Elvis Presley


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Elvis Presley became an international sensation and rose to become the world's greatest king of rock and roll superstar and iconic legend.
His is the quintessential “rags to riches” story of a young boy who visualized his dreams to transcend his poverty to the reach the heights of fame, fortune and unparalleled success.
The moral of his story is "you can do it" despite adversity.
Elvis Presley has been inducted into five Halls of Fame: Rock 'n' Roll, Country, Gospel, Rockabilly and R&B, sold over one billion records worldwide and made 31 movies as well as two concert documentary films.
Everything he recorded became a hit through his own unique style that was influenced by rockabilly, rhythm and blues, Christian Gospel, and Southern country.
He had charisma, a dynamic stage presence to connect with audiences that took the world by storm to forge an enduring, loyal fan following.
His recordings, hip-swivelling dance moves, clothing and pompadour hairstyle (styled up and slicked back) were the embodiments of rock and roll.
During his lifetime, he had over 150 different albums and singles certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum for which he holds the record among musicians.
His legacy resonates even today as a global icon that transcends social divides to profoundly change the course of music and culture in the mid-1950s".


Early Life

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Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935 to Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Presley (nee: Smith) in the middle of the Great Depression (1929 – 1939).
In 1934, Vernon Presley borrowed $180 to build a small, two-room house in East Tupelo where on January 8, 1935, the King of Rock 'n Roll was born into poverty to working-class parents, shortly before dawn.
Gladys Presley gave birth to identical, twin sons - the first, Jessie Garon, is born stillborn.
The second, would be their only child and named after his father, Vernon Elvis Presley, and Vernon's good friend in Tupelo, Aaron Kennedy.
For Vernon and Gladys, their only son was the center of their lives.
Life was hard during the Great Depression.
The average American family lived by the Depression-era motto: “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.”
His parents struggled to put food on the table with Vernon and Gladys working tirelessly at odd jobs to make ends meet.
Elvis' parents had met in 1933 in the First Assembly of God church in East Tupelo where Gladys's uncles, Sims and Gains Mansell, were co-pastors.
Elvis was given a water baptism in that church in 1943 or 1944 and attended the church services with his parents.
The preaching and inspirational Gospel songs in church spiritually influenced him to serve and to give throughout his life.
The beautiful, Gospel music and the country and blues of America's Deep South in which he was raised became an important influence on his unique musical identity.
In September 1941, Elvis entered first grade at East Tupelo Consolidated.
On October 3, 1945, aged 10, Elvis entered his first public singing performance at the Mississippi–Alabama Fair and Dairy Show where he sang "Old Shep".


Memphis Tennessee

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On November 6, 1948 Elvis and his parents packed their belongings in their 1939 Plymouth and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in search of a better life - other members of the Presley and Smith family would follow.
Elvis was 13 years old and was enrolled at L.C. Humes High School located in Memphis.
Life continued to be hard with Vernon and Gladys going from job to job and living in public housing or low rent homes in the poor neighborhoods of north Memphis.
Humes High School is remembered as Elvis Presley's high school where he graduated on June 3, 1953 - today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its connection to the king of rock and roll.
On his 11th birthday, Elvis was given a guitar as a gift by his parents instead of a bicycle that he wanted because his mother feared that he might get run over on the way to school.
At sixteen, he cultivated a new image by combing his hair back, grew sideburns and wore dress pants while his classmates wore jeans.
On June 3, 1953, Elvis Presley graduated from Humes High School and worked for M. B. Parker Machinists - by that time he had picked music as his future even while he took other odd jobs such as movie theater usher and truck driver for the Crown Electric Company.


