White jumpsuit, collar up and chains around his neck. Raised eyebrow, distinctive voice and sideburns. At other times, with plaid jacket, open-necked patterned shirt, black pants and black shoes. We are talking about the arguably most important artist of “Rock and Roll”. The king of infinite charm, elegance, style and generosity. Always having a modest look, he would let the crowd cheer for him, flirt with him and he would feel with them the ultimate expression of freedom. A freedom that he had never experienced.
This man would give his love generously, in order to fill and substitute the misfortunes that deprived him of the most important people in his life. Always with his innocent puerility accompanying him and sweetening up his everyday life, with his craziness following him and with the smile on his face encouraging him, he enticed the female audience and made the men be jealous of him and desire to look like him.
An innocent child with angel’s eyes and distinct voice, who, even nowadays, enters people’s homes through his successful songs, has remained in everyone’s memory as the ultimate male sex symbol and as the person who not only changed music, language and clothing, but also rebelled against a whole country. These characteristics could be linked to no one but the name of the unique Elvis Aaron Presley.
“The people were looking for something different and I came along just in time. I was lucky.”
Elvis Presley’s childhood
Elvis was born and raised in a remarkable family, on January 8, 1935, in East Tupelo, Mississippi. It was a particularly close-knit family, with the little back then Elvis being the protagonist; he was the center of their interest and attention.
Unfortunately, the family’s economic difficulties made the situation very hard, both for the parents and for the little star. Elvis was forced to grow up faster than the kids of his age, and to be deprived of playing and having friends, that is, from all the elements that are needed and essential for a kid of his age to be socialized properly.
He used to attend the Humes school in the mornings, a school without prospect and without hope. All the children that attended classes in that particular school were considered by the society of the day to be inferior, since the majority of students came from poor and impoverished families. As a pupil, he was rather shy and quiet, and as a result he was unnoticed in the classroom. His performance at school was from mediocre to bad and generally he did not show much interest in the lessons.
As a teenager and only son, he kept attracting all the devotion of his parents, and as a consequence he didn’t care about the indifference that his peers were showing to him. He used to do things off his own bat and he didn’t use to go with the crowd.
“University” was a word that he didn’t even dare to utter, since there was no chance for him to reach this point, due to his negative performance, but also the economic difficulties of his family. University would certainly remain a pipe dream. Once he said: “I’d like to have gone, but I never thought about it. We just didn’t have the money.”
“A little less fight and a little more spark, close your mouth and open your heart.”
His life was as special as he was. InIn the afternoons, he used to do different occasional jobs since he was a little boy, in order to assist financially his parents that were in need.
He was different from the other children, although he lived a life that millions of children in America used to live as well. When he had some spare time, he would watch movies at the outdoor cinema, standing outside the railings of the forecourt, because he didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket, and he would listen to music with the radio that his parents had given him as a present on his birthday. Sometimes, he was allowed to play soccer with the cool guys of the neighborhood, with his stylish soccer skills drawing the attention of the children.
His stylistic preferences as a teen
A shy and dreamy boy with few friends, with no discernible talent and no ambition whatsoever, but with lacy shirts and collars up, that definitely stood out. He loved girls, he admired cars and he was lost for hours listening to music.
As he was growing up, Elvis was changing style and appearance, he hated his hair, he liked sideburns, and he preferred moustache, because he wanted to look like his father, truck drivers and wild looking guys.Like all children of his age, Elvis wanted to belong to a peer group, to feel a member of this group, but at the same time he wanted to stand out, to be different. He preferred wearing fancy clothes, so everybody would stare at him. However, this was not only positive, for a big number of people pointed at him and mocked him, calling him a freak.
Even though through his style he tried to reflect his personality, he felt strangely, differently. He felt like nobody in a big city, like nothing in the endless chaos. “I guess I always knew if you want to stand out in a crowd you gotta be different.” But why did he have this feeling? Certainly, it was not only the financial problems that concerned him since he was a small kid.
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time,but it ain’t goin’ away.”
Elvis Presley, the infinite love and the special relationship with his mother
Elvis and his family – a relationship that was strange, but at the same time so strong. Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley, an honest worker, worked very hard as a milkman on a farm, a truck driver, a carpenter and sometimes as a painter. He was forced to be away from his wife and his only son for a long time. The financial needs and his inability to feed his family on his own destroyed him psychologically. He felt little and had no self-confidence.
His mother, on the other hand, Gladys Love Smith Presley, a quiet and low-key woman, was a sewing machine operator in a factory. Once, she was actually about to abandon their house with her son, because their money was not enough to pay the rent.
