Elvis Presly

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Elvis Aron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. He was born in his parents' house in East Tupelo at 12:20 p.m., along with a twin brother known as Jesse Garon, who was stillborn. On that happy, yet sad night, Gladys Presley said, "Elvis will always miss his twin. He'll be like the missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle". Although the spirit of his twin brother lingered, Elvis grew up an only child in a poor family. Elvis eventually had his middle name legally changed to "Aron" instead of "Aaron" in remembrance of his stillborn twin. On his eleventh birthday on January 8, 1946, Elvis received his first guitar. Two years later, the Presleys packed and moved to Memphis, Tennessee. Elvis enrolled in I.C. Humes High School. After graduating from Humes High School in 1953, the eighteen-year-old Elvis began driving a delivery truck for the Crown Electric Company.

Elvis went to the Memphis Recording Service, also the home of Sun Records. Sam Philips thought of the singer as new and interesting. Elvis teamed up with Scotty Moore and Bill Black while at the studio. In 1954 the trio worked up their first songs which became very popular.

Presley hired Colonel Tom Parker as his manager. The new up-and-comer negotiated an agreement with RCA Records that would bring him stardom. Elvis was given such nicknames as "The Father of Rock-n-Roll," "The King," and "Elvis, the Pelvis." In rural areas he was billed as the "Hillbilly Cat." Although Elvis' rise to fame shot up, he still faced rejection by the Grand Ole Opry and Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. People seemed to believe the shaking of his hips was an unnecessary gesture. He still persisted. He appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show from the waist up and attracted much attention with his music and his gyrations.

Elvis was drafted into the army at the height of his popularity. He arrived in Memphis on March 24, 1958, and began his service. He was stationed in Germany where he met his future wife, Priscilla Beaulieu. Two years later he was discharged after the death of his mother. Elvis was considered emotionally unstable after this event. Several of Elvis' rock hits of that time included "Don't Be Cruel," "Hound Dog," "Love Me Tender," "All Shook Up," "Jailhouse Rock," and "In the Ghetto". Several country hits were "Kentucky Rain" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Of those hits, none received Grammies. It was said that "He sings Negro rhythms with a white voice, which borrows in mood and emphasis from the country style, modified by popular music. It's a blend of them all". Billboard Magazine described Presley's concerts as normal - a RIOT! In 1956, Presley made his first television appearance on The Tommy Dorsey Show. Although he was a singer, Elvis devoted most of the 1960's to making movies. The movies were entertaining, yet unrecognized. Around this time Elvis met up with his old love, Priscilla Beaulieu. The two were married at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas on May 1, 1967. Three years later their daughter Lisa Marie Presley was born on February 1, 1968. After being married only eight years, Elvis and Priscilla were divorced.

Elvis accomplished many things. He had the most Top Forty Hits, Top Ten Hits, the most consecutive #1 hits, and the most weeks at #1. Later, "Heartbreak Hotel" became his first Gold Record.

In 1977 the King's body was found in the bathroom of his Graceland mansion, and Elvis was pronounced dead on August 16, at 2:30 p.m. He was forty-two years old. Presley died of "cardiac arrhythmia," a hard-to-detect heart disease. This disease may be the cause of sinus medication, appetite suppressants, and sustained emotional or physical stress. Elvis was the same age as his late mother, plus two days when he died. The "Kings" Amphetamine problem had become a problem. He was known to be a junk-food addict. Elvis had gained considerable weight and had a history of mild Hypertension. On his death one person was quoted as saying, "an icon of glowing youth...died tallow faced and tubby. The victim of too much Dexedrine, Deluded, Demerol, Quaalude, and Precisian". Elvis' and his mother's caskets were later moved after thieves tried to steal the bodies. They were moved to a nearby garden on the property of Graceland.

Six days before his death, his last single was released. It was titled way down. It reached the top of the charts quickly. Elvis was one of the greatest musicians of all times. His death affected many music lovers, and some of them still claim to be affected by his spiritual presence, holding yearly vigils at his grave every August in Memphis.

This book was both interesting and dull. It covered a great deal of Elvis' childhood and adolescent struggles and trials. For example the book covered many interesting points in his life during his childhood. Some of his struggles in the music industry were dull and tended to go on and on. I would recommend this book to any one who likes Elvis. As I am not a great fan of Elvis, I did not enjoy this book very much.

Elvis deserves a bibliography for many reasons, for one he had over 10 number one hits. He also made over 10 movies and was given nicknames such as "The King", "Elvis the Pelvis", and "The Father of Rock-n-Roll".

Bibliography Valerie Harms. Tryin' To Get To You.

New York: McClelland & Stewart, Ltd, 1979