Born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Aaron Presley promptly marked his arrival by bringing with him the 1936 Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak, the fourth and fifth-deadliest tornadoes ever recorded in US history. Considered an average student by his instructors in first grade (first grade instructors didn’t mess around with political correctness in the 1940s). The first time Elvis went on stage, in a singing contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show (your guess is as good as mine), the ten year old boy placed fifth. Fifth. Apparently there were four kids who sang better than Elvis Presley. Told in eighth grade by his music teacher that he had no aptitude for singing, Elvis nevertheless continued practicing the guitar and later gradually became popular among his peers.
Curious to know what he sounded like, Elvis entered the offices of Sun Records in 1953 to record a couple of songs. Sun Records’ boss Sam Philips asked his receptionist to note down the kid’s name. Philips, eager to find someone who could make the sound of black musicians more widespread and acceptable, instantly found what he was looking for in Elvis’ voice. In 1956, two days after his 21st birthday, Elvis recorded ‘Heartbreak Hotel’. In the same year, his debut album, rather modestly named ‘Elvis Presley’, went number one on the Billboard Charts. Capitalizing on his fame, Elvis wrote hit after hit, took care of his health, and rode off into the sunset. No, wait. He joined the army. And he got fat. Never mind.
A Little Less Conversation
Already a star with 10 number one hits (including Jailhouse Rock, but you already know that), Elvis was inducted into the US military as a private in 1958. Of course, Elvis did in the military what most kids do in college (and Charlie Sheen does on national television) – he experimented with amphetamines, picked up a new hobby (karate), and found himself an underage girlfriend – Priscilla Beaulieu (Too. Many. Vowels), who he later married.
Discharged honorably from the military in 1960, Elvis was pushed by his manager, Tom Parker, into becoming a movie star, and he consequently went on to deliver 27 formulaic, but commercially successful movies.
After a long period of sporadic success, Elvis’ health greatly started suffering in the 70s, the result of massive weight gain and an active drug problem. Elvis Presley’s last concert was on June 26, 1977. On August 16, he passed away. 80,000 people turned up for the processional journey. And with that, it was over…
…except for the conspirators and the impersonators. There were those who believed that Elvis hadn’t actually died, and ‘Elvis sightings’ became a thing. His distinct style and look created a thousand impersonators. I’m not giving you any links. Go find one yourself.
And with great power and pelvic thrusts, come great numbers.
Elvis Presley spent 1,155 weeks on the UK singles chart. That’s more than 22 years. Jupiter traveled twice around the Sun in that period of time.
Also, in 2000 alone, Elvis earned $35 million. In one year. 23 years after his death. How much did you make that year?