The Jacana

 Great Lives Site

 

Back to Jacana

Great Lives index

 


Elvis Presley
1935 - 1977
 



Simply put, Elvis Presley was the first real rock & roll star. A white Southerner singing blues laced with country, and country laced with gospel, he brought together American music from both sides of the colour line and performed it with a natural hip-swiveling sexuality that made him a teen idol and a role model for generations of cool rebels. He was repeatedly dismissed as vulgar, incompetent, and a bad influence, but the force of his music and his image was no mere merchandising feat. Presley signaled to mainstream culture that it was time to let go. Four decades after his death, Presley’s image and influence remain undiminished. While certainly other artists preceded him and he by no means “invented” rock & roll, he is indisputably its king.
 

 

As a recording artist, Presley’s accomplishments are unparalleled. He is believed to have sold over 1 billion records worldwide, about 40 percent of those outside the U.S. The RIAA has awarded Presley the largest number of gold, platinum, and multiplatinum certifications of any artist in history; as of early 2001, 131. His chart performance, as tracked by Billboard, is also unmatched, with 149 charting pop singles: 114 Top 40, 40 Top 10, and 18 #1s.

Presley was the son of Gladys and Vernon Presley, a sewing-machine operator and a truck driver. Elvis’ twin brother, Jesse Garon, was stillborn, and Elvis grew up an only child. When he was three, his father served an eight-month prison term for writing bad checks, and afterward Vernon Presley’s employment was erratic, keeping the family just above poverty level. The Presleys attended the First Assembly of God Church, and its Pentecostal services always involved singing.

In 1945 Presley won second prize at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Diary Show for his rendition of Red Foley’s “Old Shep.” The following January he received a guitar for his birthday. In 1948 the family moved to Memphis, and while attending L.C. Humes High School there, Presley spent much of his spare time hanging around the black section of town, especially on Beale Street, where bluesmen like Furry Lewis and B.B. King performed.

Upon graduation in June 1953, Presley worked at the Precision Tool Company and then drove a truck for Crown Electric. He planned to become a truck driver and had begun to wear his long hair pompadoured, the current truck-driver style. That summer he recorded “My Happiness” and “That’s Where Your Heartaches Begin” at the Memphis Recording Service, a sideline Sam Phillips had established in his Sun Records studios where anyone could record a 10-inch acetate for four dollars.

Presley was reportedly curious to know what he sounded like and gravely disappointed by what he heard. But he returned to the Recording Service again on January 4, 1954, and recorded “Casual Love Affair” and “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way.” This time he met Phillips, who called him later that spring to record a song that Phillips had received on a demo, “Without You.” Despite numerous takes, Presley failed miserably and at Phillips’ request just began singing songs in the studio. Phillips then began to believe that he had finally found what he had been looking for: “a white man with the Negro sound and the Negro feel.”

Phillips enlisted lead guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, both of whom were then playing country & western music in Doug Poindexter’s Starlight Wranglers. Though some sources cite the date of their first meeting as July 4, 1954, the three had actually rehearsed for several months, and on July 5, 1954, they recorded three songs: “I Love You Because,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” and the A-side of Presley’s eventual debut, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s “That’s All Right.”

Two days later Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips (no relation to Sam) played the song on his Red Hot and Blue show on radio station WHBQ. Audience response was overwhelming, and that night Presley came to the studio for his first interview. Scotty Moore became Presley’s manager, and “That’s All Right” b/w “Blue Moon of Kentucky” became his first local hit. After playing local shows, Presley made his first--and last--appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on September 25. Legend has it that after his performance he was advised by the Opry’s talent coordinator to go back to driving trucks.

By October Presley had debuted on The Louisiana Hayride, a popular radio program on which he appeared regularly through 1955. He made his television debut on a local television version of Hayride in March 1955. Meanwhile, “Good Rockin’ Tonight” b/w “I Don’t Care If the Sun Don’t Shine” were hits in the Memphis area.

In early 1955 Moore stopped managing Presley, although he would continue to play in Presley’s band for several years. Presley’s new manager was Memphis disc jockey Bob Neal. Colonel Thomas Parker first entered Presley’s career when he helped Neal make some tour arrangements. Presley, still considered a country act, continued to perform locally, and in April he travelled to New York City, where he auditioned unsuccessfully for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts program. But on May 13 his performance in Jacksonville, Florida, started a riot, Presley’s first. “Baby, Let’s Play House” b/w “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” was released and hit Number Ten on the national C&W chart in July.

That September, Presley had his first Number One country record, a version of Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train” b/w “I Forgot to Remember to Forget.” By this time Colonel Parker, despite Presley’s agreement with Neal, had become increasingly involved in his career. When RCA purchased Presley’s contract from Sun for a then unheard-of $35,000, Hill and Range, a music publisher with which Parker had some connections, purchased Sam Phillips’ Hi-Lo Music for another $15,000. In addition, Presley received a $5,000 advance, with which he bought his mother a pink Cadillac. (It remains among his possessions preserved at Graceland.)

Presley became a national star in 1956. He and Parker traveled to Nashville, where Presley cut his first records for RCA (including “I Got a Woman,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” and “I Was the One”), and on January 28, 1956, the singer made his national television debut on the Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show, followed by six consecutive appearances. In March, Parker signed Presley to a managerial agreement for which he would receive 25 percent of Presley’s earnings. The contract would last through Presley’s lifetime and beyond.

Presley performed on the Milton Berle, Steve Allen, and Ed Sullivan television shows. The Colonel arranged Presley’s debut at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas that April, but the two-week engagement was canceled after one week due to poor audience response. In August he began filming his first movie, Love Me Tender, which was released three months later and recouped its $1 million cost in three days. Elvis’ hit singles that year were all certified gold; they included “Heartbreak Hotel” (Number One), “I Was the One” (Number 19), “Blue Suede Shoes” (Number 20), “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” (Number One), “Don’t Be Cruel” b/w “Hound Dog” (Number One), “My Baby Left Me” (Number 31), “Love Me Tender” (Number One), “Anyway You Want Me (That’s How I Will Be)” (Number 20), “Love Me” (Number Two), and “When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold” (Number 19). By early 1957 he was the idol of millions of teens and the perfect target for the wrath of critics, teachers, clergy, and even other entertainers (including many country performers), all of whom saw his style as too suggestive; he was nicknamed Elvis the Pelvis by one writer. Presley repeatedly claimed not to understand what all the criticism was about. On January 6, 1957, when Presley made the last of his three appearances on Ed Sullivan’s show, he was shown only from the waist up.

