If you are over 40 years old (Like I Am), you grew up listening to the Sounds of Elvis Presley, and watched him in many of his hit movies. Elvis was “The King” and rightfully so. He was the biggest rock star in the world, when the world was a much smaller place than it is today. Yes, he was extremely talented. Yes, he was extremely good looking. Yes, he had a magical voice. And when he teamed up with a manager that had a knack for promoting, the rest was history.
For those of you a little younger than I am you probably have heard a lot of stories told about Elvis. His Myth and legend continues to live on, decades after his death. We have compiled what we like to think is some of the best information available about Elvis, and are happy to share them with you here.
Here is what Wiki has to say about elvis here (Elvis Presley)
Birth name Elvis Aaron Presley
Born January 8, 1935
Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.
Died August 16, 1977 (aged 42)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres Rock and roll, pop, rockabilly, country, blues, gospel, R&B
Occupations Musician, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1953–77
Labels Sun, RCA Victor
Associated acts The Blue Moon Boys, The Jordanaires, The Imperials
Elvis Aaron Presleya (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. A cultural icon, he is commonly known by the single name Elvis. One of the most popular musicians of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or “the King”.
Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley moved to Memphis, Tennessee, with his family at the age of 13. He began his career there in 1954, working with Sun Records owner Sam Phillips, who wanted to bring the sound of African-American music to a wider audience. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was the most important popularize of rockabilly, an up-tempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country and rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who went on to manage the singer for over two decades. Presley’s first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel”, released in January 1956, was a number-one hit. He became the leading figure of the newly popular sound of rock and roll with a series of network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs, many from African-American sources, and his uninhibited performance style made him enormously popular—and controversial. In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender.
Drafted into military service in 1958, Presley re launched his recording career two years later with some of his most commercially successful work. He staged few concerts however, and, guided by Parker, proceeded to devote much of the 1960s to making Hollywood movies and soundtrack albums, most of them critically derided. In 1968, after seven years away from the stage, he returned to live performance in a celebrated comeback television special that led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of profitable tours. In 1973 Presley staged the first concert broadcast globally via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii. Prescription drug abuse severely deteriorated his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at the age of 42.
Presley is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th-century popular culture. He had a versatile voice and unusually wide success encompassing many genres, including country, pop ballads, gospel, and blues. He is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music. Nominated for 14 competitive Grammys, he won three, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.
Life and career
And They Continue:
Early years (1935–53)
Childhood in Tupelo
Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi
Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, to 18-year-old Vernon Elvis and 22-year-old Gladys Love Presley, in the two-room shotgun house built by his father in readiness for the birth. Jesse Garon Presley, his identical twin brother, was delivered stillborn 35 minutes before him. As an only child, Presley became close to both parents and formed an unusually tight bond with his mother. The family attended an Assembly of God church, where he found his initial musical inspiration.
Presley’s ancestry was primarily a Western European mix: on his mother’s side, he was Scots-Irish, with some French Norman; one of Gladys’ great-great-grandmothers was Cherokeeb His father’s forebears were of Scottish and German origin. Gladys was regarded by relatives and friends as the dominant member of the small family. Vernon moved from one odd job to the next, evidencing little ambition. The family often relied on help from neighbors and government food assistance. In 1938, they lost their home after Vernon was found guilty of altering a check written by the landowner. He was jailed for eight months, and Gladys and Elvis moved in with relatives.
In September 1941, Presley entered first grade at East Tupelo Consolidated, where his instructors regarded him as “average”. He was encouraged to enter a singing contest after impressing his schoolteacher with a rendition of Red Foley’s country song “Old Shep” during morning prayers. The contest, held at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show on October 3, 1945, was his first public performance: dressed as a cowboy, the ten-year-old Presley stood on a chair to reach the microphone and sang “Old Shep”. He recalled placing fifth. A few months later, Presley received his first guitar for his birthday; he had hoped for something else—by different accounts, either a bicycle or a rifle. Over the following year, he received basic guitar lessons from two of his uncles and the new pastor at the family’s church. Presley recalled, “I took the guitar, and I watched people, and I learned to play a little bit. But I would never sing in public. I was very shy about it.”
Entering a new school, Milam, for sixth grade in September 1946, Presley was regarded as a loner. The following year, he began bringing his guitar in on a daily basis. He played and sang during lunchtime, and was often teased as a “trashy” kid who played hillbilly music. The family was by then living in a largely African-American neighborhood. A devotee of Mississippi Slim‘s show on the Tupelo radio station WELO, Presley was described as “crazy about music” by Slim’s younger brother, a classmate of Presley’s, who often took him into the station. Slim supplemented Presley’s guitar tuition by demonstrating chord techniques. When his protégé was 12 years old, Slim scheduled him for two on-air performances. Presley was overcome by stage fright the first time, but succeeded in performing the following week.