Lansky Brothers

Lansky Brothers were “Clothier to the King of Rock and Roll” at their original menswear shop at 126 Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.
Bernard Lansky was the retailer who helped Elvis Presley establish his iconic clothing style of Cuban-collared shirts, wide-legged, pleated trousers, two-tone shoes and blouson jackets.
Bernard Lansky provided Elvis his outfit for his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956.
It began when Bernard first noticed seventeen year old Elvis checking out the store's window displays in 1952.
Elvis would frequently window-shop at Lansky Brothers and Bernard recalled, “One day I went out and spoke to him and invited him in."
Elvis could only afford a three-dollar shirt but, he told him, "These are beautiful things. I like everything. I don’t have no money now, but when I get rich I’ll buy you out."
I told him, "Don’t buy me out, just buy from me, And he never forgot me."
Bernard Lansky decided to take a chance on the young man by offering him credit.
Lansky Brothers gained worldwide recognition when Elvis Presley became a superstar.
Elvis shopped at Lansky Bros throughout his life.
Bernard Lansky picked out the white suit and blue tie that Elvis wore when he was buried – "I put his first suit on him and his last suit on him."


Rock and Roll-Elvis Presley

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Rock and Roll was the biggest entertainment news of the fabulous fifties that revolutionized musical culture among the baby boomer generation and made an indelible mark on America and the rest of the world.
Its roots lay in the rhythm and blues in combination with boogie-woogie, Gospel and country music of the 1940s and 1950s that created an enduring symbol throughout the 20th century and beyond.
The year, 1955 brought the first great Rock and Roll record heard by millions of people worldwide and became the first number one hit for Bill Haley and the Comets - it was "Rock Around The Clock".
Elvis Presley symbolized the 1950s musical revolution that swept the world with his pushed back, pompadour hair, upturned collar and swivelling hips.
He became the style icon of a new fashion and the superstar for the younger generation.
At the height of his fame, he had more records on the Billboard Top 100 than any other artist since the list's creation.
Other famous rock and roll singers of the fabulous fifties included, Bill Haley and the Comets, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pat Boone Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Platters, Ray Charles, Connie Francis, Patsy Cline and Teresa Brewer.
The fabulous fifties also offered a combination of sounds for everyone and classic vocalists like Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Doris Day and Patty Page all remained popular throughout and beyond the 1950s.
There has never been anyone like him and never will be - Elvis was and will always be, the King of Rock and Roll.


Fabulous Fifties

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Young men of the fabulous fifties had slicked back hair and long side burns (the Elvis look) which was extremely popular in the Rock n Roll era.
Clothing included big shouldered suit jackets, stove-pipe tight fitting pants, and luminous socks (white and red colored socks were popular).
They also wore black or white T-shirts, ripple soled suede shoes and pointed shoes, brightly colored shirts with up-turned collar (black, red and purple colored shirts were popular).
Girls wore short hair, tight slacks, tight sweaters or three-quarter-length pants or full flared skirts with rope petticoat underneath, like in Happy Days if they went out - they also wore bobby socks.
An essential part of their dress was a chiffon scarf around the neck and brightly colored sunglasses.
The diners and milk bars that had jukeboxes were the place for young people to be seen.
The jukebox was a true icon of the fabulous fifties.
In the 1950s, there were over 750,000 jukeboxes in the United States.


