Elvis Presley

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Posted by sonny 03/24/2009 @ 04:07

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Elvis Presley's Palm Springs estate to become "Graceland West" - Examiner.com
The owner of the Palm Springs estate once owned by Elvis Presley has big plans for the future. Reno Fontana and his wife, Laura, purchased the home at 845 West Chino Canyon Road from a Japanese businessman at a bargain price of $1.25 million in 2003....
When Elvis was King, Murphy ruled - Murfreesboro Post
By ERIN EDGEMON Elvis Presley, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, The Who, The Beach Boys and Garth Brooks; all are legendary musicians who have sold millions of records. But there's something else that these performers have in common....
Allen, Lambert ready to launch music careers - The Associated Press
Could Lambert, whose look is reminiscent of Elvis Presley, end up in movies? "I'd love to go that direction eventually," he said. "A lot of people mention the Elvis connection. In the heyday of Hollywood, artists got to do everything — they did music...
Bono Expresses Love of Elvis Presley Via Poem on the BBC - Rolling Stone
Bono has never kept his admiration of Elvis Presley a secret. U2's frontman wrote about the King for Rolling Stone's Immortals issue, calling Elvis “the blueprint for rock & roll.” And U2 even recorded tracks for 1987's Rattle and Hum at Sun Studios in...
Pilgrimage to the blingdom - Elvis Presley's Graceland - NewOrleans.Com
Thirty years after his death, Elvis Presley's Graceland has almost become a parody of itself: its so-called “Jungle Room” drawing oohs and ahhs from an endless parade of gawkers, despite being only midly self-indulgent compared to today's extravagant...
101 Great Things to do (31 to 40) - Jackson Sun
Fans of Elvis Presley will flock to Memphis during “Elvis Week,” Aug. 8-16, an annual gathering that marks the anniversary of Presley's death in 1977. Events will include meet-and-greets, the “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest,” a scavenger hunt,...
Elvis Presley's 11 best movies - Examiner.com
A year ago, I would not have hesitated to use an Elvis DVD as a Frisbee. Then, my 16-year-old daughter began watching old Elvis flicks on television. I gave her a bad time about it. She responded she rather liked them. So . . . I decided to watch them...
2009 Chalk Element Count - Santa Barbara Edhat
No bicycles or Elvis Presley, either. But there were many more Missions (8) than in year's past. Eight drawings had dogs. And, it should come as no surprise that there were quite a few chalk paintings with firefighter themes this year (7)....
Elvis Presley's Original John Deere Tractor to Go on Display at ... - and weather
MEMPHIS, TN (BUSINESS WIRE)-- Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. announced that a John Deere tractor regularly used by Elvis on his Mississippi ranch and at his home at Graceland has been fully restored and will be placed on public display, beginning May...
DEI a “Must See” for Race Fans - The Lincoln Tribune
Right now at DEI, if you visit the gift shop from now until May 30th, the race shop is featuring a tribute to Elvis Presley as well as their standing tribute to Dale Earnhardt. This is especially exciting for Elvis fans as it is the first time...

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley birthplace.

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977; middle name sometimes written Aron)a was an American singer, actor, and musician. A cultural icon, he is commonly known simply as "Elvis", and is also sometimes referred to as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll" or "The King".

In 1954, Presley began his career as one of the first performers of rockabilly, an uptempo fusion of country and rhythm and blues with a strong back beat. His novel versions of existing songs, mixing "black" and "white" sounds, made him popular—and controversial—as did his uninhibited stage and television performances. He recorded songs in the rock and roll genre, with tracks like "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock" later embodying the style. Presley had a versatile voice and had unusually wide success encompassing other genres, including gospel, blues, ballads and pop. To date, he has been inducted into four music halls of fame.

In the 1960s, Presley made the majority of his 31 movies—mainly poorly reviewed, but financially successful, musicals. In 1968, he returned to live music in a television special, and performed across the U.S., notably in Las Vegas. Throughout his career, he set records for concert attendance, television ratings and recordings sales. He is one of the best-selling and most influential artists in the history of music. Health problems, drug dependency and other factors led to his death at age 42.

Elvis Presley owed his ancestry to diverse European ethnic strains, primarily British and German; Presley's lineage also included some Native American, i.e., Cherokee descent. His father, Vernon Elvis Presley (April 10, 1916–June 26, 1979), had several low-paying jobs, including sharecropping and working as a truck driver. His mother, Gladys Love Smith (April 25, 1912 – August 14, 1958) worked as a sewing machinist. They met in Tupelo, Mississippi, and eloped to Pontotoc County where they married on June 17, 1933.

Presley was born in a two-room shotgun house, built by his father, in East Tupelo. He was an identical twin—his brother was stillborn and given the name Jesse Garon. Growing up as an only child he "was, everyone agreed, unusually close to his mother." The family lived just above the poverty line and attended an Assembly of God church. Vernon has been described as "a malingerer, always averse to work and responsibility." His wife was "voluble, lively, full of spunk" and had a fondness for drink. In 1938, Vernon was jailed for an eight dollar check forgery. His eight-month incarceration caused Gladys and her son to lose the family home, and they moved in with relatives.

On October 3, 1945, at age ten, he made his first public performance in a singing contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show at the suggestion of his teacher Mrs. J.C. Grimes. Dressed as a cowboy, the young Presley had to stand on a chair to reach the microphone and sang Red Foley's "Old Shep." He came fifth, winning $5 and a free ticket to all the Fair rides.

In 1946, for his eleventh birthday, Presley received his first guitar. He wanted a bicycle or rifle for his birthday, but his parents could only afford a guitar. Over the following year, Vernon's brother, Vester, gave Elvis basic guitar lessons. In September 1948, the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, allegedly because Vernon—in addition to needing work—had to escape the law for transporting bootleg liquor. In 1949, they lived at Lauderdale Courts, a public housing development in one of Memphis' poorer sections. Presley practiced playing guitar in the laundry room and also played in a five-piece band with other tenants. One resident, another future rockabilly pioneer, Johnny Burnette, recalled, "Wherever Elvis went he'd have his guitar slung across his back... e'd go in to one of the cafes or bars... Then some folks would say: 'Let's hear you sing, boy.'" Presley enrolled at L. C. Humes High School where some fellow students viewed his performing unfavorably; one recalled that he was "a sad, shy, not especially attractive boy" whose guitar playing was not likely to win any prizes. Presley was made fun of as a 'trashy' kind of boy, playing 'trashy' hillbilly music." Other children however, "would beg him" to sing, but he was apparently too shy to perform.

In September 1950, Presley occasionally worked evenings as an usher at Loew's State Theater—his first job—to boost the family income, but his mother made him quit as she feared it was affecting his school work. He worked again at Loew's in June the following year, but was fired after a fistfight over a female employee. He began to grow his sideburns and, when he could afford to, dress in the wild, flashy clothes of Lansky Brothers on Beale Street. He stood out, especially in the conservative Deep South of the 1950s, and was mocked and bullied for it. Childhood friend Red West said: "In the sea of 1600 pink-scalped kids at school, Elvis stood out like a camel in the arctic. ... ... his appearance expressed a defiance which his demeanor did not match..." Despite any unpopularity or shyness, he was a contestant in his school's 1952 "Annual Minstrel Show" and won by receiving the most applause. His prize was to sing encores, including "Cold Cold Icy Fingers" and "Till I Waltz Again With You".

After graduation, Presley was still rather shy, a "kid who had spent scarcely a night away from home". His third job was driving a truck for the Crown Electric Company. He began wearing his hair longer with a ducktail;the style of truck drivers at that time.

