Celebrating the 100th post on Moody Blue Blog, I wanted to list 100 facts, details, and interesting stories regarding Elvis’s life, career, achievements, and some fun facts! Below are some familiar facts and some things you never knew or even needed to know… Here’s to the 100th post to celebrating Elvis!
Celebrating Elvis with Elvis 101
Celebrating The Early Days
- Elvis was born in Tupelo, MS January 8th, 1935.
- Jesse Garon was Elvis’s twin brother. He was still born and buried in the yard.
- Vernon Presley (Elvis’s father) and Vester Presley (Elvis’s Uncle) built the two-room shack where Elvis and his brother were born.
- Elvis’s father, Vernon Presley was arrested on November 16th, 1937 when he changed the amount on a check
- Shockingly enough, Elvis failed music class in school.
- For his birthday, Elvis wanted a rifle or a bicycle. Instead his mother, Gladys, took him to the store and bought Elvis his first guitar on January 8th, 1946 at the age of 11.
- Elvis’s family moved to Memphis, TN in 1948.
- With his family being so poor, Elvis held a lot of different jobs. His first was when his father bought him a push lawn mower and began lawns across town.
- Elvis received his Social Security card in September 1950.
- With his love for movies, Elvis began working as an usher at Lowe’s State Theater in 1950. (He was fired in 1952 after a fight with another usher.)
- Elvis got his driver’s license in 1951, thanks to his uncle Travis Smith for letting him borrow his Buick.
Celebrating Elvis’s Beginning
- Elvis walked into Sun Studios on July 18th, 1953 and recorded songs for his mom at $3.98
- Though he had a lot of other odd jobs and went to the employment office many times, Elvis was hired April 20th, 1954 at Crown Electric where he would drive a truck. He was paid $1.00 an hour.
- That’s All Right was released in 1954. A local DJ played it over 13 times in one day. Though the listeners had a hard time believing Elvis was white.
- Elvis auditioned for Authur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (an American Idol type show) and was turned down in 1955.
- During a performance in Jacksonville, FL in 1955, Elvis joked by saying, “I’ll see all you girls backstage”. They took him very seriously and pushed through gates. They tore his shirt and stole his shoes and pants! (This began to be a trend after Elvis concerts, women constantly mobbing him!)
- Elvis’s income tax return in 1955 was $25,240.15 in earnings. Just three years later, in 1958, Elvis had earned over one million dollars due to his fame.
- Milton Berle advised Elvis to perform without his guitar during a TV performance in 1956. This was when his nickname “Elvis the Pelvis” began and the outrage erupted.
Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley | The Ed Sullivan Show (1956)
- Heartbreak Hotel was released in 1956 and was written about a newspaper article about a local suicide.
- This was Elvis’s first gold record which he received in 1956.
- While Elvis was born with blonde hair, he chose to dye it in order to look better on black and white television.
- Though Elvis had a passion for music, he wanted to be an actor like Marlon Brando or James Dean.
- Elvis was the first ever person to be censored on television. Due to his controversial movements, he was filmed from the waist up to not anger viewers.
- The first movie Elvis starred in was “Love Me Tender” in 1956. The original title to the film was “The Reno Brothers” but was changed to reflect one of the songs added to the film for Elvis to sing.
- Elvis stopped by Sun Studios to visit with Sam Phillips on December 4th, 1956 and from this came one of the most incredible recording sessions. The Million Dollar Quartet occurred with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis, and Johnny Cash singing and playing the piano alongside one another.
- Elvis bought Graceland in Memphis, TN in 1957 for $102,500. The name was already given to the property and was named after the previous owner’s daughter – Grace.
- Elvis received his official draft notice December 20th, 1957.
Celebrating Elvis and his Army Years
- Due to filming on “King Creole”, Elvis was able to push back his draft date in order to finish the film.
- Consequently, he officially entered the United States Army on March 24th, 1958.
- Before entering the Army, Elvis recorded songs to be released during his draft time so he was stay relevant in the minds of the people and not forgotten. (His biggest worry was that people would forget about him.)
- Elvis’s mother became ill and managed to receive a leave in order to be with her. She passed away August 14th, 1958.
- Elvis met his future wife, Priscilla, while he was stationed in Germany. She was 14 at the time.
