Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
How could we forget the king of pop? We can’t Elvis inspired thousands of people! My grandma is obsessed with him. This is such an easy topic to do because I already know so much about Elvis. Elvis was a fascinating character, a man who came from a very humble beginning in America’s south to end up on the top of the music world. He died one of the most influential, popular music stars in modern history. His story began in poverty. His world was heavily influenced by an overprotective mother and Shadowed by the death of his twin brother at birth. History is not a comfortable, glamorous or straightforward one.
To explore the life of the hip-shaking idol means exploring his early childhood, along with his early musician inspiration and his family life. For while his sex appeal and talent came naturally, his looks, his sound and his image were developed and nurtured from his teenage youth. The influence of musicians and key musical industry players helped to really define his public persona and to cement his status as The king. Elvis’s career began and ended with music, a sound that represented his soul, his childhood and the mixed racial and social boundaries of his environment, the king created a new musical spun and genre that would sell over one billion records. No recording artist has matched his achievements since. Elvis still holds the largest number of gold, platinum and multi platinum awards in history! Isn’t that awesome!!?.in the United States alone, Elvis has had over 150 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi platinum by the recording industry association of America. He was given 14 Grammy nominations alone. In addition to such accolades, Elvis has had no less than 149 songs appear on billboard’s hot 100 pop chart in America, with over 90 charted albums and ten of them reaching number one status in the US. Blessed with the movie star looks, he also starred in 33 films and was the first popular music artist to move to the big screen with commercial success. His later years were more difficult for his fans and audiences to digest, and for many the Las Vegas years signaled the decline of Elvis’s musical credibility, looks and health. Regardless, his live shows were insane sell outs and continue to love on today through Elvis impersonators whose performances also insanely sell out, over 50 years since his death. Despite the debate regarding his legacy, Elvis popularity cannot be challenged. Blending incredible talent, and good looks and plenty of personality, Elvis charmed millions and continues to inspire new generations of musicians and stars.
The King of rock and roll was born just before dawn on January 8th, 1935 in a tiny, two room house located in a poor neighborhood of Mississippi, called East Tupelo. “Shotgun house” the style of which represented poor America. Theirs was without electricity and indoor plumbing built by his father, grandfather and uncle. Named Elvis Aaron later changed his name to Aron Presley, he was delivered a little over half an hour after his identical twin brother Jesse Garin, who was a stillborn. He was to be an only child, raised by young parents, who relied on the help of family and welfare to pay for food and basic things even items like diapers were donated by neighbors. When Elvis was born in an own built “shotgun house” and came from nothing he made something huge out of himself. Elvis was devastated by his father’s departure, and locals recalled the young boy would sit on the porch crying, for his father. Elvis and his mother formed an unusually close bond. She was described as over protective of her only son. After her son’s success she said Elvis was always concerned about his mother and father.
When Elvis was only five years old he watched his father help a neighbor put out a fire pit in their house. Elvis’s parents worried about him, and said they asked him to stop playing American football after learning that one young boy had died from a blood clot as a result of playing a game. Elvis’s unique physical beauty was the result of his mixed ancestry. Despite his good looks Elvis was not popular. His first school East Tupelo consolidated recorded a barge academic results and his peers regarded him as a bit of a loner. Elvis was raised Christian but Elvis later questioned his faith his church attendance helped further nurture his belief in music. His tenth year was also the year he was given his first guitar. And that is when his music career started as a young man. He instantly fell in love with the guitar. By that time Elvis and his mother had moved to another home, Elvis was living in a largely African neighborhood, nicknamed “shake rag”. He became strongly influenced by a hillbilly singer called Mississippi slim and gospel music. Slim held a spot on the Tupelo radio station, WELO.
Elvis was obsessed. Slim’s younger brother attended school with Elvis and helped him progress his talent by bringing him into the radio station, even tutoring him on guitar and teaching chord techniques. When Elvis turned 12, slim scheduled him for two live performances at WELO. The first one was a disaster, with Elvis overcome by nerves he did not even begin the performance. The second opportunity was fulfilled and Elvis gave his first radio performance as 12 years old. In 1984 when Elvis was in eighth grade the family moved again. This time they moved out of Tupelo, to Memphis, Tennessee. Still a low income family, they moved into a two bedroom apartment in a public housing complex. According to his parents, Elvis skipped the first day of high school out of fear of being disliked. His father said he always wanted to be liked, and when he isn’t he worries about it. He was bullied by his classmates and was called a “mama’s boy”. It was during his junior year that he started to receive more and more attention, a self styled young man Elvis greased his hair, grew sideburns and wore pants instead of jeans. Elvis’s clothes shopping trips were funded by the various jobs he held in his teen years usher at the local cinema, Leone’s and precision tools. His mother said Elvis helped with the money even when he was in school he would pay the grocery bill $25 $30 no one asked him too he just did it himself. Elvis was also a serious romantic, he fell in love at 13 with a girl from church, Magdalene Morgan, he secretly made a marriage license for them, copied from his parents certificate. Memphis was home to Elvis’s musical beginnings.
