Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935 to his parents Vernon and Gladys Presley in their home. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was a stillborn so Elvis grew up without any siblings. In 1948 Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee and he graduated there from Humes High School in 1953.
Elvis’s musical influence came from the pop and country music of his time, the gospel he sang in church, and the all-night-gospel sings, and the black R&B he absorbed as a Memphis teenager.
In the summer of 1954 Elvis was teamed up with Scotty Moore (guitar) and Bill Black (bass). On July 5 the guys broke into a sped-up version of ‘That’s All Right.’ This song was backed with “Blue Moon of Kentucky’ and became the first of five singles Elvis released on the Sun Label. The guys then continued to record and travel, performing at smalltime gigs.
On November 20, 1955 Elvis signed his first contract with RCA Records and became the hottest new star in the music business. Two days after his twenty-first birthday he had his first recording session for RCA at the Nashville studio, it was then that he recorded ‘Heartbreak Hotel.’
January 27, 1956 ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and ‘I Was the One’ was released by RCA. These songs sold over 300,000 copies within the first three weeks of sales. ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ later went to number one on Billboard’s pop singles chart and stayed there for eight weeks. It was able to make it to number one on the country chart and number five on the R&B chart. This was his first single that sold more than one million copies.
Not only was Elvis talented musically, he also had the ability to act. He starred in 33 successful films and made history with television appearances and specials. Some of his movies included: Love Me Tender, Loving You, and Jailhouse Rock to name a few.
Elvis lived a very successful life and a busy career until his death on August 16, 1977. He was found on his bathroom floor lying there unconscious. The cause of his death was heart failure. The news was released in the mid-morning and by the afternoon the entire nation was mourning over the death of “The King.”