“Before Elvis, there was nothing”.
Elvis Presley: The Early Years
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8th 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi.
The boy from the ‘All American City’ grew up to be one of music’s most successful solo artists and is forever remembered as a global star and cultural icon.
Fans knew Presley as 'Elvis’, ‘The King of Rock n Roll’ or simply ‘The King’.
When the adolescent rock and roller was starting out the local music scene was not on his side, so Elvis Presley continued to work for Crown Electric Company as a truck driver.
However, it was not long before the name and sound of Elvis Presley was driving fans crazy.
Sun Records: That's Alright
In July 1953 Elvis Presley entered Sun Records studios with local musicians; guitarist Winfield ‘Scotty’ More and upright bass player Bill Black. Elvis was lined up to record 'Without You', but the ballad did not hit the right notes with Presley, his band or studio bosses.
With what seemed to be a wasted session, Elvis Presley and his band started a spontaneous rendition of Arthur Crudup’s That’s Alright, to which the studio loved and starting recording.
“Rhythm is something you either have or don't have, but when you have it you have it all over”.
The recording of That’s Alright was an instant hit, being played on Memphis DJ Dewey Philips radio program, ‘The Red, Hot and Blue Show’.
All in the space of one week the trio were back in the studio recording new material including a version of Bill Monroe’s bluegrass number Blue Moon of Kentucky.
This would become the B-Side of Elvis Presley’s first single release That’s Alright.
First Elvis Presley Album
In 1955 Elvis Presley signed to RCA Victor Records, (which is now one of the flagship labels for Sony Music Entertainment) making him the hottest talent in town.
Presley, More and Black toured the live music circuit across America with their new Rockabilly sound. The trio supported Billy Halley and The Comets who were the band of the moment with Rock Around The Clock being at number one.
Elvis Presley released his first self tilted album on March 23 1956, which went straight to number one on the US Billboard chart for 10 weeks.
Tracks on the album included five previously unreleased songs from Sun Records, I Love You Because, Just Because, Trying to Get to You, I'll Never Let You Go (Lil' Darlin), and Blue Moon. In addition, cover songs of tunes originally recorded Ray Charles and Little Richard where also on the album.
The album sold over one million copies earning the singer his first Gold Album Award. The debut Presley LP was ranked %2355 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Albums Of All Time’ and included in the book ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’.
“His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac. It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people”.
Steve Allen Show and Ed Sullivan Show
Now a multi-million selling artist Presley was in demand, appearing on popular programmes of the time including The Steve Allen Show and Ed Sullivan Show. But it was not long before Hollywood came calling. In 1956, Elvis worked with Paramount pictures starring in “The Reno Brothers,” a title that would later change to Love Me Tender to capitalise on the soundtrack to come from Elvis.
Elvis Presley: Drafted into US Army
On March 24th 1958, Elvis Presley was drafted into the US Army and served two years. Before this time Presley had three %231 singles Too Much, All Shook Up, and (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, he stared in three movies Love Me Tender, Loving You and Jailhouse Rock.
While the singer was away from the showbiz life; his recording studio released a steady flow of Elvis Presley material old and new to fans.
During Elvis’s time in the Army he had ten top 40 hits, including "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck", "Hard Headed Woman", "One Night", "(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I" and "A Big Hunk o' Love". RCA also managed to produce four albums in Presley’s absence.
ELVIS PRESLEY is back!
The international star left the Army in 1960, ranked sergeant and swiftly returned to the studio. Elvis is Back! album was release with number one singles and best sellers Stuck on You,It's Now or Never and Are You Lonesome Tonight?
Elvis Presley was also busy on the big screen starring in a number of films and recording the soundtracks, these included G.I Blues, Flaming Star, Wild in the country, Return to Sender, Can’t help falling in love and Viva Las Vegas.
In 1967, Elvis Presley won his first Grammy for the gospel album How Great Thou Art, which was not movie related.
“Permanently changed the face of American popular culture"
President Richard Nixon
ELVIS PRESLEY in the 60's
Later that year Presley married his long-term partner Priscilla Beaulieu in a brief ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. They had a daughter in 1968, Lisa Marie Presley.
During the late 60s Presley’s career saw a slum in sales, of the eight singles released between January 1967 and May 1968, only two charted in the top 40, and none went higher than number
Elvis Presley got himself back in the mainstream with his 68’Comeback Special.
A television special, singles and an album was released similar to Presley’s earlier work that made him a star. The single written for Presley’s Come back, If I can dream reached number 12 and the album entered the top ten.
Elvis Presley also gave audiences across the world what they wanted - more live performances. Elvis release a double album from his US tour From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis.
The album From Elvis in Memphis gave the music world instant hits of In the ghetto, Suspicious Minds, Don’t cry daddy and Kentucky rain.
“Elvis had an influence on everybody with his musical approach. He broke the ice for all of us”.
The Fall of elvis presley
1973 saw the decline of a man so many looked up to as a music legend. Although Elvis Presley was still doing sell out tours, his divorce from Priscilla and addiction to prescription drugs were to be his downfall.
Elvis Presley continued to record music, he produced 18 songs enough for almost two albums and RCA released another concert record, Elvis: As Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis.
In the late 70's, Elvis was no longer the powerhouse of popular music, but he was having success in the country charts, five albums released between 1973 - 1976 entered the top five of the country chart, and three went to number one: Promised Land, From Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis Tennessee, and Moody Blue.
Elvis Presley died August 16, 1977, at the age of 42.
The funeral for the King of Rock n Roll was two days later at his Graceland home where approximately 80,000 people lined up to pay their respects.
Since Presley’s death, his Graceland home is open to the public.
The King entered music halls of fame for; Rock n Roll, Country, Gospel and Rockabilly.
A number of Elvis Presley songs have been remixed including A little less conversation by JXL, which was used in the Nike soccer campaign during the 2002 World Cup.
“I hope I didn't bore you too much with my life story ”. Elvis Presley
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