Elvis Aaron  Presley, popularly known by his first name Elvis, (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American musician, actor and performer. Presley became an essential figure of rock and roll and sang rock music, rockabilly, country, blues, and gospel. He has become an American cultural icon and a major figure in American popular culture. Presley is often known as "The King of Rock n' Roll" or simply "The King" (Presley preferred the latter epithet not be used as he stated that only Jesus Christ is King). Since his death, Presley has been referenced in many songs, books, movies, television shows and other forms of media, and his legacy has generated tremendous revenue from sales of his works to tours of Graceland, which confirms his continuing cultural relevance. Las Vegas culture is now in a sense synonymous with Presley.
On December 21, 1970, Presley met with President Richard Nixon at the White House as initiated by Presley's six-page letter offering to help oppose "the drug culture, the hippie elements, the SDS, Black Panthers etc." During their meeting Presley "stressed his love of his country and told Nixon he was 'on your side.' He also said he had been studying 'communist brainwashing' and that the Beatles had been 'a real force for anti-American spirit.'" The picture of this meeting is requested more from the National Archives than even the U.S. Constitution.
Presley died on August 16, 1977 of complications due to prescription drug abuse and poor eating and health habits; he died in his home, Graceland, from cardiac arrest, a day before he was scheduled to go back on tour.
Presley has been inducted into four music halls of fame, received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971, and was nominated for fourteen Grammy Awards, winning three, all for gospel songs (ironically, though considered "The King of Rock and Roll", he never won a Grammy Award in a competitive rock category). He has also earned more than thirty number one hits, including the posthumous remix of "A Little Less Conversation". He also had ten #1 albums, tying him with Bruce Springsteen for number of #1 albums; only the Beatles (19) and Jay-Z (12) have more.
Presley is one of the most important popular culture icons of the twentieth century, and the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music. He was one of the originators of rockabilly, an uptempo fusion of country music and rhythm and blues.
Vernon Elvis Presley (April 10, 1916- June 26, 1979) was the father of Elvis Presley. He was born in Fulton, Mississippi. He was born to Jesse D. McClowell Presley and Minnie Mae Hood. He married Gladys Presley (born Gladys Love Smith; April 25, 1912- August 14, 1958) on June 17, 1933 in Verona, Mississippi. Presley was born in a two-room house without running water or electricity in East Tupelo, Mississippi to Gladys Love and Vernon Presley. Presley's identical twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, was stillborn 35 minutes before him. Presley's mother Gladys almost died from the birth and both were taken to the hospital. The Presley family lived in near-poverty during the early years of Presley's life. They were on welfare and got help from their neighbors. Vernon supported the family by working different odd jobs. Despite living in poverty, Presley benefited from a closely knit family. On May 25, 1938 Vernon was sentenced for three years in the Mississippi State Penitentiary for check forgery. During the brief time Vernon spent in prison, Gladys and Presley had to temporarily live with Gladys' in-laws next door. Vernon was released on February 6, 1939 on account of good behavior.
Presley received a guitar for his eleventh birthday. The store owner said he wanted a rifle. Some other variants of the story claim he wanted a bicycle, though accounts from those who knew Presley during his earlier life say that what he wanted was most likely the rifle. However, Gladys did not want her son to have one and he eventually settled on the guitar. He would often sing in school for his classes, and they were pleased with him.
The Presley family moved to Memphis, Tennessee on November 6, 1948, where a thirteen-year-old Presley was influenced by the gospel music of an Assembly of God Pentecostal church. He was also influenced by country, pop and the African American music he heard on the streets of Memphis. On September 20, 1949, the Presley family moved to a building complex in Memphis. He was exposed to a great deal of music and was in a band with four other boys. Vernon, Gladys, and the teenage Presley worked various jobs to support the family. However, the family stayed closely knit. After graduating from L.C. Humes High School in Memphis in 1953, Presley worked at Crown Electric as a truck driver to pay for recording sessions at Sun Records. Sun Records, under the control of Sam Phillips, asked Presley who he sounds like and when he said "I don't sound like nobody," he was allowed to record music for his mother.
Presley's professional career carried him from his first single in 1954 to his death in 1977, spanning twenty-three years. He influenced the musical world immensely during this time creating basically what modern pop music is today. He also delved into acting during his career though his records and concerts were the most influential most prominent and longest part of his career. From a poor boy in a small town to international icon to one of the most legendary and influential persons to ever live, Presley had a huge impact in the relatively short career he had breaking barriers in music and culture from youth rebellion to becoming one of the standards in Las Vegas and beyond. Many people have heard more than one song by Presley, and he remains one of the most admired and celebrated musicians of all time with numerous prominent musicians citing him as an influence.
After graduating from high school, Presley paid to record two songs meant to be a birthday gift to his mother. The songs “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” would be his first steps toward becoming what many say was the greatest entertainer of the century and “the King of Rock n’ Roll.”
