Elvis Presley was rock & roll’s first real celebrity, leading him to be one of the most important cultural forces in history. He is remembered as a hip-shaking symbol of liberation for the demure America of the 1950s. Considered an average white Southerner, he made a difference in the world with his mixture of contrasting music. He sang blues laced with country, and country laced with gospel, this mixture of genres “brought together American music from both sides of the color line and performed it with a natural sexuality” thus making him the most wanted man alive by teens, he became a teen idol and role model for generations of fans. He was continuously canned as “vulgar, incompetent, and a bad influence,” but the quality of his creation with his music and his image alone were not just a one hit wonder, he started something in the American people. Presley signaled to conventional culture that it was time to let go of the past and accept the inevitable. Decades have passed since his death, yet Presley’s image and influence continues undiminished. Of course we have had some amazing artists enter the world of rock. However, he will forever remain unquestionably The King. This amazing singer and actor is considered to be the most important cultural icon of the 20th century.
Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. He had a very modest upbringing and grew up to become one of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll. Well, THE name, considering he is The King. By the mid-1950s, the musician and actor endured rapid fame, was heard all over the radio, television and the silver screen.
Luckily, Presley was raised by very loving, hard working-class parents. The Presley family had very little money, and they moved from place to place often. He was very close to his parents, especially his mother, Gladys, some would call him a Momma’s boy. Presley was actually supposed to have a twin, Jesse Garon, but unfortunately he was born a stillborn. Leaving him an only child. He was raised to have a strong faith in God. Presley went to church regularly at the Assembly of God Church with his parents, where gospel music was introduced to him thus becoming an important influence for him and his music.
Presley’s first guitar was given to him as a gift from his mother for his 11th birthday in 1946 and had his first musical achievement just a few years later when he attained his first win at a talent show at Humes High School in Memphis. After he graduated in 1953, he worked a lot of jobs but still chased his musical dream. He released his first demo record at a place called Sun Studio that year, and not long after, the record label owner, Sam Phillips, made the risky life-altering decision to take the young prodigy under his wing. This was a big move by Phillips and was probably the smarted thing he ever did. Presley was soon pursuing his dream and was touring and recording, starting the procedure of trying to catch his first big break. Presley's released his first single, “That’s All Right,” in 1954.
In 1955, Presley began to develop a lot of devotional fans. These fans were drawn into his unusual musical style, sexy swinging hips and good looks. He signed with RCA Records that year and made a deal, whom was worked out by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Presley was on fire, achieving his first No. 1 single with "Heartbreak Hotel," as well as his first No. 1 album, and not to mention signing a movie contract with Paramount Pictures—accomplishing this all in 1956, one year! Regardless of the attention he received from his his sexy dance moves, he also became a widespread guest on multiple television variety shows. He was getting big, fast!
Before he knew is, Presley was everywhere. He was well known by all viewers from the radios or TVs. He was known. His first movie in 1956, Love Me Tender, was a huge hit. Even his enrollment in the U.S. military couldn't ruin Presley's thriving career. He got his draft notice in 1957, and was inaugurated into the Army the following March. He then was put to work and completed services in Germany for about a year and a half. Sadly, right before Presley left for Europe, Gladys, his mother, died. He was approved a leave and came back to Memphis for her funeral. Extremely distraught by her death, Presley still resumed duty after this. However, when he was stationed in Germany, his emotional state were boosted somewhat when he met a beautiful, young teenager by the name of Priscilla Beaulieu.
When he was discharged from the Army in 1960, Presley continued his musical career as soon as possible and soon returned back up to the top of the charts with the soundtrack for his next movie released, GI Blues. He then continued to record music and acting, he was a successful actor as well as musician. He was seen in movies such as Blue Hawaii in 1961, Girls! Girls! Girls! in 1962 and Viva Las Vegas in 1964. Though his films were usually good or bad, with both critics and audiences, they brought in a lot of money and the soundtracks also usually sold very well. By the late 1960s, however, this King performer seemed to be losing his touch, his appeal. Validating that he was still the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," he documented his first TV special in 1968, frequently remembered as the "'68 Comeback." He astonished his audiences with his performance, which exhibited his abilities as a singer and a guitarist.