- On March 23rd, 1960 Elvis left active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
- To welcome him back from the Army, Frank Sinatra hosted “Welcome Home Elvis” in 1960 that was a televised special on ABC. (This contains the iconic duet of Elvis singing “Witchcraft” along with Frank Sinatra singing “Love Me Tender”.)
Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley – Witchcraft/Love Me Tender
- After this, Elvis went back into making movies. The first released was “G.I. Blues” on November 23rd, 1960. Featured in the film are many of men who served alongside him in the Army.
- In 1961, Elvis held a concert in Hawaii with proceeds going to the memorial of the USS Arizona. The concert was a success and raised $54,000 for the memorial.
- After spending much time talking to Priscilla, Elvis had missed her so much he wanted her to move to Memphis, TN where to two would be closer. By January 1963, Elvis convinced her parents to let her move in with his father Vernon. She would continue her education and graduate high school. She was 17 at the time.
- Elvis received his discharge from the Army Reserve on March 23rd, 1964.
- Elvis proposed to Priscilla December 1966, just as his life was taking a wonderful turn.
- The two were married in secret in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Aladdin Hotel on May 1st, 1967. The ceremony was 18 minutes long and the couple held a press conference immediately following.
- Priscilla gave birth to Lisa Marie Presley on February 1st, 1968. Exactly 9 months after the two were married.
Elvis: Celebrating The Comeback King
- One of Elvis’s most iconic performances was filmed in July of 1968. It was released in December of that same year and is what we know today as the ’68 Comeback Special. (The original concept of the special was to be a Christmas special, but that changed to reflect aspects of Elvis’s life).
If I Can Dream – Elvis Presley
- Elvis tried to fire the Colonel, but due to threats and being financially bound to him, Elvis had no choice but to stick with him.
- Elvis had hopes of touring Europe, as this was one of his dreams. The Colonel was technically an illegal immigrant and would be unable to travel outside of the United States. Because of this, the Colonel worked out a deal and got Elvis a headliner show in Las Vegas.
- Opening night at The International Hotel in Las Vegas was July 31st, 1969. He wore a two-piece black karate suit, with a black and red belt. (This happens to be one of my top 5 favorite Elvis looks!)
- His final acting role was in Change of Habit, where he starred alongside Mary Tyler Moore in 1969.
- Elvis had a love for karate and held the karate name of Tiger.
- He held the title of 8th degree in black belt. Elvis took his karate very seriously and incorporated some moves into his shows during his concerts in the 1970s.
- January 9th, 1970 Elvis was voted one of the Most Outstanding Young Men of the Year 1970s by the national board of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees).
Elvis Accepts JAYCEES Award
- A rather strange story, on February 19th, 1970 a fan rushed the stage startling Elvis that he chips his took on his microphone.
- One of the most iconic part of Elvis’s later concerts was his into with “Also Sprach Zarathustra” This song was first debuted July 20th, 1970.
- Another iconic Elvis move to debut in 1970 was the wearing of capes and then striking an outstretched pose showcasing its beautiful design.
- One of my favorite stories about Elvis, he woke up one morning and decided to meet the President. On December 21st, 1970 Elvis met President Richard Nixon at the White House.
- Elvis and Priscilla announce to their friends and family New Years of 1970 that they will be divorcing.
- Elvis was nominated and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971.
- Filming for Elvis: On Tour February 1972.
- July 8th, 1972 a press conference is held to announce an upcoming concert that would be the first worldwide satellite broadcast.
- On August 17th, 1972, Priscilla files for divorce asking $100,000 plus $1,500 monthly for spousal and child support.
- Elvis’s last US Top 10 hit during his lifetime would be received in 1972 by Burning Love.
Elvis Presley – Burning Love
- In 1973, Elvis’s concert that was broadcasted via satellite was held and is one of the most well-known concerts: Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii. This concert was seen in 40 countries and over 1 billion people.
- Elvis considered Hawaii to be a second home.
- Elvis had always been a fan of Muhammad Ali. On February 2nd, 1972 Elvis meets with Muhammad Ali in Las Vegas. Elvis gifts him with a boxing-style robe featuring “The People’s Champion”. Ali also gives Elvis a pair of golden boxing gloves signed “To Elvis, my main man, Muhammad Ali. You’re the greatest”.