By the time Elvis was of age to experience Beale street, some of the nightlife was boozy and seedy, with wailing music heard inside and out of venues. Even though it was a place where black and white could mix without judgement, Elvis was one of few white people visiting Beale street. Elvis, along with thousands of visitors each night, could see blues legends perform, along with street artists while walking home. In Memphis, Elvis had access to not just radio, record stores and church music, he also soaked up music in night clubs on Beale street and played in a band with other boys from the housing complex. The thriving music scene in the Beale street haunts downtown Memphis, where home to black blues and rhythm and blues artists. Elvis was a fan. He would watch acts like big Memphis Ma Rainey and Rufus Thomas. Elvis also listened to his performances and ended up taking some advice on guitar style and lessons. While many people complained that Elvis took his experiences from Memphis and became “the white boy who stole the blues” it is more likely that he was simply moved and inspired by them.
To hear Elvis style is to also heat the influence of big mama Thorton, Arthur “big boy”. Elvis didn’t steal the blues he felt them. The king happened on his first local hit song. Come later that same year, a country radio show called Louisiana hayride invited Elvis to appear. He also made it onto local television some six months after, and a few more of his recorded singles. In October, his second appearance Aried. Come November, the film love me tender was released, to box office success and the panning from critics. The film was originally titled the Reno brothers, but paramount cleverly changed the title to match his chart topping single. And four musical edits were added to the acting film, taking it from a regular acted movie to the first of Elvis famous musical films. In the first year of his national TV debut, Elvis made ten top singles, four of which were number one hits. He had millions of fans and outraged just as many with his suggestive moves and raw sex appeal. He had made it. After one year from going from local star to national not only his own expectations but critics too.
Elvis parents remembered a young Elvis had promised them “when I’m grown up I’ll buy you a big home and two cars. One for you and daddy and one for me” all his life he’d say it out loud what he was going to do for us, and he’d say it in front of other people.” And when he turned 19 and started making money he told his parents “you’ve taken care for me for 18 years now it’s my turn”. It was the Ed Sullivan show sting in January that Elvis received notice from Memphis that it was likely he would be drafted to serve in the military later that year. From early 1957, Elvis was already established as America’s most popular act as an international star. The singles too much, teddy bear, and all shook up would hit number one on the charts. Even where his music was not officially released, Elvis was a star. And just as Elvis had purchased a pink Cadillac car for his mother with his first advance, his first home would also be bought for his parents, as well as himself at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis. Later he moved into a 23 room Memphis mansion, Graceland, an old church that was the dream home for his family. It was also at this time in his career that Elvis began working with songwriters jerry and mike stoller. Penning loving you, the soundtrack to his next film, the pair helped Elvis secure his third straight number one album. The team went on to write the majority of the tracks for jailhouse rock, which the Togolese track also went straight to the top of the charts as a number one single. The Elvis Christmas album was also written by leiber and stoller and became the best selling Christmas album of all time. One December 20th Elvis’s military draft notice came through. He requested a 60 day deferment today finishes the film king creole and during filming the single don’t was released, which gave Elvis his tenth number one.
The heat of 1957 closed with Elvis landing more top 100 songs than any other artist. Elvis was responsible for more than half of the RCA single sales and merchandise brought more than $22million in addition to the earnings made from his films and music. It was time for Elvis to serve in the army. With his parents, family members and some friends, Elvis reported to the Memphis Draft boards in March 24, 1958, where he and other recruits were transported to the Kennedy Veterans memorial hospital. Elvis’s armory serial number was 53 310 716. After swearing in, he was sent to Arkansas where he and the other recruiters were given the G.I haircut. Stationed in Texas, Elvis was then assigned to the second armored divisions “Hell on wheels”. Elvis reporting for duty was, like the rest of his life, as far from ordinary as you could get. It was like a media “circus” with hundreds of reporters and photographers even accompanied him to the base, where he was sworn in. Presley was different. And even while he was stationed in Texas for training, he had a visit from a businessman named Eddie Fadal, he was so concerned with keeping his career alive during his army service that during a two week leave in early June. While Elvis was training, his mother was diagnosed with hepatitis and Elvis was approved for emergency leave on August 12 to see her. Sadly just two days later she passed away. She was 46 and she died of heart failure. He would later name her death the greatest tragedy of his life. At her funeral, Elvis said “you know how much I loved my whole life just for you” and that just shows the impact his mother had on his life and how intensely close they were. Some say he never recovered from her passing. Following his training in Texas, Elvis was assigned to the 3rd Armoured Division and was stationed in west Germany.