Stardom

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Elvis' entry into the music business began when he was 18 years old, on July 18th, 1953 when he borrowed $4.00 to record "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" as a gift for his mother at at Sam Phillip's, Sun Recording Studios in Memphis.
The rest as they say is history.
The studio manager, Marion Keisker was the first person to open the path of Elvis Presley when she noted his unusual vocal style and informed Sun Record's owner, Sam Phillips of his potential.
Sam Phillips (January 5, 1923 – July 30, 2003) was an American disc jockey, songwriter, record producer and founder of Sun Records and Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee
played a major role launching the career of Elvis Presley by getting him together with country guitarist, Scotty Moore and bass player, Bill Black.
On July 5, 1954, Elvis recorded his debut disc "That's All Right" at Sun Records and released on July 19, 1954, with "Blue Moon of Kentucky" as the B-side.
DJ Fontana was added in the band in 1955 to play the drums.
Disc jockey and promoter Bob Neal became their manager.
Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black played publicly for the first time at the Bon Air club on July 17, 1954 then, later that month appeared at the Overton Park Shell, with Slim Whitman.
It was at this event that Elvis pioneered his signature dance movement, "Rubber Legs" - shaking his legs as he performed and his wide-cut pants emphasized his movements, causing young women in the audience to start screaming.
On October 2, 1954, Elvis and his band performed at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.
In November 1954, they performed on the Louisiana Hayride show that was broadcast to 198 radio stations in 28 states.
In 1955 Elvis signed a contract along with his parents for Colonel Tom Parker (June 26, 1909 – January 21, 1997), a Dutch-American musical entrepreneur, to be his manager.
On November 20, 1955, Elvis signed his first contract with RCA records and on March 23, 1956 he cut his first album, "Elvis Presley" that become the number 1 smash hit on Billboard's pop album chart for 10 weeks and reached over $1 million in sales, earning Elvis his first gold album award as did his first hit record Heartbreak Hotel in the same year.
On August 16, 1956, Elvis arrived in Hollywood to begin filming his first movie, "Love me Tender" on 22 August.
Filming was completed on September 21 with Elvis also recording the "Love Me Tender" soundtrack that also became number 1 on both the Billboard and Cashbox charts in 1956.
Love Me Tender premiered in cinemas across the United States on November 15, 1956.
In 1957, The Jordanaires, an American vocal quartet that formed as a Gospel group in 1948 joined to back Elvis on everything from his rock tunes, to Gospel, Christmas songs and movie soundtracks.


The Million Dollar Quartet

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By pure chance, a celebrated jam session on December 4, 1956, with what became known as the Million Dollar Quartet through an extraordinary twist of fate that brought four music icons, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.
Jerry Lee Lewis was playing piano for a Carl Perkins recording session at Sun Records when Elvis Presley walked in unexpectedly and Johnny Cash was called into the studio by Sam Phillips.
This gathering of four artists who would each go on to contribute greatly to shaping popular music in the late 1950s became one of the greatest jam sessions of all time.
It marked an important moment in rock and roll history.


Army

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Elvis registered for the Selective Service 11 days after his 18th birthday in January 1953 during the Cold War (1947 - 1991).
On March 24, 1958 when Elvis Presley was 23 years old, he was inducted into the U.S. Army at the draft board in Memphis, Tennessee before boarding a bus for Fort Chaffee, Arkansas.
Between March 28 and September 17, 1958, he was assigned to Company A, 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 37th Armor, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas where he completed basic and advanced military training.
From October 1, 1958, until March 2, 1960 he was sent overseas, to Germany as a member of the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor.
In 1959, during his military service in Germany, Elvis lived at Goethestraße 14, a private house, where "the most famous soldier in the world" and his entourage lived until March, 1960.
In September, 1959 the love story between Priscilla Beaulieu who was 14 years old and Elvis Presley was 24 began.
Priscilla lived in West Germany with her mother, siblings and her stepfather, Captain Joseph Paul Beaulieu of the U.S. Air Force, who was stationed there.
On January 20, 1960, Elvis was promoted to Sergeant and received his stripes on February 11 and returned to the United States.
Elvis Presley was officially discharged from active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 5, 1960, and received his discharge from the Army Reserve on March 23, 1964.


Mother's Death

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Elvis Presley had an extremely close relationship with his mother - she was the number one girl in his life and dedicated his career to her.
Even when he was touring, Elvis would always call his mother every night.
His mother was extremely protective of Elvis after losing his twin brother and living through impoverished times, they formed a strong lifelong bond.
Gladys Presley lived at Graceland which Elvis had bought in the spring of 1957 aged twenty two - it was his first year of super-stardom that included historic television appearances, record-breaking live performances and gold record awards.
Five months into Elvis' military service he got emergency leave to go and see his mother by charting a plane on August 12.
Doctors had diagnosed Gladys with liver problems was admitted to hospital in August 1958.
Sadly, his mother died on August 14, 1958 of cardiac arrest when Elvis was at Fort Hood, Texas.
Elvis cried hysterically and eyewitnesses said that he was grieving constantly.
On August 15, 1958, Gladys Presley's funeral was held at 3:30pm and her favourite Gospel group, the Blackwood Brothers, performed at the service in the Memphis Funeral Home.
They were to sing three songs but, J.D. Sumner said "We wound up singing twelve".
Two of the songs the Blackwood Brothers sang were Rock of Ages and Precious Memories.
Elvis was also inconsolable at her grave site, crying out, "Oh God, everything I have is gone. I lived my life for you. I loved you so much.”


