Elvis Presley (Elvis Aaron Presley aka Elvis Aron
Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo Mississippi on the 8th of January 1935.
Elvis had an identical twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, however he was stillborn. This left Elvis as an only child of his parents, Vernon and Gladys.
Elvis Presley's early musical influence came from church while his first public performance as a singer was at a singing contest at the Mississippi-Alabama fair on October 3rd, 1945. On his eleventh birthday he received his first guitar on which his Uncle Vester gave him lessons.
In 1953 Elvis recorded his first two songs at Sun Records' Memphis Recording Service. It was a demo record, allegedly for his mother. In January of '54, he recorded two more songs there. Sometime in the spring of '54 he auditioned for a group called the 'Songfelows' where he allegedly is told that "he can't sing". Later that year Sam Phillips, of the aforementioned Sun records, was looking for someone to sing "a blend of blues and boogie woogie" music, so, Presley was called in to sing for him. During a break in one of these sessions, Presley started singing Arthur Crudup's 'That's All Right', Sam loved it and asked them to refine it, then he recorded it. 'Blue Moon of Kentucky' was recorded for the flipside of the record. When the record is played on the radio, hundreds of calls come in so they end up playing it over and over again.
In 1955 Colonel Tom Parker became Elvis Presley's manager, and Elvis signed a record deal with RCA. Elvis' debut self titled album became RCA's first million dollar seller after it's release in March of '56 and topped the album chart for 10 weeks. Just a month later, in April, he signed a seven year contract with Paramount Pictures.
Fame and Fortune were all over Elvis Presley, then he was drafted by the U.S. Army. On March 24th 1958 he was inducted into the Army. Allegedly, Elvis was introduced to Amphetamines while serving in the Military, regardless it has certainly been reported that he used them regularly during his service. He served until discharged on March 5th 1960 and before the month was out he was back in the recording studio.
His first album after returning from the Army, 'Elvis is Back!', reached number 2 on the charts. The first movie he made after returning from the Army was 'GI Blues', the soundtrack reached number 1 on the charts. From 1960 to 1968 Elvis starred in two or more usually three movies a year. The soundtrack albums from those movies usually sold well, and usually out sold his studio albums.
From 1961 to 1967, Elvis did not perform songs on T.V. and rarely gave live performances. This changed in Dec 1968 after performing in a NBC Christmas Telecast simply entitled 'Elvis'. It garnered a whopping 42% of the total TV viewing audience and marked a shift back into live performing.
Elvis and his wife, Priscilla, divorced in October of 1973. It appears that this is the point at which Elvis' health starts to deteriorate. He overdosed twice on barbiturates, one of those episodes purportedly left him in a coma for three days. Allegedly around this time he also had a Demerol addiction. Although he had always been an electric on stage performer, in 1974 he was noticeably less animated and it was obvious to some (allegedly) that he was under the influence of drugs.
Despite his deteriorating health, Elvis continued to tour. After performing at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis on June 26th 1977, Elvis had a break before touring was scheduled to begin again on August 17th. However on August 16th 1977, Elvis was found on the floor of his bathroom in Graceland, in a pool of his own vomit. The exact cause of death has always been a bit of a mystery since the Medical examiner issued a cause of death, cardiac arrhythmia, before the toxicology results were known. The toxicology results, allegedly, show the detection of 14 drugs, ten in significant quantities, these included, Morphine, Demerol, Chloropheniramine, Placidyl, Valium, Codeine and Ethinamate. It was also found that in just the first 8 months of 1977, Elvis' doctor had prescribed Elvis more than 10,000 does of sedatives, amphetamines and narcotics. So, it is widely believed that polypharmacy held a leading role in the premature death of Elvis Presley.
Elvis was the second biggest selling recording artist of all time at the time of his death. Now with 12 albums selling more than 2 million copies, he has more multi-platinum album sales than any other performer.
Here he is with wife Priscilla Presley.