Elvis Presley- The Life and Music of the Rock’n’roll King

The legendary singer was born in 1935 in Tupello, Mississippi. Elvis Aaron Presley definitely deserves the title „King of Rock’n’Roll“. His sensual expressions in the songs celebrate romantics in the most profound way.

Elvis grew up with gospel songs, which influenced his style. His singing career began in 1954 recording by Sun Records in Memphis. Within a year, Elvis Presley became an international phenomenon.

Elvis Presley put the seeds to the new genre of music, rock’n’roll. Love Me Tender in 1956 enlightens his first role as an actor. The 1960s brought him Hollywood success, including the soundtrack albums.

Elvis Presley is one of the best selling solo music artists of all time. That’s the official proof the Guinness World Records.

The Early Days of Elvis Presley

Elvis was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo in a two-room house. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, so Elvis was the only child. Moving to Memphis, Teneesee in 1948 with his family emphasized his musical life. Elvis graduated at Humes High School there in 1953.

Elvis Presley's childhood home in Tupello
Elvis Presley’s childhood home in Tupello- Credit: viator.com

His family had little money but created a loving ambience, especially his mother Gladys. Elvis’s father, Vernon had German, Scottish and English ancestry. Raising a strong faith in God was her task. Gospel music influenced his early years. The first guitar came at the age of 11 as a birthday gift of Gladys. A few years later, Elvis won a talent show at Humes High School in Memphis.

After graduation, Elvis worked as a truck driver for an electric company. At the same time, he followed his musical dreams, unveiling his new career.

Elvis & School Life

Elvis had the first public performance at the contest during the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show in 1945. After receiving his first guitar, the basic lessons came from his two uncles. At the time, Presley was very shy to sing in public.

Sixth grade Elvis started in the new school in 1946, bringing his guitar daily. Hillbilly music characterised his entertaining. That’s the music that belongs to rural, mountainous areas of the United States. Presley was enthusiastic about Mississippi Slim’s show on the Tupelo radio station Welo. The show was an idea of the hillbilly singer Carvell Lee Ausborn.

Lee Denson was a rockabilly singer who gave Elvis guitar lessons starting in 1950. Rockabilly blends rock’n’roll and country music and appeared in the 1950s.

Elvis’s hairy-style defined his extraordinary position among his classmates. It was the sideburns with rose oil and vaseline.

The First Recordings

The legendary Sun Records raised Elvis to the stars, where he first appeared in August of 1953. Recording several demo songs created a birthday gift for his mother. The owner of Sun Records, Sam Phillips, began a collaboration that moulded a throne to Elvis.

With the guitarist Scotty Moore and basist Bill Black, the band signed the initial recordings. Blues and country songs define their appearance. In 1954, they released Elvis’s first single. Many venues together enlightened the following time during their performances.

Elvis with his first band The Blue Moon Boys
Elvis with his first band The Blue Moon Boys- Credit: Nytimes.com

Elvis failed during the second recording with Sun Records. It included the songs “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way” and “It Wouldn’t Be the Same Without You”. One of his first singles, „It’s All Right“, became pretty popular.

In 1955, Elvis started a new contract with RCA Victor while Colonel Tom Parker became his business manager.

Graceland

Elvis Presley purchased Graceland at the beginning of his musical career in early 1957. This beautiful villa became home to him, his parents and grandmother. Worth $102,000, Elvis created his heaven just south of Memphis. After his death in 1977, it became the property of his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. Graceland is one of the most historical places in the USA.

Beautiful villa of Elvis near Memphis named Graceland
Beautiful villa of Elvis near Memphis named Graceland- Credit: Abcnews.go.com

Graceland gathered many fans at its doors at the very beginnings. Nestled on the top of a hill in the picturesque ambience, it shines in the grove of oaks. It’s designed in the Colonial Revival style. Four Corinthian columns decorate the entrance. The main gate covers the musical theme. The entire house contains 23 rooms, including the Music and Jungle Room.

