Elvis Aaron Presley

  • Born: January 8, 1935
  • Died: August 16, 1977
  • Location: Memphis, Tennessee

Tribute


This 1958 photo provided by RCA Victor shows Elvis Presley.

Remembering 'The King of Rock n' Roll'

DRIAN SAINZ, The Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Television and radio personality Wink Martindale remembers the day nearly 60 years ago when Elvis Presley's first single, "That's All Right," played for the first time on the radio.

It was July 8, 1954, and a fresh-faced Martindale was working as a disc jockey at WHBQ in Memphis. He was at the studio when legendary producer Sam Phillips brought by an acetate copy of the song Presley cut at Phillips' Sun Records.

DJ Dewey Phillips - no relation to Sam - played the song on his influential "Red, Hot and Blue" radio show, and rock n' roll history was made.

"It was almost like an out-of-body experience," Martindale told Presley fans who came to Graceland on Wednesday to celebrate the late icon's 79th birthday. "That was the beginning of Presley-mania."

Martindale and Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, attended the annual birthday party at Presley's longtime Memphis home. The event featured a cake cutting and the singing of "Happy Birthday" by 16-year-old Canadian David Thibault (TEE'-bo).

Bush Hager, a correspondent for the "Today" show, was at Graceland to tour the home and tape a segment with Thibault. The teen from Quebec has gained fame after his singing of "Blue Christmas" garnered millions of views on YouTube.

Bush Hager, Thibault, and Martindale participated in the cake-cutting along with producer Knox Phillips, who is Sam Phillips' son and a member of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

Martindale was a longtime friend of Presley, who dated Martindale's wife Sandy before they married.

After his days in Memphis, Martindale went on to TV fame as host of Teenage Dance Party and the game shows Gambit and Tic Tac Dough.

Presley was born in Tupelo, Miss., on Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis with his parents at age 13. He was 42 when he died Aug. 16, 1977.

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Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi. His mother Gladys Love Smith worked as a sewing machine operator and his father Vernon had several low-paying jobs. Elvis had an identical twin brother that was stillborn and given the name Jesse Garon.

Vernon built a two-room shotgun house for the family. They lived there only three years, and then Gladys and Elvis had to move in with relatives while Vernon served a jail sentence for an eight dollar check forgery. Money troubles and further problems with the authorities again forced the family to move, this time to Memphis in September 1948 when Elvis was 13 years old.

Elvis started performing at an early age. He made his first public performance at age ten entering a singing contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. On his eleventh birthday, Elvis received a guitar from his parents. It was not what he had wanted, but it was all they could afford at the time. Over the course of the next year he received lessons on the basics of guitar from his paternal uncle Vestor.

By 1949, the Presleys lived in a public housing development in one of the poorer sections of Memphis. Elvis practiced his guitar playing in several places throughout the development, and eventually played in a five-piece band with other tenants. Presley was always considered shy and possessed sincere stage-fright. He attended and graduated from L.C. Humes High School. It was there in 1952 that he entered his school¹s annual Minstrel Show, where he won by receiving the most applause.

Elvis worked small jobs while in school, ushering for Loew¹s State Theater. After graduation, he worked driving trucks for the Crown Electric Company.

A man of strong faith, Elvis was largely influenced by the music he heard while attending the Assembly of God, Pentecostal church with his parents. Rolling Stone wrote: "Gospel pervaded Elvis' character and was a defining and enduring influence all of his days."

In his youth, Presley also listened to local radio and went to record stores that had jukeboxes and listening booths. He would listen for hours. However, he could also be found at the all-night black and white gospel sings or attending the Memphis Symphony Orchestra concerts, as well as the Metropolitan Opera. The Memphis area held a strong tradition of blues music and sported many hillbilly venues. Elvis enjoyed and was influenced by both styles. Presley once said, "I just loved music. Music period." Elvis Presley did not read music, but rather played entirely by ear.