In 1954 Sun Records released “That’s All Right,” a 45 rpm record with the B-side “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” Within a few days it was a hit when Memphis radio station WHBQ began programming the record and Presley began a regular touring schedule outside of the Memphis area. His second single, “Good Rockin' Tonight,” with “I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine” was released in September, 1954 and a month later Elvis Presley made his first appearance on the “Louisiana Hayride”, a country music radio show, in Shreveport to the delight of a large audience. He was signed to a one-year contract with the Hayride for a weekly performance.
Elvis Presley moved from Sun Records to RCA by suggestion of his manager Colonel Tom Parker, who officially became Presley's manager after his contract with former manager Bob Neal expired on March 26, 1956. RCA paid $35,000 to Sun and $5,000 to Presley, a sum unheard of at that time. A few months later in 1956 his first single on the RCA label “Heartbreak Hotel,” topped the charts at #1.
Elvis Presley had a physical style in his concerts that was considered by many to be suggestive and scandalous. He gyrated his body with the music, in a way that would be considered tame by contemporary standards, but was unheard-of at the time. He was sometimes given the name "Elvis the Pelvis" for this, and was sometimes shown in television concerts only from the waist up.
Ed Sullivan Shows
Presley first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956, despite Sullivan personally vowing he would never have Presley on the show. Sullivan entered Presley after rival Steve Allen received a jump in ratings due to Presley's appearance on his show. His second appearance on the Sullivan show was on October 28, 1956. That appearance included Elvis performed "Don't Be Cruel", and "Love Me Tender", as well as a four-minute version of "Hound Dog". As Sullivan stood behind Presley during the show, addressing the audience, Presley began shaking his legs, eliciting an uproar from the audience. As Sullivan stood his head, Presley became motionless. After Presley was leaving the stage, Sullivan said "I can’t figure this darn thing out. You know. He just does this [Sullivan shakes his legs] and everybody yells." The third and final show was on January 6, 1957. This show sparked controversy, as Presley was shot only from the waist up. It was seen as censoring his hip gyrations. Presley responded by wiggling his finger and causing an uproar in the audience.
A multiple Grammy award winner, in his first dozen years Presley had 100 hits on the Billboard charts and was the most famous entertainer in the world. Presley's first released single was "That's All Right" under the Sun label. It was after Colonel Parker transferred Presley to RCA that he would record his first number-one hit, "Heartbreak Hotel". The song was Presley's first #1 hit, released in 1956. It was the first single Presley recorded for RCA. it was a multiplatinum single for Presley. Stan Freberg parodied the song, making fun of the use of the echo chamber in the original song as well as Presley's hip gyrations, with the singer ripping his jeans for the third time that day and drowning in background music.
His early music was mainly rock, such as his hit singles "Blue Suede Shoes," "Hound Dog", "Don't Be Cruel", and "All Shook Up". He also recorded gospel songs, such as "Peace in the Valley", which Presley said was one of his mother's favorite songs. During his Hollywood career, the main music Presley produced were movie soundtracks. After his career in film, Presley recorded a slew of new material at various studios. Included in these sessions were several gospel albums including His Hand in Mine (1960). He later had a studio built in his home that was called the Jungle Room.
Presley was in second place as a top-earning, deceased celebrity (after Michael Jackson), earning approximately $55 million per year. Most of this income is derived from admissions to Graceland, licensing and merchandising. A Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas that is based on his music also contributes. Sales of music and movies also contributed significantly.
- See also: filmography at the end of the article, separate articles on films
Presley starred in thirty-three enormously profitable films, most of which were lighthearted comedic musicals. His first film, Love Me Tender, a western, was released in 1957, in which Presley plays Clint Reno, the youngest of the four Reno brothers. He takes care of the house while his older brothers go to fight for the Confederates in the American Civil War. His film Loving You was released soon after. In the movie, Presley plays Deke Rivers, a delivery man. The film originally had three working titles; Lonesome Cowboy, Something for the Girls, and Running Wild, but it was titled Loving You to match the title song.
He then starred in Jailhouse Rock, playing an anti-hero character. Jailhouse Rock was Elvis Presley's third movie and arguably his most controversial. In this film, Presley played a convict named Vince Everett. It peaked at number 3 on Variety box office chart. The film was number 14 in the Box Office charts for that year, grossing over $4 million. ($36.3 million adjusted for inflation) For a while, Presley was one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors. He starred in King Creole, for which he deferred his Army service to star in. After his service, he starred in G.I. Blues He was cast in light, clean-cut roles during the 1960s, and Presley was not happy about it, since he aspired to be a serious actor. These feature films were generally poorly received by critics, often for "them all being the same", but still sold extremely well, and were popular with fans. Charro! was an exception, as it did not feature music other than a title song. After his final feature film in 1969, the only Presley films released were concert documentaries, such as Elvis:That's the Way it Is.
While Presley's films were poorly received by critics at the time the movies were released, they are generally positively received with modern critics.
Presley started work on two karate films, The New Gladiator (1974) and Billy Easter (1977). The former starred Presley and other fighters training and then competing in tournaments around the world. The latter involves an ex-CIA agent who then owns a karate school getting revenge on drug dealers for the murder of his best friend. Neither of these karate films were finished in their entirety or released.
