Elvis Presley

Biography

Elvis Presley (8.1.1935)

Elvis Presley was a world-renowned American singer and actor. He has become an iconic figure in popular culture and is often referred to as The King of Rock and Roll.

Elvis Presley: Childhood

Elvis was born to Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Presley and raised in the house that his father built in Tupelo. Elvis was an identical twin, but his brother was stillborn.

When Vernon was jailed for altering a cheque, Gladys and Elvis were forced out of the family home and had to live with relatives.

Elvis Presley made his first public performance in October 1945, when he sang at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. Dressed as a cowboy, Elvis stood on a chair in order to reach the microphone and sang Red Foley's 'Old Shep'. On his 11th birthday, he was given his first guitar.

Elvis was a fan of Mississippi Slim's radio show and was influenced by the likes of Bob Wills, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Roy Acuff.

The Presley family moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948 and Presley would practice guitar along with Johnny Burnette (a rockabilly pioneer), another tenant in his block. When he earned enough money from his job at Loew State Theater, he would dress himself in clothes from Lansky Brothers on Beale Street.

Elvis Presley: Music Career

In 1953, Elvis Presley went to Sun Records' Memphis Recording Service and cut a recording of 'My Happiness' and 'That's When Your Heartache Begins', reportedly as a present for his mother. Eventually, Sam Phillips got Winfield 'Scotty' Moore and Bill Black to record some songs with Presley. They recorded a version of Arthur Crudup's 'That's All Right (Mama)', backed with Bill Monroe's 'Blue Moon of Kentucky'. When DJ Dewey Phillips played 'That's All Right' on his radio show, listeners called in, eager to find out who the singer was. Many assumed Elvis to be black and Presley had to confirm on the radio which school he attended, to confirm his race.

Elvis' first paid performance was in 1954 at the Overton Park Shell, with Slim Whitman. Hank Snow introduced Presley when he debuted at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.

'Colonel' Tom Parker became Elvis' manager in 1955 and he soon signed to RCA Victor Records. Elvis was only 20 years old, so his father had to sign the contract for him. Though Elvis did not write his songs, Mae Boren Axton allowed Presley writing credits for her song 'Heartbreak Hotel' because she liked him and knew that he wanted to buy his parents a Cadillac.

Elvis Presley's debut album was self-titled and was released in 1956. It became RCA's first million dollar-seller. His performance on The Milton Berle Show earned him the title 'Elvis the Pelvis' due to his gyrating movements. As a result, when Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, he was only filmed from the waist up.

In December of that year, Sun Records recorded a session at their studios of Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley performing together in their studio. The tracks were released as a bootleg entitled The Million Dollar Quartet.

In 1957, Elvis Presley was drafted into the army. He was granted leave to finish filming King Creole. Following his time in the army, his success continued to grow, as did his appetite for alcohol and amphetamines. Among the first tracks launched after his release were 'It's Now Or Never' and 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?' In March 1960, Frank Sinatra - who had previously criticised Elvis' style - invited him to perform on The Frank Sinatra-Timex Special.

Despite losing out to Burt Lancaster for a role in The Rainmaker, Elvis' movie career eventually flourished. He made his debut in Love Me Tender, a musical western, followed by Jailhouse Rock. Throughout his career, he worked alongside renowned actors, such as Walter Matthau, Angela Lansbury, Charles Bronson and Mary Tyler Moore, though his credibility as an actor was far from concrete; he was often cast in light-weight, pithy films that did little for his reputation. However, there was still money to be made from an Elvis flick, as people outside of the US had no chance to see Elvis live. In fact, the Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole movie Becket was only made possible by the money generated by a series of Elvis movies.

In the late 1960s, artists such as Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and Janis Joplin were dominating radio play. Tom Parker was considered by many to be ruining Elvis' career by demanding ever-increasing salaries. As a result, he lost a role in A Star Is Born to Kris Kristofferson, despite the fact that Barbra Streisand had personally invited him to take the role.

During the era, The Beatles had knocked Elvis off of his throne, dominating popular culture. 'Suspicious Minds' was his sole number one of this era. In 1965, the Beatles met Elvis Presley, during a well-publicised arrangement made by Tom Parker.

