World According to Elvisby Clare Flowers
Elvis Aron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on 8 January 1935, the second of twins; the first, Jesse Garon, was stillborn. Elvis remained an only son and was brought up in an extremely poor but loving household. In the southern tradition, Elvis was steeped in gospel, but also listened to hillbilly, country, blues and even opera on the Presleys' precious radio. On his eleventh birthday he was given a guitar, which was to become his constant companion. Driven by the quest to make his parents' lives more comfortable, Elvis determined to make a career out of singing and, in July 1953, at the age of eighteen, he paid $3.98 plus tax to record his first disc at the Sun studios in Memphis. This day would change his life -- and the course of music history -- for ever.
Elvis became the first true rock-and-roll superstar, producing a plethora of gold and platinum singles and albums, selling out huge concert tours, and appearing in Las Vegas extravaganzas and TV shows. He also made thirty-one feature films and two documentaries, and somehow managed to fit in a stint of army service. As well as success, Elvis was also the King of excess -- he enjoyed the fine things in life like Cadillacs, horses, a Learjet, young women -- but more damagingly, he also had a taste for junk food, appetite suppressants, and mood enhancers. This lethal cocktail finally took its toll on 16 August 1977, when he collapsed and died at his beloved home, Graceland.
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