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Elvis Presley Biography | The King of Rock-N-Roll Music

Who is Elvis Presley?

Elvis Presley, most commonly known as Elvis, was a singer and actor. Considered as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, Elvis Presley is regarded as the King of Rock and Roll.

The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized Elvis Presley as the best-selling solo music artist of all time. Likewise, Presley is the winner of three Grammy Awards as well as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom which was awarded to him posthumously in 2018. 

Elvis Presley Biography
Elvis Presley Biography

Elvis Presley Quick facts

Full NameElvis Aaron Presley
NicknamesKing of Rock and Roll, Fire eyes, Tupelo Tornado, Alan, Dr. Carpenter, John Burrows, and Sideburns
BirthdateJanuary 8, 1935
DeathAugust 16, 1977
Sun signCapricorn
TraitsPositive: Patient, independent, and outgoing
Negative: Moody, stubborn, and distrusting
BirthplaceTupelo, Mississippi, USA
NationalityAmerican
ReligionChristianity
EthnicityMixed
ParentsVernon Presley (father)
Gladys Love (mother)
SiblingsJesse Garon Presley (twin brother)
Marital statusDivorced
Name of Ex-wifePriscilla Presley
ChildrenLisa Marie Presley
ProfessionSinger and Actor
Social mediaNot Applicable

Fun Facts of Elvis Presley

  1. Elvis Presley was a distant relative of Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter. 
  2. Although he recorded over 600 songs, he did not write any of them.
  3. At the age of 19, Elvis Presley auditioned to join a gospel quartet called Songfellows but was rejected. 
  4. Elvis Presley started his karate training in Europe and got a seventh-degree black belt. 
  5. Elvis only appeared in one commercial throughout his career. He filmed the commercial for Southern Maid Donuts and sang the jingle in exchange for a box of hot glazed donuts. 
  6. Elvis Presley was a germaphobe. He used to sip his glasses from the part above the handle since nobody would have drunk from that part. 
  7. Elvis used Miss Clairol 51 D, “Black Velvet.”  to dye his hair black. Once he also dyed his eyelashes which caused health complications later in his life.
  8. He used to dress up as a police officer and pull over women to give them his autograph.

Elvis Presley Birthday

Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935. His full name is Elvis Aaron Presley. Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. Since he was born on January 8, his horoscope is Capricorn.

Elvis Presley Early Life

Elvis Presley’s father was Vernon Presley, and his mother was Gladys Love. He was born in a two-room shotgun house. The house was built explicitly for his birth by his father, Vernon Elvis.  

In addition, Elvis also had a twin brother named Jesse Garon Presley. However, Jesse, who was born 35 minutes before Elvis, was stillborn. Growing up, Elvis Presley was extremely close to his mother. His parents took him to an Assembly of God church from where Elvis grew interested in music. 

Elvis Presley’s father, Vernon, was unable to find a steady job that could support his family. Due to this, Elvis’ family struggled financially. His family had to rely on their neighbors as well as government food assistance to sustain their living.

In 1938, Vernon was found guilty of altering a check written by his landowner, and this caused them to lose their home. When Vernon was in jail, Elvis Presley and his mother lived with their relatives. 

Upbringing and Education of Elvis Preley

When it comes to his academic performance, his teachers often described Elvis as “average.” In September 1941, Elvis joined East Tupelo Consolidated, where the teachers encouraged him to participate in a singing competition. Elvis made his first-ever stage appearance when he dressed as a cowboy and sang the song “Old Shep” at the Alabama Fair and Dairy Show held on October 3, 1945. 

When Elvis received a guitar as a birthday gift, he began taking guitar lessons from his two uncles and the pastor at the family’s church. Then, in 1946, Elvis Presley enrolled at Milam, where he started developing signs of loneliness.

He used to bring his guitar to school and used to sing during lunchtime. However, Elvis was often teased by his fellow classmates, who called him a “trashy” kid who played hillbilly music.

As a child, Elvis was a huge fan of Mississippi Slim’s show on the Tupelo radio station WELO. Slim’s younger brother would frequently take Elvis along with him to the station. During this time, Elvis learned many chord techniques, which essentially helped his guitar skills. At the age of 12, Presley was able to give two on-air performances for the station.

