Elvis Presley is the undisputed King of Rock and Roll. He rose from humble circumstances to launch the rock and roll revolution with his commanding voice and charismatic stage presence. In the words of the historical marker that stands outside the house where he was born: “Presley’s career as a singer and entertainer redefined popular music.”
Presley was born in
After five groundbreaking singles, Presley’s contract was sold to RCA Records and his career quickly took off. “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” - his last single for Sun and first for RCA - went to #1 on the country charts. “Heartbreak Hotel,” a haunting ballad, became his first across-the-board hit, holding down the top spot for eight weeks. Presley’s hip-shaking performances on a series of TV variety shows, including Ed Sullivan’s, generated hysteria and controversy. From blistering rockers to aching balladry, Presley captivated and liberated the teenage audience. His historic string of hits in 1956 and ‘57 included “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” “Love Me Tender,” “All Shook Up” and “Jailhouse Rock.”
Presley’s career momentum was interrupted by a two-year Army stint in
If the Fifties were devoted to rock and roll and the Sixties to movies, the Seventies represent the performing chapter in Presley’s career. He toured constantly, performing to capacity crowds around the country until his death. Presley died of a heart attack at Graceland, his
Statistically, he holds records for the most Top Forty hits (107), the most Top Ten hits (38), the most consecutive #1 hits (10) and the most weeks at #1 (80). As far as his stature as a cultural icon, which continues to grow even in death, writer Lester Bangs said it best: “I can guarantee you one thing - we will never again agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis.”Barcelona hotels supports all music artists selected by Jane
January 8, 1935: Elvis Aron Presley is born to Gladys and Vernon Presley in a two-room cabin on
Summer 1953: Elvis Presley stops at Memphis Recording Service to record two songs, “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” as a birthday present for his mother. Phillips notes that Presley has a good feel for ballads and should be invited back.
July 18, 1953: Elvis Presley, then earning his keep as a truck driver, drops by the Memphis Recording Service, home of Sun Records. He privately records two songs ("My Happiness"/"That’s When Your Heartaches Begin") for the sum of $4, leaving with a ten-inch acetate. Office manager Marion Keisker jots a note for owner Sam Phillips: “Good ballad singer.”
January 4, 1954: A young Elvis Presley visits the Memphis Recording Service to record “Casual Love Affair” and “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way” and meets Sun Records owner Sam Phillips.
June 27, 1954: After several fruitless recording sessions, Sam Phillips pairs Elvis Presley with guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black. He hopes the singer might find his voice by rehearsing with other musicians cut from the same country, pop, gospel and R&B cloth.
July 5, 1954: Rock and roll history is made when Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black spontaneously perform bluesman Arthur “Big Boy” Cruddup’s “That’s All Right” in romping, uptempo style. The next day, bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” is given a similarly playful treatment. On July 19th, the two songs are released as Elvis Presley’s first single, which bears the legend “Sun
July 19, 1954: Sun releases “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” by Elvis Presley, backed by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black.
July 20, 1954: Elvis Presley makes his first public appearance, performing on a flatbed truck in
August 15, 1955: Elvis Presley signs a management contract with “Colonel” Tom Parker, whose other clients included country-music stars Eddy Arnold and Hank Snow. The relationship with Parker will continue till Presley’s death.
November 1, 1955: Despite Presley’s growing popularity, his five Sun singles fail to make a dent on the national charts. Phillips sells his contract to RCA Records for $35,000.
November 20, 1955: Elvis Presley’s contract with Sun Records, including all previously released and recorded material, is sold to the New York-based RCA label for $35,000.
January 27, 1956: Elvis Presley’s debut single for RCA, “Heartbreak Hotel,” is released. The first of Presley’s 17 Number One hits, it holds down the top spot for eight weeks. “Heartbreak Hotel” establishes Elvis Presley and rock and roll itself as national phenomena.
January 28, 1956: Elvis Presley makes his first appearance on network TV as a guest on Stage Show, hosted by jazz bandleaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. Throughout 1956, Presley’s biggest year, he will also appear on The Milton Berle Show, The Steve Allen Show and The Ed Sullivan Show.
