Born: January 8, 1935, Tupelo, MS
Died: August 16, 1977, Memphis, TN
Only in America could a country kid from Tupelo, Mississippi grow up to become King, sell over 600 million records, and become one of the greatest icons in American history.
While amassing 14 Grammy nominations and winning three, Elvis was awarded a Grammy lifetime achievement award at the ripe old age of just 36.
Single handed Elvis brought life and controversy to the fledgling rock and roll movement in the 1950's and by the end of the decade it was the dominate music genre in the world. Every rock and roll success story since his time was because of what he did.
Elvis used television and movies like no other star at the time to make the public aware of him but it was probably the military that helped make Elvis.
Why do I say this? Back in the mid-1950's when Elvis was starting out rock and roll did not exist. He was known locally and some of those early fans were in the military and would take copies of his records to Germany and other bases where they would share them with fellow soldiers from other parts of the country.
One of my closest friends had a brother in the army who was stationed in Germany and when he came home he brought his brother and thus me copies of the early Elvis records.
The Elvis and Priscilla love story remains one of the greatest in rock history as he asked her father, an officer in Germany when Elvis was serving in the military, if he could take his 14 year old daughter under his protection until they were old enough to marry. It was seven years before they were married.
His one child, named Lisa-Marie, went on to become wife to Michael Jackson thus merging two families of the most revered singers in the world.
Elvis was also friends with my favorite 20th century icon Marilyn Monroe thus insuring him a permanent place in my mind.
During his life he reinvented his career several times, had a manager whose love for money made Elvis a fortune but may have cost him a lifetime of unhappiness, and he became addicted to prescription drugs.
Both Elvis and Michael Jackson would die prematurely from an overdose of prescription drugs. Still, he remains one of the greatest icons of the 20th century. Happy birthday Elvis.