A pivotal moment in Elvis career came in 1968, with his televised NBC show, simply named Elvis, but later dubbed the '68 Comeback Special. Clad in black leather, Elvis performed in front of a small studio audience. The following year, Elvis Presley returned to live performance. His performances in Las Vegas attracted show business luminaries such as Fats Domino, Cary Grant, Pat Boone and Henry Mancini.

Elvis' health began to deteriorate in the 1970s and his addiction to prescription drugs became overwhelming. His reputation was blighted by poor and cancelled performances. His final performance was in Indianapolis, on 26th June, 1977.

He was pronounced dead on 16th August 1977. Elvis' legacy has been widespread and prominent, with artists such as Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger admitting his influence over them as performers. His home, Graceland, in Memphis has become a popular tourist attraction.

Elvis Presley: Personal Life

Elvis and Priscilla Presley married in May 1967 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. They had a daughter together, Lisa Marie Presley (who was briefly married to Michael Jackson), born in 1968.

Elvis was also linked to a number of other ladies, including the actress Cybill Shepherd, the writer Judy Spreckels, the actress Ann-Margret and beauty pageant entrant Linda Thompson. The singer Cher reportedly regrets having turned down his advances. His last girlfriend, Ginger Alden was with him when he died.

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Comments

Laura H. Salovitch's picture

Laura H. Salovitch

The photo "The Kiss" has got to be one of the most erotic pictures I've ever seen. Kudos, Alfred.

1 week 18 hours ago
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satchmo1953's picture

satchmo1953

The pictures of Elvis with his pink Caddy are mislabeled. The car shown is a 1959 Caddy. Not a 1955.

6 years 2 months ago
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itecnews's picture

itecnews

Elvis Presley is the best !!!!!!

7 years 3 months ago
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lotsateds's picture

lotsateds

Elvis is briiliant, we are looking for a cd called Elvis Duets on which there are 2 songs in which it has lisa singing Daddy don't cry and in the ghetto with Elvis. We have looked everywhere for this cd anyone know whre we might be able to get it thanks

3 years 12 months ago
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Gallivant's picture

Gallivant

Aside from my own opinion on the subject, I have a query about the first paragraph. It says that, quote "Elvis Presley may be the single most important figure in American 20th century popular music. Not necessarily the best, and certainly not the most consistent". Unquote. While the word "figure" is certainly applicable to the word "consistent", it certainly does not fully dovetail with the word "best". I understand what the writer is trying to say, but, for instance, the "best figure in american 20th Century popular music" would not really be appropriate, if we follow the structure of what the writer is trying to imply. It does not really make fully sense, whether Presley happens to fit the bill, or not. I think the paragraph should be midified as to read as follows: "Elvis Presley may be the single most important figure in American 20th century popular music. Not necessarily the best artist (the latter word could also be substituted by the word "musician", or by the word "rocker", if that is what the writer is trying to convey), nor was he was certainly the most consistent". Just a suggestion, anyways.ThanksJim BurrowsPS Incidentally, I think there is little doubt as to Presley being the most important figure in american pupular music. He was, and remains the most important, in spite of the fact that he was not THE BEST singer ( four others could be mentioned), nor THE BEST guitar player ( countless fit the bill better). He did not need to have THE BEST stage act either, to scream the loudest, or at the lowest or highest of registers to be the most important. Nor did he need to be the prettiest ( Rick Nelson was even more handsome than Presley), or the most charismatic, or the one who sang effectively in more different musical idioms. Finally, nor did he need, in his time and age, the ability to write a single note of music to precisely become the most important. With the single exception of the writing ability, he was outstanding at absorbing, and delivering all of those qualities, in spite of the fact that, again, he was not the best at anything he did. But he had the most qualities needed for a popular singer to matter. And he did matter the most, and he still does the most.

