- Featured Articles
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.
22nd October 2014 -
Legendary Elvis Presley photographer Alfred Wertheimer, whose highly-publicised snaps of the star on his rise to fame, passed away on Sunday (October 19th 2014) aged 85.Alfred Wertheimer with his work at the European Elvis Presley...
28th September 2014 -
It's not easy to be a pioneer in music nowadays, but Barbra Streisand seems to have managed it with the release of her thirty-sixth album 'Partners'. The record has debuted at the top spot on...
12th August 2014 -
Budweiser Made in America is getting closer all the time as we explore the nation's most musically cultured cities. Now we hit Memphis, whose famous faces include everyone from Elvis Presley to Justin Timberlake.Memphis, Tennessee...
21st February 2014 -
Pharrell Williams is auctioning off the headline-grabbing Vivienne Westwood buffalo hat that he wore to the recent Grammy awards. As soon as the singer stepped out on to the red carpet wearing the oversized, brown,...
22nd January 2014 -
Katy Perry appeared as the cover girl for the February issue of GQ magazine, where amongst other things, she revealed that she genuinely believes in extraterrestrial beings and that we are not alone. She also...
1st December 2013 -
Elvis Presley continues to be remembered and celebrated long after his death, and on Friday, 29 November, the King of Rock & Roll was honoured yet again at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...
4th November 2013 -
Rihanna made chart history this weekend when her latest collaborative effort with rapper Eminem entered the chart at number one, meaning she's hit the top spot for seven years running, at some point or another....
30th October 2013 -
Fresh after news that Susan Boyle will be the first British artist duet with Elvis Prelsey, we've also learned that the big-screen movie adaptation of the singer's life is finally in development.The singer, who became...
29th October 2013 -
Don’t ask how, but Susan Boyle is recording a Christmas single with Elvis Presley. The Scottish singer looks as bemused as anyone else, and what’s worse, is that no one seems to be explaining what...
24th October 2013 -
In it's most recent list of top celebrity earners, Forbes has named Michael Jackson as the highest earning dead celebrity of the last year. With his estate earning an estimated $160 million between October 2012...
9th September 2013 -
Susan Boyle has already lived out her life-long ambitions by performing alongside the likes of Elaine Paige and Donny Osmond since she was catapulted to stardom through her performance on Britain's Got Talent, and now...
23rd August 2013 -
The news has experienced a bit of a John Lennon frenzy in the past few days. The late Beatles guitarist has made headlines - or at least relics of him have - as news that...
10th July 2013 -
It's safe to say that actress Kristen Stewart is going through a pretty emotionally troublesome time, having split with her long-term, on/off boyfriend and fellow Twilight co-star Rob Pattinson in May only to now hear...
9th July 2013 -
Michael Jackson was addicted to prescription drugs and had been for well over a decade before his eventual death in 2009 - that's what his one-time doctor, Dr. Stuart Finklestein, told a courtroom via a...
3rd July 2013 -
The actor who played Edward Cullen and the target of many a frenzied tweenage fan melt-down, Robert Pattinson, is set to be back in the game; only weeks after his split with Twilight co-star and...
7th June 2013 -
Ah, we was wondering when this was going to happen. One Direction have added a couple more million to their bank accounts, though this time they're thinking for themselves. Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan,...
28th May 2013 -
Paul McCartney visited the grave of Elvis Presley at Graceland over the weekend, leaving the legendary musician a personalized guitar pick so he "can play guitar in heaven." McCartney paid tribute to the American musician...
19th February 2013 -
A man claiming to be Adele's former boyfriend and inspiration has come forward during a song request on the radio. The man, who identified himself as Giles, talked about how he and Adele engaged in...
12th January 2013 -
Two men, who hacked Sony Entertainment's servers and downloaded thousands of songs, including some unreleased material from Michael Jackson, have escaped jail time today (Jan 12) after a court hearing in Leicester, UK.The two men,...
30th November 2012 -
On last night's (Nov 29) edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly distanced himself from the masses and admitted that he is in no way a fan of Korean singer Psy's massive YouTube hit...
30th October 2012 -
After her death last year aged 79, just two years after her great friend Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor has become the world's highest grossing dead celebrity, according to Forbes. This result sees the growth of...
27th September 2012 -
Lil Wayne has been given an extra bonus present to help give him more reason to celebrate his 30th birthday on Thursday (September 27th) - he's stolen Elvis Presley's crown by scoring the most Billboard...
27th September 2012 -
Hip-hop star Lil’ Wayne can officially claim to be better than the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley! Well, in one sense, he can. Lil Wayne is now the male artist with the most...
27th September 2012 -
Andy Williams songs will be played on record players across the globe today, after the effortlessly smooth crooner – best known for his track ‘Moon River’ – died on Wednesday, aged 84. Williams soothing voice,...
3rd December 2008 -
Elvis Presley recorded his version of Blue Christmas for his 1957 LP, Elvis' Christmas Album. American country singer Martina McBride features on the 2008 re-release of the song and was superimposed into the classic video,...
27th August 2005 -
Cassandra Peterson admits that losing her virginity to Tom Jones was a little more painful than she expected, and left her needing medical assistance. No matter what Jones sings, we have to say that's certainly...
Just a little over a week before its scheduled release date and following apparent...
Madonna’s new album has leaked online in an unfinished form. The pop...
Normally the phrase ‘workmanlike’ is an unflattering adjective to describe...
As if we didn’t know it already, it’s been a very good year for Kasabian. In addition to a chart-topping album...
He was the hero of the 60s and 70s as one quarter of The Beatles and Sir Paul...
JK Rowling has been delighting loyal Harry Potter fans recently with...
If any band is blowing up in the UK right now, it's London rockers Wolf Alice...
Laura Marling has now launched the title track for her forthcoming new album 'Short Movie' alongside...
The Interview, the now very, very controversial new comedy from Seth Rogen...