Since he was a small kid, Elvis felt inferior to the other children of his age. He had no money and he could not follow the everyday activities of the children. Nevertheless, no member of this family gave up, even though they were accompanied by two prevailing powers: poverty, but also hope.
“Rhythm is something you either have or don’t have, but when you have it, you have it all over.”
Both his parents gave anything for Elvis and he would reciprocate in whatever way he could. Life was giving them a hard time, which resulted in their deciding to move to Memphis, Tupelo for a better tomorrow.
Elvis had been raised with principles and good manners. His parents used to consider it very important, because they tried to give the best possible impression as a family.
The second Elvis
The motto of their family was “We were always happy, when we were together.” And truly, only united they managed to survive. But, behind the excessive love and devotion to their precious son, a huge and sad secret was hiding, which they had kept well-hidden for years. A tragic event that happened during childbirth radically changed the life of his mother as well as his, and influenced his subsequent development. Elvis Presley had a twin brother, Jessie. Jessie was born 35 minutes before Elvis, also on January 8, 1935 in Graceland.
“Whatever I will become will be what God has chosen for me.”
Unfortunately, the first child of the twins was born dead, as some hours before labor his heart had stopped beating. The loss of his twin brother had a great impact on Elvis and his parents. The entire family buried him a few days later outside the city of Princeville, next to a tree.
The loss of a child in a family is one of the most scary and traumatic events that can happen in life. The demise undoubtedly causes a huge shock, excruciating pain and unbearable grief to parents and develops psychological stress, which affects the psychological and physical well-being of a human. Soon thereafter, intense and unusual effects are observed to the parents themselves. Besides, it is horrible for a mother who has had her baby in her womb for nine months and she has loved it even before she meets it, to suddenly lose it.
The same thing happened to Elvis’ parents, but in this case they were expecting one more child: his twin brother. Some minutes later, Elvis was born like a gift from God, in order to alleviate his mother’s pain and to give joy and hope to the whole family.
Both his parents gave everything for him, but especially Elvis’ mother gave all the maternal devotion and affection that she had to this child. Just from the fear of losing him, her love turned into obsession. She had become overprotective, she was watching every step of him and she preferred to sleep even in the same bed with him, for fear of anything bad happening to him. This situation continued until his teen years. She was always beside him, but to the extent that he did not have the chance to take any decision on his own and this continued happening even when he was older.
“The image is one thing and the human being is another. It’s very hard to live up to an image, put it that way.”
The consequenes of excessive love on the child’s mental state
Being excessive can cause harm, and this applies to everything in this world. Elvis, through the excessive love and maternal devotion that he received, became a pretty shy and sensitive child. He didn’t speak much, and he had an introverted and low-key personality.
He too, though, felt the need for maternal affection, but maybe more intensely than normally. He saw in her a piece of his lost brother. The passionate relationship that these two had, had affected both Elvis’ life and his mother’s. Elvis considered her as the perfect woman. And indeed, it is said that because of his mother, Elvis wanted to marry somebody who looked like his mother, both internally and externally.
This is not unusual, due to the fact that people are programmed to look for partners who come from the same “kind”. So, since the first close contact of a man with the opposite sex is his mother, she becomes the model for his next relationships. The man is looking for a mother substitute in her, scary as it may sound.
However, in Elvis’ case, the above mentioned almost seemed to be like the so-called Oedipus complex. No, he did not have erotic tendencies with his mother, but his love for this woman looked like the feelings of love and worship. This fact definitely played an important role in his adult life, since, until his death, he wasn’t able to find this satisfaction and love that he had felt with his own mother.
It is said that at some point after his mother’s death, he bought a Cadilac for an elderly lady who reminded him of his mother, because once he had promised her that he would buy one for her, but he could never fulfill his promise to her personally.
“I would beg and steal just to feel your heart beating close to mine.”
Remorse for the death of his twin brother
Elvis’ life was not only influenced by his mother, but also the loss of his twin brother played a significant role.
In the early years of his life, Elvis grew up carrying the feeling of vast emptiness inside him. Even before he learnt that he is a twin child, he didn’t feel complete, but he felt that something was missing from his life, like an intuition. This intuition was not at all unlikely. It has, actually, been proven scientifically.
Studies have shown that there is undoubtedly a close relationship and connection between twins, which is much stronger than for siblings born separately. In view of the fact that they share the same space during the fetal period, usually a physical and emotional bond develops between them, even before they are born. This bond is transferred to their life as well, when the twins are born and this feeling accompanies them throughout their life.
Certainly, the most powerful and unexplainable bond between people is felt by twin siblings. A twin kid is like a mirror of the other twin kid. They have their differences, which are both external and internal, but they never feel alone. They have the feeling that someone knows everything about them: their secrets, their ambitions, but also that someone senses their fears, dangers, as well as their needs.