Elvis Presley favorite food

Elvis was a huge fan of his mother’s Southern-style home-cooked meals. Gladys often made grits, black-eyed peas, ham, bacon, fried chicken, cornbread, mashed potatoes, gravy for the family to enjoy. 

Elvis was not too fussy about his food choices. His favorite foods were peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich. His favorite drinks were Pepsi, Nesbitt’s Orange, and Shasta Black Cherry. Likewise, Elvis also enjoyed eating coconut cake, monkey bread, tomato fritters, BBQ bologna, and county fair cookies.

Even after he became popular, Elvis Presley preferred classic Southern meals over exotic foods. He did, however, enjoy some Oriental foods containing ingredients such as pork.

Elvis Presley Height, Appearance, and Measurements

Elvis Presley stood tall at 6 feet. He wore 11 US size shoes.

His measurements were 40-32-41. While Elvis Presley weighed approximately 170 pounds in his youth, his weight also increased as he grew older and his health deteriorated. At the time of his death, Elvis was approximately 260 pounds. 

Additionally, Elvis had blue-colored eyes. Although he had naturally blonde hair, he used to dye his hair black to achieve his signature black-colored hair. 

Religion, Ethnicity, and Nationality

A deeply spiritual man, Elvis Presley was raised in a Christian household. However, he was often spotted wearing a necklace with a Jewish star of David. Elvis was of English, French, Native American, Cherokee, German, Scottish, and Danish when it comes to his ethnicity. In addition, he was an American national.

Elvis Presley Career

Elvis graduated from LC Humes High School in 1953. With an ambition of making it big as a musician, Elvis worked with Sun Records owner Sam Phillips at the start of his career.

Phillips wanted to popularize African-American music to a wider audience. Elvis himself was a huge fan of blues, R&B, and country music. At Sun Records, Elvis Presley recorded a two-sided acetate disc: “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” as a gift for his mother. 

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

A year later, Presley recorded his second acetate”I’ll Never Stand in Your Way” and “It Wouldn’t Be the Same Without You” at Sun Records. However, since none of his songs were commercial successes, Elvis took up the job of a truck driver for the Crown Electric Company.

 In July 1954, Elvis’ recording of the 1946 blues song “That’s All Right” and guitarist Winfield “Scotty” Moore and upright bass player Bill Black became a huge hit. The trio had their first public performance on July 17. 

Their unusual style of music combined with Elvis’ signature dance moves and his good looks caused the audience to start screaming. Elvis’s female fan following also increased as a result of this. 

Elvis Presley road to fame

In 1955, Elvis signed with RCA Records. Again, he enjoyed a taste of success as “Heartbreak Hotel” became his first No. 1 single as well as his first No. 1 album. Following this, Presley signed a  movie contract with Paramount Pictures.

Elvis made his film debut in the superhit 1956 film Love Me Tender.  Owing to a hugely successful career as a musician and a budding career as an actor, Elvis became a huge sensation among US audiences. 

However, in 1957, Elvis received his military draft notice and was inducted into the Army in March. Elvis served in the military in Germany for a year and a half. 

In 1960, Elvis left the military. Fortunately, his popularity had not reduced, so Elvis made a smashing comeback with his soundtrack for the film GI Blues. Likewise, he acted in many movies such as Blue Hawaii, Girls! Girls! Girls!, and Viva Las Vegas. Elvis appeared in his first-ever TV special “68 Comeback” in 1968. 

During this time, Elvis Presley wowed the audiences with many hits, including “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, “Return to Sender”, and “Viva Las Vegas”. However, between 1964 and 1968, Presley only gave one top-ten hit: “Crying in the Chapel”.

Fortunately, his films were performing fairly well at the box office, and Elvis still had a crazy fan following. In 1967, How Great Thou Art won Presley his first-ever Grammy Award for Best Sacred Performance in the gospel album. 

What was Elvis Presley Biggest hit?

Presley’s biggest hit was his first single, “Heartbreak Hotel”. Recorded by Elvis for RCA Records, “Heartbreak Hotel” was released in February 1956. The single retained it’s number 1 position on the Billboard national country & western singles survey. In addition, over 3,000,000 copies of the song were sold in the US. 

Certified by the RIAA  as 2xPlatinum, “Heartbreak Hotel” also proved to be a huge success in the UK. ). It was also a major hit in England. 

