Elvis Presley

Elvis Aron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll", was an American singer, song producer and actor.

Elvis remains a popular and enigmatic star, and his legend has only grown stronger since his death. In fact, there is a widespread belief that Elvis—who was known by his first name—did not die in 1977. Many fans persist in claiming he is still alive, that he went into hiding for various reasons. This claim is allegedly backed up by thousands of so-called Elvis sightings that have occurred in the years since his death, and by the fact that his middle name Aron was mispelled Aaron, with two As, on his tombstone. [[1]]

Rolling Stone magazine claimed "Elvis Presley is rock 'n' roll" and called his body of work "acres of perfect material." During an active recording career that spanned more than two decades, Presley set and broke many records for both concert attendance and sales. Some of those records have since been matched and/or broken by other artists, but some of his records will probably remain unbroken and/or unmatched forever. He has had more than 120 singles in the US top 40, across various musical genres, with over 20 reaching number one.

An American Phenomenon

According to Rolling Stone magazine "it was Elvis who made rock 'n' roll the international language of pop." A PBS documentary once described Presley as "an American music giant of the 20th century who singlehandedly changed the course of music and culture in the mid-1950s." [2]. His recordings, dance moves, attitude and clothing came to be seen as embodiments of rock and roll. Presley sang both hard driving rockabilly and rock and roll dance songs and ballads, laying a commercial foundation upon which other rock and roll musicians would build. African-American performers like Little Richard and Chuck Berry came to national prominence after Presley's acceptance among mass audiences of white teenagers, even though his music was strongly influenced by some of those same African-American musicians. Singers like Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and others immediately followed in his wake, leading John Lennon to later observe, "Before Elvis, there was nothing."

Elvis Presley at the Mississippi-Alabama State Fair, 1956

Teenagers came to Presley's concerts in unprecedented numbers. When he performed at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair in 1956 a hundred National Guardsmen surrounded the stage to control crowds of excited fans. When municipal politicians began denying permits for Presley appearances teens piled into cars and traveled elsewhere to see him perform. It seemed as if the more adults tried to stop it, the more teenagers across North America insisted on having what they wanted. When adult programmers announced they would not play Presley's music on their radio stations (some because God told them it was sexually suggestive Devil music, others saying it was Southern "nigger" music) the economic power of that generation became evident when they tuned in any radio station playing Elvis records. In an industry already shifting to all-music formats in reaction to television, profit-conscious radio station owners learned hard lessons when sponsors bought advertising time on new rock and roll stations reaching enormous markets at night with clear channel signals from AM broadcasts.

During the 1950s post-WWII economic boom in the United States, many parents were able to give their teenaged children much higher weekly allowances, signalling a shift in the buying power and purchasing habits of teens. During the 1940s bobby soxers had idolized Frank Sinatra but the buyers of his records were mostly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. Presley triggered a juggernaut of demand for his records by near-teens and early teens aged ten and up.

Presley's overwhelming appeal was to girls. Many boys adopted his look to attract them. Along with Elvis' ducktail haircut, the demand for black slacks and loose, open-necked shirts resulted in new lines of clothing for teenaged boys. In 1956 America, birthday and Christmas gifts were often music or even Elvis related. A girl might get a pink portable 45 rpm record player for her bedroom. Meanwhile American teenagers began buying newly available portable transistor radios [3] and listened to rock 'n' roll on them (helping to propel that fledgling industry from an estimated 100,000 units sold in 1955 to 5,000,000 units by the end of 1958). Teens were asserting more independence and Elvis Presley became a national symbol of their parents' consternation.

Presley's impact on the American youth consumer market was noted on the front page of The Wall Street Journal on December 31, 1956 when future Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Louis M. Kohlmeier wrote, "Elvis Presley today is a business," and reported on the singer's record and merchandise sales (this may have been the first time a journalist described an entertainer as a business). Half a century later, historian Ian Brailsford (University of Auckland, New Zealand) commented, "The phenomenal success of Elvis Presley in 1956 convinced many doubters of the financial opportunities existing in the youth market." [4]

Birth & Childhood

Elvis Aron Presley was born in a two-room house in East Tupelo, Mississippi to Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Smith. His twin brother, Jesse Garon, was stillborn. Elvis was given the middle name of Aron, with only one A, so he would always be a part of his brother Jesse Garon. Aron/Garon. The surname Presley was Anglicized from the German Pressler during the Civil War. His ancestor Johann Valentin Pressler emigrated to North America in 1710. Pressler first settled in New York, but later moved to the South. He was of mostly Scottish and English descent; the family also has Native American, German and Jewish (from a great-grandmother of Gladys) roots.

Elvis Presley was raised both in East Tupelo and later in Memphis, Tennessee, where his family moved when he was 13. In 1949 the family moved to Lauderdale Courts public housing development which was near musical and cultural influences like Beale Street, Ellis Auditorium and the Popular Tunes record store along with the Sun Studio about a mile away.

In her book, Elvis and Gladys author Elaine Dundy wrote that those close to Elvis as a boy say he was a fan of comic book superhero Captain Marvel, Jr., and would later model his trademark hairstyle and some of his stage clothes/stage costumes on the comic book character.

Elvis took up the guitar and practiced in the basement laundry room at Lauderdale Courts. He played gigs in the malls and courtyards of the Courts with other musicians who lived there. After high school he worked at Precision Tool Company, then drove a truck for the Crown Electric Company.

The Sun recordings

In the summer of 1953, Presley paid $4 to record the first of two double-sided demo acetates at Sun Studios, "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" which were popular ballads at the time. According to the official Presley website, Elvis reportedly gave it to his mother as a much-belated birthday present. Sun Records founder Sam Phillips and assistant Marion Keisker heard the discs and called him in June 1954 to fill in for a missing ballad singer. Although that session was not productive, Sam Phillips put Elvis together with local musicians Scotty Moore and Bill Black to see what might develop. During a rehearsal break on July 5, 1954, Elvis began singing a blues song written by Arthur Crudup called "That's All Right". Phillips liked the resulting record and released it as a 78RPM single backed with Elvis' hopped-up version of Bill Monroe's bluegrass song "Blue Moon Of Kentucky." Memphis radio station WHBQ began airing it two days later, the record became a local hit and Elvis began a regular touring schedule which expanded his fame beyond Tennessee.

Country music star Hank Snow arranged to have Presley perform at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry and his performance was received well by the audience. Nonetheless, one of the show's executives was far from impressed and hinted that Presley should give up his music. However, since that time many singers (Garth Brooks among them) have commented that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry is that they played on the same stage as Presley.

He continued to tour the U.S. South. On October 16, 1954, he made his first appearance on Louisiana Hayride, a radio broadcast of live country music in Shreveport, Louisiana and was a hit with the large audience. Following this, Presley was signed to a one-year contract for a weekly performance during which time he was introduced to Colonel Tom Parker. This helped sales of his records as his releases began to reach the top of the country charts.

The management of Colonel Tom Parker

On August 15, 1955 Elvis Presley was signed by "Hank Snow Attractions", a management company jointly owned by singer Hank Snow and Colonel Tom Parker. Shortly thereafter, Colonel Parker took full control and, recognizing the limitations of Sun Studios, negotiated a deal with RCA Records on November 21, 1955, then immediately established two New York City recording companies for Presley's music. Understanding the commercial value for any composer having their song recorded by Presley, Parker was able to demand they share their royalties with the singer. A master promoter who wasted no time in marketing Presley's image, Parker licensed everything from guitars to cookware. After being approached by the Hollywood Studios, Parker eventually negotiated a multi-picture seven-year contract that shifted Presley's focus from music to films. Under the terms of his contract, Presley earned a fee for performing plus a percentage of the profits on the films, most of which were huge moneymakers. (See "Movies" section below.) With money seemingly being at the forefront of all decisions made by the Colonel, his success led to his management contract with Elvis being renegotiated to an even 50/50 split between the two. Over the years, much has been written about Colonel Parker, most of it critical. Marty Lacker, a lifelong friend and a member of the Memphis Mafia, says he thought of Parker as a "hustler and scam artist" who abused Elvis's reliance on him. Nonetheless, along with Lamar Fike, and Presley's first cousin Billy Smith, Lacker acknowledged that Parker was a master promoter as recounted in their 1995 book Elvis Aron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia. In the 2005 television special about her former husband, Priscilla Presley said she didn't know who else there was at the time in 1955 who could have seized the moment and done the job of marketing Elvis. Parker's definitive biography was written by award-winning journalist Alanna Nash published in 2003.

Military service

On December 20, 1957, Presley received his draft notice for the then compulsory 2-year service with the United States Army. On March 24, 1958, he was inducted into the Army at the Memphis Draft Board. Ginger Alden's (Elvis's future fiancee) father Walter Alden was a sergeant in the Army and in charge of public relations during that time. Elvis received no special treatment and was widely praised for not doing what many wealthy and influential people did to avoid service or to serve part time in easy domestic positions such as the Special Services where he could have sung and continued to maintain a public profile. His military service received massive media coverage with much speculation whether or not two years out of the limelight at the height of his popularity would do irreparable damage to his career. Presley sailed to Europe on the USS General George M. Randall (AP-115), and served in Germany as an ordinary soldier.

He returned to the United States on March 2, 1960, and was honorably discharged on March 5th.

Comeback

Many observers (including John Lennon) later claimed that following Presley's return from military service the quality of his recorded output dropped, although others thought he was still capable of creating records equal to his best (and did so on the infrequent occasions where he was presented with "decent" material at his movie recording sessions). Presley himself became deeply dissatisfied with the direction his career would take over the ensuing seven years, notably the film contract with a demanding schedule that eliminated creative recording and giving public concerts. In 1960 the album Elvis is Back was recorded to mixed reviews by critics and fans. With this drop-off, and in the face of the social upheaval of the 1960s and the British Invasion spearheaded by The Beatles, Presley's star faded slightly before a triumphant televised performance later dubbed the '68 Comeback Special. Aired on the NBC network on December 3, 1968, the show saw him return to his rock and roll roots. His 1969 return to live performances, first in Las Vegas and then across the country, was noted for the constant stream of sold-out shows, with many setting attendance records in the venues where he performed throughout the country.

1969 onward

After seven years off the top of the charts, Presley's song "Suspicious Minds" hit No. 1 on the Billboard music charts on November 1, 1969. This was the last time any song by Presley hit #1 on the US pop charts while he was still alive, although "Burning Love" got as high as #2 in September 1972. He still reached #1 on charts around the world. For example, "The Wonder Of You" reached #1 in the UK in 1970. The "Aloha from Hawaii" concert in January 1973 was the first of its kind to be broadcast worldwide via satellite and his biggest audience ever. The soundtrack album was another #1 disc.

