By Cadet Burtner ELVIS PRESLEY
Elvis Aaron Presley, in the humblest of circumstances, was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948, and Elvis graduated from Humes High School there in 1953.The picture above is a photo of his mother, father, and himself.
Elvis had a troubled childhood. When he was 30, Vernon pleaded guilty on a forgery case and was sent to prison. Though he served only for 8 months, it affected his working life grossly. Vernon could never make a come back in his professional life. Gladys and young Elvis were forced to move in with Vernon's parents. And somehow they managed to live just above the poverty line. He attended the First Assembly of God Church whose Pentecostal services always included singing. This is where Elvis grew up with the gospel music of the Pentecostal church.
Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, he began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture.
Presley became a national star in 1956. Presley went to Nashville to record his first records for RCA. Among them was "Heartbreak Hotel." On January 28, 1956, he made his television debut on the Dorsey brothers' Stage Show, followed by six consecutive appearances. In March Parker became Presley's manager for which he was to receive 25% of his earnings. The contract lasted Presley's lifetime and beyond.
Elvis Presley was the first real rock and roll star. A white southerner who singing blues laced with country and country tinged with gospel, Presley brought together music from both sides of the color line. Presley performed this music with a natural hip swiveling sexuality that made him a teen idol and a role model for generations of cool rebels. Presley was repeatedly dismissed as vulgar, incompetent and a bad influence. However the force of his music and image signaled to the mainstream culture it was time for a change. Early in his career he was referred to as The Hillbilly Cat and was soon nicknamed Elvis the Pelvis because of his sexually suggestive performance style
On March 24, 1958 Presley entered the Army. The next months saw number one hits with "Don't" and "I Beg You." A few months later he went on leave to be with sick mother. Gladys Presley died the day after his arrival home in Memphis, on August 14, 1958. Presley would call her death the greatest tragedy in his life. He returned to the Army and was shipped to Bremerhaven, West Germany. In January 1960 he was promoted to sergeant and was discharged that March. During his time in the service Colonel Parker continued to release singles recorded before his departure so his fans wouldn't forget him. a number of these were hits including "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck," "Don't cha Think It's Time," "Hard Headed Woman," "Don't Ask Me Why," "One Night," "I Got Stung," "A Fool Such as I," "I Need You, I Love You," "A Big Hunk O' Love," and "My Wish Came True". In 1958 alone Presley earned over $2 million.
“Lovers, friends, co-stars, co-workers, fans -- they are all Elvis girls!” Elvis was a sex symbol who sent legions of women swooning. He had a string of girlfriends, before and after he became famous, including celebrities such as Mamie Van Doren, Natalie Wood, Tuesday Weld, Cybill Shepherd and Ann-Margaret.
He died at his home Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on August 16, 1977. He was found on the floor of his bedroom's bathroom ensuite by girlfriend Ginger Alden who had been asleep in his bed. He was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead at 3.30pm. He was only 42 years old. It is a popular myth that he died whilst defecating on the toilet. Numerous examinations of his death by medical personnel have resulted in a final public cause of death; the cause was, in fact, a heart attack, most likely due to lifestyle and his documented extreme misuse of prescription drugs.