Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Active - 1956 - 2020  |   Born - Jan 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, United States  |   Died - Aug 16, 1977   |   Genres - Music, Musical, Romance

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Biography by AllMovie

One of the all-time great rock & rollers and an unprecedented, phenomenal show-business success, Elvis Presley also starred in 31 consecutive big-screen hits. He was among the Top Ten box-office attractions in 1957 and from 1961-1966. When he was 13, he moved to Memphis with his family, going on to work as an usher in a movie theater and a truck driver. Presley toured locally as a singer (billed as "The Hillbilly Cat") and recorded several singles for a local label; he was signed by RCA in 1955 and became an instant star, racking up one hit single after another. On-stage, he gyrated his midsection seductively, leading him to acquire the nickname "Elvis the Pelvis." His concert appearances inspired hysteria among his young female fans, and he was considered by many to be a negative moral influence. However, Presley maintained his clean-cut, "mama's boy" image and soon had fans from every generation. He began appearing in films in 1956, debuting in Love Me Tender. Never successful among critics, his films were designed around his casual, good-ol'-boy characters, successful flirtations with his pretty female co-stars, and numerous songs. And each film made money, altogether grossing more than 150 million dollars. After Presley served a tour in the army, his singing career declined in the early '60s, when the Beatles and other new groups dominated the airwaves; he continued making successful films until 1969 (his last was Change of Habit with Mary Tyler Moore, who played a nun). He also appeared in two concert documentaries, That's the Way It Is (1970) and Elvis on Tour (1972). In the early '70s, after a decade of few personal appearances, Presley began doing live entertainment again, and his drawing power was as strong as ever. However, he began neglecting his health and gained large amounts of weight. He died of a prescription-drug-induced heart attack in 1977, after which his cult of personality grew to enormous proportions. Presley is perhaps more popular in death than he was during his life.

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  • Had an identical twin, Jesse, who was stillborn.
  • Worked as a truck driver after high school, making $35 a week.
  • Spent $4 to make an amateur recording at Sun Studios in 1953 as a belated birthday present for his mother. Sun's secretary later played the songs for Sam Phillips, who signed Elvis to a contract in 1954.
  • Contract was sold to RCA Victor in 1955. His first RCA hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," shot to No. 1 on the charts and stayed there for eight weeks.
  • Popularly known as one of the pioneers of rockabilly, an up-tempo style of music blending country and blues.
  • Was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958 and served for two years; earned the rank of sergeant.
  • Posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
  • Holds Billboard records for most Top 40 hits and most cumulative weeks at No. 1.