“If you cry when you’re in love, it sure ain’t no disgrace.”
Let us not forget, however, that where there is love, there is fear too. The fear of loss that twins feel to a greater extent.
Therefore, this feeling of loss and emptiness that Elvis had during the first years of his life was not something difficult to find or puzzling, as for nine months he had been sharing his sac in his mother’s uterus with one more fetus that never existed in his life.
Once his parents, after a certain age, informed him about the loss of the firstborn twin, something changed inside him. Fragile as he was, he believed since he was a small kid that he was the cause of the death of his only brother, as – he believed – he must have moved in a wrong way inside his mother’s womb, thus convicting his brother to death. This, of course, was something that was not true, but his mind couldn’t give another explanation. Watching, also, his mother suffer from this demise, he felt even guiltier, and he gave her all his love. Besides, he owed it to her, to his father as well as to his dead brother.
The guilt and emptiness that he felt left their mark. Over the years, psychological and physical problems were created. He as well as his mother suffered from sleep disorders, sleepwalking and chronic anxiety.
“Money honey, if you want to get along with me.”
On the other hand, he was accustomed to these feelings and thoughts. So, Elvis had built a wall around him and let no one break it. He kept to himself, he didn’t speak much, he didn’t break anyone’s heart and he always tried to have a smile on his lips, in order not to show his real self and his sad feelings.
So, thinking of his brother, Elvis started imagining him. He used to imagine his appearance that definitely, according to Elvis, would resemble him, his character, that would for certain be stronger than his so that he could any time help and support Elvis. Just imagine there would be one more Elvis! It was exactly this love and support that he needed. And in his thoughts, his brother was there, throughout his life, at every step he took.
“There’s no job too immense, when you got confidence.”
Elvis loved the idea of his twin brother. This fact made him feel even more special and different from the others. It was his big secret against humanity.
People close to him, like his best friend, Jerry, and his wife, Priscilla, said that Elvis never mentioned his lost brother, but, on the contrary, he felt guilty that he was the lucky one to survive and that he later became a famous and successful artist.
But he always felt that his brother was next to him and sometimes he was speaking to him secretly. Besides, his mother once said: “When one twin died, the one that lived got all the strength of both.”, giving him courage and hope to move on. Sometimes, Elvis believed that maybe it was better that his brother died before he was even born, because he didn’t need to live in this ugly world, but he lived eternally inside his beautiful heart.
“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.”
Elvis Presley and his love for God
All the issues that concerned Elvis since he was a small child made him find shelter and belief to God and church. He and his mother went to church every week, where he prayed for his family and his brother. “God was not a distant figure up in the sky, but someone walking beside me each and every day.”
And in fact, in his free time he used to go to the steps of the church and listen to the Gospel Choir singing. He loved the music and the singers pronouncing the songs in such harmony. He used to say: “That music became such a part of my life, that it was as natural as dancing. It was a way to escape from problems and my ways of release.”
The church, and particularly his belief in God, gave him strength and hope to go on. There he felt closer to what he believed and even closer to his brother and to heaven.
“I forgot to remember to forget.”
Music as a way of expression
People had noticed from early on that Elvis had an exceptional voice. At the age of ten he gave his first public performance. That year, actually, he got his first guitar, a gift from his parents for his birthday. Elvis loved playing the guitar. He would take it with him everywhere and he would play it with every chance he was given. He never attended singing or guitar lessons. Even at the end of his career, Elvis had never learnt to read notes. But he was self-taught, he observed the singers that he admired and learnt to distinguish the notes aurally.
Later, and after they had moved to Memphis, the little star was exposed to a wide range of music. His dream was to sing in front of an audience and express with his music everything he was keeping inside himself. All he wanted was to touch people and break their hearts with his music. When he had some time, he went to Charlie’s record shop, just to listen to music. Moreover, he was given the opportunity to record at the Memphis Sun Records studio. His first song was the “My happiness”, which he clearly dedicated to his mother.
“Never wait for tomorrow, what if tomorrow never comes?”
Generally, Elvis’ songs refer to people and things that he couldn’t have in his life, like his brother, his mother, his dream for a perfect life and the lost innocence.
Jerry Leiber later mentions: “He had an incredible, attractive instrument that worked in many registers. He could falsetto like Little Richard. He could sing. The equipment was outstanding. His ear was uncanny. His sense of timing was second of none.”
Later, in 1955, he teamed up with a band and worked with Scotty Moore (guitar) and Bill Black (bass). Besides concerts, Elvis started taking part in movies, playing minor roles initially, and later he even played leading roles in a few of the 33 movies that he took part in during his career. Since he was a small kid, his idols were Robert Mitchum, Tony Curtis, and James Dean.
