Teen Idol Sensation

by Melanie Suslar

The first Teen Idol title was given to the late, great Frank Sinatra. Nowadays, when you hear “Teen Idol” the first person you may think of is the one and only Elvis Presley. The legend consistently had a cult following of teenage girls while he was performing and even now has a larger-than-life fan base. Elvis has become almost everything from an action figure, pillowcases, home phones, to even a life size cutout you can put in your living room. Elvis exploded onto the scene in the 1950s when he first performed on television. His singing was sensational but what made people so intrigued by him was how television networks had to film him. At first, Elvis was filmed so that the nation could get a glimpse of his infamous dance moves. The public became so enraged with his “gyrating hips” and how they could corrupt the youth of America that networks were forced to censor the rock sensation and only film him from the waist up! This created so much intrigue that America’s youth wanted more and young women swooned at the sight of him.

This intrigue was not appreciated by all. The original crooner and young lady swooner, Frank Sinatra, hated everything to do with rock & roll. The icon described the genre as “the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression.” This quote was incorrectly taken as a jealous jab towards Elvis and became a journalism sensation. Elvis fans were boycotting Sinatra, Sinatra fans were protesting Elvis and it became a battle of the Idols. Eventually, the two singers made up in 1960, and on The Frank Sinatra Show when Elvis came back from his tour in the Army where the pair sang a duet of “Love Me Tender” and “Witchcraft.”

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