All about the musician Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley... A style icon in music! He was a talented singer, musician and actor with over a billion records sold to his credit! He also managed to star in 33 movies. So...
"The King of Rock 'n' Roll. A humble beginning
Gladys Presley had a difficult birth... Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935. The miracle occurred to Gladys and Vernon Presley at 4:35 in a small house of just two rooms in Tupelo, Mississippi. Elvis' twin brother, Jesse Garon, was born dead. Gladys was not feeling well and was taken to the hospital. She could have no more children...
Gladys was crazy about her blue-eyed son with blond hair. She worked hard to keep her family together. When her husband, Vernon, was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud at the Parchman farm: Vernon sold a pig for $4 and tried to cash a check for $14...or $40.
While her husband was in prison, Gladys could not support herself and her son, so she had to move in with relatives. Elvis was three years old at the time. It was their first move, and there were many more to come!
Because Elvis moved around a lot, there were only two things in his life that were always with him: his parents and his music. His parents worked, and Elvis always spent time with music. He found it everywhere he could, plus he listened to church music and even learned to play the church piano. When Elvis was eight years old, he often hung around the local radio station. For his eleventh birthday, his parents gave him a guitar.
When Elvis was in high school, the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. Even though Elvis joined the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps for Colleges), played on the soccer team, and worked as an assistant at the local movie theater, that didn't stop other students from picking on him and bullying him. Elvis was different. He dyed his hair black, and the style was taken from the comic books: the image was inspired by Captain Marvel Jr. The style was quite different from the other kids at his school.
Despite his problems at school, Elvis continued to surround himself with music. He listened to the radio and bought records. Moving with his family to the Lauderdale Courts apartment complex, he often played with other aspiring musicians who lived there. To expand his palette in music, Elvis crossed the "color line" (segregation was still prevalent in the South) and listened to African-American performers such as B.B. King. Elvis also frequented Beale Street in the African-American part of town and watched black musicians play.
Elvis Presley's First Steps
By the time Elvis finished high school, he could sing in styles ranging from country to gospel. More importantly, Elvis also had his own style of singing and special movements that belonged only to him. Elvis took everything he saw and heard and created a unique new sound out of it. The first person who noticed him and recognized his talent was Sam Phillips of Sun Records.
For a whole year after high school, Elvis worked during the day and played small clubs at night. He certainly wondered if he would ever become a real musician, so he wouldn't have to waste time on part-time jobs. And then on June 6, 1954, Elvis received a call from Sun Records, he could finally get what he had dreamed of for so long.
Phillips wanted Elvis to do a new song, and when that didn't work, he put Elvis together with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black. After a month of practice, Elvis, Moore and Black recorded "It's okay (Mom).". Phillips convinced his friend to play it on the radio, and the song became an instant hit. The listeners liked the song so much that it was played fourteen times in a row.
Elvis is becoming a big boy
Elvis quickly achieved fame. On August 15, 1954, Elvis signed a four-song recording contract with Sun Records. He then began appearing on popular radio shows such as Grand Ole Opry and Louisiana Hayride. Elvis was so successful on Hairid's show that she hired him to perform every Saturday for a year. It was then that Elvis gave up his day job. Elvis toured the South during the week, playing wherever there was a paying audience, but every Saturday he had to return to Shreveport, Louisiana, for a Heiridh show.
The teenagers went crazy for Elvis and his music. They were screaming. They cheered. They waited for him backstage, tearing his clothes off. For his part, Elvis put his soul into every performance. Plus, he moved his body - a lot...the girls were melting...This style was very different from any other white performer's style. Elvis would move his hips and legs and then fall sharply on his knees to the floor. Adults found it obscene and lewd, but teenagers adored Elvis.
Elvis was becoming more and more popular, he realized he needed a manager, so he hired "Colonel" Tom Parker. In a sense, Parker used Elvis over the years; he took some of Elvis's income into his own pocket. However, Parker also developed Elvis: he made him not a super, but a megastar!
Elvis is a Star!
Soon Elvis became too popular for Sun Records, and Phillips sold Elvis' contract to RCA Victor. At the time, managers at RCA offered $35,000 for Elvis's contract, the largest fee a singer had ever received from a record company-it was the largest fee in history at the time!
