HARD RIFF

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll

There are figures who have marked the history of music in the twentieth century, going beyond the boundaries of notes and tones to reach the status of true icons. Among these, the most important is without a doubt Elvis Presley. The King of rock and roll is still today one of the most loved and respected artists of all time, an extraordinary character who survives the passage of time thanks to his life full of mystery. 90 years after he was born, we will uncover some of the mystique and fascination that had always surrounded Elvis, the King.

Who was Elvis Presley: the Biography

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. His family was in rather critical economic conditions, and the young Elvis grew up with various hardships. His parents partially compensated for their poverty by never making him lack affection. His first contact with the music world came through the Church, but it was the first guitar, given to him at the age of eight, that changed his life.

For work reasons, in 1948 his father was forced to move with the whole family to Memphis, to seek better accommodation. Shy and introverted, Elvis struggled to re-enter the new city context, also because of his rather daring look, with a showy tuft cemented with glitter and long and full-bodied sideburns. Already at that time, however, Elvis began to dress in a flashy, at times tacky way. In those years he became passionate about the blues, thanks also to artists such as B.B. King. In a historical period when racism was still an obvious social scourge, the young Elvis was not ashamed to frequent black communities as well.

Towards the beginning of the fifties, almost by chance, he began his artistic career. He recorded a record in a Sun Records studio as a gift for his mother, a producer was impressed and decided to have him collaborate with the label. After a first success in the local area, the Elvis star suddenly lit up, exploding in the firmament of American rock and roll and popular culture.

Elvis Presley – the Icon

The rest is history. Within ten years Elvis became a true icon of the twentieth century, inspiration for hundreds of artists of the rock and roll and rockabilly scene, so much so that he was nicknamed the King. The secret of his success? The extraordinary stage presence, complete with oscillatory movements of the pelvis, but also the innate ability to blend the most important elements of white music with a genre, rock and roll, born as an evolution of black music.

A true performer in every sense of the word. The first to be able to captivate millions with his presence and charisma.

In over twenty years of career he has managed to produce many records, ranging from classic rock and roll to genres such as rhythm and blues, country music, western music, gospel, melodic music and pop, and often reaching the top of the American charts, where, among other things, he returned in Christmas 2018.

Without ever performing outside the United States (except for six concerts in Canada in the late 1950s), he became an icon throughout the world. In his entire career, he has sold over a billion records and made many box office hits as an actor. In short, a piece of American history whose life was full of success, charm and mysteries, including the one concerning his death.

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Elvis Presley: Death of the Myth and the Hypotheses

Elvis’ lifeless body was found on August 16, 1977 by his girlfriend Ginger Alden in the bathroom of his house in Graceland. The cause of death is a supposed heart attack, but many hypotheses have come to light over the years. The autopsy revealed traces of fourteen different medicines, legally prescribed by his doctor.

It seems that in those years Elvis abused psychotropic drugs, amphetamines, barbiturates and stimulants of various kinds. But his death, for some, could also be linked to his excessive weight: when he died he weighed over 150 pounds, which was probably the result of a junk food diet.

A final hypothesis concerns a possible pathology that Elvis allegedly suffered, a chronic constipation that would have caused a disproportion of the colon and led to obesity. The truth is probably destined to remain a mystery, however, fueled also by the revelations that periodically keep coming out.

Is Elvis Presley alive?

This is the question that has accompanied his fans generation after generation since 1977. On the other hand, since his death, allegations have arisen that the singer had only staged his death in order to escape from the wearying existence that afflicted him.

It is no secret that his presence has been reported several times in various parts of the world. It is true that often the many doubles that had long been widespread in every corner of the globe gave rise to this bizarre hypothesis.

There are many associations in America committed to supporting the thesis according to which Elvis would not have died in 1977. Among the most improbable hypotheses so far formulated about his survival, there is one according to which the singer had an alien origin.

On the other hand, there are also those who have speculated that Elvis was somehow involved in the murder of President Kennedy, and that for this reason he was forcibly inserted into a witness protection program. In short, whether he actually stayed alive for another time, or that he actually disappeared on that tragic night of ’77, his legend is certainly destined to remain eternal.