One year later, he gave his first performance at Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show in NYC. Now as a musician, singer and film actor, Elvis became the most successful star of his era, with many appearances, much tiredness, many parties, little sleep and staying in many different hotels.
“The child needs a helping hand or he’ll grow up to be an angry young man some day.”
The sudden change in his career
It must be highlighted that the band’s start was not perfect. Sun Records was not pleased; until Elvis, during a break, grabbed his guitar and started singing with his one-of-a-kind voice the blues song which was also dedicated to his mother, “That’s All Right”. The other two members of the band followed him and the result was amazing. Surely, he didn’t know how to sing perfectly, but his incredible emotion while singing left the audience astonished. Elvis’ career had just begun.
He knew his skills and believed in himself. When getting up on stage, he gained confidence and the insecurities of his everyday life disappeared. Nineteen years old then, he had come one step closer to his dream. The only thing he lacked was a girlfriend.
After appearances in local nightclubs, he signed an agreement with RCA Records, and the director Colonel Tom Parker, who changed his life for good. Some television shows and few interviews followed, as Elvis was not interested in this kind of promotion.
“Animals don’t hate and we’re supposed to be better than them.”
As time was passing, he realized that his voice suited more to the rhythm of “Rock and Roll”, so he changed direction and devoted himself to songs of this style.
When he was twenty years old, he had already the power of a star, hitting the headlines, like in Variety with a publication with heading “Elvis a millionaire in one year.” He sold more than ten million singles.
The sudden rise of his success changed not only his life, but also that of his parents. With the first money that he got, he bought a piece of land for his father in Graceland in 1957, so that he could build and use it as a farm. Suddenly, poverty became wealth! His father once said: “What happened, El? The last thing I remember is that I was working in a little paint – factory and you were driving a truck.”
The only one who was not so happy was his mother, who was worried about Elvis. She felt that this way she was losing her child, she was afraid of something happening to him and she always had an endless sorrow in her face. She didn’t care about the money. Her son had distanced himself from her and their home was always full with strangers. Nothing was the same anymore. They may have been poor once, but they were united. At that moment, on the contrary, everyone did his own thing. For his mother, the family had fallen apart.
She preferred simple things in life. She couldn’t control Elvis anymore and this was killing her more and more every day.
“I go for all the belles, except the wedding kind.”
The connection between music and Elvis’ experiences
Elvis developed into one of the greatest and most successful stars in the field of music. The secret of his success was the unique way of his performance and the unique style of the songs he chose to sing. Everyone, young people and the elderly, adored him from the first moment they listened to him.
Through his way of expression, he seemed to represent an energy, an optimism, the cute childhood, and the whole America. There was a vitality, a rebelliousness on the stage – a power that affected and touched all those who were listening to him. He seemed to offer to teenagers a new way of life and he helped them interpret themselves differently.
“I’m left, you’re right, and she’s gone. You’re right, and I’m left all alone.”
On stage, he was always unpredictable, to the point that not even the members of the band knew what was going to happen in the next minute and he never gave the same show twice. Elvis always worked with his instinct and nothing was planned – as unplanned his life up to now was. Through singing he used to forget his mother’s worries, the helplessness of his father and his guilt about his brother.
Marion Keisker once said: “He was like a mirror in a way, whatever you were looking for, you were going to find in him. It was not in him to lie or say anything malicious. He had all the intricacy of the very simple.”
Elvis was so much addicted to singing, that when he didn’t sing he was nervous, he could not control his feelings and he could not sleep.
“Now and then, there’s a fool such as I.”
Love is the cure to everything
Getting up on stage, not only did he do what he had always been dreaming of, but also he took from the audience what he was in fact searching for: love. Elvis always believed in its power and he had felt it from his precious mother – nothing could have been compared to that love. But because of the loss of his brother, something was always missing, that not even his own mother could fill.
Here, his audience played their role. They hugged him in any way they could, they cheered for him, they loved him. Elvis as a boy was week, Elvis as a singer felt strong. And he did the same: he loved them more than anything else. He knew that they had made him a star and he owed everything to these people.
He believed that love and the possibility for redemption could sooth his life from his eternal guilt, the difficulties and the negative thoughts he had from time to time, more than his talent.
The once introverted boy, started opening up. Music was now his life, his way of speaking, his was of behaving, his way of expressing himself, his way of not feeling lonely.
“The road to love is full of danger signs.”
Elvis Presley and the women of his life
Elvis and his women – definitely a big topic. While as a little boy he did not pay much attention to the opposite sex, growing up it was, along with his music, one of the most important things. The truth is that he had a special charm, deep eyes, a unique voice, perfect proportions and thick black hair that made women fall for him.