Way Down was racing up the American Country Music charts shortly before Presley's death in 1977, and hit #1 on that very chart the week he died (Presley recorded a number of country hits in his final years). It also topped the UK pop charts at the same time. Between 1969 and 1977 he gave over 1,000 sold-out performances in Las Vegas and on tour. He was the first artist to have four shows in a row sold to capacity at New York's Madison Square Garden. During the mid-1970s Presley became increasingly isolated, battling an addiction to prescription drugs and its resulting toll on his appearance, health and performances. Elvis Presley made his last live concert appearance in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Market Square Arena on June 26, 1977.

Movies

In late 1955, Presley made his earliest known film appearance in a documentary entitled The Pied Piper of Cleveland, a look at the career of disc jockey Bill Randle. The film, (which reportedly included performance footage of Elvis as well as Bill Haley and His Comets and other acts), was shown in its entirety only once (in Cleveland) and was never released commercially. The film is currently considered "misplaced" and some Presley researchers maintain it never existed, although there is ample evidence to suggest it did.

Beginning with Love Me Tender (opened on November 15, 1956), Presley starred in 31 motion pictures, having signed to multiple long-term contracts on the advice of his manager. These were usually musicals based around Presley performances, and marked the beginning of his transition from rebellious rock and roller to all-round family entertainer. Elvis was praised by all his directors, including the highly respected Michael Curtiz, as unfailingly polite and extremely hardworking.

The movies Jailhouse Rock (1957), King Creole (1958), and Flaming Star (1960) are widely regarded as his best among film critics. Among fans, Blue Hawaii (1961) and Viva Las Vegas (1964) are also highly praised.

In addition to his own films, Presley has been the subject of more than seventy films that have his name in the title.

For details on films in which he starred, see the List of Elvis Presley films.

Gospel roots

Ironically, for all the controversy surrounding his early career, Elvis Presley's roots in religious music ran deep. In Tupelo, Mississippi, Vernon and Gladys Presley were what was disparagingly referred to as poor white trash from the "wrong side of the tracks" at the east end of town. Their Depression-era home (where Elvis was born in 1935) was a two-room shack on one of several dirt tracks forming a small community off Old Saltillo Road. They belonged to a local Assembly of God Pentecostal church which played an important role in their lives. For Elvis Presley it provided an environment from which he would instinctively adopt the music, sound and accompanying body movements in his later rock and roll singing performances. The African American form of music that became known as Rhythm & Blues (which also evolved from gospel songs) was also a part of Presley's childhood world and he probably heard it on a regular basis in the black section of Tupelo known as "Shakerag" (which was between Tupelo and East Tupelo, and was demolished in the 1960s as part of an urban renewal project). The church is said to have brought the Presleys, along with the rest of its desperately poor congregation, a message of hope wrapped around "Hell, fire, and brimstone" sermons. For nearly a quarter century the Pentecostal movement was interracial and during the 1930s and 1940s many of these poor churches did not adopt the growing policy of racial segregation.

Although Vernon Presley's family was Pentecostal and his sister Nash Presley became a minister, his wife Gladys was Elvis's devoutly religious parent. Her uncle Gains Mansell was also a Pentecostal preacher in East Tupelo whose interracial church services began with revival meetings held in a tent. Pentecostal church services started, centered and ended with music and everyone was encouraged to "make a joyous noise unto the Lord." According to Presley biographer Peter Guralnick, Gladys Presley said that by the age of two her son was already trying to sing along in the church. A Pentecostal preacher would typically lead the congregation in prayer and both singing and prayer were accompanied by the waving of hands, the swaying of bodies and dancing about in the Holy Spirit. As it almost always did in those settings, "when the Spirit strikes" the body would jerk as though hit by a bolt of lightning and frequently the worshipper would fall to the floor, rolling around and praying aloud (this is why outsiders referred to church members as "Holy Rollers" and their services as a "religious frenzy"). For instrumentation, these church services used a guitar, a tambourine or two and if they could afford one, a well-worn piano and perhaps a used piano accordion. Church services lasting three hours and held several times a week were filled with music as Pentecostals gyrated their hips, shook their legs, clapped and waved their arms while belting out pounding, rhythmic songs such as Down By the Riverside, When The Saints Go Marching In and Standing On The Promises. There were also more serene songs sung with great emotion like The Old Rugged Cross and Softly and Tenderly (Jesus is calling).

In 1948 the Presley family left Tupelo, moving 110 miles northwest to Memphis, Tennessee. Here too, thirteen-year-old Elvis lived in the city's poorer section of town and attended a Pentecostal church. At this time, Presley was very much influenced by the Memphis blues.

While Elvis Presley was a teen cataclysm with millions of American girls screaming at the sight of him, his own church viewed Presley's gyrations on stage as an affront, labelling it the Devil's work and a mocking of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Presley records were condemned as wicked and Pentecostal preachers thumped their pulpits with Bibles, warning congregations to keep heathen rock and roll music out of their homes and away from their children's ears (especially the music of "that backslidden Pentecostal pup, Elvis Presley"). People who decades later would be considered part of the religious right spoke out vigorously against Presley including Cardinal Spellman. In its weekly periodical, the Roman Catholic Church added to the criticism in an article titled "Beware Elvis Presley."

In August, 1956 in Jacksonville, Florida a local Juvenile Court judge called Presley a "savage" and threatened to arrest him if he shook his body while performing at Jacksonville's Florida Theatre, justifying the restrictions by saying his music was undermining the youth of America. Throughout the performance Presley stood still as ordered but poked fun at the judge by wiggling a finger. Similar attempts to stop his "sinful gyrations" continued for more than a year and included his often noted January 6, 1957 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (during which he performed the spiritual number "Peace in the Valley") when he was seen only from the waist up.

His Hand In Mine (1960) was the title of Elvis' first gospel album. During his '68 Comeback Special Elvis said his music came from gospel. As heard in the 2005 televised special, Presley told a reporter that he "knew every gospel song there is." Despite his church's attitude, gospel music was a prominent part of Presley's repertoire throughout his life. From 1971 to his death in 1977 Presley employed the Stamps Quartet, a gospel group, for his backup vocals. He recorded several gospel albums, earning three Grammy Awards for his gospel music. In his later years Presley's live stage performances almost always included a rendition of "How Great Thou Art," the 19th century gospel song made famous by George Beverly Shea. More than forty-five years later (and twenty-four years after his death) the Gospel Music Association finally inducted him into their Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2001).

Well-Known Gospel Songs:

  • How Great Thou Art
  • He Touched Me
  • Peace In The Valley
  • He Is My Everything
  • Help Me
  • Why Me, Lord?
  • Amazing Grace
  • Swing Down Sweet Chariot

Relationships

June Juanico & Elvis

No entertainer has ever had his life and intimate relationships examined in as much detail as has Elvis Presley. Even the FBI had a file on him of more than 600 pages. He has been the subject of over 718 books (and counting), including two by his only wife, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley (whom he married on May 1, 1967) and several others by former girlfriends including June Juanico. Since his death many claims to relationships have been made by women who were no more than acquaintances or had short term affairs which were exaggerated for personal gain.

High school and early stardom

According to interviews with teachers and former fellow students at Milam Junior High school in Tupelo, Mississippi, noted Presley biographer Elaine Dundy in her book Elvis and Gladys wrote (p.124) that beginning in his early teens, Elvis embarked upon the "indefatigable pursuit of girls", but was totally rebuffed and that this was something that contributed to his lifelong need for a beautiful woman to validate his feelings of inadequacy. What can be actually ascertained, from looking at the numerous pictures of Elvis Presley starting at the age of 14, is that the teenage Elvis Presley was not the extraordinarily handsome young man he became by age 20. Therefore, it is not surprising that, between 1954 and 1956, the impoverished son of welfare recipients went from being shunned and even mocked by some of the popular girls from his junior and high school days, to be the subject of the adoraton, and adulation of first and foremost, some of the most beautiful girls in Memphis, then of young Hollywood starlets such as Natalie Wood and Connie Stevens. Author Elaine Dundy wrote that actress Shelley Winters (usually considered a reliable source for Hollywood goings-on and who portrayed Gladys Presley in the 1979 made-for-TV movie Elvis) claimed the relationship between Presley and Natalie Wood developed into something more serious than what was generally reported in the media.

Anita Wood & Elvis

There were several significant relationships in Presley's life other than his one marriage to Priscilla Beaulieu. They included Dixie Locke, a high school sweetheart who he met at his Assemblies of God Pentecostal church and was part of his life before and during his Sun Records time. Locke was portrayed by actress Jennifer Rae Westley in the 2005 CBS TV miniseries Elvis. Anita Wood, another wholesome Christian girl whom Gladys Presley hoped he would eventually marry, was with Elvis as he rose to superstardom, served in the US military and returned home in 1960. Wood lived at Graceland for a time but moved out after confronting him over Priscilla Beaulieu, the "girl in Germany." Although rarely giving public statements, in 2005 Anita Wood was interviewed by renowned television talk show host Larry King. She told him that following media reports of a girlfriend in Germany, Elvis "had me believing that she (Priscilla Beaulieu) was just a friend and her daddy was in the Army with him, and there was nothing to it whatsoever." Presley used his charm to persuade Anita to move back into Graceland but she remained only a few months before leaving permanently. Elvis immediately began a short-lived affair with Anne Helm, his co-star from the film Follow That Dream. Ms Helm came to Graceland for a short time but her quick exit allowed for the entrance of Priscilla Beaulieu who moved to Memphis in 1962.

Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and other relationships

Priscilla Presley

In her 1985 book Elvis and Me, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley recounted how Elvis suffered from insomnia and would stay up all night and sleep most of the day. She described him as a very passionate man who was not overtly sexual towards her and condemned pre-marital sex as a sin, which may be interpreted as part of his generation's double standard which cheered men for sexual prowess with women but insisted a girl should remain a virgin until married and if she did not, she would be labeled a "slut". If he wanted to go out, he'd rent out the venue so no fans would bother him. This insistence on being a virgin hallmarked each relationship Presley had with any woman he thought of as a potential wife or someone he was willing to live with.

A totally different account of Priscilla's relationship with Elvis can be found in Suzanne Finstad's book, Child Bride: The Untold Story of Priscilla Beaulieu Presley. The author says that Priscilla had lied, that she and Elvis slept together on their second date and that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night. The book also claims that her marriage was part of a master plan for fame hatched by Priscilla and her mother and that she never loved Elvis.

While demanding purity and loyalty from them, Presley's ex-wife and several girfriends confirmed he had numerous affairs with other women he had no plans of staying with. In his book Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend author Jim Curtin wrote (p.119) about the many women in Presley's life, saying "his list of one-night stands would fill volumes." However, according to a recent article by Byron Raphael and Alanna Nash, "the so-called dangerous rock-and-roll idol was anything but a despotic ruler in the bedroom" and "really wasn’t all that keen on doing the wild thing. He was far more interested in heavy petting and panting and groaning" and "he would never put himself inside one of these girls. Within minutes he’d be asleep." Priscilla Presley relates that Elvis told her that he didn't make love to Anita Wood the whole four years he went with her. "Just to a point," he said. "Then I stopped. It was difficult for her too, but that's just how I feel." In her book, Child Bride, Suzanne Finstad also confirms that Elvis hated sex.

