Elvis Presley (Tupelo, USA, 1935 – Memphis, id., 1977) was a rock and roll singer and actor. Born into a modest family, the young Elvis Presley was forced to work from an early age. At the age of eleven, and at his insistence, his parents gave him his first guitar.
In 1948, his family moved to Memphis, one of the centers of musical activity in the country. When Elvis was barely nineteen, the producer Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records, decided to edit on a single containing the themes “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky”. This first attempt opened the doors of a country music radio show, Louisiana Hayride, with an emission spectrum comprising thirteen states.
In 1955, with its increasing popularity, Elvis Presley joined the RCA label. The 1956 was a key year for the course of Elvis, thanks to the song Heartbreak Hotel, which sold three hundred thousand copies in three weeks and ended up being the first of his gold records. He also released his first LP, titled “Elvis Presley”, which reached one million copies sold, and committed for seven years with Paramount studios, eager to hire a teen idol and pop back then caused hysterics among attendees to their concerts.
His television appearances began to be common and the amounts paid by them reached record figures in the history of the medium. Parallel to his rise to fame, some conservative sectors of American society tenaciously opposed both the character and his music, which branded him perverted and immoral, especially following his famous hip movement, whose impact was so immediate that the singer was nicknamed Elvis Pelvis.
The culmination of the meteoric year 1956, was released on November 16 in New York with great success “Love me tender”, the first film that starred Elvis Presley, and the Wall Street Journal wrote an article that highlighted the $ 22 million the associated merchandising their image had collected up to that point.
Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas (1964)
In March 1957 acquired the Graceland mansion in Memphis, which eventually became a place of pilgrimage for his countless admirers. In 1958, at the zenith of his career, he was drafted into the army and intended to West Berlin, where he met Priscilla Ann Beaulieu, with whom he would marry nine years later.
Elvis Presley graduated in March 1960 and immediately resumed his artistic activity, to string together a long series of number one in the U.S. charts with titles like “It’s now or never” or “Are you lonesome tonight?” and starring no less than ten films, among which include “Girls, girls, girls” (1962) and “Viva Las Vegas” (1964).
In the second half of the decade started the “British invasion” that groups like The Beatles starred and which involved some erosion in the popularity of the singer, compounded by an apparent artistic crisis which lasted until 1968, when he was offered to star in a TV special , which became one of the biggest hits in the history of the small screen.
The first years of the 1970s, however, accounted for Elvis Presley a new creative slump, aggravated by his addiction to drugs and seclusion in his fantasy world that became particularly his Graceland mansion. In 1973 he divorced Priscilla Beaulieu and his image became clearly excessive tone that characterized his last appearances: exaggerated pompadour, overweight and white leather suits with rhinestones.
After falling unconscious several times on stage, officially died of a heart attack, no doubt a consequence of his excesses. Despite its rapid decline, Elvis Presley has become an icon of the twentieth century and one of the most important figures in the history of popular music, as evidenced by its more than one hundred gold records, platinum and multiplatinum.