Elvis Aron (yes, this is the correct spelling) Presley, in the humblest of circumstances, was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948, and Elvis graduated from Humes High School there in 1953.
Elvis' musical influences were the pop and country music of the day, the country gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, he began his singing career at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture.
He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than other artist. His American sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards for 111 different albums and singles, far more than any other artist or group. Among his many awards and accolades were the
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received at age 36, from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and his being named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Jaycees. Without any of the special privileges his celebrity status might have afforded him, he honorably served his country in the U.S. Army.
His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important cultural figures of the twentieth century. Elvis died at his beloved Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16,1977.
ELVIS AND ME
Tupelo, Mississippi is my Home Town. My eldest brother attended grade school with Elvis and recalls him as being a shy, introverted boy; doted upon by his mother.
I lived near Graceland in early summer of 1977. Elvis was out for a ride on one of those
"low-slung hogs" of his and he came by my house. I was in my front yard (in my "Daisy Dukes") washing my TransAm; he stopped and asked me if I wanted "to go for a spin"; I remember replying; "Only if you will go for a spin with me in my TA." This is a fond and precious memory of an exceptionally cordial, fun-loving, Southern Gentleman.
This visit was mid-July [as I recall]; then the next month, he was gone!
My parents had to drive to Memphis (from Tupelo) and hold me while I sobbed.
(I still have my 1976, 50th Anniversary Special Edition Pontiac TransAm.)
---which Elvis just had to drive!
THIS is my current everyday wheels.
2003 50th Anniv. Corvette