Presley first stepped inside a recording studio in July of 1953. He initially went to record some songs as a gift for his mother. While he didn't impress anyone initially, almost one year later (June 1954) while playing around during a break from recording, Sam Phillips of Sun Records heard what Presley could really do and asked him to start over . Phillips began recording and released "That¹s All Right (Mama)" on air on July 8, 1954 through DJ Dewey Phillips. Radio listeners immediately began clogging the phone lines trying to find out who the new voice was. Presley¹s career was launched. His contract with Sun Records was sold in 1955 to RCA Victor. In 1956 Elvis started appearing on television shows and within the year he was an international sensation.

Elvis served in the US Army from March of 1958 until his honorable discharge in March of 1960. He had achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. During his military service Elvis' mother became seriously ill and he was granted emergency leave to be with her. She died of heart failure two days after he arrived home at the age of forty-six. Presley was devastated.

From 1956 until March of 1960, Elvis made 13 guest appearances on television shows. From 1968 to 1977, Presley made three television specials and performed two concert films.

He also started starring in movies during this time and by the 1960's was one of the highest paid actors. He made 31 films as an actor.

Presley's record sales grew rapidly in the late 1950¹s. During his career Elvis made 81 albums, released 53 singles and 16 extended play singles. He has had 150 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. He has had 149 songs appear on Billboard¹s top 100, 114 songs were in the top 40, and 40 compositions were in the top ten. Finally, Elvis had 18 songs go to number one on the charts.

Elvis is commonly called 'The King of Rock and Roll.' Presley received 14 Grammy nominations and won three. He regularly broke concert attendance records and record sales. In 1970 he was named 'One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation.' He was presented with a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1971 at the age of 36. To date he has been inducted into four music halls of fame.

Elvis Presley died prematurely at age 42 in Memphis Tennessee, from poor health and the effects of a long-term dependency on drugs. He remains one of the best-selling and most influential artists in the history of popular music.

Related Elvis Links
Official Elvis Site
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Elvis Quotations
Elvis Presley Song Lyrics


Condolence & Memory Journal

If love could have saved you, you would live forever. Still miss you. love you always.

Posted by Shirley Ivey - Grayson, GA - fan   September 04, 2014

I Remember The Day Elvis A Presley Died, My Son Was Born July 3 1977( 2 Month's ) Early, I Had Just Brought Home My Baby Son & Watching T.V., I Cried Like A Baby, My Daddy Lived In The Same Apt. Complex That I Lived In & He Came Over & Cried With Me !! R.I.P. Elvis A Presley & You To Daddy, I Love & Miss You Both !!!

Posted by Kathy Mayo Smith Presley - Morrow, GA   August 05, 2014

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ELVIS I'M WAS SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT I LIVED ON THIS PLANET WITH YOU FOR 3 MONTHS.. AFTER I FOUND OUT ABOUT YOUR DEATH, (ASKING MOM),..I ASKED MANY WHY'S,...THEN A FEW YEARS LATER, AFTER HEARING YOU DIED PRIOR, I STILL LOVED ALL OF YOUR SONGS AND MOVIES..IT WAS YOU I LOVED,JUST WATCHING YOU,ESPECIALLY YOUR SILLY SIDE, BUT WHEN I REALIZED I DID LIVE ON EARTH WITH YOU..I GET SO MAD I WAS ONLY 3 MONTHS OLD.. IF I WERE SMART ENOUGH BACK THEN I'D CRAWL TO GRACELAND..LOL, EITHER WAY.. BESIDES FAMILY AND FRIENDS, YOU ARE WHO I WANNA SEE IN THOSE CLOUDS.. I WANT AS PERSONAL PERFORMANCE..LOL.. I'LL ASK GOD BEFORE JUST TO MAKE SURE WE WON'T STIR UP SOME THUNDER,..LOL..LESS YA WANNA/.LOL./ I LOVE YA EL LANCELOT, MY KING, HOW GREAT THOU ART.....

Posted by LOREEN - BOSTON, MA - NO   July 30, 2014

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Rest in peace Elvis Presley. You will forever be the King of rock n roll!
"To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die."
~Thomas Campbell, "Hallowed Ground"

Posted by Ella - forever a fan   June 03, 2014

Candle

R.I.p... Always

Posted by Georgianna goff - gastonia, NC - I am just a fan   May 05, 2014

R.I.p.I loved all your songs and u.god bless u and sng it loud with all the angels u r missed by all your fans.

