“The King” of Rock and Roll was arguably the most influential popular culture icon of the twentieth century. To this day he is one of the most written about performers of all time. He was born in Tupelo Mississippi to poor and uneducated parents. He grew up loved and protected by them. He grew up a loner, without many friends and had an early appreciation for music. On his tenth birthday he choose a guitar as a present instead of the traditional bike and rifle.
At the age of 13 his family moved to a poor section of Memphis Tennessee. This was where he first was exposed to the gospel and Memphis blues that would so heavily influence his music later on. At nineteen he was still ridiculed in school for having a stutter and being a mama’s boy. In 1953 he graduated from high school, and began wearing his hair in its signature style.
By 1953 Elvis knew he wanted to pursue music and he paid to record his first two sided album. He gave it to his mother. In early 1954 he recorded his second demo. He was picked up by Sun records founder Sam Phillips and by July of 1954 had a local radio hit and was touring. National exposure began in 1956 when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Presley was praised by everyone he worked for being a hard working ad always polite.
In 1957 Elvis received a draft board notice for service in the army, and in March of 1958 he began his army service. He was stationed in Germany where he met his wife to be Priscilla Beaulieu. He left the army in 1960 at the rank of Sergeant. By now he had become more mature and seemed a bit lost on his return to the screen.
Throughout the early 1960s he starred in a series of B movies, but made a huge come back in the late 1960’s. Critics and musicians alike agree that very little of his music from this era was good. Through 1969-71 he continued a string of number one hits “In the Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds”. He released two gold Albums in this period. By now though his battle with drugs and alcohol had taken a heavy toll on him. He divorced in 1973, and had become an isolated overweight man.
He continues touring in the mid seventies to huge crowds and won his third and final Grammy for “How Great Thou Art”. By 1977 he had become a charicature of his younger self. Now grossly overweight and completely reliant on his drugs he was barely able to complete even his shortened concerts. During this last tour, journalists complained he was incomprehensible, and his concert tour was cancelled when the heavily drugged Elvis couldn’t get out of bed to perform.Elvis died of cardiac arrhythmia from taking a large amount of drugs.