During his career, Presley performed many concerts. Many of these concerts were sold out and fans waited for days in line just to buy tickets. His first concerts were performed in the late 1950s, and these were the most provocative of Presley's concerts. His other major concert era came after his career in film which was from the late 1960s to Presley's death in 1977. He performed in Las Vegas and did a road tour for those who could not make it out to Vegas unlike many performers at the time who would have been content in their shows and dressing room in Las Vegas.
Presley started touring in the 1950s and he caused controversy over his hip gyrations and music. The older generation thought his style was vulgar. As a result, Presley's performances on television were often shot from the waist up so it would not offend anyone. Many of Presley's fans were young women, and they would often scream incessantly at his concerts, a practice which has since become commonplace during concerts of male heartthrobs. His style of dancing came from nervousness of dancing in front of women. Presley was panned by critics at his first performance in Las Vegas in the 1950s for his "vulgar" performance, but was well received later on and is now culturally associated with Las Vegas.
In 1956, Presley made his network television debut with the first of his six appearances on Stage Show, a weekly variety program hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. On The Milton Berle Show, he performed "Hound Dog" and the performance was considered very provocative for the time.
1968 Comeback Special
Presley stopped touring while he was in Hollywood until 1968, when his special Elvis or also called the '68 Comeback on NBC. The network originally wanted it to be a soft Christmas special with Presley in a tuxedo, but Presley did a rock performance in leather. He saw this as his comeback from his films to live performing. He performed many of his previous hits, and had a gospel section of the performance which included the famous song "If I Can Dream". The concert was later sold on VHS and DVD by Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Colonel Parker originally wanted the show to be a Christmas performance with little more than Presley performing Christmas carols. He believed that this could be a television version of the Christmas show Presley performed the year before. However, producer Steve Binder felt that this would not be best for the singer since they wanted to reestablish his reputation with this concert after he made many films and recordings of varying quality.
The concert consisted of an informal jam session with Presley performing in front of a small audience consisting of friends and family members. He performed hits such as "Heartbreak Hotel", "Jailhouse Rock", and "Don't Be Cruel".
The band that performed was:
- Elvis Presley: vocals, guitars
- D. J. Fontana: drumming, using a guitar case
- Alan Fortas: guitar back-slapping, occasional vocals
- Charlie Hodge: acoustic guitar, occasional vocals
- Lance LeGault: guitar back-slapping, tambourine
- Scotty Moore: guitars
1970s Live Concerts
After two more feature films, The Trouble With Girls and Change of Habit, the only other films Presley starred in were concert documentaries. In 1969, he performed a series of concerts at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Between 1969 and 1976, Presley performed in Vegas at locations such as the Hilton Hotel, as well as a road tour. Despite deteriorating health, Presley performed over a thousand sold-out concerts during the 1970s. He performed some of his early hits, as well as new hits and cover versions of songs by artists such as The Beatles, the Righteous Brothers, and Chuck Berry. He was accompanied by gospel quartets, an orchestra, and other band members. He was notorious for wearing various extravagant jumpsuits during these concerts and for passing out scarves that typically contained his perspiration from dancing on stage to (usually) female fans. He occasionally gave extravagant rings to audience members.
These concerts contained backing by several gospel bands including the Jordanaires, the Imperials and the all female group the Sweet Inspirations as well as a full orchestra and members of Presley's original band. During this time he balanced between breaks, recording for albums, and touring.
Aloha from Hawaii
Aloha from Hawaii was a concert performed by Presley that was originally broadcasted live via satellite on January 14, 1973. The amount of people who viewed the concert is debatable. Several sources, including Elvis Presley Enterprises, say that over a billion people watched the concert worldwide, and it is the most watched broadcast starring an individual entertainer. Some other sources claim that this figure was created by Colonel Tom Parker, and that only several hundred million viewed the concert. The concert was shot at the Honolulu International Center (HIC) in Honolulu, Hawaii. The concert did not air in the United States until April 4, 1973 (the same day as the Super Bowl). This was the most expensive entertainment show at that time, costing over $2.5 million.
The concert featured an array of Presley's early and recent hits, including "Hound Dog", "Steamroller Blues", "See See Rider", "Early Morning Rain", "Burning Love", "Blue Suede Shoes", "A Big Hunk o' Love", "Can't Help Falling in Love", "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", "It's Over", "Welcome to my World", "I'll Remember You" and "What Now My Love", and "Suspicious Minds", as well as covers of songs including Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and The Beatles' "Something".