Priscilla Beaulieu wrote that his philandering made her "crazed with worry," particularly his highly-publicized relationship with Ann-Margret, which he tried to hide from her. Shortly after he and Priscilla were married and she got pregnant, Elvis became involved with Nancy Sinatra. When questioned by his wife, Elvis denied any affair but then out of the blue, Nancy Sinatra, who barely knew Priscilla, called her and offered to organize her baby shower. Shortly after this, Elvis left his expecting wife in a state of shock by asking for a trial separation. Hereafter, on the 1st February of 1968, Priscilla gave birth to Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie Presley, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Later years

Elvis & Linda Thompson

Following his separation from Priscilla in late February, 1972 the thirty-seven-year-old Elvis Presley immediately became involved with a twenty-one year old beauty queen, Linda Thompson. Before long, she moved into Graceland and lived with him for nearly four and a half years, so she claims, but others close to the family said she did not. Presley dated a host of others besides Linda, notably with his backup singer Kathy Westmoreland and actress Cybill Shepherd who, along with Linda Thompson, was part of a candid 2002 television interview marking the 25th anniversary of Presley's death on CNN's Larry King Live. Cybill Shepherd spoke about her relationship with Presley while he was performing in Las Vegas, saying "years later, I would read and find out that he had like two other women there at the same time." As one of the two women Shepherd was referring to, Linda Thompson told Larry King she knew Presley had been cheating on her but stayed with him anyway until he ended it in late 1976 when the forty-one-year-old Presley began a relationship with 21 year-old Ginger Alden.

Ginger Alden

Ginger Alden, unlike his previous girlfriend, Linda Thompson and former ex- wife Priscilla, did not move in with Elvis when he asked her and he told Ginger that he respected her for not doing so and had great respect for her and her family. Elvis proposed to Ginger Alden by giving her an 11 1/2 carat diamond engagement ring made from his favorite TCB ring on January 26, 1977 (they had plans for a Christmas wedding in 1977). Vernon Presley, Elvis's father stated in an interview that his son Elvis told him that he had "finally" found the love that he had been searching for all his life and that he wanted more children, a son, and wanted Ginger to be the mother of his future children. Vernon also stated that Elvis told him that Graceland had come "alive" again after meeting Ginger Alden, and that he could see Elvis as that little boy from Tupelo again. However, Elvis died before he could fulfill that lifelong dream with Ginger. During the early afternoon of August 16, 1977, Ginger Alden, Elvis's fiancee, woke up in Presley's bed and found his lifeless body in the bathroom suite.

Abuse of drugs

In her 1985 book, Elvis and Me, his wife Priscilla wrote that Elvis suffered from severe insomnia and by 1962 when she moved to Graceland he was taking placidyls to get to sleep and began to do so in ever increasing doses. It is thought by some that he started his drug habits by taking drugs given to soldiers to keep them awake since they were on late shifts. But, according to author Albert Goldman in his 1990 book Elvis: The Last 24 Hours, the pills were first given to him by Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips. Priscilla recounted how he would wake up at his normal time around 4:00 in the afternoon but would be groggy and irritable for a few hours from the heavy dose of pills. He started taking Dexedrine to wake up. She stated that over time, she saw "problems in Elvis's life, all magnified by taking prescribed drugs."

Priscilla wrote the two of them tried marijuana but didn't like it because it made them ravenously hungry, with extra weight the unwanted result. Although she said Elvis abhorred street drugs, she tells in her book how they tried LSD. While they both thought it had been an "extraordinary experience" they were afraid of it and experimented that one time only. During the time when he was searching for peace in his life and consulting an Indian guru as The Beatles and others were doing at the time, Presley read numerous books including Aldous Huxley's "Doors of Perception" and Timothy Leary's "Psychedelic Experience". In his Elvis biography, Peter Guralnick discussed the singer's rampant prescription drug abuse. Cliff Gleaves, one of Elvis' friends and a reliable eyewitness, said about the singer's abuse of drugs, in this case speed:

Though Elvis abused prescription drugs, Priscilla wrote that he never considered it wrong because it was a medical doctor prescribing them and he in fact publicly denounced the use of hard drugs. At a meeting with U.S. President Richard Nixon, Presley asked the President to appoint him "Federal Agent at Large" for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Although his personal physician, Dr. George C. Nichopoulos, was exonerated in Presley's death, in July 1995 he had his license suspended after the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners found that he had improperly dispensed potentially addictive drugs to a number of his patients.

Priscilla Presley pointed out in her book that even if Elvis would have admitted he needed help, in those days there was no Betty Ford Clinic where someone like him could get treatment. The singer's abuse of prescription drugs increased during the last years of his life, particularly after the breakup of his marriage in 1972.

Death and burial

This article needs copyediting (checking for proper English spelling, grammar, usage, tone, style, and voice).

On August 16, 1977, at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, Presley was found on the floor of his bedroom's ensuite bathroom by fiancee Ginger Alden who had been asleep in his bed. He was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead at 3:30pm. He was only 42 years old.

In her 1987 book "Elvis and Kathy", friend and backup vocalist Kathy Westmoreland wrote "Everyone knew he was sick, that each public appearance brought him to the point of exhaustion."

Elvis Presley funeral procession

At a press conference following his death, one of the medical examiners declared that he had died of a heart attack. Heart disease was very prevalent in his family, especially on his father's side. Elvis' father Vernon also died of heart failure in 1979. His mother, Gladys Presley, died of a heart attack brought on by acute hepatitis at age 46.

Dr. Willis Madrey, who was responsible for examining Elvis' liver two years before his death, said "I had understood he was having some gastrointestinal problems his doctors were trying to evaluate" He was possibly referring to Elvis' obesity and enlarged colon, which worsened over time and may have led to diverticulitis. There is belief that his gastrointestinal problems combined with a weak heart caused his death, but the autopsy records will not be in the public domain until 2027. It is a lasting belief, though never confirmed, that he died on the toilet.

According to Peter Guralnick's book, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley (1999), "drug use was heavily implicated in this unanticipated death of a middle-aged man with no known history of heart disease ... It was certainly possible that he had been taken while "straining at stool," and no one ruled out the possibility of anaphylactic shock brought on by the codeine pills he had gotten from his dentist, to which he was known to have had a mild allergy of long standing. ... There was little disagreement in fact between the two principal laboratory reports and analyses filed two months later, with each stating a strong belief that the primary cause of death was polypharmacy, and the BioScience Laboratories report ... indicating the detection of fourteen drugs in Elvis' system, ten in significant quantity."

In his book, Elvis: The Last 24 Hours, Albert Goldman even went as far as to suggest that Presley killed himself by overdosing on a stash of drugs that he stockpiled. David Stanley, Elvis's stepbrother, who was at Graceland the day Elvis died, is said to have removed the needles and drug packets near Presley's body before the paramedics arrived; he did not want to see the singer's name tarred with the brush of suicide,

On the other hand, some of his closest family members, friends, band members, and background singers have long disputed stories concerning Elvis' alleged drug abuse and "self-destructive" lifestyle. At the same time, they have not denied that he did take prescription medications for bona fide or suspected health problems. For instance, the late Vester Presley, Kathy Westmoreland, Charlie Hodge, and the late J.D. Sumner have pointed out that Elvis also suffered from severe health problems unrelated to drug abuse. These health problems included glaucoma, insomnia, and cancer. The illness may have increased his dependency on prescription medication.

Presley was originally buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis next to his mother. After an attempted theft of the body, his and his mother's remains were moved to Graceland.

Lasting legacy

By 1957 Elvis Presley was the most famous entertainer in the world. After pioneer band leader Bill Haley spawned interest in rock and roll in western Europe, Presley triggered a wide shift in tastes with effects lasting many decades. Singers in dozens of countries made Presley-influenced records in many languages and his own records were sold around the globe, even behind the former Iron Curtain. By 1958 Cliff Richard was rising to prominence in the UK and in France Johnny Hallyday became a rock and roll idol singing in French, soon to be followed by others like Claude François. Airplay and sales of Presley recordings across Europe were followed by those of other American rockers who began touring there. Teenagers around the world copied his "Ducktail" hair style.

President Nixon and Elvis in a brief meeting in December, 1970 during which a reportedly prescription drug-impaired Presley offered his assistance in a national effort against drug abuse.

Following Presley's untimely death in 1977 US President Jimmy Carter said: Elvis Presley's death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense and he was a symbol to people the world over, of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country.

Or as James Brown once put it, "He taught white America to get down."

Wink Martindale, who was a close friend of Elvis, aired a nationwide tribute in his memory following the news of his death. Martindale was an up-and-coming radio DJ in Memphis at the time Presley's career began to take off in high gear.

Richard Dawson also paid tribute to Elvis on an episode of Family Feud.

After his death a kitsch industry grew up around his memory, chronicling his dietary and chemical predilections along with the trappings of his wide celebrity. Critics said this tended to obscure the vibrant and vital music he made as a young man, the vocally-influential recordings of his later career and his lasting mark on popular culture.

Among his many accomplishments, Elvis Presley is only one of three singers (Roy Orbison and Nelly being the others) to ever have two Top 5 albums on the charts simultaneously. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986), the Country Music Hall of Fame (1998), and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2001). In 1984 Presley was given the W.C. Handy Award from the Blues Foundation in Memphis for "keeping the blues alive in his music - rock and roll." In 1993, Presley's image appeared on a United States postage stamp.

Elvis in the 21st century

Elvis 30 #1 Hits, 2003.

Interest in Presley's recordings returned during the buildup to the 2002 World Cup, when Nike used a Junkie XL remixed version of his "A Little Less Conversation" (credited as Elvis Vs JXL) as the background music to a series of TV commercials featuring international soccer stars. The remix hit Number 1 in over 20 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia (it was also his first top 10 hit in the UK for nearly 22 years, and his first #1 there for nearly 25 years). At about the same time, a compilation of Presley's US Number 1 hits, ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits, was being prepared for release. "A Little Less Conversation" (remix version) was quickly added as the album's 31st track just before its release in October 2002.

Nearly 50 years after Presley made his first hit record and 25 years after his death, ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits reached number 1 on the charts in the US, the UK, Australia and many other countries. A re-release from the album, "Burning Love" (not a remix) also made the Australian top 40 later in the year.

