Understanding Elvis: Southern Roots vs. Star Image

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Overview

Although the importance of Elvis Presley's Southern heritage has long been recognized, few have considered the complex connection between the performer's career and his Southern roots. This study investigates how that identity affected each stage of Presley's career.
Elvis Presley's career can be divided into three phases, each of which is signified by a specific image. Each image is coded by a certain style of music, mode of dress, and arena of performance. The evolution from one career phase to another was instigated by a specific event and represented a deliberate calculation on the part of Presley's manager to attract a wider audience.
The first stage spans the years 1956 through 1958, after the singer was introduced to a national audience and before he was drafted into the army. His image as a notorious rock 'n' roller created a national controversy and was spurred by negative depictions of Presley in the media-many attributing his controversial performing style and appearance to his Southern background. His music was a fusion of rhythm and blues and country-western; or, two types of music indigenous to the South and foreign to the mainstream entertainment industry based in New York City. The second phase of Elvis' career included his stint as a movie star, in which most aspects of his Southern identity were extracted from his leading man image to enhance his appeal to the mainstream. And, finally, the last stage of his career focused on his image as a Las Vegas performer. Despite the gaudy costumes, Elvis reconnected to his identity as a Southerner in the 1970s by returning to country music and songwriters as a source of inspiration. Bibliography. Index
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Addresses not only the importance of Presley's Southern heritage in understanding the phenomenon surrounding his career but also differences in the representation of that heritage depending on cultural and ideological positionings. Analysis focuses on the variety of media texts that influenced, defined, and altered his image and career. Examines the rural, white Southern subculture and its music and ideology, looks at Presley's initial success as a country singer, then concentrates on his film career before and after his Army stint, and discusses construction of his image as a Las Vegas superstar. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction
Ch. 1 The Life and Career of Elvis Presley 3
Ch. 2 From Hillbilly Cat to Elvis the Pelvis: 1954-1958 51
Ch. 3 The Early Films of Elvis Presley: 1954-1958 99
Ch. 4 The Films of Elvis Presley: 1960-1969 125
Ch. 5 Vegas Elvis 151
Epilogue 197
Bibliography 201
Index 213
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