Elvis Presley: "I Want to Entertain People" (American Rebels)

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“Elvis has left the building.” A record television audience of some 60 million people watched Elvis Presley on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW the night of September 9, 1956. With his ground-breaking television performances and many number-one hits, that year saw the Elvis phenomenon grow to massive proportions. Girls went into hysterics over him and boys emulated his style. Adults feared the effect rock and roll, and Elvis in particular, had on their teenagers. Elvis became the world's biggest pop icon and changed the face of American pop culture. He became the King of Rock and Roll. Over the years, Elvis' career evolved from rock-and-roll rebel to movie star to ballad crooner to Las Vegas performer, experiencing several downfalls and comebacks along the way. Even after his death in 1977, his music, movies, and life continue to fascinate the public.

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Starting with signature quotes printed on each front cover, these titles in the American Rebels series interject words from their famous subjects, and those who knew them, on nearly every page. Those well-integrated voices humanize the larger-than-life figures and create fascinating, well-organized portraits, which, true to each individual’s “rebel” label, include frank (although nonexplicit) mention of substance abuse and sexual relationships. Each title begins with a turning point for both the figure profiled and the reach of his societal influence. Elvis Presley’s first chapter describes the King’s 1956 Ed SullivanShow appearance, which was watched by a screaming audience and 60 million home viewers. Skillfully chosen photos, chapter notes, and suggested-reading lists complete these well-researched, wholly engaging introductions to iconoclastic individuals whose continual questioning of authority and conventional wisdom will hit home with teen readers. Grades 8-11. --Gillian Engberg

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