Greatest Rock Vocalists #3, Elvis Presley, Heart Break Hotel, Hound Dog

Elvis was simply great, like a human tornado of cool, and one of the most original Americans in history.  Was he musically original?  Not exactly, but his instinct for sexing up rock and roll was brilliant.  His originality was mainly found in his person, the archetype of the post World War II teenager; rebellious, greasy black hair, lover of rock and roll, fast cars, and women.  Not only did he look the part, he invented the part.  All the stereotypes of 50s cool that birthed endless imitators and evolved into the dominant 60s style all came from Elvis, the ground zero of cool perfection.  So here you have this utterly original and perfect looking young man, knocking down buildings with his stare, and what happens when he begins to sing?  The knocked down buildings turn to dust and get blown away to sea.  His voice was somehow even more perfect than his look, at once both growling and authoritative, yet vulnerable and honey dipped.  He had all the makings of a hypnotist, mesmerizing the world with his sight and sound.  This is why he’s called the King, because if he a little more brains, and a little more ambition, he could have conquered the world.  Instead, he just settled for rock and roll and movies, the latter being nowhere near as good as the former.  Below I have “Heart Break Hotel,” the best Elvis video available on the internet, and then I have “Hound Dog” from the Milton Berle show, where his dance moves created a scandal.  Both videos display Elvis’s timelessness and magic, proving that his act works in any time, and probably on any planet.  Enjoy.

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