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LIFE.com: Taboo Then, Typical Now

Elvis Presley Swivels Those Hips

It's hard to imagine in today's sex-soaked pop culture, but 55 years ago, on June 5, 1956, Americans sitting in their living rooms were shocked -- shocked! -- when Elvis Presley dared to gyrate his hips while performing his new single "Hound Dog" on "The Milton Berle Show." These days, Elvis' moves seem almost quaint -- but back then, they enraged ministers, inspired a jeering new nickname ("Elvis the Pelvis"), and led one New York critic to condemn him for "the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos." But that taboo-shattering performance isn't the only shocker of the past that seems fairly common now. . . . (Photo: Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images/LIFE.com)
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