Honors English 10
27 April 2011
The King and The Wizard
In Billy Joel’s memorable song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, he sings about an omnipresent fire and claims that his generation did not start it. The fire he speaks of is the social phenomenon that consumes the world. It infects society, everyone knows about it, and it has an impact on history that will be remembered in the future. No one started the fire specifically because different pop culture items have been popular and successful all throughout history. The fire begins spontaneously and cannot be easily stopped. It cannot, and should not, be put out. The empires of Elvis Presley and Harry Potter are two of the greatest social phenomena the world has ever seen due to their sudden and overwhelming popularity and success.
Elvis Aaron Presley was born to a lower middle class family on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. Elvis grew up listening to gospel music and heard blues and jazz for the first time when his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948 (Hall of Fame, “E.P. Bio”). Presley recorded his first two songs, “Casual Love Affair” and “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way”, in 1954 at Sun Records. Later that year his first two singles, “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” were released to the public (Hall of Fame, “Elvis Presley”). Only one year later, in 1995, Elvis signed his contract with Sun Records. His fresh, new sound “broke down cultural boundaries” between young people of all different races (Patenaude 12). At the time of Elvis’s first releases, America was in a post-war stage. The youth of the country needed something that they could relate to and to lift their spirits; Presley’s music was just the thing. After his first few singles got noticed and became popular, Elvis’s career took off and quickly brought him into the music spotlight.
Within two years, Presley had sold millions of records and had become an international star (Patenaude 12). His...