Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. The son of Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys, he was the result of a twin pregnancy, although his brother, Jesse Aaron Presley, died at birth.
The family suffered many economic hardships, so they emigrated to Memphis in search of a better life.
Young Elvis Presley was forced to work from a very early age. At his insistence, his parents gave him his first guitar.
He asked his parents for a bicycle, but they were so poor that they could only buy him a $12.95 guitar.
Elvis received his first guitar from his father when he turned 10. His father worked a series of casual jobs, and in 1938 he was sentenced to three years in prison for forging a four dollar check (he spent less than a year behind bars).
The beginning in Presley’s music
As a child he showed no passion for studies, but only an interest in baseball and music. He enjoyed blues, country and soul.
In 1948, his family moved to Memphis, one of the centers of musical activity in the country. He graduated in 1953 from Humes High School becoming the first member of his family to earn a high school diploma.
At the age of ten he sang for the first time in public in a regional competition in which he won second prize. He earned his first dollars as a movie usher and truck driver at an electric company. He was 1.82 m tall.
In 1953 he entered the recording studio of Sun Records, a modest local label, and recorded his first album to give to his mother; it cost him four dollars.
His influences were the country gospel music he listened to in church and the musical marathons he regularly attended, as well as the black rythm&blues music he absorbed in historic Beale Street.
The Great Elvis
Elvis’ first singles
This first attempt opened the doors to a country music radio program, Louisiana Hayride, with a range of broadcasts covering thirteen states.
Elvis rehearsed with double bassist Bill Black and guitarist Scotty Moore. In 1954 they decided to record two songs “That´s All Right Mama” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky”.
Neither of them had enough repercussion, but their diffusion was enough for Elvis to decide to quit his job and start a career as a professional musician.
The first album was followed by other albums and live performances. The melodies played by the trio were based on cowboy music.
Possessing a voice similar to that of African American singers, as a white he was opened the doors of the record label RCA Victor, which continues to hold the rights and royalties of the productions of Elvis.
At the end of 1954 he had to appear before the judge accused of making one of the founders of his first fan club pregnant, but he was declared innocent.
Entrepreneur Tom Parker convinced the singer and his mother to accept his services as representative and manager.
The first RCA Contract
1955 was not over when the giant RCA hired him for forty thousand dollars and organized an important advertising campaign around his figure.
At the beginning of 1956 he arrived in Nashville to work with musicians from the city and from that collaboration his first quality songs would be born, one of them “Heartbreak Hotel” would reach the number one of the lists.
That same year he shot his first film “Love Me Tender” by Robert D. Webb, an exaltation of the melodic myth that Elvis, whom his fans called The Pelvis.
His television appearances began to be habitual, and the amounts entered by these reached record numbers in the history of the medium.
Parallel to his unstoppable rise to world fame, some conservative sectors of American society opposed the character as well as his music, which they called perverted and immoral, particularly because of his hip movement, the impact of which was so immediate that the singer was nicknamed Elvis Pelvis.
The classic Heartbreak Hotel
1956 was a key year for Elvis’ career, thanks to the song Heartbreak Hotel, of which he sold three hundred thousand copies in three weeks and ended up being the first of his gold records.
He also released his first album, titled Elvis Presley, which reached one million copies sold, and committed himself for seven years to the Paramount film studios, eager to hire an emerging youth idol who was already causing hysterical attacks among concertgoers.
As the culmination of the meteoric year of 1956, on November 16 Love Me Tend, the first film starring Elvis Presley, premiered in New York with great success.
The Wall Street Journal dedicated an article to Love Me Tend, in which it highlighted the 22 million dollars that the merchandising associated with his image had collected up to that moment.
He paid $102,500 for one of the most famous residences in the world: Graceland, with 18 rooms and a spectacular garden.
In 1958, at the zenith of his career, he was called up by the army and assigned to West Berlin, where he met Priscilla Ann Beaulieu, with whom he would marry nine years later.
In 1958 he went to the Federal Republic of Germany to perform his military service and exploited the image of the patriot and exemplary son while new records of his continued to appear in America, beating all sales records. The young people danced to the rhythm of their songs: “Im all Shook, up”, “Tuti fruffi”.
In 1958 Gladys Love Smith died of hepatitis. Elvis Presley mourned the death of one of his loved ones.
