Of the billions of people born throughout history, only a select few will be remembered through the times. Of those select few, most will be forgotten in generations to come. But for the rest, a very small and select group, their legacy and names live on forever.
One of these names near the top of everyone’s list is Elvis Presley. Whether or not you are a fan of his music, his fame is undeniable. For millions of people worldwide, he was and always will be the King.
Elvis wasn’t born into fame or riches. Like so many of us, his beginnings are humble, to say the least. Born January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Aaron Presley was one of two sons born that day to Gladys Presley.
His twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, was stillborn. Elvis spent his youth in a rundown shack with only one electrical outlet. Rather than let their son starve, Vernon and Gladys Presley worked hard to ensure that Elvis wanted for nothing. Elvis lived the quintessential Southern-American life. He went to church, respected his elders, and began singing and playing instruments in church.
The first sign of potential greatness came at a talent show Elvis won when he was 10. He would go on to win more talent shows, and gained a reputation as a musician. In 1954, Elvis was picking up steam and decided to make a record in Memphis.
With partners Scotty Moore and Bill Black, the trio cut a few unspectacular songs. Less than impressed, studio heads called for a break, during which Elvis started into a rendition of “That’s Alright Mama.” Elvis sang a made-up version of the song for fun, but Sam Phillips, the studio owner, was impressed and ordered the trio to keep playing.
After the trio’s record played on a local radio station, Elvis, Black, and Moore were invited to play at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The show was a disaster, and the Opry vowed to never invite him back.
Elvis’ rock and roll style of music was deemed disgusting by church-goers and adults, but the younger crowd loved his music. Elvis’ career was now set and he shot off like a cannon. He sold millions of records, and decided to venture into films at the insistence of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Elvis would go on to make 31 movies.
The skyrocketing career was put on hold when Elvis was drafted into the Army in 1957. The 2 years he was away in Germany, Parker’s incessant promotion made Elvis more famous in the states than ever before.
During the 1960s, Elvis’ primary focus was on his movies, which made more money than records at the time. Throughout the 60s, Elvis’ star had begun to burn out. Without the music which was what drew the fans in to begin with; Elvis was seen as just a mediocre actor.
In 1968, a complacent, heavier Elvis planned to make a full-time return to music. By 1969, Elvis had started playing concerts strictly in Las Vegas.
During the 1970s, the Vegas life had taken its toll on Elvis. All of the girls, booze, drugs and late nights had him vexed and unable to sleep. On a muggy August night in 1977, Elvis Presley took some pills, went into the bathroom, and never walked out.
He was found five hours later, dead on the scene. Elvis was insanely rich and famous by the time he was 19. To date, Elvis’ records have sold over 1-billion copies worldwide, and he has over 150 albums and singles that have gone certified gold and beyond.