Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), often known
simply as Elvis and also called "The King of Rock 'n' Roll"
or simply "The King", was an American singer, musician and
actor. He remains a pop icon and is regarded by some to be the most
important, original entertainer of the last fifty years. Presley is
one of the most talked about and written about performers of the 20th
Century. (Presley's birth certificate uses the spelling "Aaron",
and his estate has designated this as the official spelling of his middle
name. He used the name because of his twin brother, Garon, who died
at birth, so Elvis would always have a part of his brother with him.)
Presley started as
a singer of rockabilly, singing many songs from rhythm and blues, gospel
and country. He was first billed as "The Hilbilly Cat". His
combination of country music with bluesy vocals and a strong back beat
marked a clear path toward rock & roll. He was the most commercially
successful singer of rock and roll, but he also had success with ballads,
country, gospel, blues, pop, folk and even semi-operatic and jazz standards.
His voice, which developed into many voices as his career progressed,
had always a unique tonality and an extraordinarily unusual center of
gravity, leading to his ability to tackle a range of songs and melodies
which would be nearly impossible for most other popular singers to achieve.
In a musical career of over two decades, Presley set many records, such
as concert attendance, television ratings, and records sales, and became
one of the best-selling artists in music history.
He is an icon of modern
American pop culture. In the late 1960s, Presley re-emerged as a live
performer of old and new hit songs, both on tour and in Las Vegas, Nevada,
where he was known for his on-stage highly energetic performances both
vocally and physically, his sartorial jump-suits and capes adding to
the drama. He attracted massive attendance figures. His concert performances
were staggering in quantity, considering they numbered 1,145 in 8 years,
1969-1977. He continued to perform before sell-out audiences around
the U.S. until his death in 1977. His death from a drug overdose
at 42 followed alarming concerns about his health. His death on August
16, 1977 proved a huge shock to his fans; however, it soon became clear
that a combination of over-work, obesity, depression, bad diet and severe
abuse of prescription drugs, accelerated his premature departure. Nevertheless,
much confusion, conflict, contradictions and general controversy still
surrounds his death. Regardless, his popularity as a singer has survived
From the Official
Site: 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
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.
He starred in 33 successful
films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and
knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert
performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one
billion records, more than any other artist. His American sales have
earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards for 150 different
albums and singles, far more than any other artist. Among his many awards
and accolades were 14 Grammy nominations (3 wins) from the National
Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement
Award, which he received at age 36, and his being named One of the Ten
Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Jaycees.
Without any of the special privileges his celebrity status might have
afforded him, he honorably served his country in the U.S. Army.
His talent, good looks,
sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did
the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life.
Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the
most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. Elvis died
at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977.
of the Article that will appear on this page: Elvis Presley doesn't
need a surname anymore. Mention "Elvis" to anyone and they'll
know exactly about whom you are speaking. Beginning as an early rock
and roll pioneer in 1956, and making records for a small independent
record company called Sun Records, Elvis became more than the sum of
his parts when he was still living, and has become far more famous in
death than he probably even imagined. Elvis is the premier pop culture
diety. Good looking, gracious, tenderhearted, talented, and charismatic,
he, and his ever present huckster manager Col. Tom Parker, has given
the pop culture landscape it's closest companion to Jesus Christ, the
original cultural avatar. I'm sure this would surprise both Elvis and
ELVIS? Because he's the King.
Photos obtained from various websites
using a Yahoo image search. The movie footage has been embedded from
a user at the YouTube site.
early 50s photo of Elvis, supposedly in bed, but still with perfectly
60s publicity photo. Before going into the army, Elvis was portrayed
as a rock and roll idol, but afterwards, his image was deliberately
crafted to gain a much wider appeal.
black and white shot of Elvis in the service, from 1960.
cover art for Elvis Presley's first RCA Victor album, a collector's
against a particularly fake backdrop of Hawaii, where quite a few
"Elvis Movies" were set, Elvis strums a ukelele.
didn't adopt the Muslim religion. He is pictured here in a publicity
photo for the film "Harum Scarum"