Elvis Presley’s private life: wife and daughter

Of course, Elvis’s love life has also been quite eventful. During the fifties, gossip attributed to him relationships, official or not, with several women, including Nataly Wood, an actress famous for having the film Burnt Youth.

In August 1959 he met Priscilla Beaulieu, who would become his wife. During the sixties, however, there was no lack of flirtations with other women, especially actresses with whom he worked, even if the veracity of these gossip is still not certain today.

His lovers also include Ursula Andress, a famous Bond girl, and singer and actress Sheley Fabares. The marriage with Priscilla, perhaps also for these gossip, did not last long. The two married on May 1, 1967 and divorced on October 9, 1973. This event contributed to Elvis’ depression.

Even during the seventies, however, there was no lack of gossip about his private life. In addition to alleged reconciliation with his ex-wife, at least two other important relationships are known: the one with Linda Thompson, with whom Elvis had a relationship of at least four years; the one with the model and actress Ginger Alden, who was next to him in the final period of his life, until his death.

From his marriage to Priscilla, Elvis’s only daughter was born on 1 February 1968: Lisa Marie Presley. The King’s heir also threw herself into the world of music with moderate success. What gave her the most visibility, however, was her marriage to Michael Jackson in 1994. The union lasted only two years, but caused a sensation all over the world.

9 curious facts about Elvis Presley

Elvis had a twin, Jessie Garon Presley, who died at the time of birth.

  • Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo has become a pilgrimage destination for his fans in the same way as the famous Graceland mansion.
  • Before becoming famous, Elvis worked for some time as a truck driver.
  • The King was one of the first artists to unleash collective hysteria on the part of fans. It is no surprise that at the beginning of his career he was the victim of attacks by jealous boyfriends.
  • Among the secrets of his success (but also of his decline) was his longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
  • Due to his obscene movements and the wild rhythm of his music, he was often accused by religious associations of Satanism.
  • In the late 1950s, Elvis served in the military, refusing to receive special treatment as a famous person. It was during these years that he developed an addiction to stimulant drugs.
  • Elvis Presley, height: the singer was of quite an important stature, being 1 meter and 82 centimeters tall.
  • On Instagram Elvis Presley has an official account with over 640 thousand followers. Despite his death over forty years ago, Elvis’ fame shows no sign of diminishing.

The King’s Legacy

Elvis Presley died 40 years ago, but the King still keeps living on. There aren’t many who are instantly recognizable and so loved by many.

Elvis is among an elite few who are known to all by their first name – and “the one” whose talent, accomplishments, and personal charisma have made him pop culture royalty.

Forty years after his death, Elvis is almost as relevant, almost as prominent as he was during his prime. His music is still played everywhere, and known by the full world. Relics of his life and career sell for tens of thousands of dollars. It’s been 40 years, but we still see photos of Elvis, watch his movies, hear his music, people make pilgrimages to Graceland, follow the lives of his daughter Lisa Marie and ex-wife Priscilla… Elvis might not be here anymore, but his music and legacy will never perish.

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My wife is the biggest Elvis fan I have ever seen. She loves punk rock, hard rock, grunge, funk….but, Elvis is the one love that surpasses all others. Sometimes I even wonder if I would stand a chance were he alive and decided to show interest in my wife. She says that I would always come on top of the duel, but…I have my doubts. She follows his Instagram profile, has all the albums both on CD and vinyl, our bookshelves are stacked with books about the King, she’s a member of God knows how many Facebook Fans groups.

The thing is that Elvis died 2 years before she was born! And she did not grow up in a home where Elvis (or music in general) was playing all the time. She discovered him on her own and the connection was a natural one, spontaneous.

“Before Elvis there was nothing”

John Lennon

This just goes to show how powerful and unique Elvis really was. My wife is one among literally millions of people who are die-hard Elvis fans to this day! I don’t mean to disrespect anyone but I want to use this analogy to impress upon everyone how big of an influence on culture and music history Elvis had: The only people in history who have more followers in the world, and more people know about are probably Jesus, the prophet Mohammed, and Buddha.