In March 1957 Presley purchased Graceland, a former church that had been converted into a 23-room mansion; the next month “All Shook Up” began an eight-week run at Number One. It was preceded in 1957 by “Poor Boy” (Number 24), “Too Much” (Number One), and “Playing for Keeps” (Number 21). Presley’s next single was his first gospel release, “(There’ll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me)”; it went to Number 25.

Presley was also the first rock star to cross over into films with consistently commercial, if not critical, success. His second film, Loving You, was released in July 1957, and “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” from the soundtrack hit Number One on the pop, country, and R&B charts, as did “All Shook Up,” and “Jailhouse Rock,” the title song from Presley’s next movie, which featured Lieber and Stoller songs. Other hit singles from 1957 were “Loving You” (Number 20) and “Treat Me Nice” (Number 18).

That December Presley received his draft notice but was granted a 60-day deferment to complete filming King Creole, a drama based on the novel A Stone for Danny Fisher, costarring Carolyn Jones and Walter Mattau. These first four feature films are considered to be his best. Early in the game, Presley truly intended to be taken seriously as an actor. Unfortunately, once he left the service, the choice of roles was left entirely up to Colonel Parker, and the results were rarely satisfactory for either the audience or Presley. However, since Presley would not tour again until the early ’70s, it was through the films that most fans saw him. Despite anything that might be said of these films, that reason alone accounts for their massive success.

On March 24, 1958, Presley entered the army. The preceding months brought two hits: “Don’t” (Number One, 1958) and “I Beg of You” (Number Eight, 1958). He took leave a few months later to be with his mother; Gladys Presley died the day after his arrival home in Memphis, on August 14, 1958. In later interviews Presley would call her death the great tragedy of his life. In the years since his death, much has been written about his relationship with his mother and her impact on him. She was without question the most important person in his life. At her funeral, he cried out, “You know how much I lived my whole life just for you,” words that were both true in the moment and prophetic, for the absence of Gladys, and his love for her, seemed to have never really left his mind. He was shipped to Bremerhaven, West Germany, and in January 1960 was promoted to sergeant. He was discharged that March.

Colonel Parker, meanwhile, had continued to release singles Presley had recorded before his departure, ensuring that while Elvis was gone, he would not be forgotten. He scored a number of hits in absentia, including “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” (Number Two, 1958), “Don’tcha Think It’s Time” (Number 15, 1958), “Hard Headed Woman” (Number One, 1958), “Don’t Ask Me Why” (Number 25, 1958), “One Night” (Number Four, 1958), “I Got Stung” (Number Eight, 1958), “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I” (Number Two, 1959), “I Need Your Love Tonight” (Number Four, 1959), “A Big Hunk o’ Love” (Number One, 1959), and “My Wish Came True” (Number 12, 1959). In 1958 alone, Presley earned over $2 million. Shortly after returning to civilian life, Presley made his first stereo record, “Stuck on You” (Number One), and in late March 1960, he taped a TV program with Frank Sinatra, The Frank Sinatra-Timex Special.

In July, Presely’s father remarried. Vernon Presley’s second wife, Davada “Dee” Stanley, and her three sons would later write Elvis: We Love You Tender, one of dozens of insiders’ tell-all biographies that were published following his death. Also at this time, Presley gathered more closely around him the friends, employees, and hangers-on who would become known as the Memphis Mafia and would accompany him almost constantly until his death. Presley’s world became increasingly insular.

The films G.I. Blues and Flaming Star were released in 1960, and “It’s Now or Never” hit Number One in both the U.K. and the U.S. Presley had five Number One U.S. hits: “Stuck on You,” “It’s Now or Never,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight” (1960); “Surrender” (1961); and “Good Luck Charm” (1962). Other Top 10 singles included “I Feel So Bad” (Number Five, 1961), “Little Sister” (Number Five, 1961), “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame” (Number Four, 1961), “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (Number Two, 1961), “She’s Not You” (Number Five, 1962), “Return to Sender” (Number Two, 1962), “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise” (Number Three, 1963), and “Bossa Nova Baby” (Number Eight, 1963). Meanwhile, over Christmas 1960, Priscilla Beaulieu, the teenage daughter of an army officer whom Elvis met in Germany, visited Graceland. In early 1961 she moved in to live, it was said, under the supervision of Presley’s father and stepmother. Interestingly, the press largely went along with the spin Colonel Parker put on the story, and few seemed troubled that the King of Rock & Roll shared his domain with his teenage girlfriend.

After a live performance on March 25, 1961, at a benefit for the USS Arizona, Presley left the concert stage. He spent the next eight years making B movies: Wild in the Country; Blue Hawaii (1961); Follow That Dream; Kid Galahad; Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962); It Happened at the World’s Fair; Fun in Acapulco (1963); Kissin’ Cousins; Viva Las Vegas; Roustabout (1964); Girl Happy; Tickle Me; Harum Scarum (1965); Frankie and Johnny; Paradise, Hawaiian Style; Spinout (1966); Easy Come, Easy Go; Double Trouble; Clambake (1967); Stay Away Joe; Speedway; Live a Little, Love a Little (1968); Charro!; The Trouble with Girls (and How to Get Into It); Change of Habit (1969). With a few exceptions, the soundtrack music was generally poor. But by the mid-’60s Presley was earning $1 million per movie plus a large percentage of the gross. Most of the movies had a concurrently released soundtrack LP. Four of them hit Number One (Loving You, G.I. Blues, Blue Hawaii, Roustabout), and an additional seven were Top 10. Presley often made his displeasure with these films known to friends and associates, but Colonel Parker would not relent in his insistence that his sole client stick with a winning formula. Years later, in 1974, Parker’s shortsightedness as a manager resulted in his refusing Barbra Streisand’s offer to have Presley costar with her in what became a hit remake of A Star Is Born. Parker felt Streisand didn’t deserve equal billing with Presley.