Initial influences came through his family's attendance at the Assembly of God. Rolling Stone wrote: "Gospel pervaded Elvis' character and was a defining and enduring influence all of his days." Presley himself stated: "Since I was two years old, all I knew was gospel music. That music became such a part of my life it was as natural as dancing. A way to escape from the problems. And my way of release." Throughout his life—in the recording studio, in private, or after concerts—Presley joined with others singing and playing gospel music at informal sessions. The legendary Southern Gospel singer Jake Hess was Presley's favorite singer and was the greatest influence on his singing style.

On July 18, 1953, Presley went to Sun Records' Memphis Recording Service to record "My Happiness" with "That's When Your Heartaches Begin", supposedly a present for his mother. During his initial introduction at Sun Records, assistant Marion Keisker asked him who he sounded like. Presley replied: "I don't sound like nobody." On January 4, 1954, he cut a second acetate. At the time, Sun Records boss Sam Phillips was on the lookout for someone who could deliver a blend of black blues and boogie-woogie music; he thought it would be very popular among white people. When Phillips acquired a demo recording of "Without Love (There Is Nothing)" and was unable to identify the vocalist, Keisker reminded him about the young truck driver. She called him on June 26, 1954. Presley was not able to do justice to the song (though he would record it years later). Phillips would later recall that "Elvis was probably as nervous as anybody, black or white, that I had seen in front of a microphone." Despite this, Phillips invited local musicians Winfield "Scotty" Moore and Bill Black to audition Presley. Though they were not overly impressed, a studio session was planned.

During a recording break, Presley began "acting the fool" first with Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right (Mama)". Phillips quickly got them all to restart, and began taping. This was the sound he had been looking for. The group recorded other songs, including Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky". After the session, according to Scotty Moore, Bill Black remarked: "Damn. Get that on the radio and they'll run us out of town".

Moore and Black began playing regularly with Presley. They gave performances on the July 17 and July 24, 1954 to promote the Sun single at the Bon Air, a rowdy music club in Memphis, where the band was not well-received. On July 30 the trio, billed as The Blue Moon Boys, made their first paid appearance at the Overton Park Shell, with Slim Whitman headlining. A nervous Presley's legs were said to have shaken uncontrollably during this show: his wide-legged pants emphasized his leg movements, apparently causing females in the audience to go "crazy". Scotty Moore claims it was just the natural way he moved and had nothing to do with "nerves." Presley consciously incorporated similar movements into future shows.

DJ and promoter Bob Neal became the trio's manager (replacing Scotty Moore). Moore and Black left their band, the Starlight Wranglers and, from August through October 1954, appeared with Presley at The Eagle's Nest. Presley debuted at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on October 2; Hank Snow introduced Presley on stage. He performed "Blue Moon of Kentucky" but received only a polite response. Afterwards, the singer was allegedly told by the Opry's Jim Denny: "Boy, you’d better keep driving that truck," though others deny it was Denny who made that statement. Country music promoter and manager Tillman Franks booked Presley for the Louisiana Hayride on October 16. Before Franks saw Presley, he referred to him as "that new black singer with the funny name". During Presley's first set, the reaction was muted; Franks then advised Presley to "Let it all go!" for the second set. House drummer D.J. Fontana (who had worked in strip clubs) complemented Presley's movements with accented beats. Bill Black also took an active part in encouraging the audience, and the crowd became more responsive.

By August 1955, Sun Studios had released ten sides credited to "Elvis Presley, Scotty and Bill", all typical of the developing Presley style. That style proved hard to categorize; he was billed or labeled in the media as "The King of Western Bop", "The Hillbilly Cat" and "The Memphis Flash".

On August 15, 1955, "Colonel" Tom Parker became Presley's manager, signing him to a one year contract, plus renewals. Several record labels had shown interest in signing Presley and, by the end of October 1955, three major labels had made offers up to $25,000. On November 21, 1955, Parker and Phillips negotiated a deal with RCA Victor Records to acquire Presley's Sun contract for an unprecedented $40,000, $5,000 of which was a bonus for the singer for back royalties owed to him by Sun Records (Presley, at 20, was officially still a minor, so his father had to sign the contract). By December 1955, RCA had begun to heavily promote its newest star, and by the month's end had re-released all of his Sun recordings.

On January 10, Presley made his first recordings for RCA in Nashville, Tennessee. The session produced "Heartbreak Hotel/I Was The One" which was released on January 27. The public reaction to "Heartbreak Hotel" prompted RCA to release it as a single in its own right (February 11). By April it had hit number one in the U.S. charts, selling in excess of one million copies.

To increase the singer's exposure, Parker finally brought Presley to national television (In March 1955, Presley had failed an audition for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts). He booked six appearances on CBS-TV's Stage Show in New York, beginning January 28, 1956. Presley was introduced on the first by Cleveland DJ Bill Randle. He stayed in town and on January 30, he and the band headed for the RCA's New York Studio. The sessions yielded eight songs, including "My Baby Left Me" and "Blue Suede Shoes". The latter was the only hit single from the collection, but the recordings marked the point at which Presley started moving away from the raw, pure Sun sound to the more commercial and mainstream sound RCA had envisioned for him.

On March 23, RCA Victor released Elvis Presley, his first album. Like the Sun recordings, the majority of the tracks were country songs. The album went on to top the pop album chart for 10 weeks.

On April 1, Presley launched his acting career with a screen-test for Paramount Pictures. His first motion picture, Love Me Tender, was released on November 21 (See 'Acting career').

Colonel Parker had also obtained a deal for two lucrative appearances on NBC-TV's The Milton Berle Show. Presley first appeared from the deck of the USS Hancock in San Diego on April 3. His performance was cheered by a live audience of appreciative sailors and their dates. A few days after, a flight taking Presley's band to Nashville for a recording session left all three badly shaken (the plane lost an engine and almost went down over Texas).

From April 23, Presley was scheduled to perform four weeks at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip—billed this time as "the Atomic Powered Singer" (since Nevada was the home of the U.S.'s atomic weapons testing, Parker thought the name would be catchy). His shows were so badly received by critics and the conservative, middle-aged guests, that Parker cut short the engagement from four weeks to two. D.J. Fontana said, "I don't think the people there were ready for Elvis..... We tried everything we knew. Usually Elvis could get them on his side. It didn't work that time". While in Vegas, Presley saw Freddie Bell and the Bellboys live, and liked their version of Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog". By May 16, he had added the song to his own act.

Country vocalists The Jordanaires accompanied Presley on The Steve Allen Show and their first recording session together produced "Any Way You Want Me", "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog". The Jordanaires would work with the singer through the 1960s.

Though Presley had been unhappy, Allen's show had, for the first time, beaten The Ed Sullivan Show in the ratings, causing a critical Sullivan (CBS) to book Presley for three appearances for an unprecedented $50,000.

Presley's first Ed Sullivan appearance (September 9, 1956) was seen by some 55–60 million viewers. Biographer Greil Marcus has written: "Compared to moments on the Dorsey shows and on the Berle show, it was ice cream." On the third Sullivan show, in spite of Presley's established reputation as a "gyrating" performer, he sang only slow paced ballads and a gospel song. Presley was nevertheless only shown to the television audience 'from the waist up', as if to censor the singer. Marcus claims he "stepped out in the outlandish costume of a pasha, if not a harem girl", and was shot in close up during this last broadcast, as if Sullivan had tried to 'bury' the singer. It was also claimed that Colonel Parker had himself orchestrated the 'censorship' merely to generate publicity. In spite of any misgivings about the controversial nature of his performing style (see 'Sex symbol'), Sullivan declared at the end of the third appearance that Presley was "a real decent, fine boy" and that they had never had "a pleasanter experience" on the show.

On December 4, Presley dropped into Sun Records where Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis were recording. Sam Phillips made sure the session of the three performing was recorded; the results would later appear on a bootlegged recording titled The Million Dollar Quartet in 1977 (Johnny Cash is often thought to have performed with the trio, but he was only present briefly at Phillips' instigation for a photo opportunity). RCA would eventually iron out legal difficulties and release an authorized version a few years later.

