points Elton john 4176 points Mariah carey 3,942 points Stevie wonder 3,470 points Michael jackson 3,410

Billboard top 40 hits Joel whitburn Ninth edition Page 870

Please put in the beginning that elvis is still an unmatched chart performer who dominates billboard .

Thank you (talk) 19:48, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Elvis Presley tops list of digitally streamed artists

the king tops the list of digitally streamed artists. please put in the beggining that besides being the highest selling solo artist in history, he tops the lists of digitally streamed artists.

Even in the world of digitally streaming music, Elvis Presley is still the King.

According to SoundExchange, a performance rights organization that collects royalties from more than 2,000 digital music services, Presley ranks as the most frequently streamed artist of the past decade, followed by Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam.

Contemporary R&B and hip-hop acts are well represented on the SoundExchange list, with Rihanna ranking No. 4, Drake No. 5, Usher No. 6 and Lil Wayne No. 7. But the list clearly favors classic rock acts, with The Beatles coming in at No. 8 and the Grateful Dead at No. 10. Country-pop queen Taylor Swift completes the list, ranking ninth.

"I find it interesting you've got Elvis Presley, you've got The Beatles," says Marie Knowles, SoundExchange's vice president of communication. "They're among the most listened to on this new platform. These are iconic rock acts, and they've got staying power."

usa today 10/3/13

thank you (talk) 17:57, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 21 October 2013

Elvis Is Back

Presley returned to the United States on March 3, 1960. On the way back from Germany he stopped to change planes at Prestwick Airport, Glasgow, Scotland (as shown in this report from the Scottish Daily Mail This turned out to be the only visit Elvis Presley would ever make to the UK, and inspired the 2011 short film "Elvis Prestwick". The film showed Presley transforming the life of a strait-laced office worker. "Elvis Prestwick" was accepted for competition at four international film festivals in 2012 and its trailer may be seen here :

Royston37 (talk) 14:59, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Not done: There needs to be consensus informed by reliable sources before this is added to the article. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 11:07, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
I see no reason to include it. It doesn't tell us anything significant about Presley; it just promotes the film (which may be well worth promoting, but not here). Pstoller (talk) 20:02, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Use of "Scare quotes" in the lead in contradiction with WP:MOS

  • Regarding the text string: "One of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "the King of Rock and Roll", or simply, "the King"."

Per WP:BADEMPHASIS: "Quotation marks for emphasis of a single word or phrase, or scare quotes, are discouraged." Per MOS:ITALIC: "Italics may be used to draw attention to an important word or phrase within a sentence".

I have tried to make the lead MoS compliant, but User:Pstoller has reverted me. So, per WP:BRD, I was bold, he reverted, now lets discuss. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 20:45, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

