Elvis Presley in pictures: the life and passing of a legend
Elvis Presley was second to none. A complete artist who marked the history of music, film and fashion. He died young but left an extraordinary legacy of timeless songs and images of his fascinating stage presence.
In 2022, his trajectory is told in cinemas through the film 'Elvis' Austin Butler plays the King of Rock, and Tom Hanks will play the singer's manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker.
In this gallery, we have gathered pictures of several moments of Elvis Presley's life and many curiosities about him. Check it out!
On 8th January 1935, Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi (United States). He had a twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, who was born 35 minutes earlier but did not survive.
The house where Elvis was born was built by his father, Vernon Elvis, and is now open to visitors. They would live in Tupelo until Elvis was 13, and then they moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
Still in the city of Tupelo, the family attended an evangelical church. There, Elvis found his initial musical inspiration.
Elvis was shy at school, but he did not accept the music teacher's opinion about his lack of aptitude for singing. To prove her wrong, Elvis brought his guitar to school and sang "Keep Them Cold Icy Fingers Off Me".
Elvis Presley began studying guitar with a neighbor, and soon after, teamed up with three friends, including two future rockabilly pioneers, to form a musical collective. They often played in Lauderdale Courts (the housing complex where Elvis lived).
In the group's first year, Elvis attracted more attention than his peers. His hairstyle, flamboyant style, empathy, and talent made him most popular at school.
When he finished school in 1953, he already had decided music was to be his life's work.
In August 1953, Elvis rented the Memphis-based Sun Studio for a few minutes so he could make a record for his mother's birthday. The single had two tracks: 'My Happiness' and 'That's When Your Heartaches Begin.'
In 1954, on the Sun Records label, Elvis released a second album, but it had little success. The young singer was told he would not make it in the business, and he found a job as a truck driver at a transport company.
But he didn't give up on his dream. He auditioned to be the vocalist of some bands, without success, and he released a blues song, 'That's All Right', along with Scotty Moore (guitar) and Bill Black (bass). The latter did bring them some recognition from the people at Sun Studios.
The performance, completely unlike anything he had ever tried, earned him a record. In the days that followed, the trio recorded 'Blue Moon of Kentucky.' They used the same, distinctive style, which Sam Phillips dubbed "slapback."
But it wasn't just the music itself that brought Elvis fame. He especially drove the audience crazy with his voice and way of dancing.
He made his first television appearance on the KSLA-TV broadcast of Louisiana Hayride. From there, touring increased, as well as record releases, which made him a regional Tennessee star.
Elvis Presley then signed a management contract with Bob Neill and Tom Parker, whom he considered the best manager in the music industry. Together, they furthered Elvis' career and maintained an extensive touring schedule.
On January 10, 1956, Elvis made his first recordings for RCA Victor in Nashville. In March of the same year, the contract with Neill was terminated and Parker took over the entire career of Elvis.
RCA Victor released the debut album, along with five previously unreleased Sun recordings. Among the seven tracks, there were two country tracks and one pop.
Thus, Elvis became more and more of a hype. The hit 'Love Me Tender' reached the top of the charts and became the theme and title of his first film.
The film did not please the critics, but at the box office, it was a phenomenon.
During this time, Elvis undertook three brief tours. The fans' adoration for him was frightening. A Detroit newspaper said, "The problem with going to see Elvis Presley is that you risk getting killed."
Several manifestations of vandalism took place at Elvis' performances. For example when students in Philadelphia threw eggs during the show. In Vancouver, the crowd destroyed the stage.
In early 1958, Elvis was drafted into the United States Army. His arrival was a major media event. Hundreds of people gathered, and when he got off the bus, photographers accompanied him to the fort.
During his breaks from military service, he devoted himself to his musical career. However, he continued as an officer and, after training, joined the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany.
In Germany, Elvis met Priscilla Beaulieu, who would later become his wife. She was 14 years old at the time, and he was 24.
