Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi.  He was the son of Vernon Presley and Gladys Smith.  The Presleys survived the F5 tornado in the 1936 Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak. The family was poor, and by the time Elvis recorded for the first time at Sun Records, had been off welfare only a few weeks of Elvis' life. Though he started out in Tupelo, the Presleys later moved to Memphis when Elvis was a teenager. Elvis attended Humes High School.
Elvis recorded a few songs for Sam Phillips of Sun Records in 1953, backed by The Blue Moon Boys. Those songs gave him entrance to the music scene in 1954, introducing the world to his new combination of blues, gospel he grew up with in church, the jazz of Beale Street, country and western, and bluegrass, to be named rock and roll. His claim to the rock royalty throne was initiated with his single, "Heartbreak Hotel," which was his first number one in 1956 on his next label, RCA. He became popular with teen girls for his good looks and unique dance moves, his entire persona influencing the likes of Buddy Holly and the Beatles to move into rock music. He was known as a rebel for those dance moves that made him famous, as they were viewed as scandalous at the time, yet swoon-worthy. His voice could emote a variety of feelings, drawing the listener into whatever story he was telling, and then send them over the edge with a curl of his lip. He followed that first number one with several more of his most famous hits, "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," and "Hound Dog."
Elvis appeared in a number of movie musicals that only helped his popularity, starring in 33 of those films. His first role was in 1956's "Love Me Tender". All of his roles were in what were later called "Elvis Movies", romantic comedies featuring his music. Some think his movie work took him too far from the music that made him a king, though, and it took a major comeback concert in 1968 to kick him back into the swing of things.
Elvis took a two year break from his music and movie career when he was drafted to serve in the United States Army from 1958 to 1960, ending his service as a Sergeant, Company A, 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32nd Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Division.
In addition to his colloquial name as the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis received numerous awards and accolades. Over 100 of his songs reached the Top 40 charts. Elvis had 14 Grammy nominations with 3 wins, from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He gained worldwide acclaim, resulting in over one billion in record sales around the globe. In addition to his Grammys, he received posthumously the W.C. Handy Award from the Blues Foundation (1984), the Academy of Country Music's first Golden Hat Award (1984), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction (1986), the American Music Awards' Award of Merit (1987), induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame (1998), induction in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2001), induction in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame (2007), and induction in the Memphis Music Hall of Fame (2012).
Elvis died at home in his Graceland Mansion from a heart attack on August 16,1977 in Memphis, Tennessee, at age 42. The stress from constant touring and prescription drug abuse was too much for his body. His memory lives on in popular music as his songs are still heard in movies, television, and remakes by current artists. His Graceland mansion still sees numerous visitors each year as hoards of devoted fans still flock to see a little part of his life.
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Categories: Famous Entertainers of the 20th Century | Recording Artists | Teen Idols | Actors | Academy of Country Music Golden Hat Award | This Day In History January 08 | This Day In History August 16 | Example Profiles of the Week | Memphis, Tennessee | Tupelo, Mississippi | L. C. Humes High School, Memphis, Tennessee | Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards | Fort Hood, Texas | 3rd Armored Division, United States Army | 32nd Armor Regiment, United States Army | Tupelo-Gainesville Tornado Outbreak, 1936 | Graceland's Meditation Garden, Graceland, Tennessee | Rock and Roll Hall of Fame | Country Music Hall of Fame | Gospel Music Hall of Fame | Rockabilly Hall of Fame | Memphis Music Hall of Fame | W. C. Handy Award | Kentucky Colonels | American Music Award of Merit | Tornadoes | Notables | United States of America, Notables