By the end of the 50s, many countries in the world were opening up to new genres of music. Elvis made use of this opportunity and released “Its Now or Never”. The song reached the number 1 position in many countries, with over 15,000,000 copies sold outside the US.

Similarly, the song was certified by the RIAA as 4xPlatinum. Apart from this, “Don’t Be Cruel” is regarded as Elvis Presley’s biggest US hit, and “Hound Dog” is considered his biggest international hit. 

How did Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley meet?

In 1959, Elvis met Priscilla Beaulieu for the first time at a party in Germany where Elvis and Priscilla’s father was stationed. Priscilla was only 14 years old when she met Elvis Presley. 

However, despite their 10 year age gap, the two instantly fell in love. According to sources, Elvis grew interested in Priscilla since he felt that she resembled his late mother, Gladys. He even admitted to his friend Rex Mansfield that Priscilla was “young enough that I can train her any way I want.”

In 1960, Elvis left Germany after completing his enlistment. Priscilla would often write to Elvis, and in 1962, Elvis invited Priscilla to visit him in Los Angeles.

In 1963, the Beaulieus sent Priscilla to Memphis, where Priscilla initially stayed with Elvis’ father and stepmother. Likewise, she enrolled at Immaculate Conception High School to finish her education. 

He married Priscilla who was 10 years younger than him

In 1966, Elvis and Priscilla got engaged.  The love birds got married on May 1, 1967, in Las Vegas.

 

Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley
Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley

Although Elvis seemed like the perfect husband from the outside, the reality was something else. Elvis was unfaithful towards Priscilla. 

He completely changed her appearance so that it matched his signature look. Porcelain caps were put on top of Priscilla’s teeth, and she was always instructed to have a perfect posture.

Priscilla had to dye her hair black and was demanded to style it so that it resembled Elvis Presley’s signature pompadour. Similarly, all of her clothes had to match Elvis’ outfits, and she always had to put on a full face of makeup since Elvis did not like seeing her barefaced. 

After the birth of their daughter on February 1, 1968, Priscilla and Elvis started experiencing marital problems. Elvis was reluctant to sleep with Priscilla after her pregnancy. 

Due to their marriage becoming sourer and sourer, Priscilla started an affair with a dance school owner. But, unfortunately, she also had an affair with karate instructor Mike Stone. 

In 1972, Priscilla informed Elvis of her decision to leave him. On October 9, 1973, their divorce was finalized, and they were given joint custody of their daughter. 

Related: Read the full biography of Elvis Presley’s Wife Priscilla Presley

Other Relationships

While he was still married to Priscilla Presley, Elvis Presley began an affair with his Viva Las Vegas co-star  Ann-Margret. According to Ann-Margaret, the relationship started due to their similar hobbies and interests. 

However, in 1964, the Viva Las Vegas actress and the King of Rock and Roll called it quits. Ann-Margaret got married to Roger Smith in 1967. 

After this, Elvis Presley dated actress Connie Stevens for about two years. He also had a short-lived affair with Cybill Shepherd. Additionally, Elvis dated many other famous women such as Natalie Wood, Linda Thompson, Peggy Lipton, Anita Wood, and Rita Moreno. 

In 1976, Elvis got engaged to model Ginger Alden, who was 21 years his junior. They remained engaged up until Elvis’ tragic demise in 1977. 

Elvis Presley Children

Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie Presley was born on February 1, 1968, nine months after her parents’ wedding.

In 1994, Lisa Marie got married to singer Michael Jackson. However, they got divorced in 1996. After this, Lisa Marie got married to actor Nicholas Cage whom she divorced in 2004. Her marriage to guitarist Michael Lockwood ended in 2021. 

Elvis Presley with wife, Priscilla and daughter, Lisa Marie
Elvis Presley with wife, Priscilla, and daughter, Lisa Marie

Elvis Presley Death

The Rock and Roll legend met a tragic end following a lifelong struggle with drug abuse. Although the cause of his death was ruled out as heart failure, it was, in fact, his longstanding history of drug addiction that led him to such an unfortunate end. 

Elvis Presley was addicted to prescription medications such as opiates, barbiturates, and sedatives. As a result, Elvis suffered from high blood pressure, an enlarged colon, liver damage, and emphysema towards the end of his life.

His health deteriorated day by day, and the once energetic and fit singer had become grossly overweight and primarily bed-ridden. Finally, the King of Rock and Roll left for heavenly abode on August 16, 1977. 