On December 29, Billboard revealed that Presley had placed more songs in the Top 100 than any other artist since chart records began. This news was followed by a front page report in the Wall Street Journal on December 31, that suggested Presley merchandise had grossed more than $22 million in sales.

By the spring of 1956, Presley was becoming popular nationwide and teenagers flocked to his concerts. Scotty Moore recalled: "He’d start out, 'You ain’t nothin’ but a Hound Dog,' and they’d just go to pieces. They’d always react the same way. There’d be a riot every time." Bob Neal wrote: "It was almost frightening, the reaction... from teenage boys. So many of them, through some sort of jealousy, would practically hate him." In Lubbock, Texas, a teenage gang fire-bombed Presley's car. Some performers became resentful (or resigned to the fact) that Presley's unmatched hustle onstage before them would "kill" their own act; he thus rose quickly to top billing. At the two concerts he performed at the 1956 Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show, one hundred National Guardsmen were on hand to prevent crowd trouble.

In 1957, despite Presley's demonstrable respect for "black" music and performers, he faced accusations of racism. He was alleged to have said in Boston, Massachusetts: "The only thing Negro people can do for me is to buy my records and shine my shoes." A journalist at Jet magazine (run by and for African Americans), subsequently pursued Presley, and his acquaintances in Memphis, for any other admissions or anecdotes to back up the perception that the singer was racist. None was found, nor could any evidence be found of the date, location and persons involved regarding the alleged remark (Presley had never visited Boston). Presley himself was interviewed on the set of Jailhouse Rock where he denied saying, or ever wanting to make, such a racist remark.

His parents moved home in Memphis, but the singer lived there briefly. With increased concerns over privacy and security, Graceland was bought and renovated in 1957, a mansion with several acres of land. This was Presley's primary residence until his death.

Presley's record sales grew quickly throughout the late 1950s, with hits like "All Shook Up", "(Let me Be Your) Teddy Bear" and "Too Much".

On December 20, 1957, Presley received his draft notice. Hal Wallis and Paramount Pictures had already spent $350,000 on the film King Creole, and did not want to suspend or cancel the project. The Memphis Draft Board granted Presley a deferment to finish it. On March 24, 1958, he was inducted as US Army private #53310761 and completed basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, on September 17, 1958, before being posted to Friedberg, Germany, with the 3rd Armored Division, where his service took place from October 1, 1958 until March 2, 1960.

Fellow soldiers have attested to Presley's wish to be seen as an able, ordinary soldier, despite his fame, and to his generosity while in the service. To supplement meager under-clothing supplies, Presley bought an extra set of fatigues for everyone in his outfit. He also donated his Army pay to charity, and purchased all the TV sets for personnel on the base at that time.

Presley had chosen not to join 'Special Services', which would have allowed him to avoid certain duties and maintain his public profile. He continued to receive massive media coverage, with much speculation echoing Presley's own concerns about his enforced absence damaging his career. However, early in 1958, RCA Victor producer Steve Sholes and Freddy Bienstock of Hill and Range (Presley's main music publishers) had both pushed for recording sessions and strong song material, the aim being to release regular hit recordings during Presley's two-year hiatus. Hit singles—and six albums—duly followed during that period.

As Presley's fame grew, his mother continued to drink excessively and began to gain weight. She had wanted her son to succeed, "but... hysteria of the crowd frightened her." In early August 1958, doctors had diagnosed hepatitis and her condition worsened. Presley was granted emergency leave to visit her, arriving in Memphis on August 12. Two days later, Gladys Presley died of heart failure, aged forty-six. Presley was distraught, "grieving almost constantly" for days.

Presley returned to the U.S. on March 2, 1960, and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant on March 5. Any doubts Elvis had about his popularity must have been dispelled as "The train which carried him from New Jersey to Memphis was mobbed all the way, with Presley being called upon to appear ... at whistle-stops" to placate his fans.

In 1956, Presley launched his career as a film actor. He screen-tested for Paramount Pictures by lip-synching "Blue Suede Shoes" and performing a scene as 'Bill Starbuck' in The Rainmaker. Despite being quietly confident that The Rainmaker would be his first film—even going as far as saying so in an interview—the role eventually went to Burt Lancaster.

After signing a seven-year contract with Paramount, Presley made his big-screen début with the musical western, Love Me Tender. It was panned by the critics but did well at the box office. The original title—The Reno Brothers—was changed to capitalize on the advanced sales of the song "Love Me Tender". The majority of Presley's films were musical comedies made to "sell records and produce high revenues." He also appeared in more dramatic films, like Jailhouse Rock and King Creole. The erotic, if not homoerotic, dance sequence to the song "Jailhouse Rock", which Presley choreographed himself, "is considered by many as his greatest performance ever captured on film." To maintain box office success, he would later even shift "into beefcake formula comedy mode for a few years." He also made one non-musical western, Charro!.

Presley stopped live performing after his Army service with the exception, ironically—given Sinatra's previously scathing criticism—of a guest appearance on The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis (1960). He also performed three charity concerts—two in Memphis and one in Pearl Harbor (1961).

In 1964, Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole had starred in Hal Wallis' acclaimed Becket. Wallis admitted to the press that the financing of such quality productions was only possible by making a series of profitable B-movies starring Presley. Elvis branded Wallis "a double-dealing sonofabitch" (and he thought little better of Tom Parker), realizing there had never been any intention to let him develop into a serious actor.

Presley was similarly exploited the following year with the film Tickle Me. Allied Artists had serious financial problems and hoped a Presley film would help them "stay afloat". By agreeing to a lower fee, using previously recorded songs and filming on the studio back-lot, Allied Artists were able to keep costs very low. Considered one of the weakest of all Presley pictures, it became the third highest grossing picture in Allied Artists' history, and saved them from bankruptcy at the time.

Change of Habit (1969) was the singer's final movie role. His last two films were concert documentaries in the early 1970s, though Presley was keen to consider dramatic movie roles. (See: 'Influence of Colonel Parker and others').

During filming of Paradise, Hawaiian Style, Presley returned to his Bel Air home. The Beatles were at the end of their second U.S. tour. Colonel Parker had been negotiating a meeting for some time, through The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, though Parker simply saw it as a valuable publicity opportunity (He had apparently even tried to get the group and Presley to perform the closing song in the same movie, but The Beatles' film contract precluded it). The group arrived in Bel Air amid a flurry of elaborate security arrangements made by Parker at 10pm, on August 27, 1965. The visit lasted about four hours. Many of Presley's closest and trusted friends— members of the so-called "Memphis Mafia"—were present, including school friend and bodyguard Red West, Marty Lacker, Jerry Schilling, Larry Geller and their girlfriends.

Ringo Starr played pool with two others that night; George Harrison "looked to most of the guys to be stoned" on arrival and allegedly smoked a joint with Larry Geller and talked about Hinduism (see: 'Influence of Colonel Parker and others'). Parker played roulette with Epstein. However, Guralnick claims The Beatles were, overall, disappointed by the visit. They still reciprocated with an invitation for Elvis to visit them, but only some of Presley's "Memphis Mafia" accepted. "John Lennon went out of his way to tell Jerry how much the evening had meant to him" and asked Schilling to tell Presley, "'f it hadn't been for him I would have been nothing.'" Schilling says that when he told Presley he did not say anything, but "just kind of smiled." (See: '1970–1972)').