Posted by patricia faillafan - homosssa, FL - fan   April 30, 2014

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dear Elvis i know in my heart that you are still alive some were
maybe some day you well come out were ever you are in this world always loved your movies
and songs

Posted by debra dow - buffalo, SC - Fan   April 22, 2014

I have loved elvis aaron presley for over45 years .i believe that elvis died of a broken heart. When he died we all had a crushed heart because we knew we would never are our favorite person again. My mind saids hes gone but my heart wants to belive he's still here but he wants to be left alone. I hope if he is alive. I hope hw knows how much we all love and miss him.

Posted by faye akers - floyd , VA - a deep and very close friend of    December 29, 2013

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R.I.P. Elvis A Presley,You Will Never Be Forgotten !!! Love You Alway's

Posted by Kathy Mayo Presley - Morrow, GA   October 25, 2013

Omg as if Elvis is dead. Now you are gone we really will have a "little less conversation". RIP Dad! x

Posted by Junior Presley - Memphis, TN - Elvis' son   June 18, 2013

Growing up and watching you on TV as a young child, I could not get close enough to the set. I thought you were the most beautiful man I had ever seen. There will never be another voice out there like yours. I wished I could had seen you when you came to the Lakeland Civic Center in the 70's. Always regretted it. You will never be forgotten for love, enjoyment and excitement you impacted on my life growing up.

Posted by Thomasa Pippin - Plant city, FL - Always a fan   April 19, 2013

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elvis you will never truly die so long as you are remembered by all of us

Posted by jhon klondike    January 02, 2013

At one of his concert in Indianapolis In my sister and I tried to get close to Elvis thought we were smart by hiding in the nearest ladies room nearest to stage where Elvis was preforming. The Police caught on to what we were doing and we were almost escorted out until we starting crying and told them we would go back to our seats and joing our husbands. Too funny.
Joan

Posted by Joan Nichols - Knoxville, TN - fan   August 16, 2012

Candle

The day ELVIS past away was one of the saddest days in my life. I have loved him since I was a little girl. His music was all I ever listened to. I was seven years old when he & Priscilla were married. JEALOUSY was what I felt. I still remember the exact place & the exact time I heard he was gone. I had just left school. It was my senior year. Sitting at a stop light waiting for the light to change. Radio blaring & then there it came. The worst thing anyone could ever speak out of their mouth. I began to cry & cried for days. You would have thought he was one of my closest personal freinds/family members. To me he was & I still feel the same. I went out & bought everything book, paper written that was concerning him. I collected more & more albums, pictures, movies. Anything that had his name on it. Even today at 51 I still think he was & still is the geatest. I'll always love him. His music was over the top & I still continue to to watch his movies over & over & over. No one will ever take his place. There will never be anyone else like him. No one can hold a candle to him. Even today I can still hear him singing those awesome songs. They play in my mind all the time. I LOVE YOU ELVIS. You will always be inside my head.

Posted by Diane Barnes - Your Greatest Fan   November 01, 2011

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RIP Elvis

Posted by Joe Sawyer    October 24, 2011

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Incredible artist and an incredible person. I hope, wherever you are Elvis, that you are happy and at peace. Love always xxoo

Posted by Anne    October 20, 2011

We Were Little We You Died In 1977 My Mom Grown Up Listen To Your Music she Said You Were a Great Singer
Love Linda Kim @ Cindy Duncan

Posted by Cindy Duncan    August 15, 2011

You'll Be Missed Elvis

Posted by Cindy Duncan    August 15, 2011

Candle

Elvis was my favorite actor and singer. May you rest in peace.

Posted by Sandra - Fan   May 28, 2011

Candle

I Love this man he is a legand and he lives on in his music and movies always and forever a fan!!!