Marriage

On May 1, 1967, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu tied the knot in a small ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas
Priscilla was 21, Elvis was 32.
Following the reception, Priscilla and Elvis boarded a private jet and enjoyed a short honeymoon in Palm Springs.
Their only child, Lisa Marie, was born nine months after their wedding, on February 1, 1968.


Faith

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Elvis Presley's relationship with God began as a young boy attending the east Tupelo, Mississippi, First Assembly of God Church with his parents.
He was baptized twice as a child — once in Tupelo, and again by a Oneness Pentecostal pastor in Memphis as a teenager.
Elvis Quotes About God
"Whatever I will become will be what God has chosen for me".
"All good things come from God - that includes all the good things that have come to me and to my folks".
"The way I feel about it, being religious means that you love God and are real grateful for all He's given, and want to work for Him".
"There's only one king, and that's Jesus Christ".
Elvis owned several Bibles throughout his life.
Amy Van Dyke, a museum lead curator of art and exhibitions, shared the story that Elvis' personal Bible was "something special to him" by all the notes in the margins - "His favorite book, from what it looks like, was the book of Psalms," she shared.
As a devout Christian, Gospel music was an important part of his spiritual life that expressed his faith to God.
He had Gospel singers who toured with him when he gave concerts throughout the United States.
Gospel songs such as “How Great Thou Art,” “His Hand In Mine,” “He Touched Me,” “Crying In The Chapel,” “We Call on Him,” "I Believe," “You'll Never Walk Alone” and "Miracle of the Rosary" are just a few of the 60 recordings released throughout his phenomenal music career.
"How Great Thou Art" in 1974 earned him the Grammy for Best Inspirational Song.


Charity

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Elvis Presley's humble and charitable heart gave money or gifts to his family, friends, strangers, charities, nonprofits and those who needed a helping hand throughout his life.
Stories abound of Elvis buying houses, cars and jewelry for family, friends and strangers and paid hospital bills anonymously for people in need.
When Elvis was in the army in Germany he rolled up his uniform's sleeve to give the lifesaving gift of blood alongside his fellow soldiers on base in Friedburg, Germany.
In 1961, he started giving checks to more than 50 charitable organizations, donating more than $100,000 a year.
He supported St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis by purchasing the USS Potomac and gave it to sell as a fundraiser.
The USS Potomac had served as the Presidential yacht, or “Floating White House,” for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
And, no matter what the relationship with the women in his life whether they were mother, girlfriend, wife or daughter - they all got a dog as a special gift.


Elvis Impersonators

Since Elvis Presley's death from a heart attack in 1977, Elvis impersonating has been a growth industry.
There are an estimated 400,000 Elvis impersonators worldwide.
No other celebrity can even come close to that kind of adolation.
Every impersonator has said that there will never be another singer who can create such loyalty and admiration like Elvis Presley!


God's Heavenly Kingdom

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Elvis Presley died suddenly on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42 from cardiac arrest at 3:30pm.
His mother, Gladys Presley died on August 14, 1958 of cardiac arrest aged 46.
His father, Vernon Presley died on June 26, 1979 from cardiac arrest aged 63.
His daughter, Lisa Marie Presley died on January 12, 2023 from cardiac arrest aged 54.
Elvis Presley, his father, mother grandmother, daughter and grandson are buried at his home in Graceland in the Meditation Garden.
Elvis Presley was reading "A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus" by Frank O Adams, the moment he died, by U.S. Army retired Colonel who was searching for the exact image of Jesus' face with the Holy Shroud in mind.
Graceland
Over 600,000 visitors make the pilgrimage each year to Elvis Presley's 17,552-square-foot, Graceland on the outskirts of Memphis, Tennessee, making it the second-most visited house in America, behind only the White House.

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