According to Marjorie Garber, a "male rock critic writing in 1970 praised Elvis as 'The master of the sexual simile, treating his guitar as both phallus and girl.' ... rumor had it that into his skin-tight jeans was sewn a lead bar to suggest a weapon of heroic proportions." She cites a boyhood friend of Presley's who claims the singer actually used a cardboard toilet roll tube to make it "look to the girls up front like he had one helluva thing there inside his pants." Ed Sullivan had apparently heard similar rumors and instructed his director Marlo Lewis to film only Presley's chest and head for his final Sullivan appearance. However, Lewis was skeptical about Presley wearing such a device and says simply: "It wasn't there".

Accounts of Presley's numerous sexual conquests may be exaggerated. Cybill Shepherd reveals that Presley kissed her all over her naked body - but refused to have oral sex with her. Ex-Girlfriends Judy Spreckels and June Juanico had no sexual relationships with Presley. Byron Raphael and Alanna Nash have stated that the star "would never put himself inside one of these girls..." Cassandra Peterson ("Elvira") says she knew Presley for only one night, but all they did was talk. Cher regrets turning him down when he asked her to stay with him in Las Vegas, because she was too nervous of spending the night with him. Peggy Lipton claims that he was "virtually impotent" with her, but she attributed this to his boyishness and drug misuse. Guralnick concurs with others, "he wasn't really interested", preferring to lie in bed, watch television and talk.

Former partner Linda Thompson says they did not consummate their relationship until after a few months of dating. After they broke up in December 1976, many say Presley never had sex again. His last girlfriend, Ginger Alden claims that the singer planned to marry her and that she was engaged to Presley at the time of his death, though her story is somewhat contradicted by many of Presley's close friends.

Elvis and Priscilla met in 1959 at a party in Bad Nauheim, Germany during his stay in the army. She was 14 at the time, while he was 24. They quickly began a romantic relationship and were frequently together until Elvis left Germany in 1960. In her autobiography, Elvis and Me, Priscilla says that Elvis refused to have sex with her until they were married. However, biographer Suzanne Finstad writes that Priscilla and Elvis slept together on their second date, and that she wasn't a virgin when she met him.

Priscilla and Elvis stayed in contact over the phone, though they would not see each other again until the summer of 1962, when Priscilla's parents agreed to let her visit for two weeks. After another visit at Christmas, Priscilla's parents finally let her move to America for good. Part of the agreement was that she would be privately educated, to complete her senior year, and live with Elvis' father and his wife, Dee, in their home—due to Presley's difficulty with accepting his stepmother, he arranged for them to live in a separate house on the Graceland estate. However, it wasn't long until Priscilla was moved into Graceland to live with Elvis.

Shortly before Christmas 1966, Elvis proposed to Priscilla. They married on May 1, 1967 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. In typical fashion, Colonel Parker had arranged a photo session and press conference to be conducted shortly after the ceremony. According to Finstad, this marriage was part of a mastermind for fame hatched by Priscilla and her mother.

Their only child, Lisa Marie, was born on February 1, 1968.

By 1967, Colonel Tom Parker had negotiated a contract that gave him 50% of Presley's earnings. Parker's excessive gambling—and his subsequent need to have Presley signed up to commercially lucrative contracts—may well have adversely affected the course of Presley's career. Parker's concerns about his own U.S. citizenship (he was a Dutch immigrant) may have also been a factor in Parker and the singer never exploiting Presley's popularity abroad (see: '1973–1976'). It has been claimed that Presley's original band was fired in order to isolate the singer: Parker wanted no one close to Presley to suggest that a better management deal might exist.

As well as signing Presley to RCA Victor, Parker also cut a deal with Hill and Range Publishing Company to create a separate entity— "Elvis Presley Music Incorporated"—to handle all of Presley's songs and accrued royalties. Parker would later use this set-up to make songwriters relinquish some of their royalties; this ultimately resulted in the better writers refusing to provide songs for Presley, causing a marked decline in the quality of his output over the years. Presley apparently disliked several songs—even some of the earliest top sellers he became famous for (which suggests commercial influences were sometimes greater than his own desires). Presley's friend Jerry Schilling relates that one way to really annoy the singer was to play a song, like "All Shook Up", on a jukebox at one of his private parties. "Get that crap off," was his typical reaction.

In 1969, record producer Chips Moman and Presley recorded with Moman's own musicians at his American Sound Studios in Memphis. Given the control exerted by RCA and the music publishers, this was a significant departure. Moman still had to deal with Hill and Range staff on site and was not happy with their song choices. Moman could only get the best out of the singer when he threatened to quit the sessions and asked Presley to remove the "aggravating" publishing personnel from the studio. RCA Victor executive Joan Deary was later full of praise for the song choices and superior results of Moman's work, like "In the Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds", but despite this, no producer was to override Hill and Range's control again.

According to life-long friend and "Memphis Mafia" member George Klein, over the years Presley was offered lead roles in the film Midnight Cowboy and in West Side Story. Robert Mitchum personally offered him the lead in Thunder Road. In 1974, Barbra Streisand approached Presley to star with her in the remake of A Star is Born. In each case, any ambitions the singer may have had to play such parts were thwarted by his manager's negotiating demands, or his flat refusals.

Larry Geller became Presley's hairdresser in 1964. Unlike others in the "Memphis Mafia", Geller was interested in 'spiritual studies', and was subsequently viewed with suspicion and scorn by the singer's manager and friends. From their first conversation, Geller recalls how Presley revealed his secret thoughts and anxieties, how "there's got to be a reason... why I was chosen to be Elvis Presley.'" He then poured out his heart in "an almost painful rush of words and emotions," telling Geller about his mother and the hollowness of his Hollywood life, things he could not share with anyone around him. Thereafter, Presley voraciously read books Geller supplied, on religion and mysticism. Perhaps most tellingly, he revealed to Geller: "I swear to God, no one knows how lonely I get and how empty I really feel." Presley would be preoccupied by such matters for much of his life, taking trunkloads of books with him on tour.

In 1968, even Presley's version of Jerry Reed's hook-laden "Guitar Man" had failed to enter the U.S. Top 40. He continued to issue movie soundtrack albums that sold poorly compared to those of films like Blue Hawaii from 1961. It had also been nearly six years since the single "Good Luck Charm" had topped the Billboard Hot 100.

Presley was, by now, "profoundly" unhappy with his career. Colonel Parker's plans once again included television, and he arranged for Presley to appear in his own special. The singer had not been on television since Frank Sinatra's Timex special in May of 1960. Parker shrewdly manoeuvred a deal with NBC's Tom Sarnoff which included the network's commitment to financing a future Presley feature film—something that Parker had found increasingly difficult to secure.

The special was made in June, but was first aired on December 3, 1968 as a Christmas telecast called simply Elvis. Later dubbed the '68 Comeback Special by fans and critics, the show featured some lavishly staged studio productions. Other songs however, were performed live with a band in front of a small audience—Presley's first live appearance as a performer since 1961. The live segments saw Presley clad in black leather, singing and playing guitar in an uninhibited style—reminiscent of his rock and roll days. Rolling Stone called it "a performance of emotional grandeur and historical resonance." Jon Landau in Eye magazine remarked: "There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home. He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect of rock 'n' roll singers. He moved his body with a lack of pretension and effort that must have made Jim Morrison green with envy." Its success was helped by director and co-producer, Steve Binder, who worked hard to reassure the nervous singer and to produce a show that was not just an hour of Christmas songs, as Colonel Parker had originally planned.

By January, 1969, one of the key songs written specifically for the special, "If I Can Dream", reached number 12. The soundtrack of the special also broke into the Top 10. On December 4, when the TV ratings were released, NBC reported that Presley had captured 42 percent of the total viewing audience. It was the network's number one rated show that season.

Buoyed by the experience, Presley engaged in the prolific series of recording sessions at American Sound Studios, which lead to the acclaimed From Elvis in Memphis (Chips Moman was its uncredited producer). It was followed by From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis, a double-album. The same sessions lead to the hit singles "In the Ghetto", "Suspicious Minds", "Kentucky Rain" and "Don't Cry Daddy".