The army also had a big impact on his life, some of which would be very positive and some of which was less so. He made friends in the army and took it seriously, which was reinforced by soldiers’ accounts who said he was generous and determined to be considered a good soldier, just like a normal man. He donated his army pay to charities and bought televisions for the base. He studied and practiced karate from his training. Whether the timing of his mother’s death prompted or influenced some of his choices during this period is unknown, but seems likely. Elvis was introduced to amphetamines while on duty, by a sergeant. The effect the drugs had on his energy, strength and weight loss impressed him. And he encouraged others to try them too. Unfortunately, his introduction Would have grave consequences on his health and lifestyle later in his life. Around six months later, Elvis was promoted to sergeant. He was discharged in March. While Elvis had concerns for his career during his army tenure, he was well protected by Parker’s plans and management while he was on duty. Some reported that Parker even encouraged Elvis to serve to gain respect, and that this would also be best as a soldier rather than in serving the special services. It was rumored Elvis was offered the Air Force. Where he would have been able to perform and keep in touch with the general public. Parker was clever, though, he continued to release singles while Elvis was away, even securing a total number of ten hits in his absence. They included two number one singles (wear my ring around your neck, Don’tcha think it’s time, Hard headed woman, Don’t ask me why). Much has been said of Elvis Presley’s love life. The media and public fascination with his sex appeal and attractiveness made it invetable. Much of it, however, is yet to be substantiated.
While Elvis was on the road becoming a start he had a relationship with June Juanico, and it was said of her that she was the only woman Elvis’s mother really approved of. Whether or not this is true or not juanico wrote a book about Elvis, titled Elvis in the twilight of memory and in it she claimed they did not consummate their relationship, mainly because she was scared of becoming pregnant. She also claimed that his manager Parker encouraged Elvis to date and be seen with beautiful women, for publicity. Out of all the women who dared Elvis, some have said he enjoyed an active love life, while others claim he would not pursue sex with them. Anne Helm, ab actress Elvis dated said he “really liked sex, and it was special”. This differs from his relationships with actress June Wilkinson, who he met on the set of king creole, saying “he invited me to dinner at the Beverly Wilshire hotel” then Elvis gave me a tour of his suite, sat me on the bed and sang for two hours. That was it. The next day we had dinner again. He was very sweet, he was friendly. He had more than sex on his mind. He got me to the airport on time. And our paths never crossed again. It was during Elvis’s military service that he met Priscilla Beaulieu, a pretty 14 year old. After a seven and a half year courtship, they married in Las Vegas May 1, 1967. Priscilla Beaulieu was born Priscilla Ann Wagner in Brooklyn, New York in 1945. After her father a pilot was killed in a plane crash when she was a child, her mother and Paul Beaulieu raised Priscilla. Captain Beaulieu was a United States air force officer, who married her mother and raised Priscilla as his own. The beaulieu were stationed in west Germany at the same time as Elvis in his army duty. While in Germany as a regular 14 year old priscilla would “hang out” at the eagles club, listening to the jukebox, just like any other teenager. One day, a man named Currie Grant who claimed to be friends with Elvis approached her. He offered her the chance to meet him. In a television interview with Larry king many years after Elvis’s death, at Graceland, Priscilla said of Elvis “I met Him when I was 14. I was in Germany and he was stationed in Germany. And I was invited to go visit with him. I was at the eagles club, which was a place that military families had to go to to, you know, eat lunch, have entertainment. And I was writing home letters to all my friends. Priscilla was asked to meet Elvis and if she liked him she soon answered the question and was eager to meet Elvis.
In September of 1959, she joined Grant and his wife at Elvis’s house. Priscilla said that Elvis was a very warm hearted person and very friendly. She was scared that she’d never see him again and then he called. Her father, her and mother didn’t think it would be a good idea that she date Elvis but her mother said it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Her father set up her dates and her curfew was 12 every time she went out with Elvis. Elvis was 10 years older than Priscilla at 24 years of age. Only a couple months before her 15th birthday, Elvis was discharged from the army and moved back to the US. When he returned to the US rumors started to appear on how Elvis was dating other women at the time. Priscilla knew they weren’t true and later on Elvis invited her to LA knowing her father would say no but Elvis then convinced him only allowing her to stay with Elvis friends George and Shirley Harris and she’d have to send letters every single day to her mother and father. When she arrived in LA Elvis wanted to change her appearance right away he took her shopping for new clothes and makeup. Elvis liked women with heavy makeup. Priscilla thought she was in love and so was he but it was all controlled by Elvis. When she was visiting Elvis she noticed there were a lot of prescription drugs and they were a part of his everyday life. He would take sleeping pills. She returned to visit Elvis in Graceland for Christmas, and again needed to persuade her parents to allow her to travel to Jim’s at the end of that trip, Elvis attempted to persuade her father to allow her to finish school in Memphis. He offered the finest catholic school and he promised to her father that she would graduate. Just before Christmas in 1966 Elvis went down on bended knee and proposed to Priscilla, with a three and a half carat diamond ring. Two months later Priscilla was pregnant. Shortly after her baby shower Elvis asked priscilla for a separation, saying he was confused. Days later he changed his mind.
On february 1, 1968 their only child, Lisa Marie was born. Elvis loved his daughter and he loved watching her grow, Elvis had to leave for a year and return back to his career and making music. He didn’t have a care in the world due to the fact he had another relationship with Joyce Bova who had also become pregnant and she later had an abortion he was unaware of this at the time. Due to all of the absences from home Priscilla thought he had no interest in her anymore which was true. Priscilla also has to affairs herself and just four years later their marriage was over. They separated in just 5 months time, Elvis had moved his new girlfriend, songwriter and ex beauty queen linda Tomphson.