Elvis Presley 1935-1977

  • October 21, 2006 - 8:13 AM

1935: Gladys Presley gives birth to Elvis Aron Presley and a stillborn identical twin, Jesse Garon Presley, in a shack in Tupelo, Miss.

1945: Elvis sings "Old Shep" at a local fair and wins the $5 second prize.

1946: Gladys buys Elvis his first guitar.

1948: Family moves to Memphis.

1953: Elvis makes his first record at what will become Sun Studios. He pays $4 to cut "My Happiness" for his mother.

1954: Sam Phillips sets up first studio sessions with Elvis at Sun. "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky" become his first hits.

1955: First riot at Elvis concert in Jacksonville, Fla., after he closes May 13 show by saying "See you backstage, girls." Elvis signs on with manager "Colonel" Tom Parker.

1956: "Heartbreak Hotel" is Elvis' first million-selling record. On Sept. 9 he appears on Ed Sullivan's TV show for the first time. In November his first film, "Love Me Tender," is released. On March 13 his first album, "Elvis Presley," is released.

1957: Elvis buys Graceland and moves in with his parents.

1958: Elvis is drafted and assigned to the Second Armored Division in Fort Hood, Texas. Gladys Presley dies of acute hepatitis on Aug. 14. In October, Elvis is stationed in Germany. He begins dating 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. "King Creole," considered Elvis' best movie, is released.

1960: Elvis is discharged from the Army, having reached the rank of sergeant. He appears on Frank Sinatra's variety show for a record $125,000. Filming on "G.I. Blues" begins. Colonel Parker's strategy is to limit Elvis' exposure to create demand for a series of low-budget movies. Eventually, Elvis makes more than 30 movies.

1967: Elvis marries Priscilla. By this point he is frequently relying on amphetamines and barbiturates to get up and to go to sleep.

1968: Priscilla gives birth to Lisa Marie, Elvis' only child. The "Elvis" TV special (often referred to as the " '68 Comeback Special") airs on national TV to rave reviews from critics and fans.

1969: Elvis performs at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Jumpsuits from designer Bill Belew become a staple of the wardrobe.

1970: Elvis meets Nixon, promises to fight drugs. Ironically, his drug use is increasing. 1972: Elvis and Priscilla separate. Elvis continues touring and performing in Vegas.

1973: "Aloha From Hawaii" TV special breaks new ground by being beamed worldwide via satellite to 1 billion viewers. Divorce is granted. Elvis' performances often erratic.

1977: At age 42, Elvis dies Aug. 16 of heart failure while on the toilet at Graceland. Fans gather outside the gates spontaneously in what would become the first annual vigil.

Sources: "Last Train to Memphis" and "Careless Love" by Peter Guralnick, and


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