In 1969, Presley was keen to resume regular live performing. Following the success of Elvis, many new offers came in from around the world. The London Palladium offered Parker $28,000 for a one week engagement. He responded: "That's fine for me, now how much can you get for Elvis?" By May, the brand new International Hotel in Las Vegas announced that it had booked Presley; he was scheduled to perform from July 31, after Barbra Streisand opened the new venue.

Presley duly delivered fifty-seven shows over four weeks at the hotel, which had the largest showroom in the city. He had assembled some of the finest musicians—including an orchestra—and some of the best soul/gospel back-up singers available.

Despite such a prestigious backing, Presley was nervous; his only other engagement in Las Vegas (1956) had been a disaster, critically. Parker therefore promoted the singer's appearances heavily; he rented billboards and took out full-page advertisements in local and trade papers. The lobby of the International displayed Presley souvenirs; records, T-shirts, straw boaters and stuffed animals. Parker intended to make Presley's return the show business event of the year, and hotel owner Kirk Kerkorian planned to send his own plane to New York to fly in the rock press for the debut performance.

Presley took to the stage with no introduction. The audience—which included Pat Boone, Fats Domino, Wayne Newton, Dick Clark, Ann-Margret, George Hamilton, Angie Dickinson, and Henry Mancini—gave him a standing ovation before he sang one note. After a well-received performance, he returned to give an encore, of "Can't Help Falling in Love", and was given his third standing ovation Backstage, many well-wishers, including Cary Grant, congratulated Presley on his triumphant return which, in the showroom alone, had generated over $1,500,000.

The next day, Parker's negotiations with the hotel resulted in a five-year contract for Presley to play each February and August, at a salary of $1 million per year.

In January 1970, Presley returned to the International Hotel for a month-long engagement, performing two shows a night. RCA recorded some shows and the best material appeared on the album On Stage - February 1970. In late February, Presley performed six more attendance-breaking shows at the Houston Astrodome in Texas. In August at the International Hotel, MGM filmed rehearsal and concert footage for a documentary: Elvis - That's The Way It Is. He wore a jumpsuit—a garment that would become a trademark of Presley's live performances in the 1970s. Although he had new hit singles in many countries, some were critical of his song choices and accused him of being distant from trends within contemporary music.

Around this time Presley was threatened with kidnapping at the International Hotel. Phone calls were received, one demanding $50,000; if unpaid, Presley would be killed by a "crazy man". The FBI took the threat seriously and security was stepped up for the next two shows. Presley went on stage with a Derringer in his right boot and a .45 in his waistband, but nothing untoward transpired. (The singer had had many threats of varying degrees since the fifties, many of them made without the singer's knowledge).

After closing his Las Vegas engagement on September 7, Presley embarked on his first concert tour since 1958. Feeling exhausted, Presley spent a month relaxing and recording before touring again in October and November. He would tour extensively in the U.S. up to his death; many of the 1,145 concerts setting attendance records.

On January 16, 1971 Presley was named 'One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation' by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce (The Jaycees). That summer, the City of Memphis named part of Highway 51 South "Elvis Presley Boulevard",.

In April 1972, MGM again filmed Presley, this time for Elvis on Tour, which won a 1972 Golden Globe for Best Documentary. A fourteen-date tour started with an unprecedented four consecutive sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, New York. RCA taped the shows for a live album. After the tour, Presley released the 1972 single "Burning Love"—his last top ten hit in the U.S. charts.

Off stage, Presley had continuing problems. In spite of his own infidelity, Presley was furious that Priscilla was having an affair with a mutual acquaintance—Mike Stone, a karate instructor she had met in 1971 backstage at one of Presley's concerts. It was Presley himself who first suggested Priscilla should take lessons from Stone. Once the news of their affair came to his attention, he raged obsessively: "There's too much pain in me... Stone die." A bodyguard, Red West, felt compelled to get a price for a contract killing and was relieved when Presley decided: "Aw hell... Maybe it's a bit heavy..." The Presleys separated on February 23, 1972 and divorced on October 9, 1973, agreeing to share custody of their daughter. In the months following their separation, Priscilla visited Elvis in Las Vegas where she claims that she forced himself upon her in his hotel room and said "This is how a real man makes love to a woman.".

Following his separation from Priscilla, he lived with Linda Thompson, a songwriter and one-time Memphis beauty queen, from July 1972 until just a few months before his death.

In January 1973, Presley performed two charity concerts in Hawaii for the Kui Lee cancer foundation. The first (January 12) was primarily a practice run for the main show which was broadcast live on January 14 (The first show also served as a backup if technical problems affected the live broadcast). The "Aloha from Hawaii" concert was the world's first live concert satellite broadcast, reaching at least a billion viewers live and a further 500 million on delay. The show's album went to number one and spent a year in the charts. The album also proved to be Presley's last U.S. Number One album during his lifetime.

After his divorce in 1973, Presley became increasingly unwell, with prescription drugs affecting his health, mood and his stage act. His diet had always been unhealthy, and he now had significant weight problems. He overdosed twice on barbiturates, spending three days in a coma in his hotel suite after the first. According to Dr. George C. Nichopoulos, Presley's main physician, the singer was "near death" in November of 1973 because of side effects of Demerol addiction. Nichopoulos notes that the subsequent hospital admission "was crazy", because of the enormous attention Presley attracted, and the measures necessary to protect his medical details. Lab technicians were even exploiting Presley's ill-health by selling samples of his blood and urine.

In April 1974, rumors began that he would actually be playing overseas after years of offers. A $1,000,000 bid came in from a source in Australia for him to tour there, but Colonel Parker was uncharacteristically reluctant to accept such large sums. This prompted those closest to Presley to speculate about Parker's past and circumstances, and the reasons for his apparent unwillingness to apply for a passport to travel abroad. He set aside any notions Presley had of overseas work by citing poor security in other countries, and the lack of suitable venues for a star of his status. Presley apparently accepted such excuses, at the time.

On July 13, 1976, Presley's father fired "Memphis Mafia" bodyguards Red West, Sonny West and David Hebler. All three were taken by surprise, especially the Wests, who had been with Presley since the beginning of his career. Presley was away in Palm Springs when it happened, and some suggest the singer was too cowardly to face them himself. Vernon Presley cited the need to "cut back on expenses" when dismissing the three, but David Stanley has claimed they were really fired because of becoming more outspoken about Presley's drug dependency. A "trusted associate" of Presley, John O'Grady, also stated, in agreement with Parker and Vernon Presley, that the bodyguards "were too rough with the fans... resulting in a lot of unnecessary lawsuits" and lawyers' fees. The Wests and Hebler would later write a devastating indictment of Presley, notably his drug-taking, in the book: Elvis: What Happened?, published August 1, 1977.

Almost throughout the 1970s, Presley's recording label had been increasingly concerned about making money from Presley material: RCA Victor often had to rely on live recordings because of problems getting him to attend studio sessions. A mobile studio was occasionally sent to Graceland in the hope of capturing an inspired vocal performance. Once in a studio, he could lack interest or be easily distracted; often this was linked to his health and drug problems.

In 2006, a journalist recalled: "Elvis Presley had become a grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self... he was barely able to pull himself through his abbreviated concerts." In Alexandria, Louisiana, the singer was on stage for less than an hour and "was impossible to understand." In Baton Rouge, Presley failed to appear: he was unable to get out of his hotel bed, and the rest of the tour was cancelled. In Knoxville, Tennessee on May 20, "there was no longer any pretense of keeping up appearances. The idea was simply to get Elvis out on stage and keep him upright..." Despite his obvious problems, shows in Omaha, Nebraska and Rapid City, South Dakota were recorded for an album and a CBS-TV special: Elvis In Concert.