Meanwhile, the younger rock audience heard Presley disciples like the Beatles more often than they heard Presley himself. But Presley did not disappear and he was not, like most American rockers, swept away by the British Invasion, though the Top 10 became increasingly beyond his reach, with only “Crying in the Chapel” (which he recorded in 1960) at Number Three (1965) making the cut. Presley turned increasingly inward, focusing on his family. On May 1, 1967, Elvis and Priscilla were wed in Las Vegas; on February 1, 1968, their only child, Lisa Marie, was born. Fearing he had been forgotten, Presley made a last-gasp bid to regain his footing. He defied Colonel Parker and followed the advice of director Steve Binder for his “comeback” television special. (Parker had wanted it to be a Christmas show.) Over the summer Presley taped the surprisingly raw, powerful Elvis television special that was broadcast on December 3 to high ratings. Its soundtrack reached Number Eight. It included his first performance before an audience in over seven years (though many portions were taped without an audience). It also spun off his first Top 15 single since 1965, the socially conscious “If I Can Dream” (Number 12, 1968). The importance of this moment in Presley’s life cannot be overestimated. Years later, the ’68 comeback special still stands as one of the most powerful performances in rock history.

With that success behind him, Presley turned to performing in Las Vegas. His month-long debut at the International Hotel in Las Vegas began on July 26, 1969, and set the course for all of Presley’s future performances. His fee for the four weeks was over $1 million. Riding the crest of his comeback, Presley released a series of top singles, including “In the Ghetto” (Number Three, 1969), “Suspicious Minds” (Number One, 1969--his first chart-topper in over seven years), “Don’t Cry Daddy” (Number Six, 1969), and “The Wonder of You” (Number Nine, 1970). He toured the country annually, selling out showrooms, auditoriums, and arenas, frequently breaking box-office records. Until his death, he performed a total of nearly 1,100 concerts. There were two on-tour documentaries released, Elvis: That’s the Way It Is (1970) and Elvis on Tour (1972), the latter of which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Doucmentary.

Presley was honoured with countless Elvis Presley Days in cities across the country, and the U.S. Jaycees named him one of the 10 most outstanding young men in America in 1970. His birthplace in Tupelo was opened to the public, and on January 18, 1972, the portion of Highway 51 South that runs in front of Graceland was renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard. That October, Presley had his last Top 10 hit with “Burning Love” (Number Two).

Meanwhile, Presley’s personal life became the subject of countless tabloid headlines. Priscilla, from whom Presley had been separated since February 1972, refused to return to Graceland, and on his birthday in 1973 he filed for divorce. Less than a week later the TV special Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii was broadcast via satellite to over a billion viewers in 40 countries, an indication of his international appeal, although (with the exception of three dates in Canada in 1957 and an impromptu performance while on leave in Paris in 1959) Presley never performed outside the U.S. The special’s soundtrack album became his last Number One album in 1973.

Outwardly, Presley appeared to have been given a second chance. He was more popular than ever, and the fan worship that would blossom into one of the biggest personality cults in modern history was taking hold. Offstage, however, Presley was plagued by self-doubt, poor management, and a basic dissatisfaction with his life. He repeatedly threatened to quit show business, but debts and his financial obligations to his large extended family, employees, and assorted hangers-on made that impossible. Unbeknownst to the public until after his death, Presley turned to drugs. Soon after he left the army, he became increasingly wary of the public and would often rent whole movie theatres and amusement parks to visit at night. By the late ’60s he was nearly a total recluse. Among the many books written by Presley by those who knew him, Priscilla’s account, Elvis and Me, goes so far as to suggest that he might have suffered a total nervous breakdown. Although it now seems clear that Presley was taking drugs--namely amphetamines--while in the service (and perhaps even before), his abuse of prescription drugs, including barbiturates, tranquilizers, and amphetamines, increased during the last years of his life. Several painful physical conditions may have initiated this trend. Ironically, he remained devoutly spiritual, never drank alcohol, and publicly denounced the use of recreational drugs. In one of his few unplanned excursions from Graceland, he actually showed up at the White House in 1970 to meet President Richard M. Nixon and received an honorary Drug Enforcement Administration agent’s badge. Days later he was given a special tour of FBI headquarters, where according to FBI files made public after Presley’s death, the singer offered to provide information on persons he believed were a bad influence on American youth.

Toward the end of his life, however, his onstage presence began to deteriorate. He would babble incoherently and rip his pants, having grown quite obese, and on at least one occasion he collapsed. Despite his clearly worsening health, he maintained a frantic tour schedule. This was due to the fact that in 1973 Colonel Parker had negotiated a complex deal whereby Presley sold back to RCA the rights to many of his masters in exchange for a lump-sum payment of which only $2.8 million came to him. Essentially, after 1973 Parker was earning nearly 50 percent commission (as opposed to the 10 percent industry standard). Worse, however, Presley was not earning any more royalties on sides recorded before 1973, although they continued to sell in the millions year after year. Parker’s need to satisfy personal gambling debts was said to be the reason for the self-serving deal. On top of it all, Presley opposed tax shelters on principle; he naively relied on his father for business advice; and he gave away expensive gifts and cash heedlessly. The result, by the mid-’70s, was near-certain financial disaster.

Presley’s last live performance was on June 25, 1977, in Indianapolis. He was reportedly horrified at the impending publication of Elvis: What Happened?, the tell-all written by three of his e-bodyguards and Memphis Mafiosi that was the first printed account of his drug abuse and obsession with firearms, to name just two headline-grabbing revelations. The book came out on August 12. On August 16, 1977--the day before his next scheduled concert--Presley was discovered by girlfriend Ginger Alden dead in his bathroom at Graceland. Although his death was at first attributed to congestive heart failure (an autopsy also revealed advance arteriosclerosis and an enlarged liver), later investigation revealed evidence that drug abuse may have been at least part of the cause of death. Because the family was allowed to keep the official autopsy report private, additional speculation regarding contributing factors in Presley’s death has run wild. Through the years, several insiders have insisted that he was suffering from bone cancer, to name just one unsubstantiated claim. In September 1979 Presley’s private physician, Dr. George Nichopoulos, was charged by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners with “indiscriminately prescribing 5,300 pills and vials for Elvis in the seven months before his death.” He was later acquitted.

Thousands gathered at Graceland, where Presley lay in state before he was buried in a mausoleum at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis. After attempts were made to break into the mausoleum, Presley’s body and that of his mother were moved to the Meditation Garden behind Graceland. Nearly two years later, his father, Vernon, died and was also buried there. With Vernon dead, all of Presley’s estate passed on to Lisa Marie.