Around about the same time period, Presley's love life also hit a boost. He and Priscilla, the girl he met while in Germany, wed in 1967 and conceived a daughter, naming her Lisa Marie, the next year. Unfortunately, this blissful time for Elvis would be short-lived. By the time of the early 1970s, their marriage seemed to have lost its tough and their love was falling apart. The two ended up getting divorced in 1973, and Priscilla was the one to get custody of Lisa Marie. If this wasn’t hard enough on him, Presley was also fighting other problems in his life. Including a rising addiction to prescription drugs. Elvis began battling a weight problem. Consequently, his negative lifestyle ended up catching up with him that coming fall. He was hospitalized for drug-related health problems.
Despite his personal obstacles with drugs, Presley still remained a popular draw in Las Vegas and on tour. His fans didn’t seem to bothered I guess by his problem. Sadly, he performed his last concert in June of 1977, in Indianapolis, Indiana. After the concert, he went back home to his Memphis mansion, better known as Graceland, to prepare for another tour. Horrifyingly, he would not take another tour.
Sometime in the morning of August 16, 1977, Presley died at the age of 42 with heart failure. It was later revealed that his death was due to his relation with his prescription drug use. Presley was buried on the Graceland property, near the gravesites of his mother, Gladys, father Vernon and grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley. Throughout his life and his amazing career, Presley was known as a world wise sensation and we still feel the pain of this amazing artist’s death today. Thus, influencing popular culture still today. He helped spread rock 'n' roll music in America. He started it all. He won three Grammy Awards for his gospel recordings. He was a major musical force, Presley had a total 18 No. 1 singles, including "Don't Be Cruel," "Good Luck Charm" and "Suspicious Minds," as well as innumerable gold and platinum albums. He was one of the first performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the year 1986. Elvis has been acknowledged for his contributions in several musical genres, most known would be rock, country and gospel. In the year if 1998, Presley was retrospectively inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame; three years later he was also inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Since the time of his death, Presley has continued to be one of the world's most known, popular music icons. Throughout the years, numerous documentaries and films have reconnoitered the performer. This includes a 2005 television miniseries starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Elvis. People have went out of their way to remember and make sure he is recognized for his contribution to popular culture. Presley's Memphis home, Graceland, was turned into a museum. It is open to the public, and fans come from all around the world just to be able to visit the legendary residence year after year, popular dates are especially around Presley's birthday and the anniversary of his death.
Thousands of fans journeyed to Graceland not long ago actually on August 16, 2012 for the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. For a special wake in honor of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Throughout the gathering, fans held lit candles and stood outside of Presley's home. Despite the fact that the Presley family holds a tribute affair each year on the anniversary of Presley's death, the 2012 gathering was different that year. Elvis Presley's ex-wife Priscilla, and daughter Lisa Marie Presley, appeared together for the first time at the yearly event. "You should see this from our point-of-view. It's amazing," Priscilla Presley said during the event, according to the Washington Post. "The candles are lit. It's truly a sight to behold ... This is something that Elvis would never, ever have believed could have taken place here."
Elvis Aaron Presley started the beginning of a new era and was the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. He will forever be remembered, there won’t be a decade or century to ever be passed where Elvis is not recognized for his efforts and courage for this new style of music. He took completely diverse types of music and made them one, he created a whole new life basically, metaphorically speaking. He blended all this together and defeated the odds put against him by social and racial barriers of his time in history. Thus bringing in a new American era of music based pop culture. “He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist.” More than any other artist! Broke records! He will forever be a role model and influence for all types of music, not just country or gospel or blues. All genres. He has made the utmost difference just because he had a dream, and he had the courage to pursue this dreams. Pursuing dreams change lives. If he would not have pursued this dream of his, where would our world of music be today? There would have been no one to influence other artists to pursue their dreams. The world would not be the same world it is today without the legendary influence of Elvis Aaron Presley; The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.