A cultural icon, Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. An American musician and actor, Elvis is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King". is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th-century popular culture. He had a versatile voice and unusually wide success encompassing many genres, including country, pop ballads, gospel, and blues. Even after death, Elvis Presley keeps selling his music, which in the present has surpassed the figure of 1000 million records sold.
Elvis Aaron Presley, was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He moved with his parents to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948, and Elvis graduated from Humes High School there in 1953. Regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture he was known in the world over by his first name. Elvis died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977. 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.
He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. His American sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards for 150 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.
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most famous, best-selling, and most impersonated recording artists in the history of popular music. His recordings encompassed Rock'n'Roll, Country, Rhythm & Blues, Soul, and Gospel. 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, he 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 his 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.
Estimation says that Elvis Presley has sold over one billion record units worldwide, more than anyone in record industry history. In America only, Elvis has had 150 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. Estimation says that around 40% of Elvis' total record sales have been outside the United States
The trophy room of Elvis Presley's at Graceland is filled with gold and platinum records and awards of all kinds from around the world. Some of the represented countries are: Norway, Yugoslavia, Japan, Australia, South Africa, England, Sweden, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands
Elvis did not record in other languages, 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 has had no less than 149 songs to appear on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Chart in America. Of these, 114 were in the top forty, 40 were in the top ten, and 18 went to number one. His number one singles spent a total of 80 weeks at number one. He has also had over 90 charted albums with ten of them reaching number one. These figures are only for the pop charts, and only in America. He was also a leading artist in the American country, R&B, and gospel fields, and his chart success in other countries was substantial.
In 1956, Elvis made his network television debut with 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 (for that time, anyway) that it caused a national scandal. Elvis next appeared on The Steve Allen Show, with Allen mocking the sensation of the Berle appearance by having Elvis dress in a tuxedo, eliminate his usual physical gyrations, and sing Hound Dog to a Basset Hound. Ed Sullivan had once said he would never have the controversial singer on his top-rated show, but that was before the week that Elvis' appearance on Steve Allen had surpassed Sullivan's ratings. Sullivan paid Elvis $50,000 to make three appearances on his show, which was, at the time, more money than any performer had ever been paid to appear on a network variety program. When Elvis made his third Sullivan appearance in January of 1957, Ed
Sullivan surprised Elvis by telling him on camera that his show had never had a better experience with a name act, and said "I wanted to say to Elvis and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy." It was on this very same Sullivan appearance that Elvis was shown on camera from the waist up only, one of early television history's most memorable moments. Elvis' next network television appearance was in 1960, when Frank Sinatra gave his variety show a "Welcome Home, Elvis" theme to herald Elvis' return from the army. Elvis was paid $125,000 to appear - again, making history.
Elvis starred in 31 feature films as an actor and two theatrically released concert documentary films, all of which enjoyed financial success. He was one of Hollywood's top box office draws and one of its highest-paid actors. His two most critically acclaimed films, Jailhouse Rock (1957) and King Creole (1958) have become classics of their era. A number of his top-selling music came from his movies. Eleven of his movie soundtrack albums went to the top ten, and of those, four went to number one. The soundtrack for G.I. Blues (1960), was number one on the Billboard Top 100 album chart for 10 weeks and remained on the chart for 111 weeks. The album from Blue Hawaii was number one for 20 weeks and was on the chart for 79 weeks.
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 "How Great Thou Art (1974)". In 1971, when Elvis was 36 years old, NARAS recognized him with their Lifetime Achievement Award (known then as the Bing Crosby Award in honor of its first recipient)..
Six of Elvis' recordings, all of them his original studio masters, have been inducted into the NARAS Hall of Fame: Hound Dog (1956 recording, inducted 1988), Heartbreak Hotel (1956 recording, inducted 1995), That's All Right (1954 recording, inducted 1998), Suspicious Minds (1969 recording, inducted 1999), Don't Be Cruel (1956 recording, inducted 2002) and Are You Lonesome Tonight (1960 recording, inducted 2007). The Recording Academy's national trustees established the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1973 to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old. Many inductees are recordings that were created and released before the 1958 inception of NARAS and the Grammy Awards.
A huge number of recordings have been issued under Presley's name. The total number of his original master recordings has been variously calculated as 665 and 711. His career began and he was most successful during an era when singles were the primary commercial medium for pop music. In the case of his albums, the distinction between "official" studio records and other forms is often blurred. In addition, for most of the 1960s, his recording career focused on soundtrack albums. In the 1970s, his most heavily promoted and best-selling LP releases tended to be concert albums. Presley also had five or six number one R&B singles and seven number one adult contemporary singles in 1964, his "Blue Christmas" topped the Christmas singles chart during a period when Billboard did not rank holiday singles in its primary pop chart. He had number one hits in many countries beside the United States and United Kingdom, as well.
Elvis Presley was famous for giving away Cadillacs, cash and jewelry, often on the spur of the moment. But, the true depth and breadth of his generosity and community involvement is not so widely known. Elvis' legacy of kindness continues through the work of the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, which is the philanthropic branch of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. and the creator of the Elvis Presley Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Memphis.
In 1992, the U.S. Postal Service announced that Elvis' image would be used for a commemorative postage stamp. The Postal Service narrowed the artwork choices down to two images - one of Elvis in the 1950's as a sizzling young rocker, and one of him as a still-svelte concert superstar in his 1973 Aloha from Hawaii special. In an unprecedented move, the USPS put the decision to the American people and distributed ballots coast to coast. Over 1.2 million votes were cast, and the image of the young rocker won. The stamp was released on January 8, 1993, with extravagant first day of issue ceremonies at Graceland. The Elvis stamp is the most widely publicized stamp issue in the history of the U.S. Postal Service, and it is the top selling commemorative postage stamp of all time. The USPS printed 500 million of them, three times the usual print run for a commemorative stamp. Several countries outside the USA also have issued Elvis stamps over the years.
Presley's final album, Elvis In Concert, and final two singles, "My Way" and "Unchained Melody," although released after his death are considered part of the official discographical canon as they were projects Presley himself knew about in the planning stages.All other releases are included in the posthumous sections, and obviously all compact disc box sets were also released after Presley's death.
In Presley's death, "Drug use was heavily implicated", writes Guralnick. "No one ruled out the possibility of anaphylactic shock brought on by the codeine pills to which he was known to have had a mild allergy." A pair of lab reports filed two months later each strongly suggested that polypharmacy was the primary cause of death; one reported "fourteen drugs in Elvis' system, ten in significant quantity. Forensic historian and pathologist Michael Baden views the situation as complicated: "Elvis had had an enlarged heart for a long time. That, together with his drug habit, caused his death. But he was difficult to diagnose; it was a judgment call.
Presley has been inducted into four music halls of fame: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986), the Country Music Hall of Fame (1998), the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2001), and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame (2007). In 1984, he received the W. C. Handy Award from the Blues Foundation and the Academy of Country Music's first Golden Hat Award. In 1987, he received the American Music Awards' Award of Merit.
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