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Biography of Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948. Elvis' musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the 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, Elvis began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label 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 Elvis' 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. Elvis Presley's dynamic life story from his humble beginnings through his rise to stardom is a fascinating journey that has earned Elvis his still undefeated title of the 'King of Rock 'N Roll'.
In 1956, Elvis made his network television debut. The first of his six appearances on Stage Show, a weekly variety program hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. He followed these with two appearances on The Milton Berle Show, the second of which included a performance of Hound Dog that was so provocative that it caused a national scandal. After negotiating with Elvis' manager, Ed Sullivan paid Elvis the huge sum of $50,000 for appearing on three of his shows: September 9, 1956, October 28, 1956, and then on January 6, 1957. $50,000 was, at the time, more money than any performer had ever been paid to appear on a network variety program. Elvis' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was a major success. Over 60 million people, both young and old, watched the show and many people believe it helped bridge the generation gap for Elvis' acceptance into the mainstream. Elvis performed, Don't Be Cruel, Love Me Tender, Ready Teddy and Hound Dog.
On March 24, 1958, Elvis was inducted into the U.S. Army as a private at Fort Chaffee, near Fort Smith, Arkansas. Captain Arlie Metheny, the information officer, was unprepared for the media attention drawn by the singer's arrival. Hundreds of people descended on Elvis as he stepped from the bus; photographers then accompanied him into the base. Elvis announced that he was looking forward to his military stint, saying he did not want to be treated any differently from anyone else: 'The Army can do anything it wants with me'. Later, at Fort Hood, Texas, Lieutenant Colonel Marjorie Schulten gave the media carte blanche for one day, after which she declared Elvis off-limits to the press.
Elvis' only child, Lisa Marie, was born on February 1, 1968, during a period when he had grown deeply unhappy with his career. He maneuvered a deal with NBC that committed the network to both finance a theatrical feature and broadcast a Christmas special. Later known as the '68 Comeback Special, the show featured lavishly staged studio productions as well as songs performed with a band in front of a small audience - Elvis' first live performances since 1961. The live segments saw Elvis clad in tight black leather, singing and playing guitar in an uninhibited style reminiscent of his early rock and roll days. Director and co producer Steve Binder had worked hard to reassure the nervous singer and to produce a show that was far from the hour of Christmas songs Parker had originally planned. The show, NBC's highest rated that season, captured 42 percent of the total viewing audience. Jon Landau of Eye magazine remarked, 'There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home. He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect of rock 'n' roll singers. He moved his body with a lack of pretension and effort that must have made Jim Morrison green with envy'.
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Overview of Elvis Presley's Achievements
Elvis starred in 33 movies, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, Elvis sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. His American sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards for 131 different albums and singles, far more than any other artist. Among his many awards and accolades were 14 Grammy nominations (3 wins) from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received at age 36, 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 figures of twentieth century popular culture. Elvis died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977.
It is estimated that Elvis Presley has sold over one billion record units worldwide, more than anyone in record industry history. In America alone, Elvis has had 141 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), with more certifications expected as research into his past record sales continues and as current sales go on. For The Billionth And The Last Time: Lifting the Lid on the King's record sales
Elvis Presley's trophy room at Graceland is filled with gold and platinum records and awards of all kinds from around the world. Some of the countries represented are Norway, Yugoslavia, Japan, Australia, South Africa, England, Sweden, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands. It is interesting to note that, except for a handful of movie soundtrack songs, Elvis did not record in other languages, and, except for five shows in three Canadian cities in 1957, he did not perform in concert outside the United States. Still, his recordings and films enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, popularity all over the globe, and he is known throughout the world by his first name.
Elvis Presley's three network television specials: Elvis (1968), Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite (1973), and Elvis in Concert (1977) - stand among the most highly rated specials of their time. His 1968 special, Elvis, is one of the most critically acclaimed music specials of all time. His 1973 special, Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite, was seen in 40 countries by 1 billion to 1.5 billion people and made television history. It was seen on television in more American homes than man's first walk on the moon.
Elvis received 14 Grammy nominations from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). His three wins were for gospel recordings - the album How Great Thou Art (1967), the album He Touched Me (1972) and his live Memphis concert recording of the song How Great Thou Art (1974). In 1971, NARAS also recognized him with their Lifetime Achievement Award (known then as the Bing Crosby Award ... in honor of its first recipient). Elvis was 36 years old at the time. Five of Elvis' recordings have been inducted into the NARAS Hall of Fame - his original 1956 recordings of Hound Dog (inducted 1988) and Heartbreak Hotel (inducted 1995), his original 1954 recording of That's All Right (inducted 1998), his original 1969 recording of Suspicious Minds (inducted 1999), and his original 1956 recording of Don't Be Cruel (inducted 2002).
The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (the Jaycees) named Elvis Presley One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970.
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