Not only has the King remained the name everyone knows, but we have to keep in mind that he shaped and set the foundations for what modern music is today. Every time you look at the frontman of a band, a popular singer, remember it was Elvis who created that idea, the first and biggest rock star in history.

Whether you are a fan or not, whether you like or dislike most of his songs or movies…you have to give respect where respect is due.

Long live the King!

Elvis Presley Discography

Studio Albums

  • 1956 – Elvis Presley
  • 1956 – Elvis
  • 1957 – Elvis’ Christmas Album
  • 1960 – Elvis is Back!
  • 1960 – His Hand in Mine
  • 1961 – Something for Everybody
  • 1962 – Pot Luck
  • 1967 – How Great Thou Art
  • 1969 – Elvis Sings Flaming Star
  • 1969 – From Elvis in Memphis
  • 1970 – Let’s be Friends
  • 1970 – Almost in Love
  • 1970 – Back in Memphis
  • 1971 – Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 years old)
  • 1971 – Love letters from Elvis
  • 1971 – Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas
  • 1972 – Elvis now
  • 1972 – He touched me
  • 1973 – Elvis
  • 1973 – Raised on Rock / For Ol ‘Times Sake
  • 1974 – Good Times
  • 1975 – Promised land
  • 1975 – Today
  • 1976 – From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1977 – Moody Blue

Live albums

  • 1969 – From Memphis to Vegas / From Vegas to Memphis
  • 1970 – On stage
  • 1972 – Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden
  • 1973 – Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite
  • 1974 – Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis
  • 1974 – Having fun with Elvis on stage
  • 1977 – Elvis in concert
  • 1997 – An afternoon in the garden
  • 2012 – Elvis: Prince from Another Planet
  • 2014 – Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis – Legacy Edition
  • 2019 – Live 1969
  • 2020 – From Elvis in Nashville

There are countless more compilation albums, soundtracks and singles editions, but we’ll focus on the studio and live albums in this article.

Video Albums

  • 1991 – The ’68 Comeback Special
  • 2002 – The Ultimate Collection
  • 2004 – Aloha from Hawaii
  • 2005 – The Elvis Collection
  • 2007 – Elvis Lives – Live From Memphis
  • 2018 – The Searcher

Movies

  • 1956 – Love Me Tender
  • 1957 – Loving You
  • 1957 – Jailhouse Rock
  • 1958 – King Creole (Banned in Mexico after a riot ensued at the Las Americas cinema in Mexico City, where the movie had its premiere. Final film before military service.)
  • 1960 – G.I. Blues (Banned in Mexico after a similar riot took place, also at the Las Americas cinema in Mexico City. All further Elvis films banned as a result, with the restriction being lifted in 1971.)
  • 1960 – Flaming Star (A single film still from the film was used by Andy Warhol in 26 of his silkscreens, eight of which are known to have garnered US$345 million at auction and in private sales.)
  • 1961 – Wild in the Country
  • 1961 – Blue Hawaii
  • 1962 – Follow That Dream
  • 1962 – Kid Galahad
  • 1962 – Girls! Girls! Girls!
  • 1963 – It Happened at the World’s Fair
  • 1963 – Fun in Acapulco (Filmed in Acapulco in November 1962 by the entire crew without Elvis who was persona non grata in Mexico since 1957)
  • 1964 – Kissin’ Cousins
  • 1964 – Viva Las Vegas
  • 1964 – Roustabout
  • 1965 – Girl Happy
  • 1965 – Tickle Me
  • 1965 – Harum Scarum
  • 1966 – Frankie and Johnny
  • 1966 – Paradise, Hawaiian Style
  • 1966 – Spinout
  • 1967 – Easy Come, Easy Go
  • 1967 – Double Trouble
  • 1967 – Clambake
  • 1968 – Stay Away, Joe
  • 1968 – Speedway
  • 1968 – Live a Little, Love a Little
  • 1969 – Charro!
  • 1969 – The Trouble with Girls
  • 1969 – Change of Habit
  • 1970 – Elvis: That’s the Way It Is (Concert documentary)
  • 1972 – Elvis on Tour (Concert documentary, co-winner Golden Globe for Best Documentary 1972)

Hope you enjoyed this article about the King, Elvis Presley.

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