Elvis Presley, The rock n roll legend lived for merely 42 years, but in this ephemeral time span, he managed to create a massive fan following that keeps on multiplying.
Apart from being a musician, he was also a great dancer and actor. As a child, he was greatly influenced by gospel music. Presley was gifted a guitar by his mother in 1946 when he had turned 11 and since then, he had been unstoppable. With his marvelous stage performances, Elvis transfigured the contemporary styles of performance, thereby kindling the same kind of enthusiasm for the generation of performers to come. His exquisite stage moves made him a sex symbol at the time and he specifically employed hip movements in his acts, which is why he was also called ‘Elvis the Pelvis’.
Only a few years later, he won a school-level competition and at the age of 18, he went on to get two of his songs ‘My Happiness’ and ‘That’s When Your Heartaches Begin’ recorded. He intended to gift it to his mother, Gladys. However, on his way home, he stopped at his friend’s place to hear the recordings and left it there only. In 2015, these first recordings were auctioned and finally sold at $300,000.
In his 42 years of life, Elvis also starred in 31 movies and two documentaries. Although to the conservatives, his performances seemed provocative and he was chided by them for the same reason, those like Ed Sullivan had to give up their judgments about him, so as to fulfill the demands of the viewership that adored Presley. ‘Hound Dog’ is the most popular of his songs and the performance was the most scandalous one. He was also one of the highest-paid artists to be invited to the night shows of the time. Sullivan had paid $50,000 and Frank Sinatra a whopping sum of $1,25,000.
Presley ranks second among the top-selling artists of all time. He has a record of 207 million sales to his name. 18 of his songs have topped Billboard’s hot 100 and as of February of this year, ‘Blue Christmas’ was ranked 36 among the Billboard Global 200. This shows the timelessness of Elvis’ music as it continues to maintain its popularity. His potential was recognized quite early, which is probably why at the age of 22, he became the owner of the well coveted Graceland Mansion. It was opened for public tours on 7th June 1982. It is a must-visit for those who wish to explore the personal life of Presley.
Presley’s other achievements include 14 Grammy nominations, out of which three had culminated in wins, particularly for ‘How Great Art Thou’, ‘He Touched Me,” and the live concert recording of the former. He continued to be awarded posthumously as he had left a vast magnitude of legacy. In 1984, he was awarded for “keeping the blues alive in his music”. Even 23 years after his death, in 2001, he was enlisted in the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame. This way, he is the only musician to be part of all three halls of fame, viz. Gospel, Rock n Roll, and Country.
Presley’s roots were humble, which is suggestive of his adaptability for all kinds of jobs, even the odd ones, and his career as military personnel, even after having achieved considerable success as a musician. He probably aspired to have diverse experiences and thus was ambitious not just for his music career, but also for other entertainment niches and military endeavors. It is stunning how the man lived numerous professional lives in such a short time period.
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Written By: Ashmita Khandelwal
Editor and Team Lead: Ashutosh Sharma
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