Court battles over the estate ended in June 1983 after 21 months of litigation with a settlement that ended four lawsuits. One of the terms of the agreement called for Parker to turn over most of his interest in Presley’s audio and video recordings to RCA and the Presley family in return for a large monetary settlement. Lisa Marie’s court-appointed guardian ad litem, Blanchard Tual, wrote in his report on Presley’s financial affairs that Parker had “handled affairs not in Elvis’ but in his own best interest.” Parker died of a stroke in February 1997 at the age of 87. Priscilla Presley assumed control of the estate and through a number of business moves made the Presley estate many times more valuable than it had ever been during Elvis’ lifetime. The cornerstone of the Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) financial empire is the Tennessee state law Priscilla Presley pushed for that guarantees to heirs the commercial rights to a deceased celebrity’s image and likeness. As a result, the name Elvis Presley is, technically speaking, a trademark, and anyone selling Presley-related merchandise in the U.S. must pay EPE an advance fee plus a royalty on every item sold.

Claiming the funds were needed to maintain the property (the estate was valued at only $5 million in 1979 and the costs to maintain Graceland are estimated at nearly half a million dollars annually), Priscilla Presley opened Graceland to the public in the fall of 1982. Although it is not preserved in exactly the way Elvis Presley left it, and the second floor, where his bedroom is located, remains off-limits to the public, millions have come from all over the world to pay homage to the King of Rock & Roll. In 1991 Graceland was added to the National Register of Historic Places. At last count, around 600,000 people visit Graceland annually. In the mid-’90s, the Presley estate was estimated to have been worth over $100 million. At the turn of the century, it was estimated that the presence of Graceland was responsible for bringing $100 million into the local Memphis economy. The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation was created in 1985 by EPE to support various causes.

Presley’s sole heir, Lisa Marie, married a fellow Scientology follower, Danny Keough, in 1988. They had two children: Danielle and Benjamin Storm. In 1993 they were divorced, and in May 1994 she married Michael Jackson. They divorced in 1996, after 18 months of marriage. In August 2005, Lisa Marie sold 85 percent of her share of the Presley estate to CKX Inc., which also owns 19 Entertainment, the company responsible for the American Idol TV show. Lisa Marie kept the Graceland property and most of its belongings. In February 2006, CKX announced its plan to increase Graceland’s tourist-destination profile.

Hundreds of books about Presley have been published in the U.S. alone. His enduring power as a cultural force is beyond the scope of this biography, but it has been examined by a number of authors, including Dave Marsh, Greil Marcus, and Peter Guralnick, to name a few. Guralnick’s award winning two-volume biography--Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley (1994) and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley (1999)--is perhaps the closest to a definitive account as we will ever have. In 1986 Presley was among the first 10 performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2002, Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation,” from the Roustabout soundtrack (1968), was remixed by JXL (a.k.a. Junkie XL--the DJ-producer allowed his name to be truncated for the remix) and became a Number One U.K. hit, helping propel a new compilation, 30 #1 Hits, to healthy sales worldwide. (It reached Number One itself in the U.S.) 30 #1 Hits was later followed by 2nd to None (Number Three, 2003), both of which were folded into a three-disc box titled Hitstory.

 

~~~<"((((((><~~~<"((((((><~~~<"((((((><~~~<"((((((><~~~<"((((((><~~~

 

 

Singer, musician, actor. Born Elvis Aron Presley on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. (He later changed the spelling of his middle name to the biblical form of Aaron.) From very humble beginnings, Elvis Presley grew up to become one of the biggest names in rock and roll. He was originally supposed to be a twin, but his brother Jesse Garon (sometimes spelled Jessie) was stillborn. Raised by loving, working-class parents, Presley's family had little money, and they moved around a lot. He was deeply devoted to his parents, especially his mother Gladys, and was raised to have a strong faith in God. Presley attended the Assembly of God Church with his parents where the gospel music became an important influence on him.

Presley got his first guitar at the age of ten, and had his first taste of musical success by winning a talent show at Humes High School in Memphis. After graduating in 1953, he worked a number of jobs while pursuing his musical dream. He cut his first demo record at what later became known as Sun Studio that year, and before long, Sam Phillips, the record label owner, decided to take the young performer under his wing. “That’s All Right” was Presley’s first single in 1954. Presley began touring and recording, trying to get his first big break.

In 1955, Presley began to develop a following with fans being drawn to his unusual musical style, provocative gyrating hips, and good looks. That same year, he signed with RCA Records, a deal worked out by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Presley was on a roll, scoring his first number one single with “Heartbreak Hotel” and first number one album, Elvis Presley, and signing a movie contract with Paramount Pictures—all in 1956. Despite the uproar his sexy dance moves caused, he also becomes a popular guest on a number of television variety shows.
Soon Presley appeared to be everywhere—on the radio, television, and on screen. His first film, Love Me Tender (1956), was a box office hit. Even a stint in the U.S. military couldn’t put a damper on Presley’s thriving career. He received his draft notice in 1957 and was inducted into the army the following March. He eventually served in Germany about a year and a half. Shortly before Presley left for Europe, his beloved mother died. He was granted a leave and returned to Memphis for the funeral. Deeply saddened by her death, he returned to duty. While in Germany, his spirits lifted a bit when he met a young teenager named Priscilla Beaulieu.

After leaving the army in 1960, Presley resumed his career and soon rose right back to the top of the charts with the soundtrack for his film GI Blues. He continued recording music and acting in such films, as Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), and Viva Las Vegas (1964). His films were often hit or miss with critics and audiences alike, but they made a profit and the soundtracks usually sold well. By the late 1960s, however, Presley appeared to be losing his box office appeal. Proving he was still the king of rock and rock, he did his first television special in 1968, which is often referred to as the ’68 Comeback. He wowed audiences with his performance, which showcased his talents as a singer and a musician.

Around this time, his personal life also seemed to be on an upswing. He and Priscilla wed in 1967 and had a daughter, Lisa Marie, together the next year. Unfortunately, this joyous time would not last. By the early 1970s, Presley’s marriage was falling apart. The couple divorced in 1973, and Priscilla received custody of Lisa Marie. He was also wrestling with other personal problems, including a growing addiction to prescription drugs. The once thin rock star now battled a weight problem. His destructive lifestyle caught up with him that fall—he was hospitalized for related health problems.

Despite his personal obstacles, Presley remained a popular draw in Las Vegas and on tour. He gave his last concert in June 1977 in Indianapolis, Indiana. After the concert, Presley returned home to his Memphis mansion, Graceland, to prepare for another tour. Sometime on the morning of August 16, he died of heart failure. He was only 42 years old.

During his amazing career, Presley helped popularize rock and roll music in America. He also won three Grammy Awards for his gospel recordings. A major musical force, Presley had 18 number one singles, including “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Good Luck Charm,” and “Suspicious Minds” as well as countless gold and platinum albums. He was one of the first performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. More recently, Presley has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001 in recognition of his contributions to both genres of music.

Even after his death, Presley has remained a popular music icon. Over the years, several documentaries and films have explored the film of this enigmatic performer, including the 2005 television miniseries starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Elvis. His Memphis home, Graceland, is open to the public and numerous fans from around the world visit the legendary residence each year, especially around Presley's birthday and the anniversary of his death.

 

 

