As I flipped through my book of piano music yesterday morning, I found an interesting looking song called "Hound Dog". I began to play the notes when suddenly the catchy familiar tune began to flow through my fingers to the keys. This song used to be a huge hit by the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.
Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8th, 1935 and raised with gospel music. On Presley's eleventh birthday, he got his first guitar. Elvis performed rockabilly -- a combination of country and blues, which was the earliest form of rock and roll. When Elvis was 13, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was introduced to blues and jazz music by hanging around other musicians.
When Elvis graduated from high school, he became a truck driver. In 1953, he visited a recording studio called Sun Records to make a recording as a birthday present to his Mom. In 1954, Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, asked Elvis to fill in for a missing singer. Elvis recorded a song called "That's All Right" and Sam Phillips loved it. The song became Elvis' first single and was played on the radio only two days later and became an instant hit.
Elvis was 19 when he got himself a manager named Colonel Tom Parker. Parker got him famous very quickly. Elvis was in movies, on television, and even on plates. He was becoming a hit! He performed on variety shows, like Ed Sullivan. Soon, he had many hits. Three of the most popular were "Blue Sued Shoes", "Jailhouse Rock", and even "Hound Dog". He was soon known as "The King of Rock and Roll", or even just "The King". Elvis served in the army for a few years, then stopped performing live, and was focusing more on making movies.
Other bands from England began to get more popular, and Elvis became less popular. But in the 1960's, Elvis was back to singing, and back up top. In the 1970's, he won a three Grammy's and recorded gospel songs.
But when Elvis was in his 30's, the fame got to him. He began to go on drugs and tried to stay out of the spotlight, returning to Graceland, his home, in Memphis. In June of 1977, he performed for the last time. He died two months later of a heart attack, most likely from the drug use. But once he died, he became even more popular. Graceland today is a museum that thousands of people visit every year.
So next time that you turn on your radio and listen to a rock song, I hope you think of Elvis Presley, the legend who helped shape the history of rock and roll.
Author's Note: Sources: http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/elvis-presley