Elvis had met many women in his life. For him, each one of them was something special. He mainly preferred young women, full of freshness and innocence, because he liked taking care of them and feeling that he protects them. He was a very romantic character, and he stated that he had loved every girlfriend that he had. For every parent, Elvis was the perfect potential groom, since he made women crazy with his charm, his impeccable manners and his puerility. Some of the ladies that had a relationship with Elvis were Connie Stevens, Ann-Margret, Candice Bergen, Cybill Shepherd, Linda Thompson and Ginger Alden.
“We can’t build our dreams on suspicious minds.”
What a future Mrs. Presley had to know
Elvis’ requirements were not a few and generally he was quite demanding about the woman he wished to have next to him. This was the reason why so many years had passed until he found his other half.
- Elvis was never monogamous. He justified it by saying that he has so much love inside him that he wants to share it with many women. He had even cheated several times the only woman that he ever married, Priscilla.
- He had no idea about housekeeping and he would never agree to help women with household chores.
- Even though many women had passed from his life, Elvis was determined to marry a virgin woman.
- The woman that would be with him had to be always available and to keep all possible days open for a possible meeting.
- Elvis, on the contrary, was almost never available and he never answered phone calls, which means that there was never a normal communication as a couple.
Also, Elvis always forgot important celebrations, like Christmas and birthdays.
“You’ve got to follow that dream, wherever that dream may lead.”
Elvis’ strange habits
- Elvis always preferred singing and playing music at night sitting on the benches of his neighborhood. He believed that at night the man changes, calms, hushes and has the ability to listen more carefully. At night, nobody cares about appearance, style, facial expressions. Nobody judges you for what you are. The only thing that matters at night is the melody that is heard.
- Elvis loved sleeping during the day and got up only after sunset, like a vampire. At night everything calms down, all the problems disappear, everything is simpler and people show their real selves.
“Life has taught me one big lesson, always keep the girlies guessing.”
Favorite food of Elvis
Elvis loved food and especially the homemade food that his mum was preparing with much love. Some of his favorite tastes were the following:
- Simple Southern fare food
- mama – made fried chicken
- mashed potatoes with gravy burnt bacon
- steak cooked through and through
- eggs and bacon
- home-fried potatoes
- pancakes with applesauce
- ice bottles of Mountain Valley water
Apparently, there were some tastes that Elvis didn’t prefer, or better, detested:
The explanation was very simple. The smell of fish and egg reminded him of their old poor years and the difficult days he and his family had.
Nevertheless, Elvis was mad about one specific recipe of cookies that his mother used to make.
This recipe is written below, exactly as it was originally written down by his grandmother, (Minnie Mae Hood Presley):
“Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind. Memories, sweetened through the ages just like wine.”
- 5 cups self – rising flour
- 1 tsp. Baking soda
- 8 tsp. Sugar
- ½ tsp. Salt
- 1 (1/4 oz.) envelope yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup Crisco or other shortening
- 2 cups buttermilk
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In a teacup or small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over lukewarm water, stir to dissolve, and then cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 10 minutes. You want to keep the yeast warm. After the yeast has proofed (it will look bubbly), add the yeast mixture, shortening, and buttermilk to the flour mixture. Mix together well with a wooden spoon or use a Kitchen Aid with dough hook (this is far easier although historically inaccurate). Cover loosely with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. Knead on a floured surface just a little. Put back in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 F. Take out the amount needed and roll out to about ½ inch thickness on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Cut with biscuit cutter and place biscuits on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Serve it hot with lots of butter.
Perhaps, if we try it, we will bring the same smell to our home that Elvis had in his, and who knows, maybe it becomes our fevourite taste too. Eventually, we may have more things in common withElvis than we believe.
“When we’re dancing it almost feels the same, I’ve got to stop myself from whispering your name.”
Elvis and his relationship with his audience
Unlike other artists, Elvis owed everything to his audience and he was completely dedicated to it. He would always stop for autographs or photographs, no matter how tired or busy he may have been, because he knew very well that they had brought him where he was.
He had turned into a man with childish personal beliefs, doing exactly what pleased him, with money and his imagination supporting him: he lived a life many people wanted to have. He enjoyed the magic ability of money inducing positive energy to others. The offerings to his audience were so that he wouldn't have the feeling of loneliness. He believed that goodness can unite people. He gave generously to get, not something material, but love!
He pointed out: “They see me as someone who was lifted from poverty and dropped into a world of glamour and excitement. My job is to share that glamour and excitement with them. I want each person to feel I’m performing for him or her,… I love the idea of overwhelming a total stranger with a gift…”
Elvis was very proud of his audience. His audience imitated him and the people listening to him were polite, civilized, they worked hard, they paid their taxes, and they taught their children to hope. They had been taught all these by Elvis.
