Their hunches of their parents' fears were well confirmed after Presley’s appearance on a 1956 Ed Sullivan show.
While millions of teenagers screamed in unison across the land, a Catholic priest in New York scorned Sullivan for this "moral injury" and condemned Presley for his "voodoo of defiance and frustration."
Overall, he sold more than 500 million records worldwide and made 33 films.
He was a millionaire many times over and lived in a style that reflected it: ensconced in his Graceland Mansion behind locked gates, like the reclusive characters in "Citizen Kane," handing out jewels and Cadillacs to friends and even casual acquaintances.
No American performer had so broad an impact on culture around the world.
In 1958, Communists blamed the influence of Presley for a riot in East Berlin as youths threatened to kill a border guard.
In 1964, Presley received a write-in vote for President.
A Memphis businessman who got in a fistfight with the singer had to close his shop because fans picketed the place.
His career began its ascent at virtually the same time of James Dean, another young star with a tough image, and Presley felt a sense of kinship with Dean.
Presley "knew I was a friend of Jimmy’s," said Nicholas Ray, director of Dean’s second film, "Rebel Without a Cause," so he got down on his knees before me and began to recite whole pages from the script.
Elvis must have seen "Rebel" a dozen times by then and remembered every one of Jimmy’s lines.
Presley’s songs, particularly the early ones, expressed succinctly the rising rebellion of young people beginning to break from the Cold War doldrums of the Eisenhower era: "Have you heard the news/There’s good rockin’ tonight:" "You can do what you want/but lay off my blue suede shoes:" "Everybody in the whole cell block/Dancin’ to the jail house rock:" "Don’t be cruel/To a heart that’s true:" "Baby, let’s play house."
Born in Tupelo, Miss., on Jan. 8, 1935 -- his twin brother, Jesse Garon, died at birth -- Elvis Presley was 18 when he walked into a Memphis studio and paid $4 to record "My Happiness" and "That’s When Your Heartaches Begin" as a present for his mother.
Raised in a religious atmosphere, Presley had begun his singing career by performing hymns and gospel tunes with his parents, Vernon and Gladys, at concerts and state fairs.
His parents bought him his first guitar at age 11, and he remained close to them even after acquiring a rebellious image -- his feelings for his mother, who died at age 46 of a heart attack were known to be especially strong.