Elvis and Muhammad Ali
- In one of the more scarier stories, four men climbed on stage during one of his concerts in Las Vegas. Being afraid for his life, he and his bassist Jerry Scheff use their karate to immobilize them. No charges were filed and the men claimed they just wanted to shake Elvis’s hand.
- Elvis and Priscilla officially were divorced October 9th, 1973.
- On July 4th, 1974, Elvis officially opening his Tennessee Karate Institute. He proceeded to do an hour and a half karate demonstration along with karate master Ed Parker. (Parts of this demonstration was featured in This is Elvis.
- During Elvis’s concert years (1969-1977) he gave over 1,100 performances.
- Elvis purchased a Convair 880 Jet on April 17th, 1975 for $250,000. The plane went under a complete refurbishment making the total cost $600,000. He later named the plane, The Lisa Marie.
- Presley’s last and final concert, before his untimely death, in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 26th, 1977.
- Elvis passed away August 16th, 1977 at the age of 42.
Celebrating Elvis: Fun Facts
- His favorite soft drink was Pepsi.
- Captain Marvel was Elvis’s favorite super hero.
- Elvis was 6 feet tall.
- He wore a size 11 shoe.
- Elvis is a distant relative to U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Abraham Lincoln.
- Elvis was a sleep walker.
- The National Guard was called in as security for many of Elvis’s early concerts.
- Elvis was approached to play Tony in West Side Story and John in A Star is Born.
- With his legendary legacy, Elvis has been inducted into five Halls of Fame (Rock ‘n Roll, Gospel, R&B, Rockabilly, and Country)
- During his movie career, Elvis starred in 31 films.
- There were two concert documentaries created during his lifetime.
- Though his music was influential and inspiring, Elvis only won three Grammy awards. All of which were for his gospel music.
- Elvis had been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards
One of Elvis’s Grammy’s He Received for Gospel
- Most noteworthy, Elvis had 53 Top 40 albums on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
- He has sold over one billion records worldwide.
- In 2015, a new CD was released, “If I Can Dream” and managed to be #1 in the UK. (The second biggest release that time was Adele!)
- That same year, “Elvis Presley Forever, was released and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums!
- In 2017, Elvis went back on tour with Elvis: Live in Concert. During Elvis Week 2017 in Memphis, TN, this concert was completely sold old. Even 40 years after his passing, Elvis can still have a sold-out concert.
- The 1993 Elvis U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp is the most popular U.S. stamp of all time.
- Over 500,000 people visit Graceland, Home of Elvis Presley every year. This is the second most visited house, the first being the White House.
- Due to its popularity, Graceland became a National Historic Landmark in 2006.
- Elvis made number four on Forbes top-earning dead celebrities list in 2016. His estimated earnings was $27 million.
SO Random, You Probably Didn’t Need To Know
- Elvis and his group of TCB friends called themselves the Memphis Mafia.
- Fans are able to bring permanent markers to the wall wrapping around the outside of Graceland and write a message right on the wall!
- Elvis’ Christmas Album was first released in 1957. This album continues to be the biggest selling Christmas Album of all time with over 10 million copies sold.
- Elvis recorded 15 songs with the word Blue in the title. One of which is titled Moody Blue, where this blog gets its name! Probably one of my top 5 favorite songs.
- Because he was under a contract obligation, Elvis needed to release an album. So, Elvis released an entire album in 1974 of his banter between songs called, “Having Fun With Elvis On Stage”.
- Elvis loved wearing jewelry. He even wore a cross, the Hebrew letter chai, and a star of David because he did not, “Want to miss out on heaven due to a technicality”.
- Elvis’s ancestry was Western European mix: Scots-Irish, Scottish, German, and some French Norman.
- Graceland officially opened to the public in 1982.
- Elvis recorded so many songs over time. Therefore, the number ranges from 665 to 711.
It is incredible to study Elvis and continue to learn more about him. The most incredible thing to think about in many of these cases is that there was a first for Elvis. Though many of his iconic moves and styling was repeated throughout his life and even by current artists, Elvis did it first. Here’s to 100 more posts on Moody Blue Blog!
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Until we meet again,
TCB and TCE,