His renewed fame continued with another remix in 2003 (this time by Paul Oakenfold) of "Rubberneckin'", which made the top 3 in Australia and top 5 in the UK. This was followed by another album called 2nd to None, a collection of his hits that just missed out on the number 1 spot, including the "Rubberneckin'" remix.

In mid-2004, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Presley's first professional recording, "That's All Right", the recording in question was re-released, and made the charts around the world, including top 3 in the UK and top 40 in Australia.

In December 2004 Wade Jones from Belmont, NC sold 3 tablespoons of water from a cup that Elvis Presley drank out of on eBay. The water fetched $455 Saturday (Dec. 25) on the auction site.One week later(January 2005), he sold an appearance of the Elvis Cup on eBay for $3,000.00 and currently tours with the Elvis Cup, which even has its own song "The Elvis Cup"..written and recorded by a Filipino Elvis impersonator, "Renelvis". Jones says he scored the styrofoam cup at a 1977 concert the King played. Hoping for a better souvenir, he ended up getting a cup out of which he saw Presley drink.

In early 2005 in the United Kingdom, RCA began to re-issue his 18 UK #1 singles as CD-singles in the order they were originally released, one of them a week. The first of these re-issues, "All Shook Up", was ineligible due to its being sold together with a collector's box which holds all 18 singles in it (it actually sold enough to be #2). The second, "Jailhouse Rock", was the number one in the first chart of 2005, and "One Night"/"I Got Stung", the third in the series, replaced it on the January 16 chart (and thus becoming the 1000th UK number one entry).

All of these have reached top 5 in the official charts, with three number 1s, eight number 2s, four number 3s, one number 4, and one number 5. These re-releases have made Elvis the only artist so far to spend at least 1000 weeks in the British top 40.

CBS recently aired a TV miniseries, Elvis starring Irish actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Presley.

In July of 2005, Presley was named one of the top 100 "Greatest Americans," following a vote organized by Discovery Channel. In the vote, Presley ranked ahead of all entertainers and in 8th place behind Presidents Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, plus Martin Luther King Jr. and Benjamin Franklin.

In mid October of 2005, Variety named the top 100 entertainment icons of the 20th century, with Presley landing on the top ten, along with The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin, James Dean and Mickey Mouse.

A week later, Forbes magazine named Elvis Presley, for the fifth straight year, the top-earning dead celebrity, grossing US$45 million for the Elvis Presley Estate during the period from October of 2004, to October 2005. Forbes pointed out that Robert Sillerman's CKX company shelled out $100 million in cash, and stock, for an 85% interest in Presley's income stream in February 2005.

Shortly after taking over the management of all things Elvis from the Elvis Presley Estate (which retained a 15% stake in the new company, while keeping Graceland and the bulk of the possessions found therein), Sillerman promptly shook things up by producing a more personal DVD and CD featuring Presley (and appropriately titled "Elvis by the Presleys"), as well as the accompanying two-hour documentary broadcast on Viacom's CBS Network, which alone generated $5.5 million. And while some of Presley's fans fretted that outside management might mar the appeal of Graceland, revenue is up at the Memphis shrine, too.

On 9 December, 2005, the Book of British Hit Singles & Albums unveiled their annual list of the Top 100 Most Successful Acts of all time, based on the total number of weeks each recording artist has spent on the official UK Singles and Albums charts. Elvis Presley ranked #1, with Cliff Richard, Queen, The Beatles and Madonna rounding out the top 5.

In the UK singles charts, Elvis went to # 1 the most times (21, three of them hitting #1 twice), spent the most weeks there (80), as well as had the most top tens and top forty hits. In the UK album charts, he is second to the Beatles (21), with 16 chart toppers, as well as earning the most top ten, and top forty albums. Still in the album category, his longevity record boasts an almost fifty year gap between his first, and last hit album.

In total, he has spent 2,574 weeks in both the UK singles and album charts, way ahead of his closest competitors, namely Cliff Richard (1,982), Queen (1,755), the Beatles (1,749), and Madonna (1,660).

A channel on the Sirius Satellite Radio subscriber service is devoted to the life and music of Elvis, with all broadcasts originating from Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

Musical milestones

During his lifetime, Elvis Presley:

  • recorded 104 singles that hit the Top 40 of the Billboard pop chart.
  • had 17 number 1 Billboard hits, including four singles in 1956 that occupied the top of the charts for a cumulative total of 25 weeks. The total (17) is surpassed only by The Beatles, who had 20 number 1 hits. This record was recently tied by Mariah Carey, an American pop and R&B singer.
  • has spent a total of 79 weeks at the number 1 position. His closest competitor is Mariah Carey with 77 weeks.
  • from 1956 to 1972, he had record breaking 36 Top 10 Billboard hits. This achievement is currently shared by Madonna who reached the same total in late November of 2005. The Beatles had 34 Top 10 hits during their career.

Until the record was broken by Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" in November 1992, Elvis Presley's double-side "Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog" was the undisputed champion of singles in terms of weeks spent at number one. The record spent 11 weeks at the top starting on August 18, 1956. Both records were beat by the current title holder, One Sweet Day, a duet with Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, which holds 16 weeks.

These are other records set by Presley's recordings:

  • From March 1956 to November 1959, every week there was at least one Elvis song on the singles chart.
  • From 1956 to 1962, Elvis set the record with 24 consecutive top 5 hit singles (singles listed with B-side songs and original U.S.A. release dates), each of which sold in excess of one million copies. Since 1962, the closest anyone has come to matching this was Madonna in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with 19 consecutive top 5 hits.
  • Also, on the official United Kingdom Top 40 chart, "It's Now Or Never" reached number one in the week of Sunday January 30, 2005, 27 years after Presley's death.
  • According to the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA), Elvis Presley is the recording artist with the most Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum certified albums (97, 55 and 26, respectively). He also tops the singles category, with 53, 27, and 8 of his singles having earned Gold, Platinum, and Multi-platinum status, respectively. His "Elvis Christmas album" (1970 version), is the most certified Christmas album in history, currently earning a 9X Platinum certification (in excess of nine million copies sold). He is also has the most Christmas, Gospel, and Inspirational certified albums in history.
  • In a list of the greatest English language singers of the 20th century, as compiled by BBC Radio, Elvis Presley was ranked #2. The poll was topped by Frank Sinatra, with Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald also in the top ten.

Discography:

  • For a detailed discography see: Elvis Presley discography.
  • For a list of Elvis' singles see: Elvis Presley hit singles.
  • For a list of all of his songs see: Alphabetical list of all of Elvis Presley's songs.

Trivia

  • In 1960, following his return from military service, the various employees hired by Elvis Presley to handle security and his concert tours were affectionately dubbed the "Memphis Mafia" by the news media. After his death several Memphis Mafia members wrote books on their time working for Presley.
  • His given middle name at birth was Aron ([5]), however Aaron was placed on his gravestone by his father because Elvis preferred that biblical spelling and had legally changed it. Aaron is the official spelling used by his estate.
  • According to another, more widespread urban legend, Elvis did not die in 1977, and may be alive today (see Elvis sightings).
  • Cryolophosaurus is nicknamed 'Elvisaurus' because of its head crest being alike to Elvis's hairstyle.
  • The estate of Elvis Presley earns over 40 million dollars every year which is a record for a deceased entertainer.
  • Elvis Presley made only one television commercial, an ad for Southern Maid Doughnuts that ran in 1954.
  • His hair was a natural sandy brown but he dyed it jet black after filming "Love Me Tender."
  • Elvis Presley made famous a version of the peanut butter sandwich with banana (either mashed or whole) that was grilled or fried, and may have contained bacon and porridge.
  • Has sold over one billion records worldwide—the first to do so—and is one of the best selling recording artists in history.
  • Has won three Grammy awards, all for his Gospel recordings. These were for the 1967 "How Great Thou Art" LP, for the 1972 LP, "He Touched Me" and, in 1974, for the song "How Great Thou Art" (live).
  • Billboard's Joel Whitburn declared Presley the "#1 act of the Rock era", beating out The Beatles, based upon his dominance of Billboard's list of top 100 singles artists since 1955.
  • According to Steve Brown's book, Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel, Elvis gave a concert and, at its conclusion, a woman came forward with a crown resting on a plush pillow. She lifted the crown to Elvis and shouted, "You're the King!" "No, honey," he said, "I'm not the King. Christ is the King. I'm just a singer".
  • Also, in September of 1974, during one of his two sellout shows at the University of Notre Dame, he stopped singing, as well as motioned for the the band to quit playing, in order to tell those holding a huge banner which read ¨You are the King¨, that he was not going to resume singing until it was taken out from view, adding that "there was only one King, and that was the Lord, Jesus Christ".
  • Elvis Stojko, a Canadian who was the three-time World Figure Skating Champion, was named after Presley by his mother, who was a big fan.
  • Elvis Crespo, the King of salsa and merengue, was also named after Presley by his mother, a native of Puerto Rico who was a big Elvis fan.
  • Elvis Dumervil, the University of Louisville All American college football player, currently en route to breaking the all time NCAA sacking record and a candidate to win the 2005 edition of the "Lombardi Award", was also named after Presley by his mother, an African American.
  • Elvis Mitchell, the former movie critic for the New York Times, was named after Presley by his parents, who were African-Americans.
  • Musician Elvis Costello borrowed Presley's first name, a few months before his death in 1977, in order to help his then fledgling career.
  • In 2005, and for the fifth year straight, Elvis was named the richest deceased celebrity (according to www.Forbes.com). (see also reference above, under Elvis in the 21st Century)
  • He was proud of his role in King Creole because the part was originally offered to his idol James Dean. Although songs were later slipped into the movie, Elvis considered it his best work.
  • He was offered the lead role of Tony in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical West Side Story but Col. Parker forced to maker Presley turn it down as non-commercial despite Elvis' arguments it would legitimize his acting career. The film won 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture.
  • Elvis's parents made cameos in his film Loving You.
  • The 1960 Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie is a supposed satire about the effects of the compulsory U.S. military draft on a famous singer similar to Presley.
  • In the 1997 tour of Bye Bye Birdie, actor Rikki Lee Travolta was so convincing as the Elvis-based Conrad Birdie that he was named an honorary member of the National Association of Amateur Elvis Impersonators.
  • Elvis's favorite female singer was Anne Murray and he recorded a version of "Snowbird".
  • Elvis was a practitioner of karate[6].
  • Elvis was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon.
  • On his 70th birthday, Larry King wondered how Elvis would look today. To this, Aaron Brown responded: "Probably like all those Elvis impersonators".
  • Estimates of Elvis's height range from 5'11" to 6'2". It is unclear from photographs of him being measured for the Army in 1958 whether he was wearing his boots at the time. While he certainly appeared quite tall on stage, he often wore built up shoes. Most estimates agree Elvis was around 6'0" even.
  • The 2002 Disney animated feature Lilo and Stitch contains more Elvis songs than any film in which Elvis himself ever starred. The film's closing sequence also features a montage of photographs, one of which portrays the film's main characters posed before the gates of Graceland. The film also broke several rules related to Elvis in films which included using his photo, shortening his songs for time and dressing up like him. However, the Graceland estate allowed the producers this degree of freedom.

