January 8, 1935 - August 16, 1977
August 16 is the 39th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, husband of Priscilla Presley, father of Lisa Marie Presley and one time father-in-law to Michael Jackson. As I have written before, nearly four decades after his death Elvis continues to make far more money than he ever did during his 42 years of life, topping $55 million in 2015.
In his early years the only way we could hear Elvis records in the Bible belt was when friends in the military were stationed in the south and would bring back Elvis recordings. Over time I got to see him twice in concert including during his last tour in 1977. It was June 19 in Omaha, Nebraska and RCA was recording the concert for a new Elvis project. One week later, June 26, he performed his last concert in Indianapolis and died three weeks later.
This much I can tell you. His voice was as powerful as ever that June in 1977 though he appeared to be physically exhausted. There was a certain melancholy in his voice as if he wanted one last time to give his fans what they expected. When he performed his ballets and gospel songs like My Way and The Impossible Dream there was not a dry eye in the auditorium.
Presley almost single-handedly created the genre of rockabilly and rock and roll and he was the first white person to merge the Black blues and gospel with country rock. In 1973 Elvis performed the first global concert via satellite and 1.5 billion people tuned in making it the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in history, including to this day.
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The dance sequence from his movie Jailhouse Rock has been considered one of the best motion picture dance sequences ever recorded which he choreographed himself and I hope you will take a look at the number on the YouTube video I added. This is the Elvis we will always remember, the shy kid from Tupelo, Mississippi who grew up to become King of the world.
Here are some other facts about the King of Rock and Roll.
Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. He married Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967 after a long courtship. Lisa Marie is their only child, and she was born in 1968. Elvis and Priscilla divorced in 1973 and he never married again. Presley died on August 16, 1977 in Memphis, Tennessee at Graceland. He was 42-years-old at the time of his death.
The total net worth of the Elvis Presley estate is reported to be approximately $300 million. The singer rose to fame in 1954 after signing a deal with Sun Records. The recording company sold Elvis’ contract to RCA in 1955, and he began recording for them in 1956. RCA paid $5.4 million for the contract and Elvis and the Colonel split the money. His most popular recordings include Jailhouse Rock, Heartbreak Hotel and Don’t be Cruel. Estimates for his record sales are over the one billion mark.
Thousands of people still visit the home every year to see where the “King” lived. Special celebrations help draw even larger crowds, such as the 60 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll celebration that is being held at Graceland. It is only appropriate considering Elvis is credited with starting the rock and roll era.
So you thought you knew everything about “The King” huh? Here’s 11 random facts that will challenge that theory!
1. Elvis’ hair wasn’t even naturally black! He started dying it in high school. His natural hair color was actually a dirty blonde!
2. His breakout hit, Heartbreak Hotel, was inspired by a local suicide in 1956.
3. Elvis’ Mom bought him his first guitar at age 12 for his birthday. Elvis tried to convince his Mom to get him a rifle, but that wasn’t happening. She insisted a guitar would be a better option.
4. Elvis recorded over 600 songs! BUT, he didn’t write any of them!
5. When Elvis and Priscilla met, he was 24 and she was 14…. kind of creepy!
6. In Florida, Elvis was called a “Savage” and forbidden from shaking his body… So he waggled his finger in rebellion instead. Elvis you savage!
7. It took him 31 consecutive takes to record “Hound Dog.”
8. Elvis’ entourage was called the “Memphis Mafia” and were known for wearing gold and diamond rings with the letters “TCB” on them, which stands for “Taking Care of Businesses.”
9. He made 31 movies in his lifetime!
10. Elvis would let groups of “good looking girls” who waited at the gates of Graceland in to party late at night. The biggest group was said to be 152 women in one night!
11. Oddly enough, Elvis was related to Presidents Abraham Lincoln AND Jimmy Carter!
Do you know more facts about Elvis? Comment below!