“I love only one girl, one in every town.”
The stylistic changes of Elvis Presley during his artistic life
His style could be divided into three parts, as during his life he changed rapidly both his appearance and his music and dancing skills:
- 1950’s “The New York Elvis” (purest Elvis with a slouchy lanky jacket àhere we meet Elvis for the first time, as a novice singer at the outset of his career)
- 1960’s “Hollywood Elvis” (neutered Elvis as a wide-eyed country boy à here Elvis is recognized as a singer with his unique vocal and performing skills)
1970’s “The Vegas Elvis” (glamorous Elvis in hand-studded jumpsuits à here Elvis has reached the next and top stage of his career as an entertainer who is revered by the crowd and is turned into the “King of Rock and Roll”)
“I’m with a crowd but oh so alone.”
Throughout his career, Elvis created an individual style which had never existed before in this form. No one looked like him. If we dared comment on his character, we would say that Elvis had extremely good and polite manners. Since he was a small kid, his mother had taught him that regardless of the poverty of their family, he should be honest, show respect to his fellow men and especially to the older ones, not be involved in fights, not interrupt people while discussing and always answer with a “yes, sir” or “no, ma ‘am”. Also, he always won people's heart with his musicality, he was discreet, he showed compassion, never offended anyone, never had prejudices against others, he was original and the most important thing was that he was not a creation of journalists. A real gentleman.
His style could be characterized as provocative – his clothes, his hair, the way he sang, the way he moved on the stage, the expression in his look, his jokes. In fact, he was declared as “The greatest cultural force in the 20th century.” We could say that he had a bit of everything: Beale Street, the church, the army, Hollywood, Las Vegas, and something from a poor street kid.
Elvis quickly realized the importance of style in the society he lived, as he remarked that: “In a tuxedo, I’m a star. In regular clothes, I’m nobody.”
“It’s not how much you have that makes people look up to you.”
Elvis' songs were special not only because he wrote them himself and he had a unique way of expressing himself, but also because he felt his songs body and soul, he absolutely believed in them. “I’m never going to record another song I don’t believe in.”
A distinctive feature of Elvis before every concert was the phrase that he used to say and took courage from: “Well, that’s all right mama, that’s all right for you.”
“Make this fire in my soul dear, forever burn”
His military service
In the prime of his career, in 1957, Elvis was called to report to the American army in order to carry out the duties of his military service for two whole years. It certainly was too crucial a period to stay away from publicity, but he saw it as a break and as an opportunity to give to his country even little of what it had offered to him.
Joining the army, he said: “Every able – bodied American boy should go into the service and I’m an able – bodied American boy, so why not?”.
Of course, due to his status he had the opportunity to keep his sideburns and his hair, but he didn't want to differ from the others for the first time in his life.
The same year, one more tragedy happened, that changed his life once again: the death of his mother. The loss and shock that hit the family were devastating. The house was empty and every time Elvis came back to it, he had no one to speak to and no one to hug. Everything reminded of her and this exactly was what made this place so beautiful and sad at the same time.
“One night of sin is what I’m now paying for.”
Elvis once again felt remorse. Remorse for the little time he used to see her over the last years, remorse for not taking care of her as much as he should. He missed the love of his mum and he knew that nobody could ever replace her.
A true love that had no place in the superficial friendships of the last years. A love without interest. The doom of his mother was something more than this.
Some time later, he was transferred to Germany, from where he was discharged in 1960, giving the money that he got from there to charities.
“What’s the good of reaching 90, if you waste 89?”
The woman of his life
During his service in Germany, Elvis met the 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. At that time, he was 24 years old. This acquaintance was different. After the death of his mother, Elvis might have been searching for a substitute in another woman, who would look like his mother and would love him like her.
Elvis and Priscilla fell in love and he gave everything to make her happy. He was romantic and protective towards her. The only difference that sometimes caused problems was the big difference in age. Priscilla was still a kid, while Elvis had become a man.
Despite her young age, she always tried to protect Elvis and their relationship, and she would never give answers concerning him to strangers.
Priscilla had recently lost her father and she saw in Elvis a substitute, a guardian angel, a protector. For the first time Elvis felt that he could trust a woman after his mother. He spoke to her about his thoughts, his fears, his mother and his love towards her, his career and finally the pressure to fulfill the others' expectations.
“You’re so square, baby, I don’t care.”
Priscilla tried everything to keep her relationship with Elvis. In the morning she went to school, at night she became Elvis' girlfriend. Her double life was very tiring, so Elvis offered her pills (Dexedrine), which were the ones that he also used to take all the time so that his body would not be exhausted. Priscilla had never taken those pills and she was worried about Elvis' use.