In Rapid City, "he was so nervous on stage that he could hardly talk... He was undoubtedly painfully aware of how he looked, and he knew that in his condition, he could not perform any significant movement." His performance in Omaha "exceeded everyone's worst fears... the impression of a man crying out for help..." According to Guralnick, fans "were becoming increasingly voluble about their disappointment, but it all seemed to go right past Elvis, whose world was now confined almost entirely to his room and his books." A cousin, Billy Smith, recalled how Presley would sit in his room and chat, recounting things like his favorite Monty Python sketches and his own past japes, but "mostly there was a grim obsessiveness... a paranoia about people, germs... future events", that reminded Smith of Howard Hughes.

Presley's final performance was in Indianapolis at the Market Square Arena, on June 26, 1977. According to many of his entourage who accompanied him on tour, it was the "best show he had given in a long time" with "some strong singing".

Another tour was scheduled to begin August 17, 1977, but at Graceland the day before, Presley was found on his bathroom floor by fiancée, Ginger Alden. According to the medical investigator, Presley had "stumbled or crawled several feet before he died"; he had apparently been using the toilet at the time. Death was officially pronounced at 3:30 pm at the Baptist Memorial Hospital.

Before his funeral, hundreds of thousands of fans, the press and celebrities lined the streets and many hoped to see the open casket in Graceland. One of Presley's cousins, Bobby Mann, accepted $18,000 to secretly photograph the corpse; the picture duly appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer, making it the largest and fastest selling issue of all time. Two days after the singer's death, a car plowed into a group of 2000 fans outside Presley's home, killing two women and critically injuring a third. Among the mourners at the funeral were Ann-Margret (who had remained close to Presley) and his ex-wife. U.S. President Jimmy Carter issued a statement (See 'Legacy').

On Thursday, August 18, following a funeral service at Graceland, Elvis Presley was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, next to his mother. After an attempt to steal the body on August 28, and with no signs of security concerns at the cemetery abating, his—and his mother's—remains were reburied at Graceland in the Meditation Garden in October.

The medical profession has been seriously questioned. Medical Examiner Dr. Jerry Francisco had publicly offered a cause of death while the autopsy was still being performed, but before toxicology results were known. Dr. Francisco dubiously stated that cardiac arrhythmia was the cause of death, a condition that can only be determined in a living person—not post mortem. Many doctors had been flattered to be associated with Presley (or had been bribed with gifts) and supplied him with pills, which simply fed his addictions. The singer allegedly spent at least $1 million annually during his latter years on drugs and doctors' fees or inducements. Although Dr. Nichopoulos was exonerated with regard to Presley's death, "In the first eight months of 1977 alone, he had more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines, and narcotics: all in Elvis' name. On January 20, 1980, the board found him... but decided that he was not unethical ." His license was suspended. In July 1995, it was permanently revoked after it was found he had improperly dispensed drugs to several patients including Jerry Lee Lewis.

In 1994, the autopsy into Presley's death was re-opened. Coroner Dr. Joseph Davis declared: "There is nothing in any of the data that supports a death from drugs . In fact, everything points to a sudden, violent heart attack." However, there is little doubt that polypharmacy/Combined Drug Intoxication caused his premature death.

Elvis Presley's death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than 20 years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country.

Presley has featured prominently in a variety of polls and surveys designed to measure popularity and influence.g However, sociologist Philip Ennis writes: "Perhaps it is an error of enthusiasm to freight Elvis Presley with too heavy a historical load" because, according to a opinion poll of high school students in 1957, Pat Boone was nearly the "two-to-one favorite over Elvis Presley among boys and preferred almost three-to-one by girls..." Despite this, and unlike Pat Boone, Presley's early music and live performances are credited with helping to lay a commercial foundation which allowed established black music acts of the 1950s to receive due recognition. Performers like Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, came to national prominence after Presley's mix of musical styles was accepted among White American teenagers. Rather than Presley being seen as a white man who 'stole black music', Little Richard argued: "He was an integrator, Elvis was a blessing. They wouldn't let black music through. He opened the door for black music." Al Green agreed, saying; "He broke the ice for all of us." It has also been claimed that Presley's sound and persona helped to relax the rigid color line and thereby fed the fires of the civil rights movement.

By 1958, singers obviously adopting Presley's style, like Marty Wilde and Cliff Richard (the so-called "British Elvis"), were rising to prominence in the UK. Elsewhere, France's Johnny Hallyday and the Italians Adriano Celentano and Bobby Solo were also heavily influenced by Presley.

Presley's informal jamming in front of a small audience in the '68 Comeback Special is regarded as a forerunner of the so-called 'Unplugged' concept, later popularized by MTV.

The singer has been inducted into four music 'Halls of Fame': the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986), the Rockabilly Hall of Fame (1997), the Country Music Hall of Fame (1998), and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2001). 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’ first posthumous presentation of the Award of Merit.

Presley has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard. He was also honored by the Mississippi Blues Commission with a Mississippi Blues Trail historic marker placed in Tupelo, his birth place, in recognition of his contribution to the development of the blues in Mississippi.

In 1994, the 40th anniversary of Presley's "That's All Right" was recognized with its re-release, which made the charts worldwide, making top three in the UK.

During the 2002 World Cup a Junkie XL remix of his "A Little Less Conversation" (credited as "Elvis Vs JXL") topped the charts in over twenty countries and was included in a compilation of Presley's U.S. and UK number one hits, Elv1s: 30.

In the UK charts (January 2005), three re-issued singles again went to number one ("Jailhouse Rock", "One Night"/"I Got Stung" and "It's Now or Never"). Throughout the year, twenty singles were re-issued—all making top five.

In the same year, Forbes magazine named Presley, for the fifth straight year, the top-earning deceased celebrity, grossing US$45 million for the Presley estate during the preceding year. In mid-2006, top place was taken by Nirvana's Kurt Cobain after the sale of his song catalogue, but Presley reclaimed the top spot in 2007.

For those too young to have experienced Elvis Presley in his prime, today’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of his death must seem peculiar. All the talentless impersonators and appalling black velvet paintings on display can make him seem little more than a perverse and distant memory. But before Elvis was camp, he was its opposite: a genuine cultural force... Elvis’s breakthroughs are underappreciated because in this rock-and-roll age, his hard-rocking music and sultry style have triumphed so completely.

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Elvis Presley discography

The official American discography of Elvis Presley starts on July 19, 1954, with the release of his first commercial single, and ends in February 1978, with the release of "Unchained Melody" backed with "Softly As I Leave You," the final single attached to a project Presley himself knew about in the planning stages prior to his death in August 1977, the concert album Elvis In Concert. Without including album reissues, during this period American Presley releases consisted of 102 singles, 30 Extended Play singles, and 72 albums on RCA Records; four albums on the Pickwick budget label; and five singles on the Sun Records label.

The album list categorizes releases into the following subsets: studio albums; soundtracks; live albums; compilations; and budget issues, mostly on the RCA subsidiary label, Camden. Standard compilations sold at regular retail prices, and were often collections of singles or, in the case of A Date with Elvis, For LP Fans Only, and Elvis for Everyone, were product assembled by RCA when Presley was either performing his military service, or concentrating on his film and soundtrack work. Budget issues sold at reduced retail prices, and were of shorter than standard running time. When RCA instituted its compact disc reissue program in the 1990s, it ignored the budget issues, and realized a different series of compilations. Not included in this discography are "RCA Special Product" releases made through Time-Life, Reader's Digest, or through album clubs.

