Elvis Presley

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File:Elvis presley.jpg
Elvis Aaron Presley

Elvis Aaron (or Aron) <ref>Presley's spelling of his middle name at birth was "Aron". It was common during the Great Depression to use alternate spellings of names due to a lesser focus on the written word. It is likely they intended "Aaron" as his middle name. "Aaron" is the spelling that appears on gravestone as well.</ref> Presley, popularly known by the single name Elvis, (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was a musician, actor and performer. Presley became an essential figure of rock and roll and sang rock, country, blues, and gospel. He has become an American cultural icon and a major figure in American popular culture. Presley is known as "The King of Rock n' Roll" or simply "The King".

Presley died on August 16, 1977 of complications due to drug abuse and poor eating and health habits; he died in his home, Graceland, a day before he was scheduled to go back on tour.

Presley was inducted into four Halls of Fame, won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1971, and was nominated for fourteen Grammy awards, winning three, all for gospel songs.

Elvis' favorite snack was a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.<ref>http://www.great-sandwich.com/elvis-sandwich.html</ref>


[edit] Early Life

Presley was born in a two-room house without running water or electricity in East Tupelo, Mississippi to Gladys Love and Vernon Presley. Presley's identical twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, was stillborn 35 minutes before him. Presley's mother Gladys almost died from the birth and both were taken to the hospital. The Presley family lived in near-poverty during the early years of Presley's life. They were on welfare and got help from their neighbors. Vernon supported the family by working different odd jobs. Despite living in poverty, Presley benefited from a closely knit family. On May 25, 1938 Vernon was sentenced for three years in the Mississippi State Penitentiary for check forgery. During the brief time Vernon spent in prison, Gladys and Presley had to temporarily live with Gladys' in-laws next door. Vernon was released on February 6, 1939 on account of good behavior.

Presley received a guitar for his eleventh birthday. The store owner said he wanted a rifle. Some other variants of the story claim he wanted a bicycle, though it was most likely the rifle. However, Gladys did not want her son to have one and he eventually settled on the guitar. He would often sing in school for his classes, and they were pleased with him.<ref name="official bio">Elvis biography</ref><ref>Biography of Presley's Early Life</ref>

The Presley family moved to Memphis, Tennessee on November 6, 1948, where a thirteen-year-old Presley was influenced by the gospel music of an Assembly of God Pentecostal church. He was also influenced by country, pop and the African American music he heard on the streets of Memphis. On September 20, 1949, the Presley family moved to a building complex in Memphis. He was exposed to a great deal of music and was in a band with four other boys. Vernon, Gladys, and the teenage Presley worked various jobs to support the family. However, the family stayed closely knit. After graduating from L.C. Humes High School in Memphis in 1953, Presley worked at Crown Electric as a truck driver to pay for recording sessions at Sun Records. <ref name="official bio"/>

[edit] Career

[edit] Early Career

File:5182368474 52ecc146ca o.jpg
Elvis in California, 1957

After graduating from high school, Presley paid to record two songs meant to be a birthday gift to his mother. The songs “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” would be his first steps toward becoming what many say was the greatest entertainer of the century and “the King of Rock n’ Roll.”

In 1954 Sun Records released “That’s All Right,” a 45 rpm record with the B-side “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” Within a few days it was a hit when Memphis radio station WHBQ began programming the record and Presley began a regular touring schedule outside of the Memphis area. His second single, “Good Rockin' Tonight,” with “I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine” was released in September, 1954 and a month later Elvis Presley made his first appearance on the “Louisiana Hayride”, a country music radio show, in Shreveport to the delight of a large audience. He was signed to a one-year contract with the Hayride for a weekly performance.

Elvis Presley moved from Sun Records to RCA by suggestion of his manager Colonel Tom Parker, who officially became Presley's manager after his contract with former manager Bob Neal expired on March 26, 1956. RCA paid $35,000 to Sun and $5,000 to Presley, a sum unheard of at that time. A few months later in 1956 his first single on the RCA label “Heartbreak Hotel,” topped the charts at #1.