Unable to sleep, Elvis told his fiancee, Ginger Alden, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.” Ginger responded, “Okay, but don’t fall asleep,” and went back to sleep. But when Ginger awoke again, she realized that Elvis had not returned.

She knocked on the bathroom door and opened it after some time. Ginger found Elvis lying face down in front of the toilet. His body was cold, and his eyes were blood-red. 

When the paramedics arrived, Elvis had already been dead for over an hour. Despite not having any vital signs, the medical professionals at Baptist Memorial Hospital tried their best to revive Elvis to no avail.

Medical Examiner Jerry Francisco released his official death certificate following a private autopsy which revealed,

“Elvis Presley died of heart disease, and prescription drugs found in his blood were not a contributing factor.” 

Did Elvis Presley die broke?

The King of Rock and Roll developed expensive tastes as his career reached its peak. So in 1957, Elvis purchased Graceland, a 23-room mansion in Memphis. 

He bought the house for a total sum of $102,500. Likewise, he also purchased $500,000 worth of surrounding land and household goods as the years went on.

 In addition to this, Elvis was in charge of his family members’ expenses and the group called “Memphis Mafia”. Elvis bought a house near Graceland for his father and his stepmother. 

Similarly, other distant relatives also mooched off Elvis for their livelihood. Furthermore, Elvis, who had become a drug addict by the late 1960s, spent a lot of his income on drugs. Within a seven-month period, Elvis had bought 10,000 amphetamines, sedatives, and narcotics prescribed to him by his doctor. 

As his popularity increased, Elvis grew paranoid about getting death threats from morality groups. So he used to rent out the whole of Libertyland to ride his favorite roller coaster. 

Likewise, Elvis had his hotel rooms remodeled to look like his room in Graceland so that he would not feel homesick. Additionally, Elvis also splurged on various prized possessions, including three pink Cadillacs. 

Moreover, after his divorce from Priscilla Presley, Elvis had to pay Priscilla a total sum of  $725,000. He also had to pay for spousal support and child support. 

In addition, Priscilla gained 5% of Elvis’ publishing companies and 50% of the money made from the sale of their Beverly Hills home. So although Elvis was not exactly broke at the time of his death, he had definitely lost a large portion of his earnings towards the end of his life. 

Elvis Presley Funeral and Conspiracy

Elvis Presley’s funeral was conducted at Graceland on August 18. His loyal fans caused a great hullabaloo outside the gates of his home. A car plowed into a group of people, killing two women. Elvis was buried at the Forest Hill Cemetery next to his beloved mother, Gladys.

After his death, a conspiracy theory that Elvis faked his death started circulating. There have also been many alleged sightings of Presley. Likewise, many conspiracy theorists believe that a wax figure resembling Elvis was placed in his coffin and that he faked his own death to retire peacefully.

Elvis Presley F.A.Qs

Who gets Elvis Presley’s royalties?

For all of Elvis Presley’s music released before 1973, the musician received no royalties due to a contract signed by him and Colonel Parker whereby they sold the ownership rights to Elvis’ RCA catalog to RCA for 5.4 million dollars. Nevertheless, for songs produced after 1973, all the royalties go to The Elvis Presley Estate.  

Is Elvis Presley the biggest selling artist?

Elvis Presley is, in fact, the biggest selling artist of all time, with over a billion albums sold worldwide from singles, EP’s, albums, CDs, and cassettes. This includes album sales surpassing over 600 million in the U.S. and over 400 million internationally. 

However, some contradictory sources claim that Elvis is the second biggest-selling artist in the world after The Beatles. Although The Beatles had indeed outsold Elvis in the US, Europe, the UK, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Elvis has had 82 gold, 45 platinum, and 24 multi-platinum albums which place him at the number 1 position.

How much money did Elvis leave?

Elvis left the remainder of his fortune to his father, grandmother, and his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. After the death of his father and grandmother, Priscilla Presley was made in charge of Presley’s estate. 

At the time of his death, Elvis’ bank account only had $5 million left. After the taxes imposed on Graceland, the amount was reduced to a mere $1 million. Luckily, Priscilla was a smart woman. She decided to turn Graceland into a museum. Graceland soon became a huge tourist attraction. By 1993, Elvis’ estate had grown to nearly $100 million.

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