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Elvis Aron Presley was born in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi to Vernon and Gladys Presley. Many don’t know that Elvis had an identical twin brother Jesse Garon Presley, but he was sadly stillborn.
Elvis received his first guitar as a birthday present when he turned 11. From that day on, Elvis was often seen with his guitar in his hands.
Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Studio, in Memphis, Tennessee, heard Elvis play and recorded his first single “That’s All Right.” Presley signed a contract with the studio and started traveling around the US to market himself and his music.
Presley gained fame quickly. Partially for his sound and also for his dance moves.
Elvis eventually left Sun Studios and signed with RCA. His new single “Heartbreak Hotel” rapidly climbed the charts and reached number 1.
While his first TV appearance was on The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show, you may remember hearing that the Ed Sullivan Show famously filmed Elvis only from the waist up to avoid trouble with the censors due to his gyrating hips. What you may not remember is that they only did this for his third appearance on the show. After his first two appearances, the country was clamoring to see as much of Elvis as possible.
Elvis Presley signed a three-year contract with Paramount Pictures in 1956. The hit Love Me Tender was his first movie. Presley’s starring in movies launched his music career into the stratosphere.
Elvis went back to his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee in 1957 and purchased Graceland. One of Presley’s most famous songs that year was “Jailhouse Rock,” which he recorded for the movie of the same name.
Presley was drafted into the Army and served two years in the Korean War. When his fans heard that he was drafted they were furious, but Elvis embraced serving his country.
After being honorably discharged, Presley traveled to Hawaii to film Blue Hawaii in 1961. The movie and album solidified Elvis’ place in the hearts of millions. The single “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” was recorded for the film.
Two years after his honorable discharge, Elvis invited his eventual wife Priscilla, whom he met on a German base, to join him in Memphis.
Nine months after getting married in Vegas, Elvis and Priscilla welcomed their daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, on February 1st, 1968.
As his film popularity began to decline, Elvis recorded a TV special in 1968. It became known as the 68 Comeback.
In 1970, Presley started a residence performing in Las Vegas, where he introduced people to new dance moves and his famous white and gold jumpsuit.
The King’s last concert was in June 1977. He was found dead in his Memphis home later that year after suffering heart failure at the age of 42 due to years of addiction to prescription drugs.
All these years later, Elvis’ legacy lives on. Five years after he passed away, his Memphis home, Graceland, was opened to the public. When you go there today, it is like stepping back in time as it is still displayed as Elvis left it.