Elvis Presley had a physical style in his concerts that was considered by many to be suggestive and scandalous. He gyrated his body with the music, in a way that would be considered tame by contemporary standards, but was unheard-of at the time. He was sometimes given the name "Elvis the Pelvis" for this, and was sometimes shown in television concerts only from the waist up.

[edit] Ed Sullivan Shows

Presley first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956, despite Sullivan personally vowing he would never have Presley on the show. Sullivan entered Presley after rival Steve Allen received a jump in ratings due to Presley's appearance on his show. His second appearance on the Sullivan show was on October 28, 1956. That appearance included Elvis performed "Don't Be Cruel", and "Love Me Tender", as well as a four minute version of "Hound Dog". As Sullivan stood behind Presley during the show, addressing the audience, Presley began shaking his legs, eliciting an uproar from the audience. As Sullivan stood his head, Presley became motionless. After Presley was leaving the stage, Sullivan said "I can’t figure this darn thing out. You know. He just does this [Sullivan shakes his legs] and everybody yells." The third and final show was on January 6, 1957. This show sparked controversy, as Presley was shot only from the waist up. It was seen as censoring his hip gyrations. Presley responded by wiggling his finger and causing an uproar in the audience.

[edit] Music

A multiple Grammy award winner, in his first dozen years Elvis Presley had 100 hits on the Billboard charts and was the most famous entertainer in the world. Presley's first released single was "That's All Right" under the Sun label. It was after Colonel Parker transferred Presley to RCA that he would record his first number-one hit, "Heartbreak Hotel". His early music was mainly rock, such as his hit singles "Hound Dog", "Don't Be Cruel", and "All Shook Up". He also recorded gospel songs, such as "Peace in the Valley", which Presley said was one of his mother's favorite songs. During his Hollywood career, the main music Presley produced were movie soundtracks. After his career in film, Presley recorded a slew of new material at various studios. Included in these sessions were several gospel albums including His Hand in Mine. He later had a studio built in his home that was called the Jungle Room.

Presley makes more money than any deceased artist on re-releases of his records and compilations such as Elvis 30 #1 Hits'. Special compilations of certain areas of his musical works, such as Elvis Ultimate Gospel have sold reasonably well. He has also had some of his more popular songs remixed in publications such as Viva Elvis.

[edit] Films

Presley starred in thirty-three enormously profitable films, most of which were lighthearted comedic musicals. His first film, Love Me Tender, a western, was released in 1957. His film Loving You was released soon after. He then starred in Jailhouse Rock, playing an anti-hero character. For a while, Presley was one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors. He starred in King Creole, for which he deferred his Army service to star in. After his service, he starred in G.I. Blues He was cast in light, clean-cut roles during the 1960s, and Presley was not happy about it, since he aspired to be a serious actor. These feature films were generally poorly received by critics, often for "them all being the same", but still sold extremely well, and were popular with fans. Charro was an exception, as it did not feature music other than a title song. After his final feature film in 1969, the only Presley films released were concert documentaries, such as Elvis:That's the Way it Is.

[edit] Concert Performances

During his career, Presley performed many concerts. Many of these concerts were sold out and fans waited for days in line just to buy tickets. His first concerts were performed in the 1950s. His other major concert era came after his career in film. He performed in Las Vegas and did a road tour.

[edit] Early Concerts

Presley started touring in the 1950s and he caused controversy over his hip gyrations and music. The older generation thought his style was vulgar. As a result, Presley's performances on television were often shot from the waist up so it would not offend anyone. Many of Presley's fans were young women, and they would often scream incessantly at his concerts, a practice which has since become commonplace during concerts of male heartthrobs. His style of dancing came from nervousness of dancing in front of women.<ref>The Life of Elvis Presley</ref>

In 1956, Presley made his network television debut with the first of his six appearances on Stage Show, a weekly variety program hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. On The Milton Berle Show, he performed "Hound Dog" and the performance was considered very provocative for the time.