The 1969 double album From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis was reissued one year later, separated into the studio and the concert disks, and appears on the discography in its separated incarnation. The Having Fun With Elvis On Stage album, originally on the Colonel's personal imprint Boxcar Records, is a recording of just Presley's on-stage patter and contains no music at all. It was standard practice for soundtrack albums to be augmented by non-soundtrack studio recordings, if necessary, to bring the running time up to acceptable levels. Of the albums, only the seasonal album Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas and the budget LPs Elvis' Christmas Album from 1970, Pure Gold, and the Pickwick Records issues did not make the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, Presley the leader in most number of charting albums in history. He is second only to The Beatles for most weeks at #1 on the LP chart.

One notable aspect of Presley's recording career is that, unlike most of his contemporaries such as Chuck Berry, Bill Haley & His Comets, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, Presley rarely recorded new versions of any of his songs in a studio setting. A few exceptions exist such as "Blue Suede Shoes" which he recorded in 1956 and again in 1960 for the soundtrack of G.I. Blues, and "Love Letters", a 1966 single Presley later re-recorded for a 1971 album. As such, unlike his contemporaries, Presley's discography lacks any "Greatest Hits" album consisting of re-recordings, although live performances of his hits were released during and after his lifetime.

A separate section catalogues posthumous releases, confined mostly to the compact disc era. The number of Presley reissues and repackages since his death are in the hundreds, new ones being configured by RCA as old ones go out of print, and are currently beyond the scope of this discography to tally beyond the historically significant and noteworthy.

The EP was introduced by RCA Records in the early 1950s as part of its format war with Columbia Records, which had unveiled the LP album in 1948. EPs typically played at 45 rpm on seven-inch (18cm) discs as did normal singles, generally with two but on occasion three songs per side, the extended playing time achieved at the loss of groove width and fidelity. The format was mostly discontinued by the mid-1960s, reappearing in the late-1970s as a ten-inch mini-LP at 33⅓ rpm.

In the beginning, extended play releases could be listed by Billboard on both its singles chart and on its album chart. From September 1957 through 1962 Billboard maintained a separate EP Chart during the commercial heyday of the format. After, EPs charted exclusively on the Billboard 200, where they are included to this day.

In the 1950s, singles were more important sales items in rock and roll than albums, Presley being the sole rock and roll performer of that era who also sold albums in great quantity. This remained the case for most rock artists until 1968, when album sales exceeded singles sales in terms of total units for the first time since the introduction of the long-playing album in 1948. Shortly after acquiring Presley's contract from Sam Phillips at Sun Records, RCA reissued every one of the five Sun singles on its own label.

Of the singles, 82 appeared on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, with 71 of those making the Top 40, and with 14 topping the chart. In addition, until late 1968 when Billboard discontinued charting b-sides independently, 40 flipsides made the singles chart, with 24 of those reaching the Top 40, and one topping the charts, the b-side of "Don't Be Cruel," "Hound Dog." From 1956 through early 1962, Presley also achieved the unique distinction that, with the exception of the seven records released simultaneously on one day in August of 1956, not only did every one of his first 24 major label singles reach the top five, but each of the b-sides except for three made the Top 40. This discography does not include the myriad singles released posthumously in various markets around the world, except for the two issued within a year after his death and generally considered part of his lifetime official discography by Presley biographers such as Ernst Jorgensen, the producer of his box sets.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) first began tracking sales of Elvis Presley in 1958, who didn't receive his first Gold Record award until 1960. On March 27, 1992, the RIAA certified (or re-certified) 37 of Elvis Presley's albums, taking his American total to 57× platinum. On July 15, 1999, based on 79 certified recordings the figure stood at 92× platinum, with an estimated 35 million albums sold in the U.S alone during those seven years between the two certifications. The most recent album sales figures date to December 13, 2005, with an additional 33 million albums sold in six years, taking his total U.S tally to 125× platinum, based on 95 certified recordings.

Between 1958 and 1992, 57 million albums were shipped in the U.S. Between 1992 and 2008, 68 million albums were shipped in the U.S., the King proving even more successful as a dead icon than a live performer. Total record sales to date in all formats: estimated at over 1.8 billion worldwide,he is the biggest selling solo artist of all time.

Chart positions from Billboard Pop Singles Chart except as indicated; even numbered tracks are b-sides of the previous single, which charted independently in Billboard until late 1968. Except for the ten tracks on Sun Records, all catalogue numbers original RCA Records issue. RCA re-released all five Sun Records singles in December, 1955, and the entirety of the Elvis Presley debut album in single form in August 1956.

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Elvis Presley's Sun recordings

Elvis Presley's Sun recordings are a number of recordings he made at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. between 1953 and 1955. The recordings were produced by Sam Phillips. Memphis is a melting pot of many types of music: both black music (blues, rhythm & blues, gospel) and white music (country & western, hillbilly), the recordings reflect these influences. In 2002, Elvis Presley's SUN recordings were inducted into the US Congress's National Recording Registry.

Presley recorded 20 songs, 18 of them have survived and two tapes are lost. Ten were released by Sun as Elvis' first five singles between 1954 and 1955. And a year after he left for RCA, he revisited the same studio to have a spontaneous informal session with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. This meeting was recorded on December 4, 1956, dubbed The Million Dollar Quartet by the local paper the next day.

Sun Records founder Sam Phillips had already cut the first records by blues artists such as Howlin' Wolf and Junior Parker. He thought a combination of black blues and boogie-woogie music would be very popular among white people, if presented in the right way. In the spring, Presley auditioned for an amateur gospel quartet, The Songfellows, and a professional band. Both groups turned him down.

To gauge professional and public reaction, Phillips took several acetates of the session to DJ Dewey Phillips (no relation) of Memphis radio station WHBQ's Red, Hot And Blue show. "That's All Right" subsequently received its first play on July 8, 1954.d A week later, Sun had received some 6,000 advanced orders for "That's All Right"/"Blue Moon of Kentucky," which was released on July 19, 1954. From August 18 through December 8, "Blue Moon of Kentucky" was consistently higher on the charts, and then both sides began to chart across the South.

Listed are the 25 titles, in order of their recording date. A take means a second (or higher) version; the best take would be used to create a master tape to be published.

Elvis's recording of "That's All Right (Mama)" can be considered to be the beginning of rock and roll, but there are more first rock and roll records.

The 4-CD boxed set "Today, Tomorrow And Forever" contains an alternate version (take three) that is unavailable elsewhere.

M. David. Original probably Patti Page (1950, Mercury) Recorded: September 10, 1954 (session 3) The Dean Martin version was probably Elvis' inspiration.

The song was also recorded by Frank Yankovic. "When Johnny came out of the Seabees, he brought with him a tune the Shelton Brothers had written entitled "Just Because". Frankie really liked it and felt it had a lot of potential, but it needed a second part. So Frankie called in Pecon and Trolli and together created the second part.

On December 31, 1947, Frankie and the boys had a recording session with Columbia. Frankie suggested "Just Because", but Columbia didn't want anything to do with it because the Sheldon brothers recorded it years before without success. Frankie argued with them, kicking chairs, and throwing sheet music around the room, but Columbia would not budge. Finally Frankie said, "Okay, I'll make you a deal, I'll buy the first 10,000 records myself. I know I can sell them." So, Frankie and his Yanks recorded "Just Because" without a rehearsal featuring Pecon and Frank harmonizing on the vocals.

Undoubtedly, that was the beginning of a craze we know of today that has benefited generations of audiences and musicians alike.

In 1951 Eddy Arnold recorded a song titled “I Want to Play House with You” by Cy Coben. This song has been misidentified as the same song. It is not.

McCoy - Singleton. Original: The Eagles (1954, Mercury) Recorded: February 11, 1955 (session 5, not published) and July 11, 1955 (session 7, published). In 2002, RCA included information in the liner notes of Sunrise as to Presley recording this song whilst simultaneously playing the piano, and not aided by his rhythm guitar, as previously believed. Because his piano playing was not up to the expected standards, producer Sam Phillips erased the sound of the piano on the master take so, in addition to Elvis' tantalizing vocals, all one hears is the lead guitar, the bass and the drums.