~~~<"((((((><~~~<"((((((><~~~<"((((((><~~~<"((((((><~~~<"((((((><~~~

 


Trivia

Twin brother Jesse Garon Presley died at birth (Elvis was delivered 35 minutes later).

Earned a black belt in karate. [1960]

Won three Grammy Awards, all for his Gospel music.

His hair colour was blonde until his early teens. As he got older his hair became darker. By the time he had his hair cut for the army at age 22 its natural color was dark chestnut (according to Charlie Hodge, who served with him in the army).

Was originally considered for the Kris Kristofferson role in A Star Is Born (1976), but Elvis turned it down because manager Tom Parker refused him permission to act in a movie where he wouldn't have top billing. Also, he didn't like the fact that the producer, Jon Peters, was completely unknown.

Owned a pet chimpanzee called "Scatter".

Has more multiplatinum album sales than any other performer, with twelve albums selling over 2 million copies.

Father of Lisa Marie Presley (b. 1st February 1968).

Interred at Graceland Estate, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

His autopsy detected ten different drugs in his bloodstream.

Is a direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln's great-great grandfather, Isaiah Harrison.

Had 18 Billboard #1 Songs, the first "Heartbreak Hotel" in March, 1956; the last, "Suspicious Minds" in Sept. 1969.

Has sold over 1,300,000,000 albums worldwide; more than any other musical artist/group in the world, including The Beatles.

When The Beatles came to America in 1965 there was only one person they wanted to meet - Elvis, and on August 27, 1965 they got their wish and according to John Lennon spent an entirely enjoyable evening at the Presley home in Bel Aire, California, talking, singing and laughing with each other.

Bought Graceland mansion on 19 March 1957 from Mrs. Ruth Brown Moore for $102,500. The mansion, built of tan Tennessee limestone, consists of 23 rooms and 13.7 surrounding acres. The Music Gates were installed in April of 1957.

His television debut was on the regionally telecast Louisiana Hayride (1955) (TV), 5 March 1955 in Shreveport, Louisiana.

In September 1955, "Country Song Roundup" magazine was the first to feature an article on Elvis, calling him a "folk music fireball".

In April of 1955 Elvis auditioned for a spot on Arthur Godfrey's "Talent Scouts" (1948) and was turned down.

Elvis' body was placed in a family crypt in Memphis on 18 August 1977. On 29 August 1977, however, an attempt was made to steal the body but the plan failed and three men were charged with trespassing and released on bond. Because of this incident, Vernon Presley, received approval from the Memphis Adjustment Board to allow reinterment of the bodies of Elvis and his mother Gladys Presley to the Meditation Garden behind Graceland, which took place on 2 October 1977.

The book he was reading at the time of his death was "The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus" by Frank O. Adams, (Psychical Aid Foundation, USA, 1972).

From the time they met up until his death, Elvis always sent a roomful of flowers to Ann-Margret whenever she opened up a show in Las Vegas.

Was one of the performers featured on a set of stamps of rock and blues legends issued by the U.S. Postal Service in June 1993.

Mother Gladys bought him his first guitar at age 12 (1947)

1953 graduate of Humes High School, Memphis, TN.

Was one of the first people in the U.S. to own a "Betamax" system VCR

Honorary Member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.

After seeing him in concert, Liberace suggested adding flashy costumes into his act. Elvis took his advice, and became famous for his gold lame jackets and jewelled white jumpsuits. He later reserved a seat for Liberace at many of his concerts.

One of only a handful of artists inducted into both The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and The Country Music Hall of Fame. Others include Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.

Died with about $5 million in his bank account.

Elvis did not like confrontation. He wanted to fire his manager, Tom Parker, many times. He would tell his friends "Tell Parker he's fired." His friends would go tell him, then Parker would say "Tell Elvis to tell me personally". Elvis never would.

"Heartbreak Hotel", which spent 17 weeks at #1 on Billboard's country chart (and 10 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100) was the #1 country song of 1956.

Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

His 1977 country hit, "Way Down," was the #1 song on Billboard magazine's country singles chart the week of Elvis' death. Nine other songs would go to #1 on Billboard's country charts between 1956 and 1981: "I Forgot to Remember to Forget," "Heartbreak Hotel," "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You," and the two-sided #1 hit "Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel" (all 1956); "All Shook Up," "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" and "Jailhouse Rock" (all 1957); "Moody Blue" (1977); and "Guitar Man" (1981, a remixed version released more than three years after his death). Most of his 1950s #1 country hits were also #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well.

In Sam Lovullo's book "Life in the Kornfield" (which recalled his years as producer of the country music TV series "Hee Haw" (1969)), he remarked that Elvis was a big fan of the show and had always wanted to perform on it. However, according to Lovullo, Elvis remarked they'd have to tape his spots in the middle of the night, knowing that if manager Tom Parker found out, he'd never clear his appearance. Several months after Elvis' death, his father, Vernon Presley, appeared on "Hee Haw" and spoke about how the world would always love him and remember his music.

Hysteria over "Elvis sightings" after his death were lampooned in the Mojo Nixon song "Elvis Is Everywhere" and "Elvis Is Dead" by Living Colour.

His personal entourage were known as the "Memphis Mafia", and were given matching rings by Elvis. The diamond and gold rings sported a thunderbolt and the letters "TCB" (reportedly standing for "Take Care of Business"). Elvis was buried wearing one of the rings.

Pictured on a 29 US commemorative postage stamp issued 8 January 1993, the 58th anniversary of his birth. This was the inaugural issue in the Legends of American Music series.

In 2002, a re-mixed version of one his more obscure recordings, "A Little Less Conversation", became a dance club hit, and topped the charts in the United Kingdom.

