Once he walked into a room, thousands of girls screamed with emotion. With his strong voice and magnetism, Elvis Presley moved his fans. When he sang the song, “Hound Dog,” he taught us to be strong and not to cry. “Suspicious Minds” was his song about jealousy in a relationship. Then there were love songs such as “Love Me Tender” and “Cant Help Falling in Love” that were soft and heartfelt. Not only could Elvis sing, he could also dance and play the guitar. With the combination of his good looks and musical talent, no wonder he had so many admirers.
Born in Tupelo Mississippi on January 8, 1935, to Gladys Love and Vernon Elvis Presley, Elvis was already musically talented as a boy. In September 1941, Elvis entered a music a singing contest and sang “Old Shep” during morning prayers. Elvis first public performance was at the age of 10 at the Fair and Daisy Show on October 3, 1945. He earned an impressive fifth place during that singing competition.
When Elvis received a guitar for his birthday, he began to take lessons from two of his uncles and the new pastor at the family’s church. Surprisingly, Elvis never received formal music training or learned to read music. Instead, he played music by ear.
With all of Elvis’ talent, you would think that he would have received an A in music. However, in the eighth grade he only got a C in music. His music teacher thought that he had no musical talent. Boy was his teacher wrong!
In order to develop his own musical style, Elvis went to listen to African-American spirited music, gospel music and the blues among many other types of music. His music will always stand out above others because it is a fusion of Rock and roll, pop, rockabilly, country, blues, gospel and rhythm and blues.
Elvis’ first recording that helped him break into the music business was on July 5, 1954. At first, nothing was working our for him. But suddenly the magic moment occurred when Elvis took his guitar and sang the 1946 blues number Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right.” Showing all his charisma and musical talent, of course his recording was a huge success.
Later there was a taping of Presley’s rendition of “That’s All Right” on his Red, Hot and Heavy Blue Show and the rest was history. After that, his singing career took off like a rocket. Becoming a celebrity, Elvis made many appearances on television shows including the Milton Berle show and the Ed Sullivan Show.
Choosing to be like everyone else, Elvis served in the military. He was sworn into the US. Army at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas on March 24, 1958. He became a private at Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith Arkansas. He then began training at the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg Germany. While he was in Germany, he met his future wife Priscilla Beaulieu. After he finished his service in the army, he donated his pay to charity.
Elvis married Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967. They both had one child, Lisa Marie Presley, who was born on February 1, 1968. Lisa Marie was Presley’s only child and the apple of her daddy’s eye. The marriage of Priscilla and Elvis ended in divorce in 1973.
In addition to being one of the best solo artists in the history of recording music, selling around 600 million records worldwide, Elvis was also an actor. Elvis’ first motion picture was “Love Me Tender.” In addition to Love Me Tender, he also made many other films including Blue Hawaii and Paradise Hawaiian Style. The theme in his movies mirrored reality, for in real life girls also went completely crazy for Elvis. The combination of his singing as well as his natural acting ability turned him into a Hollywood legend.
On August 16, 1977, Elvis passed away from a heart attack at the age of 42. August 16, 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death. Ever since 1997, thousands of fans gather at Graceland, his home in Memphis, to remember him and hold candlelight vigils. With more than half a million visitors each year,Graceland is the most visited estate in the United States after the White House. In 2006, Graceland became a Historic Landmark.