Elvis_Presley_Jailhouse_Rock2

I was never a huge Elvis fan, but I appreciated what he did for musical history, especially the history of rock. He was after all The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I think my favorite song of his would probably be A Little Less Conversation, as it is a bit cheeky. The two things I always remembered about Elvis growing up was that he was born in Tupelo, Mississippi (near where my maternal grandparents grew up in the Delta) and that they both listened to him. He was one of the few non-strictly country music stars that they listened to, as when I was growing up I remember finding records of him, along with Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash. It is interesting to note that his music is considered Country, Pop and R&B.

The way I got to know Elvis was through musicals. As I have said numerous times before on the blog, I grew up watching movie musicals from the 1930s-60s. I went through a brief obsession with the 50s and 60s, where I listened to a lot of Beach Boys and other music from that area, and this included movies. So I watched Elvis in movies like Blue Hawaii and Viva Las Vegas. The above photo is from Jailhouse Rock, and shows him with his famous dancing pelvis. Does anyone have any Elvis stories to share?

 Here are some factoids about The King:

  • Elvis is Norse for “all wise.”
  • Elvis’ famous black hair was dyed – his natural color was brown.
  • He was distantly related to former U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter
  • When he was 15 months old, Elvis almost died in a Tupelo, Mississippi tornado, which would have meant that he would have joined his dead-at-birth twin Aaron.
  • Elvis purchased his first guitar when he was just 11 years old. He wanted a rifle, but his mama convinced him to get a guitar instead.
  • At 18, Elvis paid $4 to make his first record, a gift for his mama.
  • In 1954, Elvis auditioned for a gospel quartet named the Songfellows.  They said no.
  • That same year, a local radio DJ played Elvis’ version of That’s All Right.  He went on to play it 13 more times that day, but had trouble convincing his audience that Elvis was white.
  • His breakthrough hit was Heartbreak Hotel, released in 1956 – a song inspired by a newspaper article about a local suicide.
  • When performing on TV in 1956, host Milton Berle advised Elvis to perform without his guitar, reportedly saying, “Let ’em see you, son.”  Elvis’ gyrating hips caused outrage across the U.S. and within days he was nicknamed Elvis the Pelvis.
  • A Florida judge called Elvis “a savage” that same year because he said that his music was “undermining the youth.”  He was subsequently forbidden from shaking his body at a gig, so he waggled his finger instead in protest.
  • Elvis bought his mansion, Graceland, in Memphis, TN in 1957 for $100,000.  It was named by its previous owner after his daughter, Grace.
  • In December 1957, Elvis was drafted into the U.S. Army, earning a $78 monthly salary.  During his brief two-year stint on active duty, he was unable to access his music-generated income of $400,000.
  • In 1959, while serving overseas in Germany, Elvis (then 24 years old) met his future wife, 14 year-old Priscilla Beaulieu.  They were married 8 years later.
  • Elvis’ 1960 hit “It’s Now or Never” so inspired a prisoner who heard it in jail that he vowed to pursue a career in music upon his release.  The artist, Barry White, was then serving a 4-month sentence for stealing tires.
  • “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, a 1961 Presley hit, is set to the melody “Plaisir D’Amour,” an 18th century French love song.
  • Elvis recorded more than 600 songs, but did not write any of them
  • Elvis is the only solo performer to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll, Country, and Gospel Halls of Fame.

 

Resources

Heather Jarvis, Student Loan Counselor at: http://askheatherjarvis.com/blog/25-fun-facts-about-elvis-presley-the-king-of-rock-roll

Connie Wilson on Yahoo Voices, 2010 at: http://voices.yahoo.com/fifty-freaky-flakey-fun-facts-featuring-elvis-presley-5291223.html

CNN Library’s “Elvis Presley Fast Facts” on Aug 30, 2013 at: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/30/us/elvis-presley-fast-facts/

Advertisements