Posted by Jennifer Marceaux - Huge Fan   April 27, 2011

Candle

always a fan. still enjoy his movies and songs. Can't talk to me as long as Elvis is playing. His verion of Amazin Grace well be played at my sevices and my favort Green green grass of home.Sincerely Terrie Elliott Marion Indiana

Posted by terrie elliott - big fan   August 22, 2010

I love his music and i love of his movies he had a very good heart and he cared for his family and his fans

Posted by john harward - fayetteville, NC - A very good fan of his   August 20, 2010

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WE MISS HIM AS MUCH TODAY AS WE DID THE DAY HE PASS AWAY, HIS MUSIC WILL PLAY FOREVER AND OUR HEARTS WEEP IN SADNESS,

Posted by Bobbi Hill - AN QUAINTNESS / BIG FAN   August 20, 2010

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Hard to believe it has been 32 years.Long live the King!!!

Posted by John Mincey - Trion, GA   August 16, 2009

he will truly be missed.

Posted by frances.kneece@gmail.com - s.c., SC   August 14, 2009

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There will never be a singer like Elvis, for he was the of all time, and for he is really King Of Rock N' Roll.

Elvis, we all miss you very much, we know that your still rocking in heaven.

Posted by Sal Ferrara - Staten Island, NY   August 14, 2009

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1977 I was expecting my second baby. When I heard of his death this was so sad. There will never be another entertainer that can fill his shoes.

Posted by Dinah Fields - Lumberton, NC   August 12, 2009

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I was raised on Elvis. My father was a BIG TIME ELVIS FAN. My father's birthday is a day before ELVIS's death, the 15th. My birthday is the 20th. We both still love him and his music. He is a legend that will never die in our heart.

Posted by Wanda Emory    August 10, 2009

Candle

On that fateful day on August 16,1977,when you went to be with the Lord,there was not a dry eye in the whole country.You are sorely missed,but God certainly blessed us while you were here!!

Posted by Teresa S.    August 10, 2009

Long Live Elvis....You are dearly missed by many...God Bless You....May you rest in peace...

Posted by Roxanne    February 17, 2009

I believe the day elvis died the angels starting singing. He was an innovator like no other, he has a sense like no other, and there will be no other.

Posted by johnny B right - hammond, IN   December 18, 2008

I can remember as far back when I was verry young,I was six years old at a lake with my baby sitter and they had a juke box there and I heard his song, I want you I nead you I love what a voice he had and I hung next to that juke box all day and played it over and over and never went in the water.

Posted by Cathy Connery - Mechanicville, NY   August 17, 2008

I was in shock when it came across the tv that Elvis was dead. I loved his style his moves, his music and even his movies he hated so much. But he will always be remembered by me his birthday jan 8 was the same as my husband that died. I hope Elvis is happy and in peace . I believe he is.

Posted by dianna38 morse - Litchfield Park, AZ   May 27, 2008

I was born around the time Elvis made his two Demo's for 3.98 in Memhis,TN.,but I grew up listening to all of his hit's on the Radio,it seemed a lot of men were somewhat jealous of his Stardome,my father born a 4 years before Elvis resembled in in many ways,so I guess back then if you looked like Elvis people admired you,especially Woman,I'm not sure of Elvis' hight,my Dad was 6'1" dark hair and Eyes that would light up a room,not sure what color eye's Elvis had either? I do have vivid moments of him on Ed Sullivan and trying to play along with him,with my little folk guitar,either U were for his style of,"Rock-in-Roll Music",or U weren't!To htis day I believe God had a plan for Elvis,since his Gospel Song's he sang in Praise to Jesus Our Lord is what catapolted him into a Singing career to begin with,other money hungry people took full advantage of his,"Spirited Talent",and reeped the Benifit's,like Col.Parker,
in my heart Elvis was singing God's Tune for us,when he went in the Army

Posted by Norman Baldasaro II - Bristol, NH   August 16, 2007

I have loved Elvis since I was around 8 yrs old . My older sister use to listen to his records. I still remember seeing him on the Ed Sullivan Show, I wasn't very old. I never missed any of his movies or concerts that were aired on TV, I taped them and still watch them, sometimes I do forget that he is gone. I had tickets to see him at his last concert in Portland Maine, but he never lived to perform. I remember hearing about his death on the news. I turned on the radio and the song they were playing was "I can't help falling in love with you" I couldn't stop the tears everytime I hear that song it brings back memories of that day. He will always live in my heart. Someday I would love to make a visit to Graceland, I wish I could have done it while he was still alive. I love you Elvis you will always be the King. Happy Birthday where ever you are.

