The thing so remarkable is that his explosion in 56' (and you really had to have been there to appreciate the simplicity of the times and the state of popular music) was so huge that he could coast for so long under the control of that goddam carnival sleaveball manager (who's efforts on EP's behalf oddly parallel what HH did for those who put their faith is him).
I appreciate that this is an awful thing to say, (but it's a good way to understand the man and the phenomenon):
If he had died in a tank accident in Germany (about '62?) his legacy on record and on the screen would have equalled Dean.
But that didn't happen, so now he's remembered as a carnival act, what else?
Just like most of HH's stable of beauties who thought they were going to have actual careers.
Two of a kind - the Colonel and the Creep.
Says me, Bob P