Presley was accompanied by:
- James Burton (lead guitar)
- Charlie Hodge (acoustic guitar/vocals)
- Glen Hardin (piano/keyboards)
- Ronnie Tutt (drums)
- John Wilkinson (rhythm guitar)
- Jerry Scheff (bass)
- J.D. Sumner & the Stamps Quartet (vocals)
- Kathy Westmoreland (vocals)
- The Sweet Inspirations (vocals)
- Joe Guercio & his Orchestra
Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, decided that he was going to air a live concert via satellite since it was impossible for Presley to tour in every major city. It was inspired by a visit to China on July 8, 1972 made by then-President Richard Nixon. Parker initially wanted the concert to take place in late 1972, but was changed to 1973 since MGM was releasing its Elvis on Tour concert documentary. On September 4, 1972, Parker held a conference announcing the Presley concert would air on January 14 the next year. The show aided the Kui Lee Cancer Fund.
Presley arrived in Hawaii on January 9, 1973, having lost twenty-five pounds for the show, to begin rehearsing.
The concert was performed on January 14, 1973. Presley was wearing an eagle jumpsuit designed by Bill Belew. The show was directed by Marty Pasetta. He performed hits such as "See See Rider", "Steamroller Blues", "Hound Dog", I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", and "Can't Help Falling in Love". After the concert ended, Presley performed five songs including "Hawaiian Wedding Song" and "Early Morning Rain" that would be included in the American broadcast.
Elvis Lives Concerts
After Presley's death, concerts were put together using past live performances of Presley's, and his original band played live on stage with Presley's concert footage on a large screen via computer technology. Everything from the performances but Presley's voice is edited out, and gives the simulation of a real concert. Many sold-out concerts were performed across the world. Presley could not perform in many different countries due to his manager, Colonel Tom Parker's immigration status.
The tours started in 1997, and has been extremely popular throughout the world. A concert was conceived on August 16, 1997 (twenty years after Presley's death) after EPE was experimenting with Presley recordings and discovered through multitracking how to remove virtually all background music except Presley's voice, and it featured Presley's original 1970s back-up band (TCB Band), his back-up singers (The Stamps Quartet, The Imperials, The Sweet Inspirations and Millie Kirkham) and was performed at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis.
In 2007, a DVD of the twenty-fifth anniversary concert was sold.
At the age of eighteen, like all young American men, on January 19, 1953, Presley registered for the Selective Service system. At the time, there was a draft and all young men in good health were to be able to serve two years in the military, and then spend four years in the reserves. Presley, after signing up, became the sensation he was. Then Presley received a draft notice, No. 40-86-35-16 on December 20, 1957, but sought deferment to finish his film King Creole. Presley went to the Memphis Draft Board on March 24, 1958 to be processed into the Army. Presley was offered a chance to be in the Special Services of the Army where he would entertain the troops, but Presley decided to be drafted as a regular soldier to have a more positive rapport with his fellow troops. He then spent 10 weeks in advanced tank training in Fort Hood, Texas. Presley returned soon after to see his mother, Gladys, who was gravely ill. She died on August 14, 1958. Presley served for two years and was assigned as an M48 Patton tank crewman to Company A, 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32nd Armor Regiment of the 3rd Armored Division. He was stationed at Ray Barracks in Friedberg, Germany. Presley was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
While Presley was processed at Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith, Arkansas, John Mawn, the public information officer, was assigned to reply to the media when Presley's draft notice became public. Presley received his "G.I. haircut" at Fort Chaffee on March 25, 1958, a day after his induction by the draft board in Memphis, Tennessee. Earlier, Mawn told an Associated Press reporter that the already legendary entertainer would look like a "peeled onion", a retort which garnered national headlines. Presley himself said simply, "Hair today, gone tomorrow." Mawn went on to be technical adviser for Presley's 1960 film, G.I. Blues.
It was while stationed in Germany that Presley first developed his lifelong interest in martial arts. He was a student of Hank Slemansky, a German Chito Ryu master, and became a black belt upon returning to the United States in 1960. His gospel album "His Hand in Mine," released in 1961, features Presley on the cover, sitting at the piano wearing a black belt pin. He earned black belts from several famous instructors.
He later came under the tutelage of Kendo master Ed Parker, who said that Presley was an excellent martial artist and actually knew the contents of the IKKA manual for Kendo better than he did. Presley was able to achieve a 6th degree black belt in Kendo by 1973.
Elvis Presley is credited with popularizing martial arts in the United States through the use of exciting fight sequences in his movies, for which he did not use a stuntman. In 1960, while filming the film G.I. Blues, he accidentally injured his hand with enough force to cause it to swell up noticeably. He finished the filming regardless, and was known among other martial artists for his high tolerance for physical punishment.
Some of Presley's jumpsuits in the 1970s were based on karate outfits, and allowed him to perform karate-style moves on stage.
Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu, who was fourteen years old when they met in 1959, ten years younger than Presley, on May 1, 1967. Presley met her while he was in the Army, stationed in Germany. Both of them wanted children. Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' only and Priscilla's first child, was born on February 1, 1968. During the marriage, Elvis had many affairs. Priscilla tried to repair the marriage, but she was largely unsuccessful. The marriage ended on October 9, 1973 and affected Presley for the rest of his life; this was evidenced by the fact that many of Presley's recordings later in his career were about lost love. An entire album, From Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis, Tennessee released in 1976, was virtually made up entirely of lost love songs.