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Discography:. A category of art that overlaps with Folk Art is Naïve art. These are other records set by Presley's recordings:. For the most part, "Folk Art" would exclude works executed by professional artists and sold as "high art" (or "fine art") to the society's aristocratic elite. Both records were beat by the current title holder, One Sweet Day, a duet with Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, which holds 16 weeks. Folk artists are generally self-taught. The record spent 11 weeks at the top starting on August 18, 1956. Folk Art describes a wide range of objects that reflect the craft traditions, and traditional social values, of various social groups.

Until the record was broken by Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" in November 1992, Elvis Presley's double-side "Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog" was the undisputed champion of singles in terms of weeks spent at number one. Claudia Vecchiarelli. During his lifetime, Elvis Presley:. Circa. A channel on the Sirius Satellite Radio subscriber service is devoted to the life and music of Elvis, with all broadcasts originating from Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. Elito V. In total, he has spent 2,574 weeks in both the UK singles and album charts, way ahead of his closest competitors, namely Cliff Richard (1,982), Queen (1,755), the Beatles (1,749), and Madonna (1,660). Edgar Tolson.

Still in the album category, his longevity record boasts an almost fifty year gap between his first, and last hit album. Grandma Moses. In the UK album charts, he is second to the Beatles (21), with 16 chart toppers, as well as earning the most top ten, and top forty albums. Gertrude Morgan. In the UK singles charts, Elvis went to # 1 the most times (21, three of them hitting #1 twice), spent the most weeks there (80), as well as had the most top tens and top forty hits. Maud Lewis. Elvis Presley ranked #1, with Cliff Richard, Queen, The Beatles and Madonna rounding out the top 5. Clyde Jones.

On 9 December, 2005, the Book of British Hit Singles & Albums unveiled their annual list of the Top 100 Most Successful Acts of all time, based on the total number of weeks each recording artist has spent on the official UK Singles and Albums charts. Joshua Johnson. And while some of Presley's fans fretted that outside management might mar the appeal of Graceland, revenue is up at the Memphis shrine, too. Edward Hicks. Shortly after taking over the management of all things Elvis from the Elvis Presley Estate (which retained a 15% stake in the new company, while keeping Graceland and the bulk of the possessions found therein), Sillerman promptly shook things up by producing a more personal DVD and CD featuring Presley (and appropriately titled "Elvis by the Presleys"), as well as the accompanying two-hour documentary broadcast on Viacom's CBS Network, which alone generated $5.5 million. William Edmondson. Forbes pointed out that Robert Sillerman's CKX company shelled out $100 million in cash, and stock, for an 85% interest in Presley's income stream in February 2005.

A week later, Forbes magazine named Elvis Presley, for the fifth straight year, the top-earning dead celebrity, grossing US$45 million for the Elvis Presley Estate during the period from October of 2004, to October 2005. In mid October of 2005, Variety named the top 100 entertainment icons of the 20th century, with Presley landing on the top ten, along with The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin, James Dean and Mickey Mouse. and Benjamin Franklin. Bush, plus Martin Luther King Jr.

In the vote, Presley ranked ahead of all entertainers and in 8th place behind Presidents Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Bill Clinton, and George W. In July of 2005, Presley was named one of the top 100 "Greatest Americans," following a vote organized by Discovery Channel. CBS recently aired a TV miniseries, Elvis starring Irish actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Presley. These re-releases have made Elvis the only artist so far to spend at least 1000 weeks in the British top 40.

All of these have reached top 5 in the official charts, with three number 1s, eight number 2s, four number 3s, one number 4, and one number 5. The second, "Jailhouse Rock", was the number one in the first chart of 2005, and "One Night"/"I Got Stung", the third in the series, replaced it on the January 16 chart (and thus becoming the 1000th UK number one entry). The first of these re-issues, "All Shook Up", was ineligible due to its being sold together with a collector's box which holds all 18 singles in it (it actually sold enough to be #2). In early 2005 in the United Kingdom, RCA began to re-issue his 18 UK #1 singles as CD-singles in the order they were originally released, one of them a week.

Hoping for a better souvenir, he ended up getting a cup out of which he saw Presley drink. Jones says he scored the styrofoam cup at a 1977 concert the King played. 25) on the auction site.One week later(January 2005), he sold an appearance of the Elvis Cup on eBay for $3,000.00 and currently tours with the Elvis Cup, which even has its own song "The Elvis Cup"..written and recorded by a Filipino Elvis impersonator, "Renelvis". The water fetched $455 Saturday (Dec.

In December 2004 Wade Jones from Belmont, NC sold 3 tablespoons of water from a cup that Elvis Presley drank out of on eBay. In mid-2004, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Presley's first professional recording, "That's All Right", the recording in question was re-released, and made the charts around the world, including top 3 in the UK and top 40 in Australia. This was followed by another album called 2nd to None, a collection of his hits that just missed out on the number 1 spot, including the "Rubberneckin'" remix. His renewed fame continued with another remix in 2003 (this time by Paul Oakenfold) of "Rubberneckin'", which made the top 3 in Australia and top 5 in the UK.

A re-release from the album, "Burning Love" (not a remix) also made the Australian top 40 later in the year. Nearly 50 years after Presley made his first hit record and 25 years after his death, ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits reached number 1 on the charts in the US, the UK, Australia and many other countries. "A Little Less Conversation" (remix version) was quickly added as the album's 31st track just before its release in October 2002. At about the same time, a compilation of Presley's US Number 1 hits, ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits, was being prepared for release.

The remix hit Number 1 in over 20 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia (it was also his first top 10 hit in the UK for nearly 22 years, and his first #1 there for nearly 25 years). Interest in Presley's recordings returned during the buildup to the 2002 World Cup, when Nike used a Junkie XL remixed version of his "A Little Less Conversation" (credited as Elvis Vs JXL) as the background music to a series of TV commercials featuring international soccer stars. Handy Award from the Blues Foundation in Memphis for "keeping the blues alive in his music - rock and roll." In 1993, Presley's image appeared on a United States postage stamp. In 1984 Presley was given the W.C.

He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986), the Country Music Hall of Fame (1998), and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2001). Among his many accomplishments, Elvis Presley is only one of three singers (Roy Orbison and Nelly being the others) to ever have two Top 5 albums on the charts simultaneously. Critics said this tended to obscure the vibrant and vital music he made as a young man, the vocally-influential recordings of his later career and his lasting mark on popular culture. After his death a kitsch industry grew up around his memory, chronicling his dietary and chemical predilections along with the trappings of his wide celebrity.

Richard Dawson also paid tribute to Elvis on an episode of Family Feud. Martindale was an up-and-coming radio DJ in Memphis at the time Presley's career began to take off in high gear. Wink Martindale, who was a close friend of Elvis, aired a nationwide tribute in his memory following the news of his death. Or as James Brown once put it, "He taught white America to get down.".

His following was immense and he was a symbol to people the world over, of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country.. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. He was unique and irreplaceable. Following Presley's untimely death in 1977 US President Jimmy Carter said: Elvis Presley's death deprives our country of a part of itself.

Teenagers around the world copied his "Ducktail" hair style. Airplay and sales of Presley recordings across Europe were followed by those of other American rockers who began touring there. By 1958 Cliff Richard was rising to prominence in the UK and in France Johnny Hallyday became a rock and roll idol singing in French, soon to be followed by others like Claude François. Singers in dozens of countries made Presley-influenced records in many languages and his own records were sold around the globe, even behind the former Iron Curtain.

After pioneer band leader Bill Haley spawned interest in rock and roll in western Europe, Presley triggered a wide shift in tastes with effects lasting many decades. By 1957 Elvis Presley was the most famous entertainer in the world. After an attempted theft of the body, his and his mother's remains were moved to Graceland. Presley was originally buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis next to his mother.

The illness may have increased his dependency on prescription medication. These health problems included glaucoma, insomnia, and cancer. Sumner have pointed out that Elvis also suffered from severe health problems unrelated to drug abuse. For instance, the late Vester Presley, Kathy Westmoreland, Charlie Hodge, and the late J.D.

At the same time, they have not denied that he did take prescription medications for bona fide or suspected health problems. On the other hand, some of his closest family members, friends, band members, and background singers have long disputed stories concerning Elvis' alleged drug abuse and "self-destructive" lifestyle. David Stanley, Elvis's stepbrother, who was at Graceland the day Elvis died, is said to have removed the needles and drug packets near Presley's body before the paramedics arrived; he did not want to see the singer's name tarred with the brush of suicide,. In his book, Elvis: The Last 24 Hours, Albert Goldman even went as far as to suggest that Presley killed himself by overdosing on a stash of drugs that he stockpiled.

indicating the detection of fourteen drugs in Elvis' system, ten in significant quantity.". There was little disagreement in fact between the two principal laboratory reports and analyses filed two months later, with each stating a strong belief that the primary cause of death was polypharmacy, and the BioScience Laboratories report .. .. It was certainly possible that he had been taken while "straining at stool," and no one ruled out the possibility of anaphylactic shock brought on by the codeine pills he had gotten from his dentist, to which he was known to have had a mild allergy of long standing.

According to Peter Guralnick's book, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley (1999), "drug use was heavily implicated in this unanticipated death of a middle-aged man with no known history of heart disease .. It is a lasting belief, though never confirmed, that he died on the toilet. There is belief that his gastrointestinal problems combined with a weak heart caused his death, but the autopsy records will not be in the public domain until 2027. Willis Madrey, who was responsible for examining Elvis' liver two years before his death, said "I had understood he was having some gastrointestinal problems his doctors were trying to evaluate" He was possibly referring to Elvis' obesity and enlarged colon, which worsened over time and may have led to diverticulitis.

Dr. His mother, Gladys Presley, died of a heart attack brought on by acute hepatitis at age 46. Elvis' father Vernon also died of heart failure in 1979. Heart disease was very prevalent in his family, especially on his father's side.

At a press conference following his death, one of the medical examiners declared that he had died of a heart attack. In her 1987 book "Elvis and Kathy", friend and backup vocalist Kathy Westmoreland wrote "Everyone knew he was sick, that each public appearance brought him to the point of exhaustion.". He was only 42 years old. He was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead at 3:30pm.

On August 16, 1977, at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, Presley was found on the floor of his bedroom's ensuite bathroom by fiancee Ginger Alden who had been asleep in his bed. The singer's abuse of prescription drugs increased during the last years of his life, particularly after the breakup of his marriage in 1972. Priscilla Presley pointed out in her book that even if Elvis would have admitted he needed help, in those days there was no Betty Ford Clinic where someone like him could get treatment. Nichopoulos, was exonerated in Presley's death, in July 1995 he had his license suspended after the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners found that he had improperly dispensed potentially addictive drugs to a number of his patients.