Nowadays, it serves as a museum since 1982. It was entitled as a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

Heartbreak Hotel- The First Hit

Heartbreak Hotel turned out to be the first hit, which was released as a single on January 27, 1956. The lyrics give credit to Tommy Durden, Mae Boren Axton together with Presley himself.

Cover of the single Heartbreak Hotel that became first great hit
Cover of the single Heartbreak Hotel that became first great hit- Credit: Thisdayinmusic.com

The song tells a story of a lonely man who jumped from a hotel window. The idea actually comes from the newspaper article. It’s a love theme that destroys one’s life. The single became Presley’s first million-seller.

Presley and his band- The Blue Moon Boys- had done a rich tour. The first performance of the song was in December of 1955.

The Heartbreak Hotel received a place in the Grammy Hall of Fame during 1955.

Elvis in the Military

During his career bloom as a musician and actor, Elvis received a draft notice in 1957 to join the army. The following year, he leaves for Germany, where he stays for a year and a half. The journalist accompanied him during his short service in the United States. His beloved mother, Gladys, died while Elvis was in Europe. After the funeral in Memphis, Elvis went back to Germany.

Elvis while serving military in Germany
Elvis while serving military in Germany- Credit: En.wikipedia.org

In Germany, Elvis met Priscila Beaulieu, a young teenager who became his wife. More than seven years of relationship turned into marriage in 1967.

Two years of musical break embraced his comeback eagerly.

Elvis on Television

The iconic figure of Elvis Presley brings the panorama of sensual music spiced up with his vivid dance. The world of movies attracted his entertaining power. That’s why he couldn’t miss many invited from tv shows.  James Dean and Marlon Brando inspired the movie world that Elvis intended to follow.

About 15 prominent television shows granted Elvis with a variety of skills. These included Stage Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Milton Berle Show and more.

The photo book Elvis on television includes 400 pages covering 1956-1960
The photo book Elvis on television includes 400 pages covering 1956-1960- Credit: Memphisrecordingservice.com

His first appearance on Stage Show in 1956 opened the doors of success. The cultural experience held the meaning behind it. Three years of pause followed with Elvis’s appearance on Frank Sinatra show in 1960. It was a milestone in his Hollywood career during the next eight years.

NBC „Comeback Special“ signed a new shine upon Elvis in 1968. Aloha from Hawaii was his last tv appearance in 1973.

The Hollywood Days of Elvis

Elvis entered his Hollywood career with Love Me Tender in 1956. It’s a musical Western film by 20th Century Fox in the direction of Robert D. Webb. The ballad song inspired the title due to its huge success. The initial title was The Reno Brothers. In the main roles are Richard Egan and Debra Paget.

Love Me Tender, the first movie that Elvis made
Love Me Tender, the first movie that Elvis made- Credit: Imdb.com

 

Elvis showed enthusiasm for acting even before becoming a singer. „Jailhouse Rock“ and „King Creole“ come adjacent after „Love Me Tender“. During eight year Elvis made 30 movies. Paramount Pictures signed nine of them and others come under the etiquette of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Some of the most popular movies include „G.I. Blues,” “Blue Hawaii” and “Viva Las Vegas.” The soundtrack albums enrich 15 of them. Most of them were musical comedies. „Flaming Star“ and „Wild in the Country“ were less successful but more dramatic. The concert film „Elvis On Tour“ was his last.

The Soundtrack Albums

Elvis Presley dedicated to movies even more than music. Though he disliked many of the songs appearing in films, they became legendary status of his music.

Some of his most popular songs belong to the films. „Can’t Help Falling In Love“ and „Return To Sender“ shine so magically. „Viva Las Vegas became popular one year late after releasing the movie and the song. Getting to number one happened to three soundtrack albums.

The soundtrack album Blue Hawaii brings the hit Can't Help Falling In Love
The soundtrack album Blue Hawaii brings the hit Can’t Help Falling In Love- Credit: Discogs.com

„Can’t Help Falling In Love“ is made for the movie Blue Hawaii (1961). The authors of the lyrics are Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George David Weiss. A popular French love song from 1784, Plaisirs d’amour served as a basis. The perspective of a woman describes the background of a song.