Presley was a lifelong collector of firearms, including a silver-plated Colt 45 which he presented to President Nixon. At the time of his death, he had a collection of 37 handguns, an unknown number of rifles and at least one machine gun. One of his handguns, a Walter PPK he gave to actor Jack Lord, fetched $28,800 at auction.
In 2007, an unidentified thief stole a 9mm Smith and Wesson from a Graceland display case during an event celebrating the 30th anniversary of his death. The thief apparently abandoned the gun in a toilet, where it was found by a janitor and soon after returned to police.
Presley was known to shoot guns at televisions if they displayed something he did not like.
Presley came from a Christian background; he had a superficially religious family and they attended First Assembly of God Church in East Tupelo, Mississippi, and then First Assembly of God in Memphis after the family moved. During his career, he was accompanied by several different gospel groups including The Jordanaires, The Stamps, and The Imperials. He recorded several gospel albums beginning with His Hand in Mine. After concerts, Presley would often perform gospel music all night with some of his band members and friends. It is unknown whether Presley was a devout Christian. However, Presley would often reference his faith in Jesus Christ on stage.
After becoming famous, Presley spoke to a pastor and said (according to the pastor) "Pastor, I’m the most miserable young man you’ve ever seen. I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need to spend. I’ve got millions of fans. I’ve got friends. But I’m doing what you taught me not to do, and I’m not doing the things you taught me to do." It was also noted that Presley had indeed concocted a personal religion consisting of " “a personalized religion out of what he’d read of Hinduism, Judaism, numerology, theosophy, mind control, positive thinking and Christianity.” There is much ambiguity about the nature of the religion of Presley.
Rev. Sun Myung Moon considered making a movie of Presley's life, also considering the life of Jesus as a topic but made "Incheon!" instead. After his death, a copy of Moon's Divine Principle was found on a Graceland bookshelf.
Presley was often seen as apolitical, though he supported Democrats like John F. Kennedy and challenger to Eisenhower in 1956 Adlai Stevenson. However, Presley had a positive view of Republican Richard Nixon, and even met Nixon in person. Presley was less of a liberal, as he had a particular disdain of hippie culture and called for Nixon to prevent The Beatles from entering the United States.
Elvis Presley died at the age of 42 in his home in Memphis on August 16, 1977. The cause of death was believed to be cardiac arrest related to overuse and overdoses of prescription drugs such as codeine, Valium, morphine, and Demorol, combined with poor eating habits.
He was scheduled to fly to Portland, Maine that night, do a show the next day, and finish his tour. During the early morning of the 16th, Presley was taking care of last minute details. He went to his suite at 7 AM and died of heart failure. Within hours, the news was being announced on the radio, and grief struck the nation. Callers would even ask jockeys to tell their stories about Presley.
Presley has had a great effect on music; this includes a satellite radio station dedicated to playing his songs, his home is a historic landmark which attracts many visitors from across the world, and many entertainers make a living impersonating him. Presley also makes the most money of any deceased performer aside from Michael Jackson. The Ronnie McDowell song "The King is Gone" released after Presley's death showcased McDowell's great ability as an Elvis impersonator while recollecting his childhood memories of listening to Presley's songs as a kid and mourning over Presley's death.
Presley brought the soul music of African Americans performing on the streets of Memphis to a new, much larger audience through his early recordings, such as his cover of Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right."
Elvis Presley Enterprises
Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) originally founded by former manager Neal in 1954, created Graceland as a tourist attraction, secured copyrights for Presley's image and intellectual property. They have become the official organization to sell Presley merchandise. Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley are involved with and solely owned the company, until CKX Inc. acquired an 85% stake with Lisa Marie with a 15% stake.
EPE is responsible for all legally produced Presley merchandise such as music, movies, costumes, action figures, hot sauces, and any other piece of Presley memorabilia.
For a more detailed treatment, see Graceland.
Graceland is the former residence of Presley and is where he is buried, after being moved from Forest Hill Cemetery at 1661 Elvis Presley Blvd due to an unsuccessful break-in by graverobbers. It is a large white-columned mansion located on 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis about nine miles away from Downtown Memphis and less than four miles north of the Mississippi border. The Elvis Presley estate earns over $40 million and draws over 600,000 tourists yearly, a record for a deceased entertainer. Graceland Mansion, his home while alive, and his burial place, is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Graceland garners many tourists, and is second only to the White House in number of tourists visiting a private residence. Tourists are invited to see much of the house and the meditation garden where the family is buried, but the upstairs is reserved for Presley's family.
After Presley died, his father Vernon was responsible for the house. When he died in 1979, Priscilla took over. A CEO, Jack Soden, was responsible for making Graceland a moneymaker, since Priscilla could not afford the upkeep of the house, which was over $500,000 a year.
Presley's legacy is such that many entertainers have made careers emulating him in voice, looks, or both. They are called Elvis Tribute Artists, or informally as Elvis impersonators. Professional Elvis impersonators highlight in Las Vegas and other areas across the United States and around the world.
