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Elvis Presley

Jan. 8, 1935-Aug. 16, 1977

Artistfacts for Elvis Presley

  • He had a twin brother named Jesse who was stillborn. With no other siblings, he was raised an only child.
  • Elvis loved to eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches, as well as many fried, greasy foods. His poor diet may have contributed to his death.
  • He spent 2 years in the army when he was drafted in 1958. He was a Sergeant when he got out.
  • In 1957 Elvis paid $100,000 for Graceland, a plantation mansion set in a 13-acre park. It is now a major tourist attraction in Memphis.
  • He wrote very few of his songs, although he sometimes received songwriter credit in exchange for performing the songs. The last song he wrote was a number with guitar influences from 1962 called "You'll be gone." (thanks, Dennis - Maasdam, Netherlands)
  • In Wright City, Missouri (about 40 miles west of St. Louis) there is a roadside attraction called the "Elvis Is Alive Museum.". Their theory is that Elvis faked his own death and has lived in obscurity ever since. They're serious.
  • He was an avid collector of guns and official badges. He collected a police badge in just about every city he played in.
  • Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie, was born exactly 9 months after he married Pricilla.
  • He is the only artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Hall of Fame.
  • The Elvis stamp released by the Postal Service on January 8, 1993, remains the top-selling commemorative postage stamp in the US.
  • The most requested piece from the US National Archives (of photographs and documents), more requested than the Bill of Rights or even the Constitution of the United States, is the photograph of Elvis Presley shaking hands with then-President Richard Nixon at the White House.
  • In 1959 he became the first artist to release an album without an artist name on the cover, front or back, with the album For LP Fans Only.
  • Elvis received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1971 Grammys.
  • His first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show was watched by a record 82.6% of the nationwide viewing audience. The $50,000 fee Sullivan paid for his appearances was more money than any performer had ever been paid to appear on a network variety program.
  • His televised concert Aloha From Hawaii was the first global satellite broadcast devoted to a single entertainer. It was seen by 51% of US viewers, more households than watched the first moon landing. In many countries it captured 70-90+% of the television audience. Ultimately, nearly 1.5 billion people in 40 countries saw this performance.
  • In 2003 a panel of music journalists commissioned by Britain's Q Magazine selected Elvis' first recording, "That's All Right," as the #1 pick in their list of "100 Songs that Changed the World".
  • Elvis Presley's Sun Records Sessions were among the first group of recordings selected for the National Recording Archives maintained by the US Library of Congress. (thanks to Eileen for above 9)
  • Especially in his later years he had an incredible vocal range; sometimes Presley is called an operatic singer. He could sing from bass vocal to falsetto. The highest note he could reach was the C. (thanks, Dennis - Maasdam, Netherlands)
  • He gained a new fandom of younger listeners when some of his songs were featured as part of the soundtrack for the 2001 Disney movie Lilo And Stitch. (thanks, Patrick - Tallapoosa, GA)
  • In 1955, Sam Phillips away Elvis' contract to RCA records for $35,000. According to music journalist Robert Fontenot, this was not as big a blunder as it sounds, as the music business in 1955 was a quick-cash game; no label owner, certainly not a small, regional one like Phillips, could have possibly asked for a percentage of an artists' future royalties once he was signed away. $35,000 was by far the largest amount ever paid for any artist by a major label, and no one in the business considered Rock music more than a passing fad; if anything, RCA was thought to have wildly overpaid for Elvis. Phillips proved he was indeed a shrewd businessman by investing that $35,000 in a small upstart hotel chain in Memphis. The name of that chain was the Holiday Hotel; you may know it better as the Holiday Inn. (thanks, E - Wenatchee, WA)
  • In November 2007, Elvis was #1 on a list of the top-earning dead celebrities compiled by Forbes magazine. He (actually, his estate), made $49 million in the previous 12 months, followed by John Lennon ($44 million) and cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, the writer and illustrator of Peanuts comic strip ($35 million). (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • Before his career took off, Elvis worked as a truck driver and as an usher at Loew's State Theater in Memphis. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • He loved movies, and was a big fan of the actor James Dean. Elvis starred in 31 movies, but wasn't taken seriously as an actor.
  • Between 1961 and 1969, Elvis didn't play any live shows. However, from 1969-1976, he performed in Las Vegas over 800 times. He had a contract with the International Hotel, which later became The Hilton. When he was booked, he played two shows a night for seven days a week. Elvis remains a Vegas icon, and some people make their living there as Elvis impersonators.
  • He played just 2 shows outside the United States: a concert at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on April 2, 1957 and a show the next day in Ottawa. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
  • Elvis made only one advertisement in his life: a 1954 radio commercial for doughnuts.
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Comments: 26