The lightest Elvis ever weighed, as an adult, was 170 lbs in 1960 following his discharge from the U.S. Army. The heaviest was at the time of his death, which was 260 lbs.

Was always known to be generous to a fault with family, friends and even total strangers. Anyone who admired any posession of his, from one of his many Cadillacs to any bit of bric-a-brac in his home, often found themselves the new owners of that posession.

He fell in love with Elizabeth Montgomery on the set of Kid Galahad (1962), she visited his house on two occasions. Nothing came of it as she was married to Gig Young at the time, but they remained good friends until he died.

Inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (sponsored by the Gospel Music Association) in 2001.

Made the first ever musical video of all time: Jailhouse Rock (1957).

When Ed Sullivan finally allowed him to appear on "Toast of the Town" (1948), he was filmed from the waist upwards only once, on his third and final appearance in January 1957.

His 1960 single "It's Now Or Never" is one of the best selling singles of all times (if not THE best selling single), with sales estimated to be between 25 and 30 million copies.

He is responsible for the best selling single of the 1950s ("Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel", 1956) and that of the 1960s ("It's Now Or Never", 1960).

His 29 commemorative postage stamp issued in 1993, sold more copies than any other postage stamp in U.S. Postal Service history.

A remix of his song "A Little Less Conversation" which was featured on the soundtrack to the film Ocean's Eleven (2001) became a Billboard #1 hit single over twenty years after Presley's death.

The Beatles were admirers of his work and, although John Lennon said they enjoyed his company very much, Elvis himself, ironically, thought that they were a bad influence on America's youth.

Was extremely proud of his Cherokee roots. Wanted to be more open about it but was advised against it, according to some sources by Tom Parker, since this was around the time that there were still racial tensions in the US. Sometimes the audiences were "deceived with the truth" like in G.I. Blues (1960) when his character tells about his Cherokee background. In real life his Cherokee roots started with his maternal great-great-great grandmother Morning Dove White and it was even rumored in Memphis that he had Cherokee blood from his father's side of the family as well, though never confirmed.

He was allegedly offered roles in The Rainmaker (1956), The Defiant Ones (1958), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), West Side Story (1961), Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), True Grit (1969), Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), A Star Is Born (1976) and Grease (1978).

He said his favorite of his films was King Creole (1958).

Angered Ed Sullivan by singing the gospel song "Peace In The Valley" on his show after Sullivan asked him not to.

He was a distant cousin of President Jimmy Carter.

Was a Deputy Sheriff in Shelby County, Tennessee.

Hal B. Wallis, producer of 8 Elvis films, dreamed of making a western starring John Wayne and Elvis.

In 1973 he met with Led Zeppelin members Robert Plant and John Paul Jones in Los Angeles. An idol to the members of Led Zeppelin, Elvis wanted to meet "who was outselling him" at concerts (Zeppelin was in the midst of a record-breaking tour that year). A meeting was arranged with two of the four band members (Plant and Jones). Plant was so awestruck at meeting his idol in person that he could barely speak to him. Jones, nearly as awestruck as Plant, made small talk with the "King," and mentioned what a beautiful watch Elvis wore. Elvis, always the generous one, instantly traded his $5,000 gold and diamond watch for Jones' $10 Mickey Mouse watch. This broke the ice with all of them, and they became fast friends. Throughout the early '70s, members of Led Zeppelin even attended a few of Elvis' concerts, and were granted the privilege of sitting in the front row by the King himself.

He named his favorite films as: Rebel Without a Cause (1955), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Dirty Harry (1971).

Was an Army veteran. He was drafted in 1958, stationed in West Germany and discharged in 1960. Presley, who achieved the rank of Private First Class, was a public relations headache for the Army, according to U.S. military documents released by the Pentagon on June 9, 2005. "Elvis Presley will not be released in a manner different from any other inductee serving overseas," the Army's adjutant general wrote to citizens who complained following reports that the rock 'n' roll icon would get an early "good behavior" discharge. When he entered the Army at Memphis, Tennessee, on March 24, 1958, there was a public outcry from his fans, and protests flowed to Washington, including a hand-written plea released by the National Archives and Records Administration. "Dear Mamie," one correspondent wrote to then-first lady Mamie Eisenhower. "Will you please, please be so sweet and kind as to ask Ike [President Dwight D. Eisenhower] to please bring Elvis Presley back to us from the Army? We need him in our entertainment world to make us all laugh." A 1959 Army memo set out the Presley problem: "When Private First Class Presley was first inducted, there was considerable adverse public reaction . . . alleging that he would receive preferential treatment in the Army. This impression has been largely replaced by a public impression of a good soldier serving his military obligation . . . Many teenagers who look up to and emulate Private First Class Presley will . . . follow his example in the performance of their military service.".

On December 21, 1970, he paid a visit to President Richard Nixon at the White House in Washington, D.C. The meeting was initiated by Presley, who wrote Nixon a six-page letter requesting a visit with the President and suggesting that he be made a "Federal Agent-at-Large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

More people watched Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii (1973) (TV) (live via satellite TV broadcast) than watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

He only performed two concerts outside of the United States, both in Canada.

Son of Vernon Presley and Gladys Presley.

Recorded 33 takes of "Hound Dog".

His favorite sports were raquetball and football.

Passed out from exhaustion after recording "If I Can Dream".

After production of his 1968 NBC television special he told producer Steve Binder he would never make another movie or song he didn't believe in.

Once sent $1,000,000 to Buford Pusser, the crimefighting Tennessee sheriff who was the subject of the 1973 film Walking Tall (1973).

Once gave a robe to Muhammad Ali which said 'The Peoples Champion'.

His favorite actors were Marlon Brando and James Dean, the latter Elvis considered an acting genius (in a 1956 interview).

His two favorite books were "The Holy Bible" and "The Impersonal Life".

His favorite class in high school was wood shop.

His mansion, Graceland, is the 2nd most-visited house in America. The first is the White House.

Elia Kazan wanted him for several movies but Tom Parker refused to allow Elvis to act in those movies.

The last film he saw at the cinema was The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

Tried to get a print of Star Wars (1977) to show his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, the day before he died.

He is mentioned in the song "Three Minute Boy" by Marillion (from their 1998 album "Radiation").

Was on the school boxing team at Humes High School.

Loved football and often had three televisons set up at Graceland to watch all of the games.