Tutti Frutti Elvis Presley
The rivalry with the Beatles
Elvis Presley graduated in March 1960 and immediately resumed his artistic activity, to chain a long series of number one American charts with titles such as It’s now or never or Are you lonesome tonight? and star in no less than ten films, including Chicas, chicas, chicas (Girls, girls, girls, 1962) and Viva Las Vegas (1964).
In the second half of the decade began the so-called “British Invasion”, starring groups such as The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
This led to a certain erosion in the singer’s popularity, aggravated by an apparent artistic crisis that lasted until 1968, when he was offered to star in a television special that became one of the greatest hits in the history of the small screen.
The wife Priscilla
In 1967 she married Priscilla Beaulie and the following year she had her first daughter, Lisa Marie. In 1968 Christmas reappears in a special Christmas program and is projected back to the bestsellers.
Elvis recorded more than 600 songs, but none of them were his own. On the other hand, he did not receive royalties on the discs he recorded before 1973, although millions of copies continued to be sold.
In 1969 he will return to live, and his concerts are repeated year after year in Las Vegas in a spectacle of cult to the idol.
In his later years, Elvis’ health deteriorated after years of stringent diets and pills of all kinds; at the same time he wanted to be an agent in the fight against narcotics, and even Nixon wanted to make him a special anti-narcotics agent.
In 1973 she divorced Priscilla Beaulieu and her image acquired the clearly excessive tone that characterized her last appearances: exaggerated toupee, overweight and white leather suits with rhinestones.
In 1973 and 1974 he made an overwhelming number of performances, about 150 per year; however, criticism of the quality of his songs returned. The King of Rock and Roll had started a relationship with Linda Thompson. They’re done. In 1977, Presley recorded the album “Moody Blue”.
He needed twenty-five pills a day to keep him on his feet. In order to go out on stage, he girded himself in very tight corsets that concealed his obesity, but not before putting on diapers, since sometimes he lost control of his intestines.
Her last words were: “Good night, precious”, addressed to her aunt Delta, when she left a bag next to her in which she kept the tranquilizers.
The Day of His Presley’s Death
During the night of August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley fails to fall asleep, wakes up and locks himself in the bathroom with his favorite pills and a randomly selected book from his extensive library on esoteric subjects.
The next day, after a heart attack, he appears stiff on the bed and the coroner rules “natural death. In the last few months he suffered from visual disturbances and a great nervous tension.
He was forty-two years old, weighed one hundred kilograms, and fourteen types of dangerous drugs were found in his body. He was buried in Graceland.
Three years later, the presence of a large number of barbiturates in his blood was revealed, and his personal doctor was accused of being responsible for supplying him with these drugs.
He was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. Elvis was nominated for 14 Grammy Awards, won three and received one in the career category.
Despite his rapid decline, Elvis Presley has become an icon of the 20th century and one of the most important figures in the history of popular music, as evidenced by his more than one hundred gold, platinum, and multiplatinum records.
Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley
Death Theories Elvis Presley
On August 16, 1977, the death of 42-year-old Elvis Presley shook the world. Thousands of followers crowded into his Graceland mansion in Memphis, USA, as telephone lines collapsed in the city and flower shops ran out of flowers.
Many stations around the world spent the next few days playing nothing but their music. Although in a way expected, it was as if no one gave credit to the disappearance of this lucky favorite son who had seen become the first star of rock and roll.
Indeed, he was overweight. It was just one of his health problems. In recent times his intestinal problems and hypertension had worsened and he was suffering from glaucoma. They’d detected his fatty liver.
To fight them, and to fall asleep, I took huge quantities of sedatives, analgesics and stimulants.
These cocktails had inflamed his intestine and thus aggravated his chronic constipation.
Elvis Presley’s Last Day
On August 15, Elvis got out of bed at four o’clock in the afternoon. In the house was his daughter Lisa Marie, 9 years old, who had arrived on July 31 to spend two weeks. At 11 p.m., Ginger and some of the “boys” accompanied Elvis on a dental appointment.
At two o’clock, he telephoned his trusted doctor, Dr. George Nichopoulos (or Dr. Nick, as Elvis called him), complaining that one of his teeth hurt. Raudo, Dr. Nick wrote him several prescriptions, which one of the boys picked up.