Beatles were pop music, not R&R. Besides R&R didn't start in 1964. Elvis was the shot in the arm for R&R. Elvis was not limited to R&R or pop, he could sing all kinds of music. Beatles only had one way to go. POP.. They were both good in there day. But time has moved on.Ronnie - Chattanooga, Tn
Rick Nelson covered several of Elvis' songs. Does anyone else notice the facial similaraties?Sara - Greenville, Al
Elvis didn't invent Rock and Roll but he made everyone take notice. I am a black woman and do not believe the prejudice talk I sometimes hear. Elvis loved Gospel, R&B and Rock and Roll. He put the E in Entertainer, the L in Love, the V in Voice, the I in Internally, and the S in Song. I will love him always.Victoria - Chicago, Il
John Lennon is quoted as saying "Before Elvis there was nothing" not Mona LIsa of Denmark.Sacha - Pocatello, Id
i,ve never heard any performer even in this day an age who put more feelings into a song than elvis presley.as far as gospel no one could do it better,yes i do like the beatles 4 elvis presleys lolMike - Saranac Lake, Ny
i don,t know if elvis ever wrote any songs ,but what difference does it really make.you can write ten songs,but if you don,t have a voice then what good is it.Elvis was a baritone he could hit high notes,especially in the song hurt off the moody blue album.imo elvis voice was much better in the last 7 years of his life ,it deepened and gained much more strength.Mike - Saranac Lake, Ny
Elvis might have been the king of Rock & Roll but he could not light the Beatles candle who are the biggest reason Rock & Roll became rock.
Sal,Bardonia, NY
Sal - Bardonia , Ny
Such a shame his twin brother died, canyou imagine what thinsg would have been like if he's lived? Arguably, though, Elvis' emotional impact in his songs could have been different. Does anyone know if he ever recorded a version of "My Way"?Maha - Auckland, New Zealand
Neither Elvis not Vera Matson wrote "Love Me Tender." It was written by Vera Matson's husband, Ken Darby. The tune from the Civil War song, "Aura Lee" was used. Tom Parker had a practice of trying to get songwriters to give up half of their songwriting royalties in exchange for Elvis recording it. However, much of Elvis' work probably deserved a writing credit, or at least a credit for arrangement. He styled a song his own way, especially in the early years. For instance, Lieber and Stoller considered "Love Me" a throwaway, and was intended to be a sardonic hillbilly song. When they heard what Elvis had done with it they barely recognized it, and knew it was a hit (it reached #6.) Another example is Hound Dog. Although Elvis' arrangement was largely based on a version he had heard in Las Vegas by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, it was very much his own, and nearly unrecognizable as the slow blues song written for Big Mama Thornton. Lieber and Stoller didn't like it at first, but the success (and royalties) impressed them enough to offer Elvis many more songs over the years, and they never again balked at his arrangements. Other examples can be heard with some Sun outtakes where Elvis stops a song and changes the tempo, as was the case with "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and "Milk Cow Blues Boogie." He was to pop music and songwriting what Babe Ruth was to baseball and hitting, and he invented Rock and Roll the way the Babe invented the home run. Yes, Rock and Roll had existed for years before Elvis stepped into Sun, and players had hit home runs for years before Ruth donned a Red Sox cap, but they were the first to be known for these things, and did it the best in their respective eras.Shawn - Aurora, Il
Elvis influenced music, whether or not he wrote his own songs/lyrics. He was still a great singer and preformer. Some of his best songs are: Burning Love, Suspicious Minds, and early classics like Heartbreak Hotel.Jay - Columbia, Mo
There is no way to to describe Elvis that would do justice to him.He was the greatest and will always be remembered. A lot of my friends kids love him as well as I do. He will never die.
Tom Aydelott
Pilot Grove, Mo.
Tom - Pilot Grove, Mo
Before anyone did anything, ELVIS did everythingFaisal - Kuwait, Other
Elvis was truly the rock and roll king! He had so many really good songs.Jeevan - Brampton, Canada
Agree with ya on that Lee. He was a great singer.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
I didn't really know alot about elvis presley cause I wasen't a big fan!Diamond - Springfield, Il
Elvis never was a pill freak. It hurts the millions of fans world wide to read crap like that. If people take the time to research the dribble that they say, then they will realise that Elvis was a very compassionate human being who wanted to be loved for who he was. Elvis needed the pills, that he took, he suffered from several medical conditions. I'd like to see those who knock him ,do what he did with the same ailments. I love you Elvis and will die protecting your honour.Kirsty - Sydney, Australia
Elvis may have never wrote his songs, but don't forget, HE brought them to life. Besides, with out him, we would all still be wearing turtelnecks, and listening to Perry Como. No Offense. Elvis is the King for ever.Leah Foster - Santaquin`, Ut
I am not that old--14 to be exact--and I love Elvis!!! He is by far my favorite classic rock/country/gospel singer!!! What the heck would we have done without Elvis Presley, people? Come on! ELVIS IS KING!!!Tj - Indianapolis, In
Elvis may not have written any songs by himself, but he did co-write "Love Me Tender" with Vera Matson.Nick - Garland, Tx
I love to hear him sing in the movies. Bye, Bye, Birdie was a great spin on his being drafted.Jennifer - Tallahassee, Fl
ELLLVVVIISSSSSSS!!!! i am of the mtv generation but i do love my elvis presley. i cant believe there are not more comments on this page! its elvis come on people! he is fantasticIzzie - Lala, Hi
Before Elvis, there was nothin'Mona Lisa - Odense, Denmark
I am surprised that almost none of you members show any interest in Elvis. Most of you are obviously of the MTV generation, much too young to really appreciate Elvis...Pedre - Bangor, Me
my mom said that she always called him "elvis the pelvis" when she was a kid, but i kinda dig some of this stuff. he's a fair singer-- should have written more.

there was an interview with him in a tabloid recently. apparently the guy we see in the photos from his funeral is actually his twin brother who was secretly kept alive.
Loretta - Liverpool, England
Roy Rogers once called Elvis Presley the Johnny Cash of Art Linkletter's imagination.Emory - Baltimore, Md
Elvis had a diamond handled plunger in every bathroom at Graceland. He was what is called a "pill freak".Emory - Baltimore, Md