[edit] 1968 Comeback Special

He stopped touring while he was in Hollywood until 1968, when he released his '68 Comeback on NBC. The network originally wanted it to be a soft Christmas special with Presley in a tuxedo, but Presley did a rock performance in leather. He saw this as his comeback from his films to live performing. He performed many of his previous hits, and had a gospel section of the performance which included the famous song "If I Can Dream". The concert was later sold on VHS and DVD by Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Colonel Parker originally wanted the show to be a Christmas performance with little more than Presley performing Christmas carols. He believed that this could be a television version of the Christmas show Presley performed the year before. However, producer Steve Binder felt that this would not be best for the singer since they wanted to reestablish his reputation with this concert after he made many films and recordings of varying quality.

The concert consisted of an informal jam session with Presley performing in front of a small audience consisting of friends and family members. He performed hits such as "Heartbreak Hotel", "Jailhouse Rock", and "Don't Be Cruel".

The band that performed was:

  • Elvis Presley: vocals, guitars
  • D. J. Fontana: drumming, using a guitar case
  • Alan Fortas: guitar back-slapping, occasional vocals
  • Charlie Hodge: acoustic guitar, occasional vocals
  • Lance LeGault: guitar back-slapping, tambourine
  • Scotty Moore: guitars

[edit] 1970s Live Concerts

After two more feature films, The Trouble With Girls and Change of Habit, the only other films Presley starred in were concert documentaries. In 1969, he performed a series of concerts at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Between 1969 and 1976, Presley performed in Vegas at locations such as the Hilton Hotel, as well as a road tour. Despite deteriorating health, Presley performed over a thousand sold-out concerts during the 1970's. He performed some of his early hits, as well as new hits and cover versions of songs by artists such as The Beatles, the Righteous Brothers, and Chuck Berry. He was accompanied by gospel quartets, an orchestra, and other band members. He was notorious for wearing various extravagant jumpsuits during these concerts and for passing out scarves to female fans. He occasionally gave extravagant rings to audience members.

[edit] Aloha from Hawaii

Presley at the Aloha from Hawaii concert

Elvis Presley’s "Aloha from Hawaii" concert originally broadcasted on January 14, 1973 was the first of its kind to be broadcast worldwide via satellite, and was seen by at least a billion viewers worldwide. It took place at the International Convention Center Arena in Honolulu. Despite the satellite innovation, the United States did not air the concert until April 4, 1973 per network decision. The concert aired in forty countries across Asia and Europe. The concert cost $2.5 million and raised $75,000 for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund. It featured an array of old and recent hits by Presley including "Hound Dog", "Steamroller Blues", "Blue Suede Shoes", and "Suspicious Minds". The concert also was released via soundtrack and later CD and DVD.

[edit] Elvis Lives Concerts

After Presley's death, concerts were put together using past live performances of Presley's, and his original band played live on stage with Presley's concert footage on a large screen via computer technology. Everything from the performances but Presley's voice is edited out, and gives the simulation of a real concert. Many sold-out concerts were performed across the world. Presley could not perform in many different countries due to his manager, Colonel Tom Parker's immigration status.

The tours started in 1997, and has been extremely popular throughout the world. A concert was conceived on August 16, 1997 (twenty years after Presley's death) after EPE was experimenting with Presley recordings and discovered through multitracking how to remove virtually all background music except Presley's voice, and it featured Presley's original 1970s back-up band (TCB Band), his back-up singers (The Stamps Quartet, The Imperials, The Sweet Inspirations and Millie Kirkham) and was performed at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis.

In 2007, a DVD of the twenty-fifth anniversary concert was sold.

[edit] Personal life

[edit] Army service

At the age of eighteen, like all young American men, on January 19, 1953, Presley registered for the Selective Service system. At the time, there was a draft and all young men in good health were to be able to serve two years in the military, and then spend four years in the reserves. Presley, after signing up, became the sensation he was. Then Presley received a draft notice, No. 40-86-35-16 on December 20, 1957, but sought deferment to finish his film King Creole. Presley went to the Memphis Draft Board on March 24, 1958 to be processed into the Army. He then spent 10 weeks in advanced tank training in Fort Hood, Texas. Presley returned soon after to see his mother, Gladys, who was gravely ill. She died on August 14, 1958. Presley served for two years and was assigned as an M48 Patton tank crewman to Company A, 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32nd Armor Regiment of the 3rd Armored Division. He was stationed at Ray Barracks in Friedberg, Germany.