The usage of scare quotes is not contrary to MoS; only the usage of scare quotes for emphasis. That is not why these phrases are in scare quotes. The usages are controversial. Elvis is the "so-called 'King of Rock & Roll,'" a label that does not sit well with many African-Americans and scholars of 20th century popular music. Elvis himself rejected the label, "the King," saying that there was only one King (meaning Jesus Christ); others Christians have objected on the same basis. Thus, the usage of scare quotes in the lead is MoS-compliant, while removing them effectively removes important meaning from the article. Pstoller (talk) 20:57, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
It is in no way controversial to refer to him as the King. The vast majority of WP:RS call him that. I hear you that it might be moderately contentious to some, but are you really serious? GabeMc (talk|contribs) 21:07, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
How can it be "contentious to some" and "in no way controversial"? Are you really serious? Yes, the usages are extremely common, and virtually certain to remain so: otherwise, they would not belong in the article, much less the lead. (And, FYI, I have argued that here in the past with one or more users who questioned whether these aliases were sufficiently common to merit inclusion.) However, for many who trace rock & roll's history back before 1955, the very idea of crowning as "the King" a white late-comer to a black musical innovation is more than mildly contentious. That he has the nicknames (as per Britannica and AllMusic) is in itself indisputable; whether it's appropriate that he has them, however, has been (and still is) disputed—regardless of what the R&RHoF,, or anyone else with a commercial interest in his legend has to say about it. Pstoller (talk) 22:45, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
  • From Elvis After Elvis: The Posthumous Career of a Living Legend by Gilbert B. Rodman: "[W]hile Elvis was certainly popular with blacks, it was whites who crowned him King. A common thread running through virtually all the critiques of Elvis's coronation … is the accusation that those who put Elvis on his royal pedestal have been far too quick to reject black rock 'n' roll artists—Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Fats Domino, and Bo Diddley are among those most frequently mentioned—as legitimate contenders for the crown. Regardless of whom Elvis's critics offer as alternate candidates for his throne, however, the criticisms leveled at Elvis's coronation point to very serious, and very real, flaws in the ways in which the history of rock 'n' roll has come to be accepted and understood."[4]
  • From The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939 by Robert L. Harris, Jr. and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn: "Elvis provides a case study in the minstrel appropriation of African American styles that works like Eric Lott's Love and Theft and W. T. Lhamon's Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip-Hop have placed at the center of American cultural history. Jet magazine and almost every black person who actually knew him have absolved Elvis of personal racism. His coronation by the white media, however, angered those who knew that Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Fats Domino, not to mention Louis Jordan, Muddy Waters, and Howlin' Wolf, could make equally legitimate claims to the throne. It wasn't the first or last time the music industry bestowed the crown on a white contender—or pretender. In the 1920s, the music industry anointed the aptly-named Paul Whiteman as the "King of Jazz," and similar patterns have recurred like clockwork, arising in relation to sixties rock (the Rolling Stones), disco (the Bee Gees), R&B (Michael Bolton), funk (the Red Hot Chili Peppers), and hip-hop (Kid Rock and Eminem).[5]
Pstoller (talk) 22:45, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Quotation marks are not necessarily undesirable "scare quotes". It's perfectly normal, correct and desirable to use quotation marks around Presley's nicknames in this case because he was not, in fact, a King. He was simply called - by some people, sometimes - "The King", as an informal term of approbation. If the quotation marks were removed it would suggest that he was actually a King. Outside the US, such people as Kings do, in fact, exist, and Presley was not one of them. Ghmyrtle (talk) 23:04, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
I'll buy that argument, as well. Pstoller (talk) 23:36, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Since this is really quite a minute disagreement on style, I'll concede the point for the sake of compromise, though I stand by my assertion that calling Elvis the King does not require Wikipedia to distance itself from the claim with "scare quotes", its one of the least contentious claims one could ever make about a rock star, IMO. GabeMc (talk|contribs) 01:16, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
First, I thank you for your concession. Second: it's certainly not contentious from the POV of said rock star's most ardent fans, though Presley himself repeatedly asked people not to call him that. On the other hand, let me be clear that I don't favor injecting the quoted arguments into this article, nor do I necessarily agree with all of the components (or all of the conclusions) of those arguments. I merely think it behooves Wikipedia to acknowledge that such arguments exist; and that, while they may not be mainstream arguments, neither are they especially obscure. Scare quotes are just about the most minimal nod WP can make to that perspective. Beyond that, while I think there is a place on WP to explore this issue, I think we can all agree that this article isn't it. Pstoller (talk) 01:48, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

WHAT A LOAD OF TRIPE. Elvis is commonly known as the king because he dominated billboard, movies and sales.elvis is commonly known as the king because the majority of people agree with that term.there will always be someone who disagrees, but majority rules. elvis is the most sucessful and popular aritist in history based on sales, impact and billboard.riaa, chart company, soundscan and gwr. thank you (talk) 17:50, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
It's still total rubbish to refer to Elvis as "The King" in an encyclopedia, without some kind of explanation. Elvis himself intensely disliked being called "The King" (see: The Gospel Side of Elvis" by Joe Moscheo). If some promotional Nashville flyers called him "The King", then it should be noted that this is a label applied to all kinds of entertainers, and mostly it doesn't mean much of anything. Santamoly (talk) 21:07, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
It would be "total rubbish" if the article referred to Elvis Presley as "the King." But, it doesn't: Rather, it states that he was and is commonly called by that name. (Indeed, he has been very commonly called "the King" by the general public and the press for decades; a far cry from "some promotional Nashville flyers".) That's a significant fact, whether Presley liked the honorific or not, and it would be "total rubbish" for the article to omit it. This is completely different from adopting or endorsing the usage. The article also reports Presley rejecting the title, telling a journalist that "the real king of rock and roll" was Fats Domino. Pstoller (talk) 22:04, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
They are not "scare quotes". They are just quotes. Britmax (talk) 00:47, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 5 November 2013

Thank you for the information on the life of Elvis Presley. However, I think you should drop the f word from your article. It is very offensive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:18, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

The use of the "f word" in this article is consistent with Wikipedia policy. Pstoller (talk) 03:32, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Did Elvis visit the UK (London)?

According to [2] [3] [4] Elvis did in fact visit the UK, London to be precise with his friend Tommy Steele.

Should this not be mentioned? Has it been accepted as a fact or dismissed?--Windows66 (talk) 18:15, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Nobody has come forward with any proof, and members of Presley's entourage who were with him in Germany have categorically denied it. Until a third party can corroborate the story, it should probably be dismissed as a bit of creative self-promotion on Steele's part. Pstoller (talk) 03:02, 26 November 2013 (UTC)