He used to play touch football at Whitehaven High School during the '60s and early '70s with kids around the neighborhood.

Helped to support an All-Negro Day at the Memphis Zoo in 1956.

In 1975 he purchased a poor black East Memphis woman an electric wheel chair and picked her up and personally sat her in it. The woman's teenage daughter told Elvis she liked his car. He gave it to her and even gave her boyfriend a job.

He was a huge fan of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and had requested to meet him in 1966, but the meeting never happened.

Was a huge fan of the television shows "The Jeffersons" (1975), "Good Times" (1974), "Happy Days" (1974) and "The Flip Wilson Show" (1970).

Once an opera singer attended one of his 1950s concerts and met him backstage. The singer told Elvis that he sang like a hillbilly and needed singing lessons. Elvis replied by saying, "Thanks for the advice, but how many of the thousands of people out there tonight came to hear you sing?".

His surname 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. Jaime Pressly is also a descendant from him. A connection between the Pressleys of Oprah Winfrey's great-grandfather and the ancestors of Elvis Presley has been posited but not confirmed. He also had Scottish, Dutch , Cherokee and Jewish ancestry among others. There is a Star of David and a Cross on his mother's grave.

Shown on a 5.50 kr postage stamp issued by Sweden in 2004.

He was the #1 touring act in America for 1977; the year he died. This, despite the fact that he was well below par and only toured until July, is quite an achievement.

Held the world indoor attendance record for a concert, which was at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, on Dec' 31st '76. There was 62,500 in attendance, with another record for takings in a single show $850,000.

Held a single day's attendance record for his march 74 shows at the Houston Astrodome in march '74 -- 89,000 fans for two shows.

He was voted the 3rd Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artist of all time by Rolling Stone.

According to a show on the A&E Biography channel, he once attended a concert for singer Connie Francis and had to leave for emotional reasons once he heard her sing the old Italian song "Mama", as his mother had recently died.

Shares a birthday with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members David Bowie, The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger and legendary promoter Bill Graham.

Lived with Linda Thompson for four and a half years years, from 1972 to 1976. She was a former "Miss Tennessee," actress and songwriter. Other than Priscilla Presley, Thompson was the most significant romantic relationship that Elvis ever had.

As an infant he survived a tornado in Tupelo, MS, that killed 233 people.

Is portrayed by Kurt Russell in Elvis (1979/I) (TV), Bruce Campbell in Bubba Ho-tep (2002), Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Elvis (2005) (TV), Tyler Hilton in Walk the Line (2005), Val Kilmer in True Romance (1993) and Michael St. Gerard (I)' in Elvis (1990).

Suffered from chronic insomnia.

Is mentioned in Shania Twain's song "That Don't Impress Me Much"

His tombstone gives his name as "Elvis Aaron Presley", whereas he was in fact named "Elvis Aron Presley". Although this fueled conspiracy theories that he had faked his death, it is generally believed he changed his middle name so it would be the same as the Biblical Aaron.

Spoofed in Eminem's music video "Without me"

Had glaucoma in the 1970s.

At the time of his death in 1977, he was the second biggest selling recording artist of all time, after Bing Crosby.

He was a born again Christian who loved to sing gospel music.

Not one of Elvis' 31 feature films or either of his two music documentaries were nominated for a single Academy Award in any category.

He had two full face-lifts and rhinoplasty during the mid-1970s. On one of these visits to hospital he was accompanied by Linda Thompson.

He worked with legendary guitar player Hank Garland from 1957 to 1961.

Was director Robert Wise's original choice to play Tony in West Side Story (1961).

Portrayed by Jason Alan Smith in Crazy (2007/I).

Nephew of Vester Presley.

Most of the films he starred in were not critically acclaimed - although he received good reviews for Flaming Star (1960) and King Creole (1958) - but only Wild in the Country (1961) failed to get its money back.

In the month following his final concert at Indianapolis on 26 June 1977, he was reported to have gained a further 50 lbs in weight.

Is portrayed by Val Kilmer in True Romance (1993). Like Presley, Kilmer also has Cherokee heritage.

Of his many impersonators, his personal favorite was Andy Kaufman.

Prior to being signed by RCA in November 1955, Elvis was known as "The Hillbilly Cat" in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Although his height was measured as 6' when he joined the army in 1958, photographs show Elvis was wearing his army boots at the time which may have slightly increased his height.

Is portrayed by Michael St. Gerard in Great Balls of Fire! (1989)

His song "Heartbreak Hotel" is based on a suicide note left in a Florida hotel suite.

Elvis topped the Forbes list of deceased highest earners for the fourth consecutive year, with earnings of $45 million in the year 2004.

In 1977 alone, his personal physician Dr George Constantine Nichopoulos (usually referred to as "Dr Nick") had prescribed 10,000 hits of amphetamines, barbiturates, narcotics, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, laxatives, and hormones for Presley.

Barbra Streisand originally wanted Elvis to play the role of John Norman Howard in A Star Is Born (1976), but the studio couldn't meet Tom Parker's demands ($1 million plus equal billing with Streisand).

Among the actors who coveted the role, Elvis dreamed of playing Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972), but could not get an audition.

One of his biggest hit songs, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?", was actually written in 1926 and first recorded by Al Jolson.

He was an avid collector of guns and badges.

Is the subject of the song "Elvis Ate America" on the album Passengers Original Sountrack 1.

Once claimed Robert Mitchum was the inspiration for his famous hairstyle. Presley met Mitchum to discuss the possibility of starring together in Thunder Road (1958), but unfortunately Tom Parker's demands for Presley's salary could not be met.

Is portrayed by Peter Dobson in Forrest Gump (1994).

Along with Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, Elvis was a member of the celebrated "Million Dollar Quartet", so named because they were money-makers for Sam Phillips' Sun Records label.

Newspaper reports indicated that Sammy Davis Jr., Farrah Fawcett, Burt Reynolds and John Wayne were supposed to attend Presley's funeral, but they did not turn up. Ann-Margret, James Brown and George Hamilton were the only celebrities in attendance.

He was seriously considered for the role of the Texas Ranger in True Grit (1969) starring John Wayne. Unfortunately, Tom Parker's demand that Presley receive top billing could not be met, so the part went to Glen Campbell instead.

He was offered a role in the animated film Gay Purr-ee (1962).

His autopsy detected fourteen different drugs in his bloodstream, ten in significant quantity.

