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Elvis Presley the king of rock and roll
Elvis Presley
Episode 708
Airdate February 1, 2008
Curriculum Arts & Music
Social Studies

Elvis Presley launched in BrainPOP Arts & Music/Social Studies February 1, 2008.

SummaryEdit

AppearancesEdit

Transcript Edit

Quiz Edit

FYI Comics Edit

Quirky Comics Showed Edit

There are also believed to be around 85,000 Elvis impersonators (or Elvis tribute artists, as they prefer to be called) out there today, singing, dressing, and dancing like The King.

Some Elvis impersonators (the so-called “look-alikes”) just dress up as Elvis for fun or as a hobby. But other impersonators actually make a living performing—specifically, singing or otherwise changing their voices to sound like the original Elvis—in places like Las Vegas.

Every year, there are Elvis impersonation contests and conventions, and about 600,000 people visit Presley’s old Graceland home each year. And the Canadian town of Collingwood, Ontario holds the Collingwood Elvis Festival every June!

Eating And Drinking Edit

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One of Elvis Presley’s favorite foods was a fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich! Today it’s commonly known as the Elvis Sandwich, or simply “The Elvis.”

While the recipe has changed over the years, the main ingredients are:

  • peanut butter.
  • bananas.
  • sliced bread.
  • bacon (optional).

Once word got out that the sandwich was one of the King’s favorites (and that it was surprisingly delicious), some restaurants began featuring the sandwich on their menus. Today, the recipe is also found in a number of cookbooks, some of which are specifically Elvis-themed. In these books you can also find out about some of his other favorite foods, including ham bone dumplings, baked apple and sweet potato pudding, and potato cheese soup!

Politics Edit

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Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006, is a huge Elvis Presley fan—so much so that he and his brother helped to pay for a statue of The King to be placed in a plaza in the Japanese city of Tokyo!

It’s possible that Koizumi’s fandom can be traced to the fact that he and Presley shared the same birthday (January 8). But one thing’s for sure: June 30, 2006 was a day that Koizumi will never forget.

On that day, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, took him to visit Graceland, Presley’s estate. Elvis songs played on the plane ride to Memphis, and the two leaders were even served grilled peanut-butter-and banana sandwiches, one of Presley’s favorite foods (see the previous FYI). 

At Graceland, Koizumi and Bush were given a private tour by Presley’s ex-wife, Priscilla, and their daughter, Lisa Marie. The prime minister was so excited to be there, he even started singing and doing an Elvis impression!

Real Life Edit

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Originally after Elvis Presley died, his body was buried next to his mother’s in a cemetery in Tennessee. But only 11 days after the King’s burial in 1977, three men were caught trying to steal his body from its grave!

An anonymous informer notified the police that the grave robbery attempt was going to happen, and the men were arrested and charged after police caught them running away from the gravesite.

To better protect the remains of Presley and his mother, they were re-buried in an area of the gardens at Graceland. Several other members of the Presley family were also interred there after their deaths.

Charges against the three men who were alleged to have attempted the bodysnatching were eventually dropped due to an unreliable witness.

Way Back When Edit

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In the early 1950s, much of the United States was segregated. In the Jim Crow South, "separate but equal" laws kept black and white people apart in all aspects of public life. Up north, separation of the races was informal, but just as divisive. The impact of these laws and customs extended into surprising places. Culture was as segregated as schools and businesses. Black and white Americans had completely separate theaters, sports teams, and even music.

But the '50s saw the birth of the Civil Rights Movement and the beginning of major social change. In Cleveland, Ohio, a white radio DJ started playing rhythm and blues (R&B) records alongside white covers. "Moondog" Alan Freed kicked off his nightly show with his catchphrase, "Let's rock and roll!" His listeners, both black and white teens, loved what they heard.

Freed didn't invent "rock 'n' roll," but his groundbreaking show popularized the term, using it to describe the discs he spun by black artists. His fans bought these records in great numbers—and went out and danced at integrated concerts. This new kind of American music was taking the world by storm!

Sam Phillips (pictured), the owner of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, saw how popular these tracks were with white listeners. That gave him an idea: He found a white singer who could capture the qualities of R&B music—rather than just blandly repackage the songs in a "whiter" style. That singer was Elvis Presley.

The 19-year-old's first single was a cover of the R&B song "That's All Right," by "Big Boy" Crudup. The record was a sensation with white audiences. Through Presley's interpretation, new audiences were exposed to the sound, style, and attitude of African-American pop music. In that respect, Elvis's music was a bridge between black and white cultures.

But there's no denying an uglier side of Elvis's success. Black musical styles became popular with white audiences only after they were repackaged and performed by white artists. The original artists were rarely given due credit or compensation. On "That's All Right," Crudup is listed as the songwriter on the label, but he received no royalties.

Comic Edit

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