Posted by Dixie Jacques - Dover, NH   January 09, 2007

I didn't live close nor did I ever get to see him in person, but I played every record I could get my hands on. My mom was even a big fan so we watched every time he was televised. One of my good friends just cried and cried when she heard about Elvis. I guess a lot of people felt that way about him. I still listen to everything he has made and watch every movie over and over every chance I get.
Robin, Cincinnati, OH

Posted by Robin Burchfield - Cincinnati, OH   January 08, 2007

I grew up in Memphis from the late 60's to the early 90's. I was there watching my soaps when the news broke in that "the King was dead". I saw him 1 time before that. Once riding horses with someone down near the gate, then i must have been 21 yrs. old when i met Lisa Marie. She was on the golf cart with friends and stopped to say hello when Vester Presley was giving tours on the grounds, up the driveway, well before Elvis died. I had company in town, so of course they had to come to Graceland. It was 5pm. We asked her where her daddy was, she said he had just gotten up and was eating breakfast. She lookes so much like him, it was like looking in his eyes. That's my lovely memory, hope you enjoyed it.

Posted by Gwen - Port Orange, FL   January 08, 2007

Hello, I saw Elvis in concert with two of my friends back in the early 70's. Elvis was at the Miami Beach Convention Center and we had great seats. I will never forget his show and I have collected Elvis's plates, music boxes, coins, magnets, calendars and anything I have been able to get my hands on, since then.
We lost a great voice the day he died, but Elvis and his music will live on forever!

Posted by Sheila Duggan - Brunswick, GA   January 08, 2007


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This 1958 photo provided by RCA Victor shows Elvis Presley.
Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show
Elvis Presley is shown at the International Hotel where he made his first public stage appearance in 9 years in Las Vegas, Nev., in this August 1969, file photo.
In this undated file photo, Elvis Presley is shown.
Elvis Presley, right, Horace Logan, left, pose with disc jockey Ed Hamilton backstage at the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, La., in an undated photo. In October 1954 Logan introduced the teen-age Elvis Presley to America.
Elvis Presley, 23-year-old rock and roll singer and movie actor, comforts his mother Gladys as his father, Vernon E., looks on. The scene took place last night when photographers were admitted to the Presleys' Memphis home on the eve of Elvis' induction into the army.


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Elvis Presley is assisted as he tries on clothes in 1956 at Lansky's Men's Store in Memphis, Tenn. Helping him is Bernard Lansky whose family ran the shop on Beale Street until a few years ago.
In this March 1958 file photo, singer Elvis Presley gets his hair cut before entering the Army at Fort Chaffee in Barling, Ark. According the the U.S. Army, Presley entered the service March 24, 1958, at Fort Chaffee Reception Station.
The file photo from January 21, 1960 shows Elvis Presley in a US Army uniform during his military service in Bad Nauheim, Germany. August 16, 2007 marked the 30th anniversary of Presley's death.
Elvis and Priscilla Presley cut their wedding cake after exchanging nuptials in the Aladdin Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas in this 1967 photo.
Elvis Presley is shown on Feb. 5, 1968 with his wife Priscilla and their newly born daughter, Lisa Marie.
Singer Elvis Presley and wife, Priscilla, 26, leave Superior Court in Santa Monica, Calif. on Oct.10,1973 after he was granted a divorce on grounds of irreconciliable difference. The six year marriage ended with a modified property settlement involving $1.5 million.


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Elvis Presley sings during a concert in this 1973 file photo.
This is a handout photo of President Richard Nixon, left, meeting with Elvis Presley 25 years ago on Dec. 21, 1970, in Washington. Former Nixon White House aide Egil "Bud" Krogh, who set up the meeting, has just written a book about the meeting.
Fans walk by the flower-covered grave of Elvis Presley on the grounds of Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., on the 30th anniversary of his death Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007. Presley is buried between his grandmother, Minnie Mae, and his father, Vernon. The grave of his mother, Gladys, is at right.
The grave of Elvis Presley is covered with flowers on the grounds of Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., on the 30th anniversary of his death Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007.