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Elvis Presley is one of the world's most famous singers, an icon of music and pop culture. Born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935, Elvis moved to Memphis with his family when he was 13. He was know locally for his singing talent and called himself "The Hillbilly Cat". In 1955, he signed to the recording label RCA.
This was the era of rock and roll, and Elvis Presley was a huge figure in this type of music. He was nicknamed "Elvis the Pelvis" due to his famous gyrations. When he appeared on television shows of the time, the cameras were not allowed to film Presley below the waist. He was managed by Colonel Tom Parker throughout his life. Parker also strictly controlled Presley's film career.
Elvis Presley starred in 33 films, the first of which was called Love Me Tender. Most of these films included Presley's singing, although he also tried some serious acting roles. Colonel Parker would not allow Presley to star in any films in which he did not have star billing. Critics panned most of the films, but the public, especially teenage girls, loved them. Box office earnings of his films reached 150 million US dollars (USD).
To date, Elvis Presley has sold over 1 billion albums worldwide. That is more than any other musical artist or group in the world. Presley has also had 18 #1 records on the Billboard chart. His first was Heartbreak Hotel in 1956, and his last was Suspicious Minds in 1969. He is only one of the very few artists who have been inducted into both the Country Hall of Fame and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The personal life of Elvis Presley did not detract from the adoration of his fans. He suffered from overeating and was said to be addicted to prescription drugs. He had two full face-lifts and rhinoplasty during the mid-1970s. His autopsy detected 10 different types of drugs in his blood and his weight was 260 lbs (118 kg). Presley died in 1977 with about 5 million USD in his bank account.
Elvis Presley bought the Graceland mansion in 1957 for 102,000 USD. It has 23 rooms and is surrounded by 13 acres. Graceland is now the second most visited house in America, beaten only by the White House.
Elvis Presley was known for his generosity. Friends, family and even total strangers often received presents from him. A favorite gift from Presley was one of his many Cadillacs. He once gave a poor woman a wheelchair, and when the woman's daughter admired Presley's car, he gave the car to the daughter.
Presley once said, "I want to entertain people. That's my whole life. To my last breath." In 1974, 89,000 people attended his concert for two days running. Elvis Presley is one of the world's most loved and admired singers. This was true before and even more so after his death.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who was Elvis Presley and why is he significant?
Elvis Presley, often hailed as the "King of Rock and Roll," was an American singer, musician, and actor who became one of the most iconic figures in popular culture. His significance lies in his pioneering role in the creation of rock and roll music, his charismatic stage presence, and his influence on subsequent musicians and artists. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Elvis is one of the best-selling solo artists in history, with estimated record sales of over 500 million units worldwide.
What were some of Elvis Presley's most popular songs?
Elvis Presley's music catalog is extensive, but some of his most popular songs include "Heartbreak Hotel," his first number-one hit on the Billboard charts, "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," and "Suspicious Minds." These tracks not only topped charts but also helped define the rock and roll genre. "Love Me Tender" showcased his versatility by highlighting his tender vocal style, further cementing his status as a music legend.
How did Elvis Presley impact the music industry and culture?
Elvis Presley's impact on the music industry and culture was profound. He broke down racial barriers by incorporating rhythm and blues, gospel, and country into his music, which appealed to a wide audience. His provocative performance style pushed the boundaries of the conservative 1950s, influencing fashion, attitudes, and the youth culture. Elvis's global influence is evident in the countless artists who cite him as an inspiration and in the ongoing popularity of his music and image.
What were some of the awards and accolades Elvis Presley received?
Elvis Presley received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. He was nominated for 14 Grammy Awards, winning three for his gospel recordings, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. Elvis was inducted into multiple music halls of fame, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Gospel Music Hall of Fame, reflecting his diverse musical influence. The United States also honored him posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018.
Can you visit Elvis Presley's home, Graceland, and what can you see there?
Yes, you can visit Elvis Presley's home, Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee. It is one of the most-visited private homes in America, with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. At Graceland, fans can see Elvis's mansion, his car collection, private planes, and an extensive array of memorabilia. The estate also serves as a museum and a tribute to his life and career, offering an intimate glimpse into the personal side of the King of Rock and Roll.