Elvis Presley Biography
Last updated 8 years ago
It is estimated that Elvis Presley has sold over one billion record units worldwide, more than anyone in record industry history. In America alone, 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.
Around this time, Presley's personal life also seemed to be on an upswing. He and Priscilla wed in 1967 and had a daughter, Lisa Marie, the following year. Unfortunately, this joyous time would not last. By the early 1970s, Presley's marriage was falling apart. The couple divorced in 1973, and Priscilla received custody of Lisa Marie. Presley was also wrestling with other personal problems, including a growing addiction to prescription drugs.
After leaving the Army in 1960, Presley resumed his career and was soon back at the top of the charts with the soundtrack for his film GI Blues. He continued recording music and acting in such films as Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962) and Viva Las Vegas (1964). Though his films were often hit or miss with both critics and audiences, they brought in a profit and the soundtracks usually sold well
Soon, Presley was everywhere—on the radio, television and the silver screen—working as a musician and actor. His first film, Love Me Tender (1956), was a box office hit. Even a stint in the U.S. military couldn't put a damper on Presley's thriving career. He received his draft notice in 1957, and was inducted into the Army the following March. He eventually served in Germany for about a year and a half.
In 1955, Presley began to develop a following with fans being drawn to his unusual musical style, provocative gyrating hips and good looks. That same year, he signed with RCA Records, a deal worked out by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Presley was on a roll, scoring his first No. 1 single with "Heartbreak Hotel," as well as his first No. 1 album, Elvis Presley, and signing a movie contract with Paramount Pictures—all in 1956.
Presley got his first guitar at the age of 10, and soon after, had his first taste of musical success when he won a talent show at Humes High School in Memphis. After graduating in 1953, he worked a number of jobs while pursuing his musical dream. He cut his first demo record at what later became known as Sun Studio that year, and before long, Sam Phillips, the record label owner, decided to take the young performer under his wing.
Raised by loving, working-class parents, Presley's family had little money, and they moved from place to place frequently. He was deeply devoted to his parents, especially his mother, Gladys, and was raised to have a strong faith in God. Presley attended the Assembly of God Church with his parents, where gospel music became an important influence for him.
Musician and actor Elvis Aron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. (He later changed the spelling of his middle name to the biblical form of Aaron.) Presley was supposed to be a twin, but his brother, Jesse Garon (sometimes spelled Jessie) was stillborn. From very humble beginnings, Elvis Presley grew up to become one of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll.