Elvis Presley

Arguably one of the most famous singers of all time, Elvis Presley emerged from humble country beginnings to become a rock & roll phenomenon whose cultural influence was so huge it still resonates decades after his untimely death in 1977. It all started in the summer of 1953 at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee when he recorded a demo as a present for his mother's birthday. Sun boss Sam Phillips heard him and, while unimpressed by the young truck driver's conventional country style, he saw the potential when Presley started rocking around singing Arthur Crudup's That's All Right, Mama. The demo was played on a local radio station and caused a sensation, most listeners assuming he was black. Signed by RCA, he outraged older audiences with his suggestive dance moves, but his first single Heartbreak Hotel went to number one and he became the biggest teen idol the world had ever seen. His eponymous debut album, featuring covers of Carl Perkins' Blue Suede Shoes, Ray Charles' I Got A Woman, Jimmy Wakely's I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin') and the Rodgers and Hart tune Blue Moon, took the world by storm and spent ten weeks at number one in the Billboard Top Pop Charts, the first rock & roll album to do so. After making several appearances on television, including the Milton Berle Show and the Ed Sullivan Show, he improved his popularity among his teenage fans but offended the older generation even more with his controversial and suggestive dance moves. He starred in his first feature film, Love Me Tender, in 1956, launching his career in a whole new direction. That same year, the famous photograph that became known as the Million Dollar Quartet was taken, when Presley walked into the Sun studios and started jamming with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and, briefly, Johnny Cash. He released All Shook Up in 1957, with Too Much and (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear following quickly after, all three singles reaching the number one spot. A year later he was conscripted into the U.S. Army and he was quoted as saying that he didn't want to be treated any differently. After only a few months he was granted leave when his mother became gravely ill. After her death, Elvis returned to the army to do his duty, with RCA's plans to release recorded, but as yet unreleased, songs to keep his name in the charts. The plan worked as Elvis scored ten top 40 hits during his conscription including Wear My Ring Around Your Neck, Hard Headed Woman, (Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I and A Big Hunk 'O Love. After receiving an honorable discharge after two year's service, Elvis returned to Nashville where he recorded Are You Lonesome Tonight? In the 1960s Elvis's film career really took off, with major roles in Flaming Star, Wild In The Country, Can't Help Falling In Love, Return To Sender and Viva Las Vegas. Wishing to keep as many doors open as possible, he also embarked on recording a gospel album which turned into How Great Thou Art (1967) and won him his first Grammy Award for Best Sacred Performance. In 1967 he married Priscilla Beaulieu whom he met while in the army. The following year their daughter Lisa Marie was born. During this time, Elvis's popularity seemed to drop, with only two out of eight singles released between '67 and '68 making the top 40. The '68 Comeback Special was recorded live that year, in an effort to revive his career. It saw him give his first live performance since 1961 and the world took notice that Elvis was back. In the 1970s Elvis's marriage broke down and he turned to drugs to ease his pain. He gave his final concert in the Indianapolis Market Square Arena on 26th June 1977 and just two months later he passed away.

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Stations Featuring Elvis Presley

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