In honor of the 35th anniversary of his death on Aug. 16, THR takes a look back memorable moments in the King of Rock 'n' Roll's life, from the release of his debut album to his stint in the Army and marriage to Priscilla.
The future King of Rock 'n' Roll was born Jan. 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Miss.; he had an identical twin brother born 35 minutes earlier who was stillborn. The family moved to Memphis in 1948, and five years later, he found his way to Sun Records, where he got his big break in the music industry with a cover of Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right."
Presley's self-titled debut album was released by RCA Victor in 1956. The album, which included the single "Blue Suede Shoes," spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum (1 million sold in the U.S.) by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Colonel Tom Parker
Parker, who managed the singer for more than two decades, was responsible for the deal that saw RCA Victor acquire Presley's Sun Records contract in 1955, when the singer was 20 years old.
'The Ed Sullivan Show'
Presley had already caused a commotion with his appearances on Milton Berle's and Steve Allen's shows for his pelvic gyrations -- considered provocative at the time -- when Ed Sullivan booked him for three appearances. For his first appearance performing "Don't Be Cruel" and "Love Me Tender" in 1956, Presley was shot only from the waist up, but when he performed again later that night, singing "Ready Teddy" and "Hound Dog," cameras panned out to show his pelvic movements. More than 60 million people watched.
After finding success in the music industry, Presley turned his eye toward acting. His debut, Love Me Tender, was released in 1956. That was followed by Loving You and Jailhouse Rock the following year. He acted in more than 30 movies throughout his career, the final one being 1969's Change of Habit.
In the Army
Presley joined the Army in 1958, completing his basic training at Fort Hood, Texas. His mother died later that year of heart failure. In October, he joined the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany, where he met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, whom he married in 1967.
Presley bought the nearly 14-acre estate in 1957. He died there 20 and is buried there along with his parents and a grandmother. A memorial for his twin brother also is located there.
Presley met his future wife, then 14, while stationed in Germany with the Army. He proposed more than seven years after their first meeting, and they were married at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas on May 1, 1967. The couple divorced in 1973.
Lisa Marie Presley
Presley and wife Priscilla welcomed Lisa Marie, his only child, on Feb. 1, 1968. She has since gone on to have her own music career, with a third album, Storm & Grace, released in May 2012. She is set to make her debut at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Aug. 21, 2012.
The special, titled simply Elvis, was recorded during a time where Presley's career was cooling off. It was recorded in Burbank in front of a small audience and marked the singer's first live performance in seven years. The show, which aired on NBC, scored in the ratings and created a hit song, "If I Can Dream," written for the special, which has since become known as the '68 Comeback Special.
Meeting President Nixon
Presley met the sitting president in 1970 at the White House after writing a six-page letter requesting a visit and suggesting that he be made a "federal agent at large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. In his travels, Presley was traveling with some guns and police badges. But "The narc badge represented some kind of ultimate power to him," Priscilla Presley wrote in her memoir, Elvis and Me. "With the federal narcotics badge, he [believed he] could legally enter any country both wearing guns and carrying any drugs he wished." Presley presented Nixon with a gift of a commemorative World War II Colt 45 pistol.
Remembering the King
Presley was found unresponsive in his bathroom on Aug. 16, 1977, just hours before he was scheduled to fly out of Memphis to begin a tour. His funeral was held two days later. Then-President Jimmy Carter said of the singer: "His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture." Thousands of fans still flock to Memphis every year to celebrate the singer's life.
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