Archive from January, 2013

Elvis Presley

As the “King of Rock’n’ Roll, Elvis Aron Presley (1935 1977), leads American singer for two decades and was the most popular singer of the rock ‘n’ roll era.

He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935, to his mom Gladys and dad Vernon Presley. Hi has twin brother, Jesse Caron Presley, whose died shortly after birth. His singing ability was developed when he was in elementary school in Tupelo, and he participated in numerous talent contests in Tupelo and Memphis, Tennessee, where the family then moved when he was thirteen.

In 1953, after he graduated from L. C. Hurnes High School in Memphis, when working as a truckdriver, he began taking his own way to the Memphis Recording Services studio to make his own records. Less than a year later he recorded “That’s All Right Mama” for Sun Records. It became his first commercial release, and selling for 20,000 copies.

Elvis reached the top of the country charts with his song “Mystery Train” in 1955. His first number one song on the “Hot 100″ was “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956), which ranked its position for seven of the 27 weeks on the chart, the song which also reached the top of the country charts, then it became emblematic of his ability to combine country singing with rhythm and blues, as well as with the new rage that had grown out of rhythm and blues: rock ‘n’ roll. The rest of the 1950s brought him to be “the living legend” status with records that included “Hound Dog” (1956), “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956), ” Blue Suede Shoes” (1956), “Love Me Tender” (1956), “All Shook Up” (1957), and “Jailhouse Rock” (1957). He shook the 1960s in similar way with his “It’s Now or Never” (1960) and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” (1960).

He was proclaimed as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” all around the world and brought the new music from its beginnings in the 1950s to its heyday in the 1960s and on to its permanence in the music of the 1970s and the 1980s. His impact on American popular culture was second to none, as he also seemed to affect manner of dress, hairstyles, and even behavior. John Lennon would later cite him as one of the most important influences on the Beatles. Even his shaking hips became legendary as he continued his music conquest to the extent of 136 gold records and ten platinum records. Ultimately he had the most records to top up rating charts and was the top recording artist for two straight decades, the 1950s and the 1960s.

He also grabbed an instant success in TV and movies as well. Millions watched his television appearances on The Steve Allen Show, The Milton Berle Show, The Toast of the Town, and a controversial appearance on the The Ed Sullivan Show, in which cameras were instructed to stay above the hips of “Elvis the Pelvis.” He was an even bigger box office smash, beginning with Love Me Tender in 1956. Thirty two of his movies later had become the top box office draw for twenty years, grossing over $150 miIIion. Although few of his motion pictures received critical acclaim, they showcased his music and extended his image and fame. His movies included Jailhouse Rock (1957), King Creole (1958), G. /. Blues (1960), Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), Viva Las Vegas (1964), arid Spinout (1966). Wild in the Country (1961), based on the J. R. Salamanca novel The Lost Country, marked his debut in a straight dramatic way.

In 1958 he began a well publicized stint in the army. That year, while he was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, his mother, to whom he was closely attached, died. The remainder of his military service was spent stationed in Germany, until his discharge in 1960. It was in Germany that he met Priscilla Beaulieu, his future wife.

His success in the entertainment industry was also accompanied by numerous failures in his personal lite. He arranged to take Priscilla, who still a teenager, live at his new Memphis home, Graceland Mansion, while she finished high school there. He married her in 1967, and she bore him his only child, Lisa Marie Presley, in 1968. In 1973 he and Priscilla were divorced.

During this time, and for his entire career, his personal manager, Col. Tom Parker, controlled his finances. As Elvis’s millions grew, so too did the fiscal mismanagement of Parker, a known gambler. Parker was later prosecuted for his financial dealings, but he was acquitted. Elvis made an estimated $4.3 billion in earnings during his lifetime, but he never acquired a concept of financial responsibility. This caused frequent litigation during and after his lifetime among his management people and several record companies. Elvis had similar luck with his friendships, and frequently surrounded himself with entourage of thugs to shield him from an adoring public.

A weight problem became evident in the late 1960s and in private Elvis became increasingly dependent on drugs, particularly amphetamines and sedatives. His personal doctor, George Nichopoulos, would later be prosecuted, but acquitted, for prescribing and dispensing thousands of pills and narcotics to him.

Though his weight and his drug dependency were increasing, Elvis continued a steady flow of concert performances in sold out arenas well into the 1970s. On August 16, 1977, the day before another concert tour was about to begin, Elvis was found dead in Graceland Mansion by his fiance, Ginger Alden. The official cause of death was heart disease, although the post mortem revelations of his drug dependency created a rnedia event. His death caused unparalleled scenes of mourning.

Elvis continued to be celebrated as superstar and legend as much as in death as he was in life. Graceland Mansion which he had purchased in 1957 for $102,500, is the top tourist attraction in Memphis and has attracted hundreds thousands of visitors from both America and around the world.