His home Graceland in Memphis is the second most popular private tourist attraction in the United States after the White House, and is estimated to bring in $150 million to the city itself each year.

Named the highest earning deceased celebrity for the sixth consecutive year in 2006 by Forbes.com.

He was considered for Ricky Nelson's role in Rio Bravo (1959) starring John Wayne and Dean Martin. However, by the time filming began in May 1958 Presley was stationed with the US army in Germany.

He is credited as a co-writer of "(I'll) You'll Be Gone" (1965). This was the B side of the hit from his film Girl Happy (1965), "Do The Clam". It is found in his five-CD box set of '60s recordings. Elvis composed the lyrics and brought the song to a recording session.

In 1973 he was the biggest taxpayer in the US.

It was estimated that he earned earned $4.5 billion in his lifetime.

With a lot of entertainers making a living mimicking Elvis, Jimmy Buffett wrote a song called "Elvis Imitators" making mention of a few of Elvis' films, song titles, and mannerisms.

Has sold 1.8 billion records worldwide, more than any other artist or music group.

Was discovered by Sam Phillips.

Inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to British music and integral part of British music culture. [11 November 2004]

Both his parents were unemployed welfare recipients.

In 1970 he wrote to J. Edgar Hoover requesting to join the FBI at the height of its campaign against political protests in the United States.

Met President Lyndon Johnson at the White House in 1965.

Was voted best singer of all time by Q Magazine.

Has been portrayed by Val Kilmer, Harvey Keitel, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kurt Russell, Don Johnson, Bruce Campbell, David Keith, Rob Youngblood and Peter Dobson.

The last song he performed in public was "Can't Help Falling In Love". at The Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1977.

He did an early '60s concert in Hawaii, and donated the proceeds to help build the USS Arizona memorial.

Has sold 1.1 billion records worldwide, more than any other artist or group apart from The Beatles.

Turned down leading role in The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967), which went to his friend Roy Orbison.

In 2007 the National Rifle Association (NRA) released an Elvis Presley Tribute Revolver, officially authorized by his estate.

Following a concert in Hawaii in 1961, Presley concentrated on making movies and he did not perform live before an audience again for eight years until his return to Las Vegas in 1969.

Ranked #2 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.

Ranked #8 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll.

As a young man, Elvis idolized a gospel group called The Statesmen. According to Elvis' backup singer and lifelong friend Joe Moscheo, Elvis' leg-twitching dance moves were inspired by The Statesmen's bass singer, 'Big Chief' Wetherington, who was famous for his leg twitching.

Between 1957 and 1969, he performed only two concerts and made just two television appearances.

In 1962 he ceased almost completely to record non-soundtrack songs until his 1969 album "From Elvis in Memphis".

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 and Benjamin Franklin.

His records have spent a total of 79 weeks at the #1 position in the US.

His records have spent 2,574 weeks in both the UK singles and album charts, way ahead of his closest competitors Cliff Richard (1,982), Queen (1,755), The Beatles (1,749) and Madonna (1,660).

He was planning his first ever European tour in 1978.

In Alexandria, Louisiana, early in 1977 a local journalist complained that the singer was on stage for less than an hour and "was impossible to understand." In Baton Rouge, Presley didn't go on stage at all. He was unable to get out of his hotel bed and the rest of the tour was canceled.

Investor CKX paid $100 million for an 85% interest in Presley's income in February 2005.

Robbie Williams dedicated his song "Advertising Space" to him.

He is credited as a co-writer of "(I'll) You'll Be Gone" (1965). This was the B side of the hit from his film Girl Happy (1965), "Do The Clam". It is found in his five-CD box set of '60s recordings. Elvis composed the lyrics and brought the song to a recording session.He is also listed in the writer's credits to "Heartbreak Hotel".

Of his movies, the one he disliked the most was Clambake (1967).

His favorite actors were James Dean, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando - who ironically strongly disliked Presley.

Some of his favorite movies were Rebel Without a Cause (1955), The Magnificent Seven (1960), Bullitt (1968) and Dirty Harry (1971).

Mentioned in Walter Kirn's novel "Thumbsucker".

He was a great fan of Peter Sellers.

Was a fan of Tony Curtis.

On seeing Elvis Presley in rehearsal for "Stage Show" (1954) for which he was the producer, Jackie Gleason described Elvis as "Marlon Brando with a guitar".

Was the first entertainer to introduce karate in an American motion picture (Flaming Star (1960)).

Was a master guitar player.

While he never joined any political party, his political views were somewhat mixed. During the early 1960s he was an outspoken admirer of liberal President John F. Kennedy. He later confessed to "weeping openly" at the news of Kennedy's death. Later in life, however, he made a more conservative move on the political spectrum. He began singing the praises of President Richard Nixon, and his right-wing streak culminated in a visit to the White House in December 1970. During the visit, Presley was photographed giving the President a handgun, which was (for security reasons) presented but not given. Presley spoke of his admiration for Nixon, revealed his disgust at the hippie counterculture, spoke disparagingly of The Beatles (he said that having earned their money in America, they had then left for England to promote "anti-American" feelings), fervently expressed his patriotism, offered to infiltrate and go undercover in left-wing hippie groups, asked to be appointed a federal narcotics agent, and even hugged the president twice. Nixon, for his part, was not sure if Presley was serious or not, but granted his request and made him an honorary federal agent. Nixon said he was equally parts bewildered and amused by the encounter, thanked Presley for his support, and the picture of the duo has become one of the most famous photos taken in the White House. On Presley's death in 1977, the former president asked Americans to lower their flags all over the country as a mark of respect.

He was good friends with Johnny Cash, going back to their Sun Records days.
 

 

JACANA HOME PAGE | CLASSIC VIDEO CLIPS | JACANA ASTRONOMY SITE

JACANA PHOTO LIBRARY | OLD MAUN PHOTO GALLERY | MAUN PHONE DIRECTORY

FREE FONTS | PIC OF THE DAY | GENERAL LIBRARY | MAP LIBRARY | TECHNICAL LIBRARY

HOUSE PLANS LIBRARY | MAUN E-MAIL, WEBSITE & SKYPE LIST | BOTSWANA GPS CO-ORDINATES 

MAUN SAFARI WEB LINKS | FREE SOFTWARE | JACANA WEATHER PAGE

  JACANA CROSSWORD LIBRARY | JACANA CARTOON PAGE | DEMOTIVATIONAL POSTERS

 

This web page was last updated on: 15 December, 2008