Elvis impersonators are in great demand due to the iconic status of Presley, and many of these tribute acts exist. The first recorded Elvis impersonator was Jim Smith in 1956, shortly after Presley began to rise in popularity. Smith looked like and imitated Presley, but was just pretending since he could neither sing nor play the guitar. The first influential Elvis impersonator was Phil Ochs in 1970. Andy Kaufman was a significant Elvis impersonator in the mid 1970s and Presley himself said Kaufman was his favorite. While Presley was alive, impersonators largely competed in talent shows. It was after Presley's death the art grew into the industry it is today. Elvis impersonators range from professional performers to people who do it as a hobby to people who do it as part of a comedy act. There is also an Elvis Tribute Artist contest sponsored by Elvis Presley Enterprises.
In addition to Las Vegas, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a popular spot for Elvis impersonators.
Doug Church is considered to be the Elvis impersonator with the closest voice to Presley's. He recorded an album of cover songs that caused some to believe Presley was still alive since those songs were recorded originally after Presley's death.
An Elvis impersonator (Joseph Hall) did well on America's Got Talent in 2008.
Jimmy "Orion" Ellis' natural voice sounded almost exactly like Presley's which was a double edged sword for him, which resulted in his rise to fame, and ridicule as if he were imitating Presley, hence his song "I'm Not Trying To Be Like Elvis". He also covered several songs of Presley's in addition to his original music.
Sirius-XM Elvis Radio
With the launch of satellite radio, a channel dedicated entirely to the works of Elvis Presley was created. The 24 hour station plays his studio recordings, live performances (nights are often dedicated to playing a Presley concert in its entirety), lost and rare studio sessions and interviews with many of Presley's former friends, acquaintances and bandmates. The station is located in Memphis across the Graceland estate. The Elvis Quiz Show is periodically hosted on the network, where fans can answer questions about Presley and his work to earn prizes. The station dedicates Sunday mornings to Presley's gospel recordings.
Conspiracies about Presley faking his death
Immediately after his death, people have speculated that Presley faked his death. National Enquirer published an article claiming the photo of Presley in his casket was actually taken of a double of his body. A claim to justify this belief is that Presley faked his death being tired of fame. There have also been claims of people seeing Presley, but these were most likely Elvis impersonators. While these claims are pure speculation and do not have validity, they are prominent in American popular culture.
However, a considerable amount of people believe that Presley did not die in 1977. They believe that he went into hiding and is still alive today. People have even made claims that they have seen Presley after his death.
Even though there is almost no probability of Presley being alive, it would not be an impossibility; Presley would be 87 years old if he had not passed away.
Some people who believe these conspiracies believe them because Presley had his middle name changed from Aron to Aaron.
- Presley's favorite sandwich was peanut butter and banana. He often deep fried the sandwiches and sometimes added bacon to them. He also enjoyed hamburgers and jelly donuts.
- He would buy cars for family, friends, and even complete strangers.
- He would rent out amusement parks and other establishments, or at least go after hours, because he did not want to run into a huge swarm of fans.
- Presley recorded a song called "Miracle of the Rosary, despite having no known Roman Catholic background; the song thanks God for the Rosary and then proceeds into a Hail Mary. (Ave Maria)
- Presley has sold over a billion records globally.
- Presley only performed in three cities outside the U.S., which are Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto, Canada. This is because of the influence of Col. Parker, despite overwhelming fan demand Presley to perform internationally.
- Presley purchased Graceland for $102,500 (equivalent to about $891,000 in 2017) in 1957 at age 22.
- Presley's natural hair color was a sandy blonde; he dyed it black.
- Presley was six foot even in height and wore a size eleven shoe
- Presley in live performances of "Are Tou Lonesome Tonight?" sang a changed lyric of "Do you look at your bald head and wish you had hair?" instead of the original "you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?" presumably for comedic effect.
- Despite getting a few songwriting credits, Presley never wrote one of the many songs he recorded.
"Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine."
"A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage. It's my favorite part of the business, live concerts."
"Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity."
"I don't do any vulgar movements."
"I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to."
"I don't think I'm bad for people. If I did think I was bad for people, I would go back to driving a truck, and I really mean this."
"I hope I didn't bore you too much with my life story."
"I never expected to be anybody important."
"I sure lost my musical direction in Hollywood. My songs were the same conveyer belt mass production, just like most of my movies were."
"I think I have something tonight that's not quite correct for evening wear. Blue suede shoes."
"I was training to be an electrician. I suppose I got wired the wrong way round somewhere along the line."
"I've never written a song in my life. It's all a big hoax."
"I'm no hillbilly singer"
"Man, that record came out and was real big in Memphis. They started playing it, and it got real big. Don't know why-the lyrics had no meaning"
"Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can't help but move to it. That's what happens to me. I can't help it."
"Rhythm is something you either have or don't have, but when you have it, you have it all over"
"The Army teaches boys to think like men."
"The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep next year."
"Until we meet again, may God bless you as he has blessed me."
"When I got outta High School I was driving a truck. I was just a poor boy from Memphis."