George C. Although his personal physician, Dr. President Richard Nixon, Presley asked the President to appoint him "Federal Agent at Large" for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. At a meeting with U.S.

Though Elvis abused prescription drugs, Priscilla wrote that he never considered it wrong because it was a medical doctor prescribing them and he in fact publicly denounced the use of hard drugs. Cliff Gleaves, one of Elvis' friends and a reliable eyewitness, said about the singer's abuse of drugs, in this case speed:. In his Elvis biography, Peter Guralnick discussed the singer's rampant prescription drug abuse. During the time when he was searching for peace in his life and consulting an Indian guru as The Beatles and others were doing at the time, Presley read numerous books including Aldous Huxley's "Doors of Perception" and Timothy Leary's "Psychedelic Experience".

While they both thought it had been an "extraordinary experience" they were afraid of it and experimented that one time only. Although she said Elvis abhorred street drugs, she tells in her book how they tried LSD. Priscilla wrote the two of them tried marijuana but didn't like it because it made them ravenously hungry, with extra weight the unwanted result. She stated that over time, she saw "problems in Elvis's life, all magnified by taking prescribed drugs.".

He started taking Dexedrine to wake up. Priscilla recounted how he would wake up at his normal time around 4:00 in the afternoon but would be groggy and irritable for a few hours from the heavy dose of pills. But, according to author Albert Goldman in his 1990 book Elvis: The Last 24 Hours, the pills were first given to him by Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips. It is thought by some that he started his drug habits by taking drugs given to soldiers to keep them awake since they were on late shifts.

In her 1985 book, Elvis and Me, his wife Priscilla wrote that Elvis suffered from severe insomnia and by 1962 when she moved to Graceland he was taking placidyls to get to sleep and began to do so in ever increasing doses. During the early afternoon of August 16, 1977, Ginger Alden, Elvis's fiancee, woke up in Presley's bed and found his lifeless body in the bathroom suite. However, Elvis died before he could fulfill that lifelong dream with Ginger. Vernon also stated that Elvis told him that Graceland had come "alive" again after meeting Ginger Alden, and that he could see Elvis as that little boy from Tupelo again.

Vernon Presley, Elvis's father stated in an interview that his son Elvis told him that he had "finally" found the love that he had been searching for all his life and that he wanted more children, a son, and wanted Ginger to be the mother of his future children. Elvis proposed to Ginger Alden by giving her an 11 1/2 carat diamond engagement ring made from his favorite TCB ring on January 26, 1977 (they had plans for a Christmas wedding in 1977). Ginger Alden, unlike his previous girlfriend, Linda Thompson and former ex- wife Priscilla, did not move in with Elvis when he asked her and he told Ginger that he respected her for not doing so and had great respect for her and her family. Cybill Shepherd spoke about her relationship with Presley while he was performing in Las Vegas, saying "years later, I would read and find out that he had like two other women there at the same time." As one of the two women Shepherd was referring to, Linda Thompson told Larry King she knew Presley had been cheating on her but stayed with him anyway until he ended it in late 1976 when the forty-one-year-old Presley began a relationship with 21 year-old Ginger Alden.

Presley dated a host of others besides Linda, notably with his backup singer Kathy Westmoreland and actress Cybill Shepherd who, along with Linda Thompson, was part of a candid 2002 television interview marking the 25th anniversary of Presley's death on CNN's Larry King Live. Before long, she moved into Graceland and lived with him for nearly four and a half years, so she claims, but others close to the family said she did not. Following his separation from Priscilla in late February, 1972 the thirty-seven-year-old Elvis Presley immediately became involved with a twenty-one year old beauty queen, Linda Thompson. Hereafter, on the 1st February of 1968, Priscilla gave birth to Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie Presley, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Shortly after this, Elvis left his expecting wife in a state of shock by asking for a trial separation. When questioned by his wife, Elvis denied any affair but then out of the blue, Nancy Sinatra, who barely knew Priscilla, called her and offered to organize her baby shower. Shortly after he and Priscilla were married and she got pregnant, Elvis became involved with Nancy Sinatra. Priscilla Beaulieu wrote that his philandering made her "crazed with worry," particularly his highly-publicized relationship with Ann-Margret, which he tried to hide from her.

It was difficult for her too, but that's just how I feel." In her book, Child Bride, Suzanne Finstad also confirms that Elvis hated sex. "Then I stopped. "Just to a point," he said. Within minutes he’d be asleep." Priscilla Presley relates that Elvis told her that he didn't make love to Anita Wood the whole four years he went with her.

He was far more interested in heavy petting and panting and groaning" and "he would never put himself inside one of these girls. In his book Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend author Jim Curtin wrote (p.119) about the many women in Presley's life, saying "his list of one-night stands would fill volumes." However, according to a recent article by Byron Raphael and Alanna Nash, "the so-called dangerous rock-and-roll idol was anything but a despotic ruler in the bedroom" and "really wasn’t all that keen on doing the wild thing. While demanding purity and loyalty from them, Presley's ex-wife and several girfriends confirmed he had numerous affairs with other women he had no plans of staying with. The book also claims that her marriage was part of a master plan for fame hatched by Priscilla and her mother and that she never loved Elvis.

The author says that Priscilla had lied, that she and Elvis slept together on their second date and that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night. A totally different account of Priscilla's relationship with Elvis can be found in Suzanne Finstad's book, Child Bride: The Untold Story of Priscilla Beaulieu Presley. This insistence on being a virgin hallmarked each relationship Presley had with any woman he thought of as a potential wife or someone he was willing to live with. If he wanted to go out, he'd rent out the venue so no fans would bother him.

She described him as a very passionate man who was not overtly sexual towards her and condemned pre-marital sex as a sin, which may be interpreted as part of his generation's double standard which cheered men for sexual prowess with women but insisted a girl should remain a virgin until married and if she did not, she would be labeled a "slut". In her 1985 book Elvis and Me, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley recounted how Elvis suffered from insomnia and would stay up all night and sleep most of the day. Ms Helm came to Graceland for a short time but her quick exit allowed for the entrance of Priscilla Beaulieu who moved to Memphis in 1962. Elvis immediately began a short-lived affair with Anne Helm, his co-star from the film Follow That Dream.

She told him that following media reports of a girlfriend in Germany, Elvis "had me believing that she (Priscilla Beaulieu) was just a friend and her daddy was in the Army with him, and there was nothing to it whatsoever." Presley used his charm to persuade Anita to move back into Graceland but she remained only a few months before leaving permanently. Wood lived at Graceland for a time but moved out after confronting him over Priscilla Beaulieu, the "girl in Germany." Although rarely giving public statements, in 2005 Anita Wood was interviewed by renowned television talk show host Larry King. Anita Wood, another wholesome Christian girl whom Gladys Presley hoped he would eventually marry, was with Elvis as he rose to superstardom, served in the US military and returned home in 1960. Locke was portrayed by actress Jennifer Rae Westley in the 2005 CBS TV miniseries Elvis.

They included Dixie Locke, a high school sweetheart who he met at his Assemblies of God Pentecostal church and was part of his life before and during his Sun Records time. There were several significant relationships in Presley's life other than his one marriage to Priscilla Beaulieu. Author Elaine Dundy wrote that actress Shelley Winters (usually considered a reliable source for Hollywood goings-on and who portrayed Gladys Presley in the 1979 made-for-TV movie Elvis) claimed the relationship between Presley and Natalie Wood developed into something more serious than what was generally reported in the media. Therefore, it is not surprising that, between 1954 and 1956, the impoverished son of welfare recipients went from being shunned and even mocked by some of the popular girls from his junior and high school days, to be the subject of the adoraton, and adulation of first and foremost, some of the most beautiful girls in Memphis, then of young Hollywood starlets such as Natalie Wood and Connie Stevens.

What can be actually ascertained, from looking at the numerous pictures of Elvis Presley starting at the age of 14, is that the teenage Elvis Presley was not the extraordinarily handsome young man he became by age 20. According to interviews with teachers and former fellow students at Milam Junior High school in Tupelo, Mississippi, noted Presley biographer Elaine Dundy in her book Elvis and Gladys wrote (p.124) that beginning in his early teens, Elvis embarked upon the "indefatigable pursuit of girls", but was totally rebuffed and that this was something that contributed to his lifelong need for a beautiful woman to validate his feelings of inadequacy. Since his death many claims to relationships have been made by women who were no more than acquaintances or had short term affairs which were exaggerated for personal gain. He has been the subject of over 718 books (and counting), including two by his only wife, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley (whom he married on May 1, 1967) and several others by former girlfriends including June Juanico.

Even the FBI had a file on him of more than 600 pages. No entertainer has ever had his life and intimate relationships examined in as much detail as has Elvis Presley. Well-Known Gospel Songs:. More than forty-five years later (and twenty-four years after his death) the Gospel Music Association finally inducted him into their Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2001).

In his later years Presley's live stage performances almost always included a rendition of "How Great Thou Art," the 19th century gospel song made famous by George Beverly Shea. He recorded several gospel albums, earning three Grammy Awards for his gospel music. From 1971 to his death in 1977 Presley employed the Stamps Quartet, a gospel group, for his backup vocals. As heard in the 2005 televised special, Presley told a reporter that he "knew every gospel song there is." Despite his church's attitude, gospel music was a prominent part of Presley's repertoire throughout his life.

During his '68 Comeback Special Elvis said his music came from gospel. His Hand In Mine (1960) was the title of Elvis' first gospel album. Similar attempts to stop his "sinful gyrations" continued for more than a year and included his often noted January 6, 1957 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (during which he performed the spiritual number "Peace in the Valley") when he was seen only from the waist up. Throughout the performance Presley stood still as ordered but poked fun at the judge by wiggling a finger.

In August, 1956 in Jacksonville, Florida a local Juvenile Court judge called Presley a "savage" and threatened to arrest him if he shook his body while performing at Jacksonville's Florida Theatre, justifying the restrictions by saying his music was undermining the youth of America. In its weekly periodical, the Roman Catholic Church added to the criticism in an article titled "Beware Elvis Presley.". People who decades later would be considered part of the religious right spoke out vigorously against Presley including Cardinal Spellman. Presley records were condemned as wicked and Pentecostal preachers thumped their pulpits with Bibles, warning congregations to keep heathen rock and roll music out of their homes and away from their children's ears (especially the music of "that backslidden Pentecostal pup, Elvis Presley").

While Elvis Presley was a teen cataclysm with millions of American girls screaming at the sight of him, his own church viewed Presley's gyrations on stage as an affront, labelling it the Devil's work and a mocking of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. At this time, Presley was very much influenced by the Memphis blues. Here too, thirteen-year-old Elvis lived in the city's poorer section of town and attended a Pentecostal church. In 1948 the Presley family left Tupelo, moving 110 miles northwest to Memphis, Tennessee.