Elvis really loved Priscilla. He had finally found what he had always been looking for in a woman: she was timid, quiet, non-smoker and taciturn. Nevertheless, a sex symbol probably wasn't able to cut his bad habits, resulting in cheating his Priscilla several times. Even though she knew it, she accepted it because she loved him.
Her sadness was more a result of the requirements Elvis had regarding her. We shouldn't forget that it was about a 14-year-old young girl, who should have been as modest as possible, totally unassertive and follow Elvis' directions faithfully, so that she could stay by his side.
Time had passed and Elvis had to return to his country, without Priscilla. The only thing that was left now was his uniform and the hope to meet again.
She was disappointed and she had to get used to Elvis' negligence. They hardly ever communicated. The only thing they did was that she was sending letters to him and he was sending money to her.
After three whole years of distance relationship, Elvis decided to bring his girlfriend to Graceland in 1963. This happening didn't go unnoticed by the social media of Memphis, since nobody had met her until then. At Elvis' side, Priscilla learnt the importance of styling and generally she developed into a fine lady, who underwent a lot of pressure, though, for now she belonged publicly to the sexiest man of her time.
But his habits and the scandals involving him and other women irritated Priscilla. In 1967, Priscilla and Elvis got married in absolute secrecy in Las Vegas. This would surely disappoint many women, but it did not bother him. Some time later, Priscilla got pregnant and gave birth to the daughter of Elvis, named Lisa Marie.
“Do what’s right for you, as long as I don’t hurt no one.”
Elvis Presley's last years
During the last years of his career, Elvis continued starring in movies and releasing record-breaking songs. In 1968, he even used to appear in a particular channel which played his music continuously.
One year before, Presley had broken up with his then wife, which hit him very hard. Successful now, but alone, Elvis started becoming peculiarly distant and constantly gaining weight, even though when he was younger he used to take care of his body by exercising daily.
"I have much more money than I could spend, I have thousands of fans out there and many people saying that they are my friends. However, I am the saddest young man you have ever seen..."
“I don’t want to be a tiger, tigers play too rough. I don’t want to be a lion, cause lions ain't the kind you love up.”
Elvis suffered from chronic fatigue, resulting in him taking several pills per day in order to stay awake. The pills gave him energy, but gradually destroyed his body without him realizing it. His audience became aware of his mental and physical decline, because of his poor performance on stage. He had lost his dignity, he was not himself and he was exhausted mentally and physically. He mentioned: “We pay the price for fame with our nerves.”
His health deteriorated considerably. Elvis suffered from coronary heart disease, hypertension, had bad living habits and extreme lifestyle. Eventually, Elvis Presley, when he was only 42 years old, breathed his last on August 16, 1977 due to heart failure, in the bathroom of his home in Memphis. The cause: drug overdose. He was buried in Graceland, close to the graves of his mother and father. Hundreds of people he knew and strangers attended his funeral to honor him. Everything hushed, like time had stopped.
Years later, he remains a legend and he is still successful. So, what would he say if he knew that? Maybe then he would have found the love he was looking for in the honor that he is given even nowadays.
“I’ve spent a life time waiting for the right time, now that you’re near, the time is here at last.”
Elvis Presley – a wonderful person
A handsome and special man, who loved his mother, put on mascara and sang like an angel. He always looked happy, but only he knew if he really was. And what really made Elvis unique? Certainly not his perfection, but his humanity and simplicity instead.
Today, he is linked to a stylistic nickname for a particular kind of clothing, life and behavior. For sure, his brother would have been very proud of him.
Elvis managed to prove that it is possible to create your own world, simply relying on style, beliefs, talent and love! He inspired singers from many parts of the world to make their own songs based on his music.
“When I was a child, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies and I was the hero in every movie.” In fact, Elvis made it to become the hero of his own life and to fill many hearts with love. A love that he may never have received himself.
“When I first saw you with your smile so tender, my heart was captured, my soul surrendered.”
