[19 December 2006]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
This set of all three complete Sullivan telecasts on which Presley appeared captures Elvis’s point of entry into mainstream American consciousness. And, in context, it’s easy to see just why he made such a splash. At the peak of his early career and in rude health, Presley still captures your attention with more authority than most anyone before or since, especially on the first two shows, from September 9 and October 28, 1956. With his loose-fitting sport coat and dark slacks, D.A. haircut greased up high and almost-unhinged energy, the 21-year-old Presley is breathtaking—a tidal wave of youth, energy, and vitality that almost literally blows the other acts off the screen. His soft yet undeniably masculine, almost porcelain good looks; tractor-beam charisma, and perfect mix of confidence and humility remind you once again that, whatever else may be said about him, this man somehow invented a look, an aura, a gene that could be described only as “Rock Star”.