[edit] Marriage

Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu, who was ten years younger than Presley, on May 1, 1967. Presley met her while he was in the Army. Both of them wanted children. Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' only and Priscilla's first child, was born on February 1, 1968. During the marriage, Elvis Presley had many affairs. Priscilla tried to repair the relationship, but was largely unsuccessful. The marriage ended on October 9, 1973 and affected Presley for the rest of his life; many of Presley's recordings later in his career were about lost love. <ref>Elvis and Marriage</ref>

[edit] Religion

Presley came from a Christian background; he had a superficially religious family and they attended First Assembly of God Church in East Tupelo, Mississippi, and then First Assembly of God in Memphis after the family moved. He was accompanied by several different gospel singers during his career including The Jordanaires, The Stamps, and the Imperials. He recorded several gospel albums including You'll Never Walk Alone. After concerts, Presley would often perform gospel music all night with some of his band members and friends. It is unknown whether Presley was a devout Christian.<ref>Elvis religion</ref>

[edit] Death

Elvis Presley died at the age of 42 in his home in Memphis on August 16, 1977. The cause of death was believed to be related to an overuse and overdose of prescription drugs, combined with poor eating habits.

He was scheduled to fly to Portland, Maine that night, do a show the next day, and finish his tour. During the early morning of the 16th, Presley was taking care of last minute details. He went to his suite at 7 AM and died of heart failure. Within hours, the news was being announced on the radio, and grief struck the nation. Callers would even ask jockeys to tell their stories about Presley. <ref>Elvis death</ref>

[edit] Legacy

Presley has had a great effect on music and has a satellite radio station dedicated to his works, his home is a historic landmark and attracts many visitors across the world, and many entertainers make a living impersonating him. Presley also makes the most money of any deceased performer.

[edit] Halls of Fame

In 1986 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1998 the Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2001 the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In 2007 Elvis Presley was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

[edit] Elvis Presley Enterprises

Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) originally founded by former manager Neal in 1954, created Graceland as a tourist attraction, secured copyrights for Presley's image and intellectual property. They have become the official organization to sell Presley merchandise. Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley are involved with and solely owned the company, until CKX Inc. acquired an 85% stake with Lisa Marie with a 15% stake.

EPE is responsible for all legally produced Presley merchandise such as music, movies, costumes, action figures, hot sauces, and any other piece of Presley memorabilia.

[edit] Graceland

Main Article: Graceland

Graceland is the former residence of Presley and is where he is buried, after being moved from Forest Hill Cemetery at 1661 Elvis Presley Blvd due to an unsuccessful break-in by graverobbers. It is a large white-columned mansion located on 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis about nine miles away from Downtown Memphis and less than four miles north of the Mississippi border. The Elvis Presley estate earns over $40 million and draws over 600,000 tourists yearly, a record for a deceased entertainer. Graceland Mansion, his home while alive, and his burial place, is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Graceland garners many tourists, and is second only to the White House in number of tourists visiting a private residence. Tourists are invited to see much of the house and the meditation garden where the family is buried, but the upstairs is reserved for Presley's family.

After Presley died, his father Vernon was responsible for the house. When he died in 1979, Priscilla took over. A CEO, Jack Soden, was responsible for making Graceland a moneymaker, since Priscilla could not afford the upkeep of the house, which was over $500,000 a year.

[edit] Elvis Impersonators

Presley's legacy is such that many entertainers have made careers emulating him in voice, looks, or both. They are called Elvis Tribute Artists, or informally as Elvis impersonators. Professional Elvis impersonators highlight in Las Vegas and other areas across the United States and around the world.

