Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, Elvis Presley is often referred to as "the King of Rock and Roll" or simply, "the King". In the words of John Lennon, "before Elvis, there was nothing". Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” was the first song to open Lennon's eyes to the true power of rock and roll. Just 16 years old when he heard the track, Lennon was fascinated not only by Presley’s voice, but also by the jagged guitar work that propelled the song. From the beginning, throughout his lifetime and until the end, John Lennon frequently cited the King as his idol. Naming Elvis on countless occasions as his mentor, as far back as 1963 with statements such as, I always wanted to be this tough James Dean type, but Elvis was bigger than religion in my life. In 1995 "Heartbreak Hotel" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". That year it was also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".
Elvis was a central figure in the development of rockabilly, according to music historians. Rockabilly crystallized into a recognizable style in 1954 with Elvis Presley's first release, on the Sun label "That's Alright Mama". The defining elements of rockabilly have been described by some as "essentially ... an Elvis Presley construction": "the raw, emotive, and slurred vocal style and emphasis on rhythmic feeling of the blues with the string band and strummed rhythm guitar of country".
The King of Rock 'n' Roll himself was a notable player of the Gretsch Country Gentleman. During at least the early part of 1970 Elvis often performed in concert on stage with both his 56 J200 and his 1964 Gretsch Country Gentleman, model 6122, serial number 80736. It is similar in features to the one used by George Harrison of the Beatles, most notably the double flip-up mutes. This model however features a Super'Tron II pickup with bar/blade pole magnets in the neck position as opposed to another 12-pole Filter'Tron as in the bridge position. It also has the large, semi-rectangular ("kidney") tuner buttons rather than the stair-stepped Grover Imperial buttons. This guitar is still part of Elvis' collection on display at Graceland to this day.
"Before Elvis, there was nothing".........John Lennon