„Return to Sender“ belongs to the film Girls!Girls!Girls! and the single became platinum.

Viva Las Vegas became the official song of the city in 2002.

The Gospel Album „How Great Thou Art“

The first Grammy Award for the Best Sacred Performance shined upon this album from 1967. The album follows the huge success of the single „Crying In The Chapel“.

In the 1960s, Presley got less success with the movies so this album unveils the magic. It was the first non-soundtrack album in more than two years. The album became multiple platinum by 2010. Gospel songs intertwine with his personality so deeply, just like his love songs.

The gospel album How Great Thou Art by Elvis
The gospel album How Great Thou Art by Elvis- Credit: Discogs.com

The Imperials are the gospel quartet that fills the background vocals, the favourite of Elvis. Slow songs on one side follow the fast rhythm of the other.

The album was released in February 1967.

Elvis’s Marriage And Family

While serving the military in Germany, Elvis met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. They finally married at a small ceremony in Las Vegas in 1967. Another ceremony with family and friends was held in Graceland.

Lisa Marie was born on February 1, 1968, being Presley’s only child. Today she holds a music career releasing three albums. After her father’s death, Lisa lived in Los Angeles with her mother.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley at their wedding
Elvis and Priscilla Presley at their wedding- Credit: Smoothradio.com

In 1971, Presley had an affair with Joyce Bova and her abortion was the final point.

The Presleys divorced in 1973. Due to Elvis’s drug addiction, Priscilla took custody of Lisa Marie. Five months later, a songwriter, Linda Thompson, becomes Presley’s new girlfriend.

Elvis & Downfall

The weight problem and drug addiction led Elvis to destruction and he was even hospitalised. After the divorce, his life started to decline. The outside world became strange. His last concert was held in June, 1977 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

While preparing for another tour, Elvis had a heart attack and died at the age of 42. Later it was discovered that the heart attack came due to his drug abuse.

Elvis while playing the guitar
Elvis while playing the guitar- Credit: Discogs.com

Elvis was buried in Graceland near his parents.

Elvis’s last words were: „I won’t.“ He was suffering from constipation, often going to the bathroom and that’s why.

Elvis had several diseases, including glaucoma, hypertension, liver damage and drug abuse. The book Elvis: What Happened? describes in details the life of Rock’n’roll king. His three bodyguards wrote the book, though Elvis opposed the publishing.

His last single, „Way down“ from 1977, is a cheerful love song.

The Greatest Hits

The numeral songs call out Elvis’s name, which became very popular throughout the ages. Elvis dedicated his soul to every song, being a fantastic songwriter and performer. His gospel recordings earned three Grammy awards.

Elvis Presley on stage
Elvis Presley on stage- Credit: Cheatsheet.com

Elvis had 18 no. 1 singles, among which Don’t Be Cruel, Suspicious Minds, Good Luck Charm. It’s Now Or Never or Are You Lonesome Tonight belong to the soundtracks. Can’t Help Falling In Love wins everyone’s heart, the song from the movie Blue Hawaii.

Awards and Honours

From a young age, Elvis achieved huge success as a musician and as an actor. Many gold and platinum records celebrate his way of music. He’s recognized for his charitable events and contribution to rock’n’roll. Not only rock’n’roll, several genres perfectly blend in his musical expressions. Several halls of fame hold his name. These are the Gospel Hall of Fame, the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Hall of Fame.

14 times Elvis has been nominated for Grammy Awards.

Conclusion- The Life of Elvis Presley

The influential figure that shaped the world of music holds the name of Elvis Presley. The King of Rock’n’Roll touches the deepest corners of the human heart with his emotions.

See also: The socio-cultural impact of music around the world

Following dreams is the core inspiration of his life. He described the world how to share the emotions and stillness of the heart.

Elvis played guitar, bass and piano, bringing the versatile world of music to everyone. Piano touches the magic of his later albums, such as From Elvis in Memphis.

Elvis brings on surface rockabilly which floats between rock and country. His capacity to intertwine musical styles is beyond imagination. The romantic songs that Elvis brought to life never cease their fantastic glory.

Leave a Reply