"When I was a boy, I always saw myself as a hero in comic books and in movies. I grew up believing this dream."
- Elvis Presley (1956)
- Elvis (1956)
- Loving You (1957)
- Elvis' Christmas Album (1957)
- Elvis' Golden Records (1958)
- King Creole (1958)
- For LP Fans Only (1959)
- A Date with Elvis (1959)
- 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong (1959)
- Elvis Is Back! (1960)
- G.I. Blues (1960)
- His Hand in Mine (1960)
- Something for Everybody (1961)
- Blue Hawaii (1961)
- Pot Luck (1962)
- Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)
- It Happened at the World's Fair (1963)
- Elvis' Golden Records, Volume 3 (1963)
- Fun in Acapulco (1963)
- Kissin' Cousins (1964)
- Roustabout (1964)
- Girl Happy (1965)
- Elvis for Everyone! (1965)
- Harum Scarum (1965)
- Frankie and Johnny (1966)
- Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966)
- |Spinout (1966)
- How Great Thou Art (1967)
- Double Trouble (1967)
- Clambake (1967)
- Elvis' Gold Records, Volume 4 (1968)
- Speedway (1968)
- Elvis Sings Flaming Star (1968)
- Elvis (1968)
- From Elvis in Memphis (1969)
- From Memphis to Vegas - From Vegas to Memphis (1969)
- Let's Be Friends (1970)
- On Stage (1970)
- Almost in Love (1970)
- That's the Way It Is (1970)
- Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 Years Old) (1971)
- You'll Never Walk Alone (1971)
- Love Letters from Elvis (1971)
- C'mon Everybody (1971)
- The Other Sides: Worldwide Gold Award Hits, Vol. 2 (1971)
- I Got Lucky (1971)
- Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas (1971)
- Elvis Now (1972)
- He Touched Me (1972)
- Elvis Sings Hits from His Movies, Volume 1 (1972)
- Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden (1972)
- Burning Love and Hits from His Movies, Volume 2 (1972)
- Separate Ways (1973)
- Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite (1973)
- Elvis (1973)
- Raised on Rock (1973)
- Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Volume 1 (1974)
- Good Times (1974)
- Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis (1974)
- Promised Land (1975)
- Today (1975)
- Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Volume 2 (1976)
- The Sun Sessions (1976)
- From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee (1976)
- Welcome to My World (1977)
- Moody Blue (1977)
- Elvis in Concert (1977)
Top 40 Hits
|"Heartbreak Hotel"||1||1956||"Kissin' Cousins"||12||1964|
|"I Was the One"||19||1956||"It Hurts Me"||29||1964|
|"Blue Suede Shoes"||20||1956||"Kiss Me Quick"||34||1964|
|"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You"||1||1956||"What'd I Say"||21||1964|
|"My Baby Left Me"||31||1956||"Viva Las Vegas"||29||1964|
|"Don't Be Cruel"||1||1956||"Such a Night"||16||1964|
|"Hound Dog"||1||1956||"Ask Me"||12||1964|
|"Love Me Tender"||1||1956||"Ain't That Loving You Baby"||16||1964|
|"Anyway You Want Me (That's How I Will Be)"||20||1956||"Do the Clam"||21||1965|
|"Love Me"||2||1956||"Crying in the Chapel"||3||1965|
|"When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again"||19||1956||"(Such an) Easy Question"||11||1965|
|"Poor Boy"||24||1957||"I'm Yours"||11||1965|
|"Too Much"||1||1957||"Puppet on a String"||14||1965|
|"Playing for Keeps"||21||1957||"Tell Me Why"||33||1966|
|"All Shook Up"||1||1957||"Frankie and Johnny"||25||1966|
|"(There'll be) Peace in the Valley (for Me)"||25||1957||"Love Letters"||19||1966|
|"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear"||1||1957||"Spinout"||40||1966|
|"Loving You"||20||1957||"Indescribably Blue"||33||1967|
|"Jailhouse Rock"||1||1957||"Big Boss Man"||38||1967|
|"Treat Me Nice"||18||1957||"U.S. Male"||28||1968|
|"Don't"||1||1958||"If I Can Dream"||12||1968|
|"I Beg of You"||8||1958||"Memories"||35||1969|
|"Wear My Ring Around Your Neck"||2||1958||"In the Ghetto"||3||1969|
|"Doncha' Think It's Time"||15||1958||"Clean Up Your Own Backyard"||35||1969|
|"Hard Headed Woman"||1||1958||"Suspicious Minds"||1||1969|
|"Don't Ask Me Why"||25||1958||"Don't Cry Daddy"||6||1969|
|"One Night"||4||1958||"Rubberneckin' "||1969|
|"I Got Stung"||8||1958||"Kentucky Rain"||16||1970|
|"(Now and Then There's) a Fool Such as I"||2||1959||"The Wonder of You"||9||1970|
|"I Need Your Love Tonight"||4||1959||"Mama Liked the Roses"||1970|
|"A Big Hunk o' Love"||1||1959||"I've Lost You"||32||1970|
