Introduction to Elvis Presley
When you think of oldies music, you’d think of many things like 1950s rock and roll and Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley was the first real rock and roll star who rose into fame during the 50s music era. A white southerner who sang blues laced with country and country tinged with gospel. This page is dedicated to the king of rock and roll – you will information, pictures, videos, and more!
Some interesting facts about Elvis:
1. Financial problems forced the Presley family to leave Tupelo for Memphis in November 1948. Elvis and his parents lived in public housing or low-rent homes in the poor neighborhoods of north Memphis.
2. On October 2, 1954, Elvis made his first and only appearance on the “Grand Ole Opry.” An unimpressed audience prompted “Opry” officials to suggest that Elvis go back to driving a truck. Thankfully, Elvis didn’t listen to the audience at the “Opry.” He went on to appear on 52 Saturday night episodes of the “Louisiana Hayride,” a live radio program and probably the biggest competitor of the “Grand Ole Opry.”
3. $130 million – Total gross of Presley’s movies in the 1960s. Most people don’t realize Elvis made 31 movies between 1956 and 1969. Were the movies cheesy? Maybe. But they were popular. In fact, Elvis’ movies would have earned $859.3 million in today’s economy.
Early life and family
When you hear the name “Elvis,” the first thing that comes to mind is, of course, Elvis Presley. He is the undisputed King Of Rock and Roll — one of the icons of the 20th-century culture. His good looks, talent, charisma, and outstanding stage presence captivated fans worldwide. Not only that, his folksy humility and generosity in spite of his wealth and fame also endeared him to millions.
The King had his humble beginnings in Tupelo, Mississippi, where he was born on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, who was born minutes before him, was stillborn. This left Elvis as an only child. It is also known that Elvis had had an unusually close bond with his mother, Gladys Love Smith Presley.
Gladys Presley was fiercely protective of her son. If boys were bothering her son, she would give the other kids a beating. However, she also disciplined him if he disobeyed. Elvis’ father, Vernon Elvis Presley, did not,
When he was in his teens, it is rather ironic that Presley received only a C in his high school music class. A shy kid and a loner, his solace was music. He visited record shops with jukeboxes. Elvis had no formal musical training; he learned to play music purely by ear and never learned to read music. This lack of musical training didn’t hurt Elvis, however, as he sold over 600 million units in the United States, and another 400 million units over the remainder of the world.
Career breakthrough and super stardom
He started his musical career with Sun Records in Memphis, in 1954. The next year RCA Victor Records bought his contract from Sun. His eponymous debut record under RCA yielded one of his well-known songs, “Blue Suede Shoes”. Other songs he later popularized were “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “Love Me Tender” and others, capturing the spirit of the 1950s music scene.
In no time he became a legitimate music sensation and matinee idol. Elvis Presley was also one of the first artists who bridged the racial gap by bringing diverse musical influences into his musical repertoire that includes blues, R&B and gospel in addition to pop and classic rock n’ roll.
He was also known as an actor, having starred in 33 films which, although most of them critically scorned, were financially successful at the box-office.
Elvis was drafted to serve in the United States Army and he was inducted into the service on March 24, 1958. After his mother’s death on August 14, 1958, Presley was stationed in Friedberg, Germany. While in Friedberg, he met Priscilla Beaulieu, who was only 14 at the time.
After a 7 1/2 year courtship, Elvis and Priscilla were married on May 1, 1967. The two had one daughter, Lisa Marie, and were divorced in 1973.
Later years, death and legacy
Elvis released records throughout his time in the US Army. Between 1958 and 1960, he had ten top 40 hits. RCA also released four albums while Elvis was out of the public eye. When Elvis returned to the US, he recorded “Elvis is Back” which was released within days of recording. The album reached number 2 on the album chart. Following the album’s release, Elvis headed back to act in more movies.
In each passing years since his comeback, he fell victim to the pressures of performing and touring. After struggling with divorce from Priscilla Presley, drug abuse, and failing health, he died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42. His untimely demise shocked fans worldwide.
During his career and even after his death, The King’s own reign endures. His records, CDs and movies still continue to sell well. He had received multiple awards and “hall-of-fame” honors. His mansion in Graceland is one of the world’s most famous tourists attractions. Many people impersonate him, while artists continue to derive inspiration from his musical style.
The Beatles’ John Lennon had let out a famous quote: “Before Elvis, there was nothing.” It is no doubt that Elvis brought both electrifying presence and significant change to rock n’ roll, and modern-day pop culture has a lot to be indebted to him for.
Things You May Not Know about Elvis Presley
- Elvis’ natural hair color was brown – he dyed his hair black.
- The first “record” Elvis ever recorded was for his mama and it cost him $4.
- In 1954, a DJ played Elvis’ record “That’s All Right” on a local radio station 13 times. The DJ says he had problems convincing the audience that Elvis was a white singer.
- In 1957, Elvis traveled to Canada for a 3-day tour and gave 5 concerts. Those were the only concerts Elvis ever did outside of the United States. Some believe the reason is because Colonel Tom Parker may have been in the US illegally and may have been deported if he applied for a passport.
- Elvis paid $100,000 for Graceland in 1957. Graceland, which is in Memphis, TN, was named for the previous owner’s daughter, Grace. Elvis moved his parents to Graceland before he was inducted into the US Army.
- Elvis often changed lyrics during concerts to amuse himself. During a concert in Las Vegas in 1969, Elvis was singing “Are You Lonesome Tonight” and changed the line that said “Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?” to be “Do you look at your bald head and wish you had hair?”
- Elvis made a total of 31 movies during his acting career. The first film “Love Me Tender” was made in 1956. His parents had bit parts in his second movie, “Loving You.“ After his mother passed away in 1958, he never watched the movie again.
- Elvis married Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967 when she was 22 years old. They met in 1959 while Elvis was serving in Germany.
- Even though Elvis recorded over 600 songs during his long musical career, he didn’t write any of them.
- Elvis was born at 4:35 AM on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, who did not survive, was born 35 minutes before Elvis.
- Some reports say that during the course of Elvis’ music career, over 1 billion records of his were sold worldwide. This is more than any other musical artist.
- Elvis, even though he had a musical career that spanned more than 20 years, never learned how to read music.
- Elvis won his first Grammy Award for the gospel song “How Great Thou Art” in 1967.
- While serving in the United States Army, Elvis was awarded two medals – one of them was for expert marksmanship and the other one was for sharpshooting.
- Elvis also held a black belt in karate.
- “Heartbreak Hotel” was Elvis’ first number one hit in 1956.
- Elvis recorded 24 songs with Sun Studio between 1953 and 1955. 10 of the 24 songs, released as singles (sides A and B). In 2002, the 22 remaining songs recordings were inducted into the US Congress’ National Recording Registry.
- Throughout his short life, Elvis issued a total of 200 records. This includes all singles, extended plays (EPs) and long-playing albums.
- RCA released 72 albums between 1956 and 1977. 18 of those albums were movie soundtracks.
Other Articles about Elvis and Music
- ELVIS – The King – One Person’s Thoughts
- Musings on Elvis
- Top Artists and Bands of the 60s
- Top Artists and Bands of the 50s