9 years 2 months ago
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itecnews's picture

itecnews

Elvis Presley is the best as human beig and as artist

7 years 3 months ago
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Valy's picture

Valy

Elvis is still alive in Romania http://www.elvis.ro

7 years 11 months ago
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Mr. Ronald Kaiser's picture

Mr. Ronald Kaiser

May 25th, 2010Mr. Elvis Presley,King Star of Soul,Graceland/Elvis Presley Enterprises, Incorporated,3734 Elvis Presley BoulevardMemphis, Tennessee AMERICA 38116.1-800-238-2000, Toll-free in North AmericaHeartbreakHotel@Elvis.ComMr. Alexander Simon,Writer and Clairvoyant,Sir William Place,Apartment #305'c',8820 – 85 Street,Edmonton, Alberta,CANADA T6C 3C2. Call: (780) 466-9719alexandersimonea@gmail.comWith respect, for Mr. Presley: “ELVIS STRIKES BACK!.”.One of the Premiere Films I vision following thumbling through “ELVIS BY THE PRESLEYS;” by the Editor Mr. David Ritz; I find the bold American style and on August 16, 1977; I knew the media combined lied regarding your passing away.!The 'Memphis Press-Scimitar' on the following day as revealed in this award winning true account of the great Gospel sage and Rock Performance; my need then was as is today a successful career in field investigation, sir!It remains well the age of the Fuhrer of rhythm and folk, blues plus Oriya; began his Career in singing on the year 1941 and reported by the Federal Bureau Of Investigation; and confirmed authentic by rehearsal and birth Certifying 19 as his age and born remarkably on February 18th, 1936; the proof that Mr. Presley died is heresy; a Mr. Presley owns a Colt® 1944; not a Ukrainian Barretta; (p. 9). I-kon the photograph (p. 30-31); the Strata-caster, is really now in the Smithsonian Museum in Austin, Texas, so why does not his kin own this valuable 'tar!!?In TRIBUTE: Please as loving fans for the Matador of presentation and reach; consider an overview of how the media lied; for proof; Mr. Elvis Presley's mother is not shown together, rather; a humorist and polite lady Aunt Gladys is Elvis' honey girl.! An Uncle Vernon, from Edmonton, Alberta; and proven with a Social Insurance Number (S.I.N.); 622-116-212; and with permission; one great gab; and true as a Canadien Confederate sailing to the U.S. for aide; and according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.); the reason, the media is misleading, all who view and see a lie perpetuating; and as a media Graduate lead by the prestigious Director Mr. Waldorf Adam West of the then two year Advertising & Public Relations Program. Mr. West Colleagued with Mr. Richard (Dick) Zwicker who Dictated 'hard core' journalism; always smiled and with undo recourse, challenged the 'media' way.!-2-, Mr. Alex (Big Al') Simon. FOR ELVIS FANS, ONLY..With an affable Ms Leslie Howard-Stafford; she never yelled like a Texan in Alberta with his great looking wife or gal; the point is love is always looking well and minding your manners; and with Texas … it means a kool, song, and now here's one (I was kidding about yelling loud in 'Big-Rig'; and …“AND YOU'RE NEVER ALONE INTEXAS!”“ON HILL-BILLY BLUES; “THE WAY SHE SEE'S;THAT'S WAY SHE LOVES, ME;LIKE THE BLUE MOON, PALE AND LONELY;BIG RIVER; MIGHTY,HIGH; I RIDE THROUGH,THE VALLEY, AND I HEAR,HER SONG; A MELODY,HER HAIR, LONG AND FREE,JULIE ANNE SINGS AND YOU'RENEVER ALONE IN TEXAS!YOUR NEVER ALONE IN TEXAS!, THE RYE IS BROWN AND THE STALK IS BLUE,THE LINCOLN CONTINENTAL,IS OWNED BY ME; SHE WAVES HELLO;I DRIVE IN TO EL PASO HEADING TO AUSTIN,THROUGH DALLAS; SHE SMILES CALM; AND,WE SING TOGETHER, 'TILL, WE MAKE LOVE;FOREVER TOGETHER ALONG WITH MOM, AND DAD AND A PUPPY I CALL TOM.”-30-

4 years 5 months ago
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TheElvisIRemember's picture

TheElvisIRemember

I just finished a book about Elvis (the man, not necessarily the singer) and his secret relationship- it's a beautiful love story called The Elvis I Remember ,sold on LuLu.com, I highly recommend it. The author has a way of portraying the "human" side of him which I really likedI noticed the author has the book on Facebook too

3 years 8 months ago
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king karaoke's picture

king karaoke

here it is ....the best elvis only karaoke comp anywhere in the u.k....you will not believe what is going to happen or the prizes.if u can sing like the king,move like the king or look like the king do not miss this.

7 years 11 months ago
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