Elvis impersonators are in great demand due to the iconic status of Presley, and many of these tribute acts exist. The first recorded Elvis impersonator was Jim Smith in 1956, shortly after Presley began to rise in popularity. Smith looked like and imitated Presley, but was just pretending since he could neither sing nor play the guitar. The first influential Elvis impersonator was Phil Ochs in 1970. Andy Kaufman was a significant Elvis impersonator in the mid 1970's and Presley himself said Kaufman was his favorite. While Presley was alive, impersonators largely competed in talent shows. It was after Presley's death the art grew into the industry it is today. Elvis impersonators range from professional performers to people who do it as a hobby to people who do it as part of a comedy act. There is also an Elvis Tribute Artist contest sponsored by Elvis Presley Enterprises.

[edit] Sirius-XM Elvis Radio

With the launch of satellite radio, a channel dedicated entirely to the works of Elvis Presley was created. The 24 hour station plays his studio recordings, live performances, lost and rare studio sessions and interviews with many of Presley's former friends, acquaintances and bandmates. The station is located in Memphis across the Graceland estate. The Elvis Quiz Show is periodically hosted on the network, where fans can answer questions about Presley and his work to earn prizes.

[edit] Elvis is Alive conspiracies

Immediately after his death, people have speculated that Presley faked his death. National Enquirer published an article claiming the photo of Presley in his casket was actually taken of a double of his body. A claim to justify this belief is that Presley faked his death being tired of fame. There have also been claims of people seeing Presley, but these were most likely Elvis impersonators. While these claims are pure speculation and do not have validity, they are prominent in American popular culture.

[edit] Discography<ref>Elvis Presley's Top 40 Hits</ref>

Elvis Presley's Top 40 Hits
Song Position Year Song Position Year
"Heartbreak Hotel" 1 1956 "Kissin' Cousins" 12 1964
"I Was the One" 19 1956 "It Hurts Me" 29 1964
"Blue Suede Shoes" 20 1956 "Kiss Me Quick" 34 1964
"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" 1 1956 "What'd I Say" 21 1964
"My Baby Left Me" 31 1956 "Viva Las Vegas" 29 1964
"Don't Be Cruel" 1 1956 "Such a Night" 16 1964
"Hound Dog" 1 1956 "Ask Me" 12 1964
"Love Me Tender" 1 1956 "Ain't That Loving You Baby" 16 1964
"Anyway You Want Me (That's How I Will Be)" 20 1956 "Do the Clam" 21 1965
"Love Me" 2 1956 "Crying in the Chapel" 3 1965
"When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again" 19 1956 "(Such an) Easy Question" 11 1965
"Poor Boy" 24 1957 "I'm Yours" 11 1965
"Too Much" 1 1957 "Puppet on a String" 14 1965
"Playing for Keeps" 21 1957 "Tell Me Why" 33 1966
"All Shook Up" 1 1957 "Frankie and Johnny" 25 1966
"(There'll be) Peace in the Valley (for Me)" 25 1957 "Love Letters" 19 1966
"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" 1 1957 "Spinout" 40 1966
"Loving You" 20 1957 "Indescribably Blue" 33 1967
"Jailhouse Rock" 1 1957 "Big Boss Man" 38 1967
"Treat Me Nice" 18 1957 "U.S. Male" 28 1968
"Don't" 1 1958 "If I Can Dream" 12 1968
"I Beg of You" 8 1958 "Memories" 35 1969
"Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" 2 1958 "In the Ghetto" 3 1969
"Doncha' Think It's Time" 15 1958 "Clean Up Your Own Backyard" 35 1969
"Hard Headed Woman" 1 1958 "Suspicious Minds" 1 1969
"Don't Ask Me Why" 25 1958 "Don't Cry Daddy" 6 1969
"One Night" 4 1958 "Rubberneckin' " 1969
"I Got Stung" 8 1958 "Kentucky Rain" 16 1970
"(Now and Then There's) a Fool Such as I" 2 1959 "The Wonder of You" 9 1970
"I Need Your Love Tonight" 4 1959 "Mama Liked the Roses" 1970
"A Big Hunk o' Love" 1 1959 "I've Lost You" 32 1970
"My Wish Came True" 12 1959 "The Next Step Is Love" 32 1970
"Stuck on You" 1 1960 "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" 11 1970
"Fame and Fortune" 17 1960 "Patch It Up" 1970
"It's Now or Never" 1 1960 "I Really Don't Want to Know" 21 1971
"A Mess of Blues" 32 1960 "There Goes My Everything" 21 1971
"Are You Lonesome Tonight?" 1 1960 "Where Did They Go, Lord" 33 1971
"I Gotta Know" 20 1960 "Rags to Riches" 33 1971
"Surrender" 1 1961 "I'm Leavin'" 36 1971
"Lonely Man" 32 1961 "Until It's Time for You to Go" 40 1972
"Flaming Star" 14 1961 "Burning Love" 2 1972
"I Feel So Bad" 5 1961 "Separate Ways" 20 1972
"Wild in the Country" 26 1961 "Steamroller Blues" 17 1973
"Little Sister" 5 1961 "Fool" 1973
"(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame" 4 1961 "I've Got a Thing About You Baby" 39 1974
"Can't Help Falling in Love" 2 1961 "Take Good Care of Her" 1974
"Rock-a-Hula Baby" 23 1961 "If You Talk in Your Sleep" 17 1974
"Good Luck Charm" 1 1962 "Promised Land" 14 1974
"Anything That's Part of You" 31 1962 "My Boy" 20 1975
"Follow That Dream" 15 1962 "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" 35 1975
"She's Not You" 5 1962 "Hurt" 28 1976
"King of the Whole Wide World" 30 1962 "For the Heart" 1976
"Return to Sender" 2 1962 "Moody Blue" 31 1977
"One Broken Heart for Sale" 11 1963 "She Thinks I Still Care" 1977
"(You're the) Devil in Disguise" 3 1963 "Way Down" 18 1977
"Bossa Nova Baby" 8 1963 "My Way" 22 1977
"Witchcraft" 32 1963 "Guitar Man" 28 1981