To make Elvis even more popular, Parker put Elvis on television. On January 28, 1956, Elvis made his first appearance on The Stage Show, soon followed by appearances on The Milton Berle Show The Steve Allen Show , and the Ed Sullivan Show.
In March 1956 Parker arranged for Elvis to audition for Paramount Movie Studios. The movie studios adored Elvis, of course, and they immediately signed a contract for six films and shot the first one: Love Me Tender (1956). About two weeks after the studio audition, Elvis's "Heartbreak Hotel" went gold; it was his first gold album: copies of the record sold millions of copies.
Elvis's popularity was skyrocketing, and so was the flow of money. Elvis had always wanted to take care of his family and buy the house for his mother that she had always dreamed of. Now he was in a position to do that, as well as much more. In March 1957, Elvis purchased Graceland, a mansion on 13 acres of land, for $102,500. He then remodeled the entire mansion to his liking.
On December 20, 1957, Elvis received a draft letter. Elvis had the opportunity to "get out" and even get a special paper on the subject, but instead Elvis decided to go to serve as a regular soldier. His military corps was stationed in Germany.
After a career hiatus of nearly two years, many people, including Elvis himself, wondered if the world would forget Elvis Presley while he was in the military. Parker worked hard to keep the Elvis name and image alive in the public eye. Parker was so successful at this that some would say: Elvis was more popular after his military experience than before it!
While Elvis was in the army, two important events happened in his life. The first was the death of his beloved mother. Her death devastated him... The second was that he met and began dating 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, whose father was also in Germany. They married eight years later, on May 1, 1967, soon having a daughter named Lisa Maria Presley (born February 1, 1968).
Elvis the Actor
When Elvis returned from the army in 1960, fans adored him even more. Elvis was as popular as ever. He immediately began recording new songs and starring in many movies. Unfortunately, it became obvious to Parker and others that anything with the name or image of Elvis made money, and so Elvis was forced to do movies for quantity, not quality. Elvis' most successful film, "Blue Hawaii (1961), became the basic template for many of his later films. Elvis became increasingly frustrated with the poor quality of the films and songs he produced.
From 1960 to 1968 Elvis made very few public appearances: he concentrated on making movies. During that time Elvis starred in 33 films.
The Return of 1968 and Las Vegas
While Elvis was absent from the scene, new musicians began to appear. Some of these popular bands, take the Beatles for example, were stirring up teenagers, and their records were selling more and more copies. Elvis' title of "King of Rock and Roll" was in jeopardy, they could take it away at any moment. Elvis had to do something to keep his crown.
In December 1968, Elvis, dressed in black leather clothing, appeared in a special one-hour television concert film called "Elvis.". Calm, sexy, and humorous, Elvis wowed the crowd!
This 1968 "special comeback" breathed new energy into Elvis. After his success on the TV show, Elvis returned to recording new songs and performing live.
In July 1969, Parker arranged with the new International Hotel for Elvis to live and perform directly there, in Las Vegas.
Elvis' shows were a huge success, and the hotel, of course, invited Elvis for a month every year until 1974. The rest of the year Elvis traveled on tour.
Elvis and Health
Ever since his popularity returned in full force to Elvis, he had been working at breakneck speed: at breakneck speed! He recorded songs, made films, signed autographs and gave concerts almost without rest. In order not to "lose speed," Elvis began to take prescription drugs.
By the early 1970s, because of his long-term and prolonged use of these drugs, he began to develop health problems: mood swings, aggression, erratic behavior ... he gained weight.
By this time Elvis and Priscilla had separated. In January 1973 they divorced. After the divorce, Elvis's addiction began to progress. He was hospitalized several times for overdoses and other health problems. His performances were threatened. On many occasions, Elvis simply mumbled songs without pronouncing the words...
Death... Elvis left the building...
On the morning of August 16, 1977, Elvis' girlfriend, Ginger Alden, found Elvis on the bathroom floor in Graceland. He was not breathing. Elvis was taken to the hospital, where doctors were unable to resuscitate him. Doctors pronounced the time of death to be 3:30 p.m. Elvis died at age 42.