|"My Wish Came True"||12||1959||"The Next Step Is Love"||32||1970|
|"Stuck on You"||1||1960||"You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"||11||1970|
|"Fame and Fortune"||17||1960||"Patch It Up"||1970|
|"It's Now or Never"||1||1960||"I Really Don't Want to Know"||21||1971|
|"A Mess of Blues"||32||1960||"There Goes My Everything"||21||1971|
|"Are You Lonesome Tonight?"||1||1960||"Where Did They Go, Lord"||33||1971|
|"I Gotta Know"||20||1960||"Rags to Riches"||33||1971|
|"Lonely Man"||32||1961||"Until It's Time for You to Go"||40||1972|
|"Flaming Star"||14||1961||"Burning Love"||2||1972|
|"I Feel So Bad"||5||1961||"Separate Ways"||20||1972|
|"Wild in the Country"||26||1961||"Steamroller Blues"||17||1973|
|"(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame"||4||1961||"I've Got a Thing About You Baby"||39||1974|
|"Can't Help Falling in Love"||2||1961||"Take Good Care of Her"||1974|
|"Rock-a-Hula Baby"||23||1961||"If You Talk in Your Sleep"||17||1974|
|"Good Luck Charm"||1||1962||"Promised Land"||14||1974|
|"Anything That's Part of You"||31||1962||"My Boy"||20||1975|
|"Follow That Dream"||15||1962||"T-R-O-U-B-L-E"||35||1975|
|"She's Not You"||5||1962||"Hurt"||28||1976|
|"King of the Whole Wide World"||30||1962||"For the Heart"||1976|
|"Return to Sender"||2||1962||"Moody Blue"||31||1977|
|"One Broken Heart for Sale"||11||1963||"She Thinks I Still Care"||1977|
|"(You're the) Devil in Disguise"||3||1963||"Way Down"||18||1977|
|"Bossa Nova Baby"||8||1963||"My Way"||22||1977|
|Movie title||Year released||Movie title||Year released|
|Love Me Tender||1956||Girl Happy||1965|
|Loving You||1957||Tickle Me||1965|
|Jailhouse Rock||1957||Harum Scarum||1965|
|King Creole||1958||Frankie and Johnny||1966|
|G.I. Blues||1960||Paradise Hawaiian Style||1966|
|Wild in the Country||1961||Easy Come, Easy Go||1967|
|Blue Hawaii||1961||Double Trouble||1967|
|Follow That Dream||1962||Clambake||1967|
|Kid Galahad||1962||Stay Away, Joe||1968|
|Girls! Girls! Girls!||1962||Speedway||1968|
|It Happened at the World's Fair||1963||Live a Little, Love a Little||1968|
|Fun in Acapulco||1963||Charro!||1969|
|Kissin' Cousins||1964||The Trouble with Girls||1969|
|Viva Las Vegas||1964||Change of Habit||1969|
|Roustabout||1964||Elvis – That's the Way It Is||1970|
Awards and honors
Presley was nominated for fourteen Grammys and won three.
- 1967: Best Sacred Performance for "How Great Thou Art"
- 1972: Best Inspirational Performance for He Touched Me
- 1974: Best Inspirational Performance for "How Great Thou Art" (from Elvis: As Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis)
- 1959: Record of the Year for "A Fool Such As I"
- 1959: Best Performance by a "Top 40" artist for "A Big Hunk O'Love"
- 1959: Best Rhythm and Blues Performance for "A Big Hunk O'Love"
- 1960: Record of the Year for "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
- 1960: Best Male Vocal Performance for "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
- 1960: Best Performance by a Pop Singles Artist for "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
- 1960: Best Soundtrack Album for G.I. Blues
- 1960: Best Male Vocal Performance for "G.I. Blues"
- 1967: Best Soundtrack Anthem for Blue Hawaii
- 1968: Best Sacred Performance for "You'll Never Walk Alone" (from How Great Thou Art)
- 1978: Best Country Vocal Performance for "Softly As I Leave You"
Hall of fame inductions
Presley has been inducted into different music halls of fame:
- Presley's middle name is also spelled "Aron", as this spelling was intended to be parallel to the spelling of Presley's stillborn brother Jesse Garon. However, the State of Mississippi spelled it as "Aaron" on Presley's birth certificate, which was revealed to Presley and he chose to adopt the spelling of "Aaron"; this is also the spelling that appears on Presley's tombstone. 
- Presley had it changed to Aaron to match the Biblical spelling of the name.
- Elvis biography
- Biography of Presley's Early Life
- The Top-Earning Dead Celebrities Pomerantz, Dorothy, forbes.com, October 25, 2011, retrieved May 31, 2012.
- The Life of Elvis Presley
- Elvis and Marriage
- Elvis religion
- Elvis death
- Elvis' Grammys
- Elvis.com-Official Website of Elvis Presley
- Comprehensive history of Elvis Presley's dynamic life
- Elvis Presley lyrics
- Elvis.com biography
- Complete discography
- Elvis Wiki