Today celebrates Elvis Presley’s birthday. Had the King of Rock and Roll not died in 1977, he would be celebrating his 75th birthday today. Without a doubt, Elvis is one of the most iconic figures in America and music.He has left a massive impression upon music.
On a chilly January morning in 1935, Elvis Aaron Presley was born in his family’s small two-room Mississippi home. Elvis would have been one of two children born into the Presley home, but sadly, his twin brother, Jesse, was a stillborn. Elvis’s family was close knit, working class and at an early age he expressed interest in music, singing at a local fair at the age of ten. In 1946, unable to buy the bicycle he wanted, Elvis’s parents purchased a guitar instead.At the age of 13, the family moved to Memphis, there he became enthralled by the gospel and blues music of the area, and in high school he won the talent show by singing and strumming his guitar.
In 1953, Elvis made his first demo at Sun Records, recording “My Happiness” and “Thats When Your Heartaches Begin”. The next year he recorded again and owner Sam Phillips was present. The following year Phillips talked again with Elvis, and introduced Elvis to fellow musicians. He also earned a spot on the show Louisiana Hayride, further exposing him to other musicians. In 1955, after landing Bob Neal as his manager, he signed his first contract with RCA Records. Elvis’s first album, the self-titled Elvis Presley, hit number one on the Billboard pop charts and soon reached $1 million in sales. Elvis made several appearances on the Milton Berle Show and the Steve Allan Show before the ever controversial Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, the first of three appearances. Later that year, Elvis began the pattern of musicians crossing over into movies, his first film, Love Me Tender, left its audiences enthralled and begging for more. The next year, 1957, Elvis bought the now infamous Graceland, although he had little time to enjoy it, because December brought his draft notice and in March of 1957 he entered into the US army. While in the army, his mother passed awhile and met his future wife, Priscilla, then 14, in 1959. The next year, Elvis was discharged.
The 1960s, a turbulent time in the US, were spent making movie after movie and still recording. While one can say Elvis battled the British Invasion, Elvis embraced the Beatles, who spent time with Elvis at Graceland. In 1967, in neon lit Las Vegas, Elvis and Priscilla were married, and the next year, Priscilla gave birth to Lisa Marie Presley. The couple divorced in 1973. The 70s, in some opinion were not kind to Elvis, while he still toured, he became a nostalgic act, whose audience had shifted from screaming teenage girls bulldozing security officers at concerts to calmer older women, relaxed in their seats. After a long period of touring, Elvis passed away of heart failure at Graceland.
Without a doubt, Elvis changed music and changed it forever. Nearly ever rock musician since has had Elvis to thank. His iconic hip movements and voice has lasted generations and inspired many. Happy Birthday, Elvis.