There were also more serene songs sung with great emotion like The Old Rugged Cross and Softly and Tenderly (Jesus is calling). Church services lasting three hours and held several times a week were filled with music as Pentecostals gyrated their hips, shook their legs, clapped and waved their arms while belting out pounding, rhythmic songs such as Down By the Riverside, When The Saints Go Marching In and Standing On The Promises. For instrumentation, these church services used a guitar, a tambourine or two and if they could afford one, a well-worn piano and perhaps a used piano accordion. As it almost always did in those settings, "when the Spirit strikes" the body would jerk as though hit by a bolt of lightning and frequently the worshipper would fall to the floor, rolling around and praying aloud (this is why outsiders referred to church members as "Holy Rollers" and their services as a "religious frenzy").

A Pentecostal preacher would typically lead the congregation in prayer and both singing and prayer were accompanied by the waving of hands, the swaying of bodies and dancing about in the Holy Spirit. Pentecostal church services started, centered and ended with music and everyone was encouraged to "make a joyous noise unto the Lord." According to Presley biographer Peter Guralnick, Gladys Presley said that by the age of two her son was already trying to sing along in the church. Her uncle Gains Mansell was also a Pentecostal preacher in East Tupelo whose interracial church services began with revival meetings held in a tent. Although Vernon Presley's family was Pentecostal and his sister Nash Presley became a minister, his wife Gladys was Elvis's devoutly religious parent.

For nearly a quarter century the Pentecostal movement was interracial and during the 1930s and 1940s many of these poor churches did not adopt the growing policy of racial segregation. The church is said to have brought the Presleys, along with the rest of its desperately poor congregation, a message of hope wrapped around "Hell, fire, and brimstone" sermons. The African American form of music that became known as Rhythm & Blues (which also evolved from gospel songs) was also a part of Presley's childhood world and he probably heard it on a regular basis in the black section of Tupelo known as "Shakerag" (which was between Tupelo and East Tupelo, and was demolished in the 1960s as part of an urban renewal project). For Elvis Presley it provided an environment from which he would instinctively adopt the music, sound and accompanying body movements in his later rock and roll singing performances.

They belonged to a local Assembly of God Pentecostal church which played an important role in their lives. Their Depression-era home (where Elvis was born in 1935) was a two-room shack on one of several dirt tracks forming a small community off Old Saltillo Road. In Tupelo, Mississippi, Vernon and Gladys Presley were what was disparagingly referred to as poor white trash from the "wrong side of the tracks" at the east end of town. Ironically, for all the controversy surrounding his early career, Elvis Presley's roots in religious music ran deep.

For details on films in which he starred, see the List of Elvis Presley films. In addition to his own films, Presley has been the subject of more than seventy films that have his name in the title. Among fans, Blue Hawaii (1961) and Viva Las Vegas (1964) are also highly praised. The movies Jailhouse Rock (1957), King Creole (1958), and Flaming Star (1960) are widely regarded as his best among film critics.

Elvis was praised by all his directors, including the highly respected Michael Curtiz, as unfailingly polite and extremely hardworking. These were usually musicals based around Presley performances, and marked the beginning of his transition from rebellious rock and roller to all-round family entertainer. Beginning with Love Me Tender (opened on November 15, 1956), Presley starred in 31 motion pictures, having signed to multiple long-term contracts on the advice of his manager. The film is currently considered "misplaced" and some Presley researchers maintain it never existed, although there is ample evidence to suggest it did.

The film, (which reportedly included performance footage of Elvis as well as Bill Haley and His Comets and other acts), was shown in its entirety only once (in Cleveland) and was never released commercially. In late 1955, Presley made his earliest known film appearance in a documentary entitled The Pied Piper of Cleveland, a look at the career of disc jockey Bill Randle. Elvis Presley made his last live concert appearance in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Market Square Arena on June 26, 1977. During the mid-1970s Presley became increasingly isolated, battling an addiction to prescription drugs and its resulting toll on his appearance, health and performances.

He was the first artist to have four shows in a row sold to capacity at New York's Madison Square Garden. Between 1969 and 1977 he gave over 1,000 sold-out performances in Las Vegas and on tour. It also topped the UK pop charts at the same time. Way Down was racing up the American Country Music charts shortly before Presley's death in 1977, and hit #1 on that very chart the week he died (Presley recorded a number of country hits in his final years).

The soundtrack album was another #1 disc. The "Aloha from Hawaii" concert in January 1973 was the first of its kind to be broadcast worldwide via satellite and his biggest audience ever. For example, "The Wonder Of You" reached #1 in the UK in 1970. He still reached #1 on charts around the world.

This was the last time any song by Presley hit #1 on the US pop charts while he was still alive, although "Burning Love" got as high as #2 in September 1972. 1 on the Billboard music charts on November 1, 1969. After seven years off the top of the charts, Presley's song "Suspicious Minds" hit No. His 1969 return to live performances, first in Las Vegas and then across the country, was noted for the constant stream of sold-out shows, with many setting attendance records in the venues where he performed throughout the country.

Aired on the NBC network on December 3, 1968, the show saw him return to his rock and roll roots. With this drop-off, and in the face of the social upheaval of the 1960s and the British Invasion spearheaded by The Beatles, Presley's star faded slightly before a triumphant televised performance later dubbed the '68 Comeback Special. In 1960 the album Elvis is Back was recorded to mixed reviews by critics and fans. Presley himself became deeply dissatisfied with the direction his career would take over the ensuing seven years, notably the film contract with a demanding schedule that eliminated creative recording and giving public concerts.

Many observers (including John Lennon) later claimed that following Presley's return from military service the quality of his recorded output dropped, although others thought he was still capable of creating records equal to his best (and did so on the infrequent occasions where he was presented with "decent" material at his movie recording sessions). He returned to the United States on March 2, 1960, and was honorably discharged on March 5th. Randall (AP-115), and served in Germany as an ordinary soldier. Presley sailed to Europe on the USS General George M.

His military service received massive media coverage with much speculation whether or not two years out of the limelight at the height of his popularity would do irreparable damage to his career. Elvis received no special treatment and was widely praised for not doing what many wealthy and influential people did to avoid service or to serve part time in easy domestic positions such as the Special Services where he could have sung and continued to maintain a public profile. Ginger Alden's (Elvis's future fiancee) father Walter Alden was a sergeant in the Army and in charge of public relations during that time. On March 24, 1958, he was inducted into the Army at the Memphis Draft Board.

On December 20, 1957, Presley received his draft notice for the then compulsory 2-year service with the United States Army. Parker's definitive biography was written by award-winning journalist Alanna Nash published in 2003. In the 2005 television special about her former husband, Priscilla Presley said she didn't know who else there was at the time in 1955 who could have seized the moment and done the job of marketing Elvis. Nonetheless, along with Lamar Fike, and Presley's first cousin Billy Smith, Lacker acknowledged that Parker was a master promoter as recounted in their 1995 book Elvis Aron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia.

Marty Lacker, a lifelong friend and a member of the Memphis Mafia, says he thought of Parker as a "hustler and scam artist" who abused Elvis's reliance on him. Over the years, much has been written about Colonel Parker, most of it critical. (See "Movies" section below.) With money seemingly being at the forefront of all decisions made by the Colonel, his success led to his management contract with Elvis being renegotiated to an even 50/50 split between the two. Under the terms of his contract, Presley earned a fee for performing plus a percentage of the profits on the films, most of which were huge moneymakers.

After being approached by the Hollywood Studios, Parker eventually negotiated a multi-picture seven-year contract that shifted Presley's focus from music to films. A master promoter who wasted no time in marketing Presley's image, Parker licensed everything from guitars to cookware. Understanding the commercial value for any composer having their song recorded by Presley, Parker was able to demand they share their royalties with the singer. Shortly thereafter, Colonel Parker took full control and, recognizing the limitations of Sun Studios, negotiated a deal with RCA Records on November 21, 1955, then immediately established two New York City recording companies for Presley's music.

On August 15, 1955 Elvis Presley was signed by "Hank Snow Attractions", a management company jointly owned by singer Hank Snow and Colonel Tom Parker. This helped sales of his records as his releases began to reach the top of the country charts. Following this, Presley was signed to a one-year contract for a weekly performance during which time he was introduced to Colonel Tom Parker. On October 16, 1954, he made his first appearance on Louisiana Hayride, a radio broadcast of live country music in Shreveport, Louisiana and was a hit with the large audience.

South. He continued to tour the U.S. However, since that time many singers (Garth Brooks among them) have commented that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry is that they played on the same stage as Presley. Nonetheless, one of the show's executives was far from impressed and hinted that Presley should give up his music.

Country music star Hank Snow arranged to have Presley perform at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry and his performance was received well by the audience. Phillips liked the resulting record and released it as a 78RPM single backed with Elvis' hopped-up version of Bill Monroe's bluegrass song "Blue Moon Of Kentucky." Memphis radio station WHBQ began airing it two days later, the record became a local hit and Elvis began a regular touring schedule which expanded his fame beyond Tennessee. During a rehearsal break on July 5, 1954, Elvis began singing a blues song written by Arthur Crudup called "That's All Right". Although that session was not productive, Sam Phillips put Elvis together with local musicians Scotty Moore and Bill Black to see what might develop.

Sun Records founder Sam Phillips and assistant Marion Keisker heard the discs and called him in June 1954 to fill in for a missing ballad singer. According to the official Presley website, Elvis reportedly gave it to his mother as a much-belated birthday present. In the summer of 1953, Presley paid $4 to record the first of two double-sided demo acetates at Sun Studios, "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" which were popular ballads at the time. After high school he worked at Precision Tool Company, then drove a truck for the Crown Electric Company.

He played gigs in the malls and courtyards of the Courts with other musicians who lived there. Elvis took up the guitar and practiced in the basement laundry room at Lauderdale Courts. In her book, Elvis and Gladys author Elaine Dundy wrote that those close to Elvis as a boy say he was a fan of comic book superhero Captain Marvel, Jr., and would later model his trademark hairstyle and some of his stage clothes/stage costumes on the comic book character. In 1949 the family moved to Lauderdale Courts public housing development which was near musical and cultural influences like Beale Street, Ellis Auditorium and the Popular Tunes record store along with the Sun Studio about a mile away.

Elvis Presley was raised both in East Tupelo and later in Memphis, Tennessee, where his family moved when he was 13. He was of mostly Scottish and English descent; the family also has Native American, German and Jewish (from a great-grandmother of Gladys) roots. Pressler first settled in New York, but later moved to the South. His ancestor Johann Valentin Pressler emigrated to North America in 1710.