It was also the place where he learned about the working of amphetamines, which enabled him to do anything. A beginning of drug use that would eventually lead to his downfall.
Elvis was the richest private in the base. He donated his salary to charity, bought TV sets for the division and uniforms for everyone.
In 1960, Elvis was discharged from the rank of sergeant, and his return home also drew crowds. Between recordings, he released the hit 'Elvis Is Back!', which, after just a few days, became number two on the charts.
Elvis' music career was in full swing and the element of Hollywood productions was intensified. During the 1960s, Elvis appeared in several film productions. Virtually all of them were box office successes.
In 1960, he starred in his first film, after leaving the army. It was military themed, very fitting. His co-star was Juliet Prowse.
In this film, released in the same year, he played a descendant of a native American Indian. He shared the screen with Barbara Eden.
The seventh Elvis Presley film was directed by Philip Dunne. In the plot, he plays Glenn Tyler, a young man who is always in trouble with his family. His co-star was Millie Perkins.
Viva Las Vegas (1964) was a film that won over critics and audiences for the quality of the soundtrack and the performances of Presley and Ann-Margret.
In 1966, he starred in the film 'Frankie and Johnny', a western in which he plays a riverboat player.
In one of Elvis Presley's biggest blockbusters, he played the role of Scott Hayward, a young man who embarks on a ship in search of finding himself and faces a whole bunch of adventures.
The year 1968 marked the Elvis NBC TV special. It aired on December 3, to critical and public acclaim.
In 'Charro!', a western from the year 1969, Elvis is Jess Wade, a kind of 'ex-anti-hero,' tormented by the members of his old gang. It's the only movie in which he doesn't sing.
This documentary, directed by Denis Sanders, portrays Presley's shows, rehearsals and backstage life at the Las Vegas Summer Festival in 1970, one of the most emblematic moments of the singer's career.
Personally, he married the sweetheart from his army years: Priscilla Beaulieu. In 1967, they tied the knot in a brief ceremony in Las Vegas.
Nine months after the marriage, on February 1, 1968, the couple's only child was born: Lisa Marie.
Unfortunately, the marriage did not prosper, and the divorce arrived in 1973. From then on, the addictions and health of the rock legend began to go into serious decline.
That year, he twice overdosed on barbiturates and spent three days unconscious. He was even hospitalized and in a coma, due to the effects of pethidine consumption.
Although weakened, in 1974, his schedule was the busiest of his entire career. Elvis Presley honored all commitments.
Between July 1973 and October 1976, the singer practically recorded six entire albums.
Five of those albums made it into the top 5 of the country chart, and three reached number 1. We are talking about 'Promised Land' (1975), 'From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee' (1976), and 'Moody Blue' (1977).
After he and Priscilla split up in 1973, Elvis had a relationship with songwriter Linda Thompson. In 1976, he began dating Ginger Alden. Within two months of the relationship, he proposed to her and gave her an engagement ring.
The artist's last show was held in Indianapolis at the Market Square Arena on June 26, 1977.
It was on August 16, 1977, that Elvis Presley passed away. The cause of his death still generates much debate and speculation. However, most versions of the story tend to agree that he had a cardiac arrhythmia.
The world stopped to mourn the death of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His grave at the Graceland estate where he spent many of his later years, is visited by fans and curious tourists to this day.
A series of Elvis' works were released posthumously. Between 1977 and 1981, six of his singles became top ten hits in the United States.
In 2018, RCA/Legacy released 'Where No One Stands Alone', a new album focused on Elvis' love of gospel music.
From 2005 to 2010, Elvis was named by Forbes the highest-paid deceased celebrity in the world. His income was around $60 million.
Elvis' ranking was boosted by the celebration of its 75th anniversary and the launch of Cirque du Soleil's 'Viva Elvis' show in Las Vegas.
The King continues to live in our collective memory and our hearts, and productions like Cirque du Soleil or the movie 'Elvis' will probably not be the last.
(Image: Austin Butler as Elvis, 2022)