[edit] Filmography<ref>Filmography</ref>

Movie title Year released Movie title Year released
Love Me Tender 1956 Girl Happy 1965
Loving You 1957 Tickle Me 1965
Jailhouse Rock 1957 Harum Scarum 1965
King Creole 1958 Frankie and Johnny 1966
G.I. Blues 1960 Paradise Hawaiian Style 1966
Flaming Star 1960 Spinout 1966
Wild in the Country 1961 Easy Come, Easy Go 1967
Blue Hawaii 1961 Double Trouble 1967
Follow That Dream 1962 Clambake 1967
Kid Galahad 1962 Stay Away, Joe 1968
Girls! Girls! Girls! 1962 Speedway 1968
It Happened at the World's Fair 1963 Live a Little, Love a Little 1968
Fun in Acapulco 1963 Charro! 1969
Kissin' Cousins 1964 The Trouble with Girls 1969
Viva Las Vegas 1964 Change of Habit 1969
Roustabout 1964 Elvis – That's the Way It Is 1970

[edit] Grammys

Presley was nominated for fourteen Grammys and won three.<ref>Elvis' Grammys</ref>

[edit] Won

  • How Great Thou Art (Best Sacred Performance, 1967)
  • He Touched Me (Best Inspirational Performance, 1972)
  • How Great Thou Art (Best Inspirational Performance, 1974)

[edit] Nominated

  • A Fool Such As I (Record of the Year, 1959)
  • A Big Hunk O'Love (Best Performance by a "Top 40" artist, 1959)
  • A Big Hunk O'Love (Best Rhythm and Blues Performance, 1959)
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Record of the Year, 1960)
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Best Male Vocal Performance, 1960)
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Best Performance by a Pop Singles Artist, 1960)
  • G.I. Blues (Best Soundtrack Album, 1960)
  • G.I. Blues (Best Male Vocal Performance, 1960)
  • Blue Hawaii (Best Soundtrack Anthem, 1967)
  • You'll Never Walk Alone (Best Sacred Performance, 1968)
  • Softly As I Leave You (Best Country Vocal Performance, 1978)

[edit] References


[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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