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4.9 out of 5 stars
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 16 March 2012
The year 1956 is when the music world was turned upside down. The dreary black and white world became exciting colour. And a 21 year old American embarked on his legendary road from rags to iconic stardom and universal popularity.

1956 was the defining year for Elvis Presley - and for Rock'n'Roll.

The effect Elvis Presley had on the world is deep and undeniable. He literally changed our music culture and everything that goes with it. Unless you were around when it happened or are a fan, it may be a little difficult today to grasp this reality. But this DVD goes a long way to visually explain it all.

The documentary was made in 1987 but the performances are all from 1956, and so you should not expect 5.1 surround or even stereo sound. It is very well narrated in a 'southern' style as it graphically takes you on that journey when Elvis Presley became a household name almost overnight through sheer raw talent.

Snippets from his early television performances are here, from the Dorsey Brothers, Steve Allen, and Milton Berle shows to the final Ed Sullivan appearances. Elvis unleashes his devastating unprecedented style onto shocked American television audiences to mixed reactions. What looks like tame body movements today translated to suggestive out and out sexual behaviour back in 1956!

Shake Rattle and Roll, Heartbreak Hotel, Money Honey, Love Me, and Hound Dog are performed almost demonically! He looked possessed! Such were his feelings for the rythym and blues he was performing. Some of these songs were old recordings by earlier bluesmen but suddenly it was like pouring petrol over a naked flame. They brought out the beast in an otherwise very shy and polite young man and it looked like Elvis was plugged into an electric socket. This resulted in anger and protestation from adult America, whilst awe and ecstasy emanated from their children.

Elvis belonged to the teenagers. Suddenly they had a hero of their own. The teenagers won through and the rest is history.

Highly recommended.
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on 4 November 2014
I was very pleasantly surprised by this DVD. I thought the quality would be off putting and also doubted the actual footage that might be on this. I brought two, one for my father and one for myself. My father said he thought it was really good and recommended I give it a watch. I did and I loved it. I watched part of it in the morning as I was getting ready for work. I felt like Elvis had become me, I felt incredibly cool on the way to work listening to his music, and had the best morning before work ever...I arrived with a massive smile on my face. If you love Elvis, you will love this DVD.
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on 22 August 2016
For £5.99 this is well worth the money. If you're a long time Elvis fan then there's nothing in here that will surprise you. But it's a nice 1 hour, chronological stroll through 1956, when Elvis exploded across America. Explaining what date he recorded which track or appeared on TV and what the follow up response was.

The narrative isn't intrusive and where they don't have footage they flick through stills. Gives a really good sense of how different to everyone else he looked and sounded. Recommend it.
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on 30 November 2013
I received this DVD as part of a boxset collection entitled 'Elvis' which also included the book 'Elvis: In words and pictures'. This DVD released in 2006 celebrates Elvis Presley's early years documenting his recordings and success with Sam Smith at Sun studios in Memphis with his band Scotty Moore on guitar, Bill Black on bass and D.J Fontana on drums. Elvis went on to be noticed by the notorious Colonel Tom Parker who signed him up with RCA records and told him "Son right now you have a million dollars worth of talent, by the time we're through you'll have a million dollars!". Interestingly Elvis' mother Agnes warned against the deal but Elvis and his father were all for it!

The DVD has this 1 documentary which is just over an hour long and is narrated by a Southern fella called Levon Helm.

The DVD has amazing footage of his performances, personal adventures with rare pictures like a trip home to see his family and girlfriend and footage of his appearances on TV shows such as the Dorsey Brothers show and Ed Sullivan's show where he was only filmed from the waist up! He appears on the Steve Allen show in a tuxedo with tails and sings Hound dog to a dog equally as smartly dressed! Steve Allen obviously sensed people's unease of this man and he was made to smarten up and act more proper. Elvis broke through in mid-50's conservative America where many were listening to the swing of Frank Sinatra and people were outraged not just at the music but by how Elvis performed the music with his 'gyrating' and sensual moves. Elvis is interviewed saying how he didn't mean to cause any trouble and he's just moving to the music and can't keep still.

Hilariously all of these suggestive moves led to a city even taking out an injunction against Elvis so that by law he couldn't move the way he did and instead was left waggling his finger! It seems ridiculous to us now with the current music scene where it's hard not to turn on the radio and hear a song with sexual lyrics or see a music video which isn't provocative but at the time people were stunned by this man's passion and couldn't handle it. They said he was 'out of control'! Meanwhile the younger generation were loving all the excitement and Elvis received 5 Gold records that year - Heartbreak hotel, I want you I need you I love you, Don't be cruel, Hound dog and Love me tender. His first Las Vegas performance was that year and he didn't return there to perform for 14 years. The film also discusses his early movie career and gives you a sense of Elvis' ambition to become a serious actor which never really happened and the movies became more about the songs which was something Elvis decided he didn't want to do in his movies at the start.

Elvis returned home to Tupelo, Mississippi where he was born to perform a concert at the state fair in September of that year to 22,000 people! Millions of miles away from his humble beginnings in a small wooden shack his fame had exploded. The documentary ends with a bittersweet feel expressing how with Elvis fame growing by 1957 (the following year) the fans couldn't get anywhere near him and stadiums were packed, leading to a distancing between himself and his fans. The original band broke up and things were changing rapidly for him. The year 1956 represented his development into a national sensation where he was being recognised across America when he became famous. After that everything changed and nothing would ever be the same again.
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on 27 May 2014
I owned this on VHS back in Kuwait.
A friend borrowed it and never seen again.
This is a great snapshot of Elvis at the cusp of his breakthrough, the year he became a legend (although for my money the SUN Elvis will always be the best)
Narrated by Levon Helm, it is full of rare TV appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and Steve Allen.
My beef is that it is not remastered at all, no subtitles either.
And they changed the first song from American Trilogy to My Way (not sure why!)

Get if you can for the rare footage.
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on 22 January 2013
Excellent dvd, showing a lot of shows that wer'nt available in the uk at the time..One of the songs on this dvd was actually banned by the bbc radio. Happy memories of the KING..
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on 18 July 2013
I never properly understood the excitement of his performances before I saw this. I thought it was just the music and what was going on in people's heads. It wasn't - it was him.
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on 11 August 2012
Weather you are a new fan or one from way back this dvd is a must have.This footage shows elvis at his greatest as a young man.If you want to see why elvis was loved by the teenagers and hated(and feared)by americas iddle classes,then look no further than the performance of HOUND DOG on the milton berle show.Its all there, the sneer,the gyrations and the sexual innuendo.The dvd finishes with a couple of tracks from january 1957 on the ed sullivan show from the waist up!!Elvis would make only two more tv appearances in his short life.BUY IT IT'S BRILL.
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on 13 June 2014
This dvd is worth buying if you have an interest in ELVIS at the start of his time as the rock & roll King.I bought this item thinking it was a new released item but i found i already have it on the different label but i will keep this one because its a great cover photo.
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on 16 February 2014
This Programme Features an entire hour of rare footage and Performances, captured during the amazing Year when Elvis Presley became not only a Star, but the most influential Artist of all time. I love it. The DVD was in a very good shape.
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