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Dec 17, 2021
Musician and actor Elvis Presley, the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," was perhaps the most popular singer of the entire early rock 'n' roll era. His talent, good looks, charisma and humor helped his rise to fame in the mid-1950s and endeared him to millions. Today he is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th century popular culture. Want to know how, and why? Then read on in today's Daily Dose!
The King Cometh
1 - Born Poor
Elvis Aron Presley was born into poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi, on Jan. 8, 1935, to Gladys and Vernon Presley, a carpenter and factory worker. He had a twin brother, Jesse, who died shortly after birth. Elvis first started singing with the choir of his local church and received his first guitar as a birthday present when he was about 12. He could not read music but taught himself how to play.
2 - First Record
After graduating from high school in 1953, he began working as a truck driver to pay for the records he wanted to record. His first commercial release, "That's All Right, Mama" for Sun Records, sold 20,000 copies. Soon he was topping the charts and getting national attention.
3 - Controversial Figure
When the young, hip-thrusting Presley came bursting out of almost every television set in 1956, singing hits like “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” it felt like American culture and society were evolving before viewers' very eyes alongside the brash, leather-clad icon. The blowback against Presley’s animal magnetism was equally potent. Reviewers were quick to condemn “Pelvis Presley” as a “sexhibitionist.” A convention of high school principals voted in 1957 to ban blue jeans and Presley’s signature ducktail hairstyle. And then fate intervened.
In the Army Now
1 - Black Monday
On Jan. 8, 1957 (the King’s 22nd birthday), the Memphis Draft Board announced that he had been chosen under the selective service system to serve two years of active duty in the U.S. military. In 1958, on a day the press called “Black Monday,” the King reported for duty — and a haircut — at Fort Chafee, Arkansas, along with about 70 reporters and cameramen. Still, as TIME magazine reported afterward, the haircut still “left him still looking much too dreamy for the Army.”
2 - Time in Germany
Stationed near Friedberg, West Germany, Elvis drove a truck and drew an $82 paycheck and remained (relatively) inconspicuous during his two years in Europe. While overseas, Elvis met Priscilla Beaulieu, the 14-year-old daughter of a U.S. Army colonel who would eventually become his wife.
3 - Turning Point
But the period was also a dark one for the young Elvis: His beloved mother died, and he was introduced to amphetamines by a fellow soldier, which started a battle with drug addiction that would eventually take his life.
1 - Going Mainstream
On March 5, 1960, Elvis Presley was honorably discharged from active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Everything started to change. In his first public performance after returning stateside, the tuxedoed King sang mild duets with the aging crooner Frank Sinatra. Elvis had lost more than his trademark sideburns and pelvic thrusts; he had lost his edge — and gone mainstream.
2 - Cinema Star
The King still had hits left in him like “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and quite a few popular movies, including G.I. Blues (1960) and Blue Hawaii (1961). But he was not the same barrier-breaking performer.
3 - Addict and Recluse
Elvis also descended further into drug addiction and eventually quit touring for eight years. As Rolling Stone wrote in Presley’s obituary, “By the late Sixties, he was nearly a total recluse.”
1 - Starting Over
The year 1969 was a tumultuous one for American society and culture. And it marked a huge turning point for the country’s King. Thanks to the success of his televised comeback special, Elvis had an opportunity to chart the next big period of his career — to move past the hokey movie soundtrack singles that had characterized his music for several years and truly start over, to define himself as an artist and to perform songs that he really loved … on his own terms.
2 - Resurrected
In particular, Elvis was looking for more mature, passionate songs with adult themes, like the hit single “Suspicious Minds.” The new single shipped to radio stations across the country on Aug. 26, 1969. A couple of weeks later, it debuted on the charts, and by Nov. 1, it was No. 1 — the King’s first chart-topper since “Good Luck Charm” in 1962. The From Elvis in Memphis album, with other hits like “In the Ghetto,” would also prove to be a sensation that helped revive his career. Rolling Stone called Elvis “supernatural, his own resurrection.”
3 - Gone Too Soon
As the 1970s wore on, Elvis’s weight and drug dependency grew. On Aug. 16, 1977, the star was found dead in Graceland Mansion. The official cause of death was heart disease. The King was 42. His death was mourned the world over, and Presley became the first-ever inductee into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Country Hall of Fame.
Where was Elvis Presley born?
What job did Elvis take after graduating from high school?
Back up vocalist
Which of the following songs was not an early hit for Elvis?
Don’t be Cruel
Hard Day’s Night
That’s Alright Mama
What did the media nickname the day that Elvis reported for duty in the Army?
In which country did Elvis spend his tour of duty in the Army?
Which teenager did Elvis meet in Germany and later marry?
Which of the following is not a movie that Elvis starred in?
Which aging crooner did Elvis star alongside in his first television special after leaving the Army?
Elena Satine is on the up-and-up right now, and she's loving every minute of it. In this episode of The Carlos Watson Show, Satine talks about her roots in Georgia (the country, not the one with peaches) and breaks down how she got cast in the Netflix show, Cowboy Bebop, which comes down to a mix of talent and a bit of mystical guidance from a psychic. Check it out! To listen to the full, unedited conversation between Carlos and Elena Satine, subscribe to the podcast version of the show here: http://podcasts.iheartradio.com/s_34Zjdh
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