The surname Presley was Anglicized from the German Pressler during the Civil War. Aron/Garon. Elvis was given the middle name of Aron, with only one A, so he would always be a part of his brother Jesse Garon. His twin brother, Jesse Garon, was stillborn.

Elvis Aron Presley was born in a two-room house in East Tupelo, Mississippi to Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Smith. Half a century later, historian Ian Brailsford (University of Auckland, New Zealand) commented, "The phenomenal success of Elvis Presley in 1956 convinced many doubters of the financial opportunities existing in the youth market." [4]. Kohlmeier wrote, "Elvis Presley today is a business," and reported on the singer's record and merchandise sales (this may have been the first time a journalist described an entertainer as a business). Presley's impact on the American youth consumer market was noted on the front page of The Wall Street Journal on December 31, 1956 when future Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Louis M.

Teens were asserting more independence and Elvis Presley became a national symbol of their parents' consternation. Meanwhile American teenagers began buying newly available portable transistor radios [3] and listened to rock 'n' roll on them (helping to propel that fledgling industry from an estimated 100,000 units sold in 1955 to 5,000,000 units by the end of 1958). A girl might get a pink portable 45 rpm record player for her bedroom. In 1956 America, birthday and Christmas gifts were often music or even Elvis related.

Along with Elvis' ducktail haircut, the demand for black slacks and loose, open-necked shirts resulted in new lines of clothing for teenaged boys. Many boys adopted his look to attract them. Presley's overwhelming appeal was to girls. Presley triggered a juggernaut of demand for his records by near-teens and early teens aged ten and up.

During the 1940s bobby soxers had idolized Frank Sinatra but the buyers of his records were mostly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. During the 1950s post-WWII economic boom in the United States, many parents were able to give their teenaged children much higher weekly allowances, signalling a shift in the buying power and purchasing habits of teens. In an industry already shifting to all-music formats in reaction to television, profit-conscious radio station owners learned hard lessons when sponsors bought advertising time on new rock and roll stations reaching enormous markets at night with clear channel signals from AM broadcasts. When adult programmers announced they would not play Presley's music on their radio stations (some because God told them it was sexually suggestive Devil music, others saying it was Southern "nigger" music) the economic power of that generation became evident when they tuned in any radio station playing Elvis records.

It seemed as if the more adults tried to stop it, the more teenagers across North America insisted on having what they wanted. When municipal politicians began denying permits for Presley appearances teens piled into cars and traveled elsewhere to see him perform. When he performed at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair in 1956 a hundred National Guardsmen surrounded the stage to control crowds of excited fans. Teenagers came to Presley's concerts in unprecedented numbers.

Singers like Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and others immediately followed in his wake, leading John Lennon to later observe, "Before Elvis, there was nothing.". African-American performers like Little Richard and Chuck Berry came to national prominence after Presley's acceptance among mass audiences of white teenagers, even though his music was strongly influenced by some of those same African-American musicians. Presley sang both hard driving rockabilly and rock and roll dance songs and ballads, laying a commercial foundation upon which other rock and roll musicians would build. His recordings, dance moves, attitude and clothing came to be seen as embodiments of rock and roll.

According to Rolling Stone magazine "it was Elvis who made rock 'n' roll the international language of pop." A PBS documentary once described Presley as "an American music giant of the 20th century who singlehandedly changed the course of music and culture in the mid-1950s." [2]. . He has had more than 120 singles in the US top 40, across various musical genres, with over 20 reaching number one. Some of those records have since been matched and/or broken by other artists, but some of his records will probably remain unbroken and/or unmatched forever.

Rolling Stone magazine claimed "Elvis Presley is rock 'n' roll" and called his body of work "acres of perfect material." During an active recording career that spanned more than two decades, Presley set and broke many records for both concert attendance and sales. [[1]]. This claim is allegedly backed up by thousands of so-called Elvis sightings that have occurred in the years since his death, and by the fact that his middle name Aron was mispelled Aaron, with two As, on his tombstone. Many fans persist in claiming he is still alive, that he went into hiding for various reasons.

In fact, there is a widespread belief that Elvis—who was known by his first name—did not die in 1977. Elvis remains a popular and enigmatic star, and his legend has only grown stronger since his death. Elvis Aron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll", was an American singer, song producer and actor. However, the Graceland estate allowed the producers this degree of freedom.

The film also broke several rules related to Elvis in films which included using his photo, shortening his songs for time and dressing up like him. The film's closing sequence also features a montage of photographs, one of which portrays the film's main characters posed before the gates of Graceland. The 2002 Disney animated feature Lilo and Stitch contains more Elvis songs than any film in which Elvis himself ever starred. Most estimates agree Elvis was around 6'0" even.

While he certainly appeared quite tall on stage, he often wore built up shoes. It is unclear from photographs of him being measured for the Army in 1958 whether he was wearing his boots at the time. Estimates of Elvis's height range from 5'11" to 6'2". To this, Aaron Brown responded: "Probably like all those Elvis impersonators".

On his 70th birthday, Larry King wondered how Elvis would look today. Elvis was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon. Elvis was a practitioner of karate[6]. Elvis's favorite female singer was Anne Murray and he recorded a version of "Snowbird".

In the 1997 tour of Bye Bye Birdie, actor Rikki Lee Travolta was so convincing as the Elvis-based Conrad Birdie that he was named an honorary member of the National Association of Amateur Elvis Impersonators. military draft on a famous singer similar to Presley. The 1960 Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie is a supposed satire about the effects of the compulsory U.S. Elvis's parents made cameos in his film Loving You.

The film won 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Parker forced to maker Presley turn it down as non-commercial despite Elvis' arguments it would legitimize his acting career. He was offered the lead role of Tony in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical West Side Story but Col. Although songs were later slipped into the movie, Elvis considered it his best work.

He was proud of his role in King Creole because the part was originally offered to his idol James Dean. (see also reference above, under Elvis in the 21st Century). In 2005, and for the fifth year straight, Elvis was named the richest deceased celebrity (according to www.Forbes.com). Musician Elvis Costello borrowed Presley's first name, a few months before his death in 1977, in order to help his then fledgling career.

Elvis Mitchell, the former movie critic for the New York Times, was named after Presley by his parents, who were African-Americans. Elvis Dumervil, the University of Louisville All American college football player, currently en route to breaking the all time NCAA sacking record and a candidate to win the 2005 edition of the "Lombardi Award", was also named after Presley by his mother, an African American. Elvis Crespo, the King of salsa and merengue, was also named after Presley by his mother, a native of Puerto Rico who was a big Elvis fan. Elvis Stojko, a Canadian who was the three-time World Figure Skating Champion, was named after Presley by his mother, who was a big fan.

Also, in September of 1974, during one of his two sellout shows at the University of Notre Dame, he stopped singing, as well as motioned for the the band to quit playing, in order to tell those holding a huge banner which read ¨You are the King¨, that he was not going to resume singing until it was taken out from view, adding that "there was only one King, and that was the Lord, Jesus Christ". I'm just a singer". Christ is the King. She lifted the crown to Elvis and shouted, "You're the King!" "No, honey," he said, "I'm not the King.

According to Steve Brown's book, Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel, Elvis gave a concert and, at its conclusion, a woman came forward with a crown resting on a plush pillow. Billboard's Joel Whitburn declared Presley the "#1 act of the Rock era", beating out The Beatles, based upon his dominance of Billboard's list of top 100 singles artists since 1955. These were for the 1967 "How Great Thou Art" LP, for the 1972 LP, "He Touched Me" and, in 1974, for the song "How Great Thou Art" (live). Has won three Grammy awards, all for his Gospel recordings.

Has sold over one billion records worldwide—the first to do so—and is one of the best selling recording artists in history. Elvis Presley made famous a version of the peanut butter sandwich with banana (either mashed or whole) that was grilled or fried, and may have contained bacon and porridge. His hair was a natural sandy brown but he dyed it jet black after filming "Love Me Tender.". Elvis Presley made only one television commercial, an ad for Southern Maid Doughnuts that ran in 1954.

The estate of Elvis Presley earns over 40 million dollars every year which is a record for a deceased entertainer. Cryolophosaurus is nicknamed 'Elvisaurus' because of its head crest being alike to Elvis's hairstyle. According to another, more widespread urban legend, Elvis did not die in 1977, and may be alive today (see Elvis sightings). Aaron is the official spelling used by his estate.

His given middle name at birth was Aron ([5]), however Aaron was placed on his gravestone by his father because Elvis preferred that biblical spelling and had legally changed it. After his death several Memphis Mafia members wrote books on their time working for Presley. In 1960, following his return from military service, the various employees hired by Elvis Presley to handle security and his concert tours were affectionately dubbed the "Memphis Mafia" by the news media. For a list of all of his songs see: Alphabetical list of all of Elvis Presley's songs.

For a list of Elvis' singles see: Elvis Presley hit singles. For a detailed discography see: Elvis Presley discography. The poll was topped by Frank Sinatra, with Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald also in the top ten. In a list of the greatest English language singers of the 20th century, as compiled by BBC Radio, Elvis Presley was ranked #2.

He is also has the most Christmas, Gospel, and Inspirational certified albums in history. His "Elvis Christmas album" (1970 version), is the most certified Christmas album in history, currently earning a 9X Platinum certification (in excess of nine million copies sold). He also tops the singles category, with 53, 27, and 8 of his singles having earned Gold, Platinum, and Multi-platinum status, respectively. According to the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA), Elvis Presley is the recording artist with the most Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum certified albums (97, 55 and 26, respectively).

Also, on the official United Kingdom Top 40 chart, "It's Now Or Never" reached number one in the week of Sunday January 30, 2005, 27 years after Presley's death. Since 1962, the closest anyone has come to matching this was Madonna in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with 19 consecutive top 5 hits. release dates), each of which sold in excess of one million copies. From 1956 to 1962, Elvis set the record with 24 consecutive top 5 hit singles (singles listed with B-side songs and original U.S.A.

From March 1956 to November 1959, every week there was at least one Elvis song on the singles chart. The Beatles had 34 Top 10 hits during their career. This achievement is currently shared by Madonna who reached the same total in late November of 2005. from 1956 to 1972, he had record breaking 36 Top 10 Billboard hits.

His closest competitor is Mariah Carey with 77 weeks. has spent a total of 79 weeks at the number 1 position. This record was recently tied by Mariah Carey, an American pop and R&B singer. The total (17) is surpassed only by The Beatles, who had 20 number 1 hits.

had 17 number 1 Billboard hits, including four singles in 1956 that occupied the top of the charts for a cumulative total of 25 weeks. recorded 104 singles that hit the Top 40 of the Billboard pop chart. Swing Down Sweet Chariot. Amazing Grace.

Why Me, Lord?. Help Me. He Is My Everything. Peace In The Valley.

He Touched Me. How Great Thou Art.

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