Musician Biographies » Elvis Presley

“That's All Right” - “i Don't Sound Like Nobody”, First Love: Dixie Locke, “without You”, Red Hot And Blue

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After World War II, the music industry enjoyed a unique period in its history. Mass-produced record players were more affordable, and more people owned them than ever before. That meant that retail sales of records were doing big business. During the war, armed forces radio had played a wide variety of music, so many Americans were musically open in ways that they had not been before. This also was an era during which teenagers had a great deal of disposable income, and teens started heavily influencing the trends in the entertainment industry.

Television was starting to make its presence felt. During the 1930s, national networks had put on radio shows. Very few of the programs were music programs catering to local audiences. With the advent of national television networks in the 1950s, such as NBC and CBS, the radio shows came to rely more on prerecorded music and on local news and local talent.

Dewey Phillips's first radio show, Red Hot and Blue, aired in 1949 on WHBQ, and it became the most popular radio show in Memphis. Dewey played Mississippi-style Delta blues on his show, and the really grungy music was an instant hit with white teenagers. Memphis, Tennessee, at that time led the nation in black radio programming. It was the first place where there was a radio station that played nothing but black R & B.

Several other events happened to shape the birth of rock and roll as we know it. One was the invention of the electric guitar. Another was pop music star Patti Page's sound recording techniques for vocal harmonies. Then there was Atlantic Records's marketing of R & B that had been toned down for white audiences. All of these created a musical climate for a young Elvis Presley, straight out of high school and hungry for making music.

“Good Rockin' Tonight” - Audiences Meet The Blue Moon Boys, Working Hard, On Tour, “i'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone” - “Mystery Train” [next] [back] Elvis's Childhood - Understanding The Political Climate, Early Musical Influences: Hillbilly, Gospel, And The Blues, The Birthday Present

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