April 15, 1956: Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
July 22, 1956: I Want You, I Need You, I Love You (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
August 4, 1956: What many consider to be one of rock’s greatest double-sided singles, “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog,” is released. Both sides will share the top spot for 11 weeks.
August 12, 1956: Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
October 28, 1956: Love Me Tender (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
November 15, 1956: The film ‘Love Me Tender,’ which features Elvis Presley in the first of 31
December 4, 1956: Four legendary past and present Sun Records recording artists—Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash—gather at Sun for an informal jam session. Later dubbed the Million Dollar Quartet, the stars (sans Cash, who stays only briefly) perform gospel standards and recent hits in relaxed, impromptu fashion.
December 4, 1956: The “Million Dollar Quartet"—Presley, Perkins, Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis—records old gospel, country and pop songs at an impromptu session. The recordings aren’t officially released until the mid-Eighties.
1957: Leiber & Stoller are summoned to
January 6, 1957: Elvis Presley sings five songs in his final performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
January 8, 1957: Elvis Presley passes the pre-induction exam for the Army.
February 3, 1957: Too Much (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
April 7, 1957: All Shook Up (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
July 2, 1957: (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
September 1, 1957: Jimi Hendrix goes to see Elvis Presley perform at Sicks Stadium.
October 15, 1957: Jailhouse Rock (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
December 19, 1957: Elvis Presley is served with his draft notice while home at
February 4, 1958: Don’t (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
July 15, 1958: Hard Headed Woman (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
August 4, 1959: A Big Hunk O’ Love (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
April 19, 1960: Stuck On You (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
May 12, 1960: Elvis guest-stars on a Frank Sinatra-hosted TV special, Welcome Home Elvis, and cuts his first post-Army recordings in
August 9, 1960: It’s Now Or Never (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
November 22, 1960: Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
March 14, 1961: Surrender (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
December 16, 1961: The soundtrack to Blue Hawaii reaches #1 on the album charts, where it will remain for 20 weeks. With sales of 2 million, it is Elvis Presley’s best-selling album to date.
April 15, 1962: Good Luck Charm (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
July 26, 1965: Elvis Presley’s version of the Orioles’ “Crying in the Chapel” peaks at #3 on the pop chart.
August 27, 1965: The Beatles spend the evening talking and playing music with Elvis Presley at his Bel air home.
May 1, 1967: Elvis Presley marries Priscilla Beaulieu, who he met eight and a half years earlier during his tour of duty in
December 3, 1968: NBC airs “Elvis,” a television special that revitalizes Elvis’ career as a rock and roll performer.
December 8, 1968: The hour-long special Elvis, sponsored by Singer Sewing Machines, airs on NBC-TV. Clad in black leather, Elvis successfully pulls off the greatest comeback in rock and roll history. After his decade-long stint as a movie star, he re-establishes himself as a musical performer and cultural totem on this electrifying, widely viewed special.
January 13, 1969: Presley enters American Sound Studio in
July 31, 1969: Elvis Presley performs his first live concert since March 25, 1961, opening a four-week engagement at the 1,500-capacity Showroom at the International Hotel in
October 26, 1969: Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley) was a hit.
1969: Elvis Presley returns to the road. His guitarist and bandleader is James Burton, who will remain with Presley until his death in 1977.
January 9, 1971: Elvis Presley is named one of 10 Outstanding Young Men of the Year by the U.S. Jaycees.
October 9, 1973: Elvis and Priscilla Presley divorce in
June 26, 1977: Elvis Presley delivers his last live performance, at Market Square Arena in
July 16, 1977: The last of 105 singles by Elvis Presley to reach the Top Forty in his lifetime, “Way Down,” enters Billboard’s Top Pop Singles chart, peaking at #18.
August 16, 1977: An unconscious Elvis Presley is rushed to
January 23, 1986: Elvis Presley is inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the first induction dinner. Julian and Sean Lennon are his presenters.