Facts about Elvis
- Elvis had the famous crooked smile
- His movements with his pelvis gave him the nickname "Elvis, the pelvis"
- He usually wore jumpsuits and white sequined costumes with rhinestones
- He had a deep and powerful voice with southern accent
- The back of his head was often oily
- He was known to his friends and his audience for his exceptionally kind and generous personality
- At some point in his life he weighed 113 kg
- In the last year of his life, doctors gave him about 10,000 pills
- He signed his autographs on peculiar spots of his female fans, like “Elvis” on the left breast and “Presley” on the right one
- He hated fish, and he didn't even let his daughter, Lisa Marie, eat it
- He enjoyed smoking slim German cigarettes
- He dyed his hair, so that it looked darker on television
- He used to dye his eyelashes too, which caused health problems later
- He spoke with a slight stutter
- His daughter got married later to the well-known to everyone Michael Jackson
- He was a nominee for 14 Grammy awards, winning 3 times
Quotes of Elvis Presley
Below, you will be able to be inspired by Elvis Presley's greatest quotes:
|Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.|
|The army teaches boys to think like men.|
|It's human nature to gripe, but I'm going ahead and doing the best I can.|
|Until we meet again, may God bless you as he has blessed me.|
|I'm not trying to be sexy. It's just my way of expressing myself when I move around.|
|From the time I was a kid, I always knew something was going to happen to me. Didn't know exactly what.|
|That's why I hate to get started in these jam sessions. I'm always the last one to leave.|
|Those people in New York are not gonna change me none.|
|I like to sing ballads the way Eddie Fisher does and the way Perry Como does. But the way I'm singing now is what makes the money.|
|I've never written a song in my life. It's all a big hoax.|
|Just because I managed to do a little something, I don't want anyone back home to think I got the big head.|
|My movements, ma'am, are all leg movements. I don't do nothing with my body.|
|I think I have something tonight that's not quite correct for evening wear. Blue suede shoes.|
|The colored folks been singing it and playing it just like I'm doin' now, man, for more years than I know. I got it from them.|
|I'm no hillbilly singer.|
|I'm strictly for Stevenson. I don't dig the intellectual bit, but I'm telling you, man, he knows the most.|
|I was an overnight sensation.|
|When I got outta High School I was driving a truck. I was just a poor boy from Memphis, Memphis.|
|I've been getting some bad publicity - but you got to expect that.|
|They put me on television. And the whole thing broke loose. It was wild, I tell ya for sure.|
|I like entertaining people. I really miss it.|
|I was an only child, and Mother was always right with me all my life. I used to get very angry at her when I was growing up-it's a natural thing.|
|I've tried to lead a straight, clean life, not set any kind of a bad example.|
|I'll never make it, it will never happen, because they're never going to hear me 'cause they're screaming all the time.|
|I'll never feel comfortable taking a strong drink, and I'll never feel easy smoking a cigarette. I just don't think those things are right for me.|
|Man that record came out and was real big in Memphis. They started playing it, and it got real big. Don't know why-the lyrics had no meaning.|
|I'm trying to keep a level head. You have to be careful out in the world. It's so easy to get turned.|
|I miss my singing career very much.|
|I'll stay in Memphis.|
|After a hard day of basic training, you could eat a rattlesnake.|
|I learned how important it is to entertain people and give them a reason to come and watch you play.|
|Every time I think that I'm getting old, and gradually going to the grave, something else happens.|
|I'm so nervous. I've always been nervous, ever since I was a kid.|
|I don't think I'm bad for people. If I did think I was bad for people, I would go back to driving a truck, and I really mean this.|
|When I was a boy, I always saw myself as a hero in comic books and in movies. I grew up believing this dream.|
|I hope I didn't bore you too much with my life story.|
|The closest I ever came to getting married was just before I started singing. In fact, my first record saved my neck.|
|I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to.|
|More than anything else, I want the folks back at home to think right of me.|
|A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage. It's my favorite part of the business, live concerts.|
|Man, I really like Vegas.|
|The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep next year.|
|I was training to be an electrician. I suppose I got wired the wrong way round somewhere along the line.|
|I have no use for bodyguards, but I have very specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants.|
|Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can't help but move to it. That's what happens to me. I can't help it.'|
|I never expected to be anybody important.|
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Filmography of Elvis Presley
- Change of Habit (1969)
- The Trouble with Girls (1969)
- Charro! (1969)
- Live a Little, Love a Little (1968)
- Speedway (1968)
- Stay Away, Joe (1968)
- Clambake (1967)
- Double Trouble (1967)
- Easy Come, Easy Go (1967)
- Spinout (1966)
- Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966)
- Frankie and Johnny (1966)
- Harum Scarum (1965)
- Tickle Me (1965)
- Girl Happy (1965)
- Roustabout (1964)
- Viva Las Vegas (1964)
- Kissin' Cousins (1964)
- Fun in Acapulco (1963)
- It Happened at the World's Fair (1963)
- Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)
- Kid Galahad (1962)
- Follow That Dream (1962)
- Blue Hawaii (1961)
- Wild in the Country (1961)
- Flaming Star (1960)
- I. Blues (1960)
- King Creole (1958)
- Jailhouse Rock (1957)
- Loving You (1957)
- Love Me Tender (1956)