The doctor prescribed a wide range of depressants and placebos that normally allowed Elvis to sleep for several hours at a time.
The last few minutes of his death
Elvis, Ginger realized that he must still be in the bathroom, which was not normal because hours had passed since he got up.
Concerned, she entered, and found Elvis “lying on the floor, golden pajama pants down to her ankles and face buried in a pool of vomit on the soft carpet. At Graceland, madness broke out.
After a tumultuous ambulance transfer to Baptist Memorial Hospital, emergency physicians certified the death.
There has been much speculation about the causes of Elvis’ death, among other reasons because since August 16 the information has been diffuse and contradictory.
Maurice Elliott, vice-president of the hospital, was the unlikely one to give the news to the press.
The Elvis Death Declaration
15 people, including pathologists, forensics, Dr. Nick, police and security guards from the center, were present during the autopsy, which lasted for hours.
No evidence was found that the heart had failed. At 3:30 a.m., while it was still unfinished, Jerry Francisco, the county medical examiner, announced that the death was due to heart failure due to a cardiac arrhythmia.
The forensic report, collected by Gurelnick, found that, although the heart had not failed, it was dilated, there was a significant amount of coronary atherosclerosis, the liver was damaged and the large intestine had a stool filling.
The lab report found 14 different drugs in Elvis’ body, 10 of them in significant amounts. In October, the report was reopened and Dr. Francisco insisted on the theory of heart failure due to hypertension.
The Doctor’s Criminal Investigation
Dr. Nick was investigated by a medical tribunal in 1979 for suspected overprescription, and it was discovered that he had prescribed 10,000 doses of medication in 1977 alone in the name of Elvis Presley.
In 2010, Dr. Nick added fuel to the fire, declaring that, although he did not know how to see it at the time, the cause of death would have been chronic constipation, which would also explain his swollen belly in his later years.
Controversies and conspiracy theories (let’s not forget that some say he’s still alive) that haven’t been resolved 40 years later, but which have by no means attenuated the greatness of Elvis, the eternal king of rock and roll.
- All My Trials
- All Shock Up
- American Trilogy meddley
- Are You Lonesome Tonight?
- Big Boss Man
- Blue Suede Shoes
- Bridge Over Troubled Water
- Burnin Love
- Casual Love Affair
- Don´t Be Cruel
- Heartbreak Hotel
- I Got a Woman
- I´ll Never Stand in your Way
- In the Ghetto
- It´s Now or Never
- Jailhouse Rock
- Lawdy Miss Clawdy
- Let Me Be There
- Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear
- Long Tall Sally
- Love me Tender
- Money, Honey
- My Happiness
- Mystery Train
- Old Shep
- Polk Salad Annie
- Poud Mary
- Rags to Riches
- Ready Teddy
- Rip It Up
- Shake, Rattle and Roll
- That´s all Right, Mama
- That´s When Your Heartache Begins
- The Battle Hymn of the Republic
- The Lady Loves Me
- Tiger Man
- Too much
- Tutti Frutti
- Where Did they Go, Lord?
- Whole Lotta Shakin´ Goin´ On
- You Ain´t Nothin´ But a Hound Dog
- 1956 Love Me Tender
- 1957 Loving You
- 1957 Jailhouse Rock
- 1958 King Creole
- 1960 G.I. Blues
- 1960 Flaming Star (Estrella de Fuego)
- 1961 Wild in the Country
- 1961 Blue Hawaii
- 1962 Follow That Dream
- 1962 Kid Galahad
- 1962 Girls! Girls! Girls!
- 1963 It Happened at the World’s Fair
- 1963 Fun in Acapulco
- 1964 Kissin’ Cousins
- 1964 Viva Las Vegas
- 1964 Roustabout
- 1965 Girl Happy
- 1965 Tickle Me
- 1965 Harum Scarum
- 1966 Frankie and Johnny
- 1966 Paradise, Hawaiian Style
- 1966 Spinout
- 1967 Easy Come, Easy Go
- 1967 Double Trouble
- 1967 Clambake
- 1968 Stay Away, Joe
- 1968 Speedway
- 1968 Live a Little, Love a Little
- 1969 Charro!
- 1969 The Trouble with Girls
- 1969 Change of Habit