In an interview that aired on SiriusXM on Saturday, Priscilla Presley responded to comparisons that have been made by pundits and others that Miley Cyrus' controversial performance on the MTV Video Music Awards in August was similar to the initial outrage at Elvis Presley for his sexually-charged dance moves.
In the 1950s, Elvis Presley's shaking and grinding of his hips and legs were considered vulgar by some, earning him the nickname 'Elvis the Pelvis'. Elvis' June 5, 1956 appearance on The Milton Berle Show provoked a public outcry against the singer protesting his 'shocking' dance moves. This led to a toned-down performance by Elvis subsequently on The Steve Allen Show and a censored above-the-waist view on The Ed Sullivan Show.
However, Priscilla Presley maintains that Elvis' dance moves were never 'planned or contrived'. These were natural movements that Elvis felt compelled to express as he was performing. Priscilla stressed that Elvis' performance was authentic and 'not calculated' like so many performances are today in the music industry, specifically the Miley Cyrus twerking performance.
Priscilla further voiced her opinion describing Elvis as extremely 'talented and authentic' which is just what today's music business is lacking, she suggested. Miley's father, Billy Ray Cyrus, admits that his daughter's performance on the MTV VMA's was strategically planned: 'I knew that she had put in a great deal of practice and thought into what was going to happen in New York', he told CNN's Piers Morgan. 'In today's world, the shock factor is tremendously higher than it used to be', Cyrus explained.
Priscilla Presley's remarks remind us that Elvis did not dance around for 'shock' value. As Elvis told TV Guide in 1956: 'I just get kinda in rhythm with the music. I jump around to it because I enjoy what I'm doin'. I'm not tryin' to be vulgar, I'm not tryin' to sell any sex ... I just enjoy what I'm doin' and tryin' to make the best of it'.