On December 4, 1956, a year after Elvis had left Sun for RCA, he revisited Sun Studio. The afternoon became a jam session with Carl Perkins (then already famous for his "Blue Suede Shoes"), Jerry Lee Lewis (relatively unknown at the time), and Johnny Cash (reportedly not heard on the tapes, while later he claimed to be included). The taping was largely unintended by the quartet; they were just singing the songs they had in mind. About 40 titles are recorded, most of them incomplete. Elvis is caught telling about a singer he saw in Las Vegas (Billy Ward), doing his version of "Don't Be Cruel", and they're enjoying "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" from Chuck Berry. Recorded: December 4, 1956. NOTE: Jackie Wilson replaced Clyde McPhatter as the lead singer of the Dominoes in 1953 and continued in that capacity through 1956. It was Jackie Wilson, not Billy Ward, whom Elvis was saw covering his songs in Las Vegas and it was Jackie whom Elvis was impressed by.

Most of the tapes, including the private single, the Million Dollar Quartet and alternate takes have been released. Further alternate takes\unreleased songs from SUN are to be released in mid\late '07. Details not announced as yet but it may be a box set by Follow That Dream - RCA/BMG collectors label.

On January 27, 1956, the first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel" b/w "I Was the One" was released, giving Elvis a nationwide breakthrough. His reputation as a performer on stage was already growing in the same dimensions.

Another delving in the Sun Records vaults is the most complete collection of Elvis' recordings from that time. All the masters, some demos and alternate recordings, and a few early live-recorded tracks.

After taping another five Gleason shows (hosted by Big Band "Swing" musicians Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey and a Milton Berle Show, Elvis entered RCA's Nashville studios in April 1956 to record "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" with Chet Atkins again assisting on guitar. July 1956 saw a return to RCA's New York studios when Elvis made his legendary appearance on the Steve Allen Show wearing a tuxedo singing "Hound Dog" to a basset hound wearing a top hat. This NY studio session was one of the single most important in the Elvis story: it was in this session that he first worked with the Gospel quartet The Jordanaires - Gordon Stoker on lead along with tenor Neal Matthews, baritone Hoyt Hawkins, and bass Hugh Jarrett. This was also the session in which, after 31 takes, Elvis was finally satisfied with the version of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's "Hound Dog" which he had learned from Freddie Bell and The Bellboys during his popularly unsuccessful two-week stint in May 1956 at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. The song was originally recorded by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton in August 1952 with different lyrics. After Elvis recorded it, the song went to his music publishing company, and thus is published with the Elvis lyrics. However, the original lyrics can be heard on Eric Clapton's 1989 Journeyman album. "Hound Dog" became a Billboard double A-side with its flip side, NY blues singer Otis Blackwell's "Don't Be Cruel." (Otis Blackwell also wrote "All Shook Up"). "Don't Be Cruel" was often cited by Elvis in his pre-Army days as his favorite recording from this period.

Although some rock music historians and many Elvis fans think that "Heartbreak Hotel" was the first record to reach Number One on Billboard's Pop, C&W, and R&B charts, it actually only reached No. 5 on the R&B charts. Still no mean feat by Elvis, but the actual glory belongs to "Don't Be Cruel." (Elvis achieved this three more times with "All Shook Up" (1957), "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" (recorded in 1956 for the "semi-autobiographical" 1957 movie Loving You, and "Jailhouse Rock" (recorded in 1957 for the 1958 movie of the same name).

From January 1956, until Elvis was drafted in March 1958, a series of different producers were at hand, but he was actually conducting those sessions himself. His new manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who had negotiated the sale of Elvis's contract to RCA's A&R head of the C&W Division, Steve Sholes, for US $40,000 - $35,000 for Sam Phillips and $5000 for Elvis, was a former carnival hustler who had moved into music management and had managed C&W singers Hank Snow and Eddy Arnold before taking on Elvis with the quip, "You have a million dollars worth of talent. Now I'm going to get you the million dollars." The existing Sun Record tapes moved contractually with him to RCA. The masters of "Trying To Get To You" (an R&B song recorded by The Eagles in 1954 which Elvis had learned from Roy Orbison, who later recorded it himself in 1956) and Ray Charles's "I Got A Woman" (1954) were lost, and were re-recorded by Elvis at RCA.

Although the songs he had to sing in his first four movies were written more for the movie soundtracks, rather than being particularly written for him as potential Number Ones, or even Top 10s, he continued to be on top of every session, and many gems were turned out which were worthy of his talent. For example, although "Love Me Tender" is based on a Civil War era tune "Aura Lee" and may seem to lack the unique vocal touch of other Elvis ballads, if the song was so mediocre, as critics of Elvis movies suggest that nearly all of his movies were rubbish and so were the soundtracks, then the producers at 20th Century Fox were taking a big risk in changing the title of the movie from The Reno Brothers to Love Me Tender in the hope that the name change to coincide with the song would bring financial success. The Reno Brothers were a real post-Civil War gang of train robbers and the 1955 movie Rage At Dawn had already been made about them, starring Forrest Tucker, J. Carroll Naish, and Myron Healey as the outlaw brothers, Denver Pyle as the honest Reno, Mala Powers as sister Laura, and Randolph Scott as a Peterson (i.e., Pinkerton) Detective agent. The song was a runaway best seller, pre-selling 1,000,000 copies on pre-release orders, and sold 3,000,000 in less than a year. Also, this is the only song in which Elvis was given writing credits that he actually wrote most of the words.

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote most of the songs for Jailhouse Rock and took over the production of the session in April 1957 for the soundtrack, even though they didn't have a contract to do so. The Jailhouse Rock EP is quintessential Elvis, and his strongest soundtrack, although (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care suffers from a less than perfect vocal overdub after Elvis had to play the Fender bass guitar for the track as Bill Black couldn't get the riff right. (Buddy Holly also recorded this song.) Realistically, his pre-Army movies certainly had better soundtrack songs than many of his 1960s movies. It's pretty sad that Elvis actually was required to sing Old MacDonald Had a Farm in one of his late 1960s movies.

By 1960, Leiber and Stoller were producers at Atlantic Records, owned by the Ertegun brothers. LaVern Baker, Ruth Brown, The Drifters and The Coasters were all enjoying success with Leiber and Stoller songs. As producers they were without peer, and in fact were quite innovative. Leiber and Stoller were the first to use strings on an R&B record, The Drifters' "There Goes My Baby." They were an undeniable influence on their protege Phil Spector, as well as others such as Burt Bacharach. Indeed, there is a never-confirmed rumor that Phil Spector, under the aegis of Leiber and Stoller, worked on Elvis's first post-Army album, the 1960 release Elvis Is Back!

Many of Elvis' 1956 RCA recordings stand the test of time, and remain as revolutionary, sound-wise, as anything he recorded at Sun. In 1956 alone, his renditions of wild rockers like "My Baby Left Me," "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," "Shake Rattle and Roll," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Reddy Teddy," "Rip It Up," "So Glad You're Mine," "Long Tall Sally," "Tutti Frutti," and "Hound Dog," as well as "One-Sided Love Affair," "I Got a Woman," and "Money Honey," showed exactly the same vigor and inventiveness, as well as his penchant for mixing up R&B, C&W to produce rockabilly, as he had during his time at Sun. The main titles he recorded with Sun Records remained a staple of his live repertoire throughout 1956 and well into 1957.

Regardless of the machinations of the business world that might leave us wondering as to who now owns the Elvis catalog, the boxed set The King of Rock 'N' Roll: The Complete 50's Masters provides a unique insight into Elvis's oeuvre and not just shows why he became "The King of Rock 'N' Roll" but why he deserves his place in music history.

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Source : Wikipedia