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Songs That Changed The World

August 23, 2007 | Video
Each program in the Impact! series puts the spotlight on the songs that have left an indelible mark on the world. Certain songs have come to define the times in which they appeared as they proved to be the catalyst for the transformation of the cultural and political landscape. Most set trends in music, fashion and dance while flouting convention and testing the boundaries of society's accepted moral values.
Besides setting the scene for the release of the song, the programs feature the songs creator(s) and explore its cultural impact and the ways that it changed the course of history. Guests include recording artists, music industry executives, cultural and political pundits and the music fans themselves for whom these songs became their life's soundtrack.

Heartbreak Hotel was not Elvis Presley's first single -- songs like That's Alright Mama, Mystery Train and I Forgot To Remember To Forget, his first national chart-topping hit, predated it by a year -- but it was destined in many ways to define the Elvis persona and arguably become the first rock 'n' roll record. It was a song of teenage angst. Not the puppy love hand-wringing of later songs of the era but the real end-of-the-line, so-lonely-I-could-die variety that in those early days only Elvis and his rebel stance could make ring with authenticity. It established rock 'n' roll as an attitude -- brash, rebellious and sexually- charged -- as much as a musical style and gave it life as the soundtrack for alienated youth even during American boom times in the '50s. John Lennon once commented that if there had been no Elvis, there would have been no Beatles.

With song clips, archive interviews with Levon Helm, Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Daniels, Engelbert Humperdinck.