The famous Elvis Presley, known as one of the greatest singers of all times, 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.
Elvis Aaron Presley 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. His music career began there in 1954, when he started to work with Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records.
Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularize of rockabilly, an up-tempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues.
RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who was to manage the singer for more than two decades.
During his junior year, Presley began to stand out more among his classmates, largely because of his appearance: he grew out his sideburns and styled his hair with rose oil and Vaseline. On his own time, he would head down to Beale Street, the heart of Memphis’s thriving blues scene, and gaze longingly at the wild, flashy clothes in the windows of Lansky Brothers.
By his senior year, he was wearing them. In August 1953, Presley walked into the offices of Sun Records. He aimed to pay for a few minutes of studio time to record a two-sided acetate disc: “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”.
He would later claim that he intended the record as a gift for his mother, or that he was merely interested in what he “sounded like”, although there was a much cheaper, amateur record-making service at a nearby general store.
In 1958, Elvis was drafted into the military where he relocated to Bad Nauheim, Germany. There he met and fell in love with 14-year old army damsel Priscilla Ann Wagner (later known as Priscilla Presley). Elvis’ military service and the “British Invasion” of the 1960s reduced his concerts, though not his movie/recording income.
Through the 1960s, Elvis settled in Hollywood where he starred in over 20 movies, acting alongside some of the most well known character actors in Hollywood. When The Beatles came to America in 1965 there was only one person they wanted to meet: Elvis.
On Friday, August 27, 1965, they got their wish and, according to John Lennon, spent an entirely enjoyable evening at the Presley home in Bel Air, California, talking, singing and laughing with each other.
On February 1, 1968, he and Priscilla had a daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. Elvis toured throughout the United States appearing on-stage in over 500 live appearances, many of them sold out shows. Sadly, his marriage ended in divorce, and the stress of constantly travelling as well as his increasing weight gain and dependence upon stimulants and depressants took their toll.
Elvis Presley died at age 42 on August 16, 1977 at his mansion in Graceland, near Memphis.