Facts About Elvis Presley

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Elvis Presley (1935-1977) is the most significant figure in rock and roll history. He was a musician and actor and endured rapid fame in the mid-1950s on the radio, television and the silver screen. He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and began singing with his parents at the local First Assembly of God Church. Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42, due to heart failure, which was related to his drug addiction.

Fact 1:    In the 1950’s, the south was very racially segregated, but Presley’s music broke past these racial barriers. He allowed African American music to be accessible to white American youth who had never been exposed to it before. Presley challenged the social and moral values as his music and provocative dance moves created an entirely new generation.

Fact 2:    Elvis became more popular which made the older generation resent him and controversy quickly surrounded him. Elvis shook his hips, thrust his pelvis, and danced passionately on stage, this turned parents against his music. He posed as a threat to the morals that white American societies strongly believed in. He set movement to a style of music that dominated the world for the rest of the century; it started the beginning of youth culture, the breakdown of sexual inhibition, and the end of racial segregation.

Fact 3:    In the summer of 1953, Elvis Presley visited the Memphis Recording Studio, which was owned by Sun Records, he paid four dollars to record a few songs for his mother as a birthday present. A year later, the owner Sam Philips called Elvis back to the studio for a recording session. Elvis played a few songs but when he broke out into “That’s All Right Mama,” a 1946 number by Mississippi bluesman Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, music had changed and would never be the same.

Fact 4:    Elvis Presley worked a variety of different jobs before his music career began. In his sophomore year, he worked in his high school library. In 1953, he worked at a Precision Tool Company in Memphis, Tennessee. He also worked as an usher and once worked as a truck driver for $1.25 an hour.

Fact 5:    Elvis released his first RCA single, first appeared on television and his first movie release all in 1956.

Fact 6:    Elvis entered into the US Army in 1958 during his military career he served as a member of two battalions, one at home and the other overseas. He was discharged from the Army Reserves in 1964.

Fact 7:    Elvis did not like confrontation and had wanted to fire his manager, Colonel Tom Parker several times. Elvis would tell friends of his, “Tell Parker he is fired,” and he had always responded “Tell Elvis to tell me himself,” but Elvis never did.

Fact 8:    Elvis dated several women before he married Priscilla, including actress Natalie Wood briefly at the beginning of his career and Ann-Margret, whom he met while filming Viva Las Vegas. Priscilla was only 14 years old when she first met Elvis in Wiesbaden, Germany. They married in a small private ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

Fact 9:    By the early 1970s, Presley’s marriage began to fall apart, the couple divorced in 1973 and Priscilla received custody of their daughter Lisa Marie. Presley was struggling with other personal problems, including a growing addiction to prescription drugs; the once-thin rock star was now battling a weight problem, and his destructive lifestyle caught up with him and he was hospitalized for drug-related health problems.

Fact 10:    Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957 for $102,500, his parents and grandmother moved in while Elvis continued to film “Jailhouse Rock.”  Graceland was built by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Moore, construction began in 1939 and it was named after Mrs. Moore’s Aunt Grace Toof, the original landowner.

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