Elvis Presley was only 42 years old when he died forty years ago on August 16, 1977. The musician was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. Although most people believe he was born in Memphis, his family didn’t move there until he was 13 years old! His music career got its start in 1954 when he recorded a song with the help of Sam Phillips from Sun Records.
The King was one of the best-selling artists in the history of recorded music, and estimates are that he sold over 600 millions units worldwide! His talent earned him three Grammy Awards, and he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the time he was 36 years old.
1. Elvis Presley was actually born a twin! He was the younger of the two babies, and was born 35 minutes after his brother. Unfortunately, his twin brother, Jesse Garon, was stillborn and was buried in an unmarked grave in Priceville Cemetery.
2. Elvis bought Graceland in 1957 when he was only 22 years old - for $102,500. That may not sound like a lot, but adjusted for inflation, that equals around $1,493,486 in today’s dollars! The 14-acre plot of land was where he would call home until he passed away. During his time in the house, he made quite a few upgrades to the rooms. He even built himself an indoor jungle complete with it’s very own waterfall.
3. In 1957, after already rising to stardom, he was drafted to serve as a private in the Second Armored Division and underwent basic training. In September of 1958, Elvis was deployed with Third Armored Division to Friedberg, West Germany, where he drove jeeps. While stationed in Germany, Elvis lived off-base! He lived with his father and grandmother. Elvis was honorably discharged from active duty in 1960, by which time he had already earned the rank of Sergeant.
4. It was during his time in Germany that he met Priscilla Beaulieu who was the daughter of a U.S. Air Force Captain. The two would later marry in 1967, but their marriage would not last and they divorced in 1973.
5. Elvis’s first movie after his time in the army, “G.I. Blues,” was released in November, 1960. The soundtrack of the film was on the top of the Billboard album music chart for ten weeks, and was on the chart for 111 weeks, total, which was the longest of any album he ever did.
6. While an estimated 40 percent of Elvis’s music was sold overseas, the King never performed a concert outside of North America. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the three concerts he performed in Canada, he would have never performed outside of the United States! The only time he ever played in Canada was in 1957, when he played in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.
7. Elvis was a big supporter of charities! He would often perform benefit concerts for the causes he cared about. In 1961, he gave a concert to help complete the building of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Hawaii and he raised over $50,000 for the project.
8. Elvis was a big fan of having some rather unusual pets with some entertaining names! Two of his more famous pets included a chimpanzee named “Scatter” and a turkey he called “Bow Tie”
9. The Beatles adored Elvis and viewed him as one of their biggest influences. When they came to America for the first time, they couldn’t wait to meet him. Surprisingly, Elvis was not a big fan of the Beatles! He thought that they were a bad influence on younger people, and was not excited to meet them.
10. In 1960, Elvis’s hit song, “It’s Now Or Never” was playing on the radio in a jail when it was heard by a prisoner. That prisoner vowed to pursue music after he was released, and he would go on to become a beloved musician. That prisoner was none other than Barry White who had been arrested for stealing tires!