We will continue this article a little longer, but will probably have to cover more information in a second article which we will publish soon. Elvis was an extremely interesting person, and played such an important role in pop culture during the 50′, 60′s and 70′s we want you to get a good “feel” for what the man was really like. In addition, there are so many interesting stories that surround Elvis, and his entourage that we thought it was more important to get a little long winded than to leave anything out.
First recordings (1953–55)
Presley in a Sun Records promotional photograph, 1954
Sam Phillips and Sun Records
See also: List of songs recorded by Elvis Presley on the Sun label
In August 1953, Presley walked into the offices of Sun Records. He aimed to pay for a few minutes of studio time to record a two-sided acetate disc: “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”. He would later claim that he intended the record as a gift for his mother, or that he was merely interested in what he “sounded like”, although there was a much cheaper, amateur record-making service at a nearby general store. Biographer Peter Guralnick argues that he chose Sun in the hope of being discovered. Asked by receptionist Marion Keisker what kind of singer he was, Presley responded, “I sing all kinds.” When she pressed him on who he sounded like, he repeatedly answered, “I don’t sound like nobody.” After he recorded, Sun boss Sam Phillips asked Keisker to note down the young man’s name, which she did along with her own commentary: “Good ballad singer. Hold.” Presley cut a second acetate in January 1954—”I’ll Never Stand In Your Way” and “It Wouldn’t Be the Same Without You”—but again nothing came of it.
Not long after, he failed an audition for a local vocal quartet, the Songfellows. He explained to his father, “They told me I couldn’t sing.” Songfellow Jim Hamill later claimed that he was turned down because he did not demonstrate an ear for harmony at the time. In April, Presley began working for the Crown Electric company as a truck driver. His friend Ronnie Smith, after playing a few local gigs with him, suggested he contact Eddie Bond, leader of Smith’s professional band, which had an opening for a vocalist. Bond rejected him after a tryout, advising Presley to stick to truck driving “because you’re never going to make it as a singer”.
Phillips, meanwhile, was always on the lookout for someone who could bring to a broader audience the sound of the black musicians on whom Sun focused. As Keisker reported, “Over and over I remember Sam saying, ‘If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.’” In June, he acquired a demo recording of a ballad, “Without You”, that he thought might suit the teenage singer. Presley came by the studio, but was unable to do it justice. Despite this, Phillips asked Presley to sing as many numbers as he knew. He was sufficiently affected by what he heard to invite two local musicians, guitarist Winfield “Scotty” Moore and upright bass player Bill Black, to work something up with Presley for a recording session.
“That’s All Right”
Presley transformed not only the sound but the emotion of the song, turning what had been written as a “lament for a lost love into a satisfied declaration of independence.”
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The session, held the evening of July 5, proved entirely unfruitful until late in the night. As they were about to give up and go home, Presley took his guitar and launched into a 1946 blues number, Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right”. Moore recalled, “All of a sudden, Elvis just started singing this song, jumping around and acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass, and he started acting the fool, too, and I started playing with them. Sam, I think, had the door to the control booth open … he stuck his head out and said, ‘What are you doing?’ And we said, ‘We don’t know.’ ‘Well, back up,’ he said, ‘try to find a place to start, and do it again.’” Phillips quickly began taping; this was the sound he had been looking for. Three days later, popular Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips played “That’s All Right” on his Red, Hot, and Blue show. Listeners began phoning in, eager to find out who the singer was. The interest was such that Phillips played the record repeatedly during the last two hours of his show. Interviewing Presley on-air, Phillips asked him what high school he attended in order to clarify his color for the many callers who had assumed he was black.During the next few days, the trio recorded a bluegrass number, Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, again in a distinctive style and employing a jury-rigged echo effect that Sam Phillips dubbed “slapback”. A single was pressed with “That’s All Right” on the A side and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on the reverse.
Ok, well we are going to break here and continue on in the next installment. We hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about “the king”, Elvis Presley and that you agree with us that he truly was one of the most interesting Pop Stars to ever live.
In closing, we want to thank our friends at http://www.elvis.com, and http://www.elvispresley.com which we used for additional information in writing this article along with many of the other articles on this web site.