Born: January 8, 1935
Died: August 16, 1977 Place of Birth: Tupelo, Mississippi
Elvis Presley changed America's social consciousness through his music and lifestyle.
Born to Vernon and Gladys Presley, he was a twinless twin as his brother Jesse was stillborn.
As a twinless twin, some psychiatrists now believe that would factor in the life of Elvis Presley as, with his particular
personality, he would have pondered about his brother's death on occasion.
Presley was born into poverty but his mother made sure that he was exposed to religion and gospel music.
His father worked at picking tobacco but was once sent to prison for fraudulently cashing a cheque.
Presley was the winner of a singing contest when he was ten performing a ballad, "Old Shep."
His parents rewarded Presley by buying him a guitar for his 11th birthday.
In 1953, Elvis Presley graduated from Humes High School in Memphis, Tennessee.
As a teenager, Presley would often visit the bars along Beale Street where he learned rhythm and blues.
In 1954, he visited Sun Records and recorded two songs as a birthday gift to his mother.
The owner, Sam Phillips, had been seeking a white artist who could sing the style and songs of a black man.
Phillips recorded and released a song entitled "That's All Right, Mama" which became a moderate seller.
Presley had taken songs and put them to what was termed a rockabilly beat.
He began playing a series of one night stands and outdoor shows in the southern states.
Highly impressed by the public reaction for Presley, Phillips sold his recording contract to RCA Records.
By 1956, Elvis Presley was becoming a national singing star under the management of Colonel Tom Parker.
Over the next four years, Presley was elevated to stardom as his records reached best-selling peaks, he made appearances on several TV shows,
and he even made his first movie, "Love Me Tender."
In 1958, his career was interrupted as he was drafted into the US Army.
Unfortunately in the same year, Gladys Presley died and left Presley completely devastated.
Presley surprised many by showing leadership in the army where he rose to the rank of Sergeant.
Not known to take drugs or alcohol as a rule, Elvis Presley became hooked on drugs to keep him awake as
he coupled his time in the army with too many long night hours.
Presley was discharged in 1960 and over the next 17 years he appeared in over 30 movies, all of which made a profit, and did several TV specials including the first show to be sent to the world by satellite.
His albums continued to sell in the millions although the hits were few and far between.
In 1967 Presley married Priscilla Anne Beaulieu, had a child "Lisa" nine months later, only to have the marriage end in divorce in 1973.
He was voted by the Chamber of Commerce in 1970 as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation.
He continued to make concert tours that were taking a toll on him as he became addicted to numerous "legally prescribed" drugs.
On August 16, 1977, at age 42, Presley was found dead of a heart attack in his bathroom at his home he called "Graceland."
His funeral was huge and the official funeral party was made up of 17 white cadillacs.
Since his death, his records have continued selling and in 2002, he had the number one selling album for a number of weeks.
In 2004, another release of his "That's All Right, Mama" celebrating the 50th anniversary of rock 'n roll reached the Billboard top 10.
Elvis Presley is noted for being the best-selling dead star as his records and memorabilia typically reach 50 million dollars a year.
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