Some Fascinating Facts
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- Elvis' parents bought him his first guitar as a birthday gift in 1946.
- Financial problems forced the Presleys to leave Tupelo for Memphis in November
1948. Elvis and his parents lived in public housing or low-rent homes
in the poor neighborhoods of north Memphis.
- In the summer of 1953, the first "unofficial" Elvis recording
was made when Elvis stopped by the Memphis Recording Service, home of Sun
Records, run by Sam Phillips. While Phillips was out, his assistant Marion
Keisker helped Elvis make a demo acetate of "My Happiness" and "That's
When Your Heartaches Begin."
- On July 5-6, 1954, Elvis' first commercial recording session took
place with Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup's "That's
All Right," backed with "Blue Moon of Kentucky," became the
first of five singles Elvis released on the Sun label.
- The first known appearance of Elvis' shaking legs took place during his
first major professional performance at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis
on July 30, 1954.
- On October 2, 1954, Elvis made his first and only appearance on the
"Grand Ole Opry." An unimpressed audience prompted "Opry"
officials to suggest that Elvis go back to driving a truck.
- On October 16, 1954, Elvis appeared on the Louisiana Hayride,
a live Saturday night country music radio show in Shreveport, Louisiana. During
his association with Hayride, Elvis met "Colonel" Tom Parker
(on January 15, 1955), a promoter and manager of country star Hank Snow.
- March 26, 1955: Elvis' first television appearance on "Louisiana Hayride"
- The first riot following an Elvis concert occurred on May 13, 1955
in Jacksonville, FL, after Elvis finished a show by saying, "Girls, I'll
see you backstage."
- In November 1955, Sam Phillips -- working through Colonel Parker
-- sold Elvis' Sun contract to RCA for an unprecedented $35,000.
- Two days after Elvis' 21st birthday in January 1956, he
had his first recording session for RCA Records in Nashville. "Heartbreak
Hotel" was the first single released on January 27. It became the first
Elvis single to sell over one million copies, earning Elvis his very first
gold record award.
- Elvis Presley, Elvis' first RCA album released on March 23, 1956,
was the first pop album to reach over $1 million in sales, earning Elvis his
first gold album award.
- Elvis made his first appearance in Las Vegas on April 23, 1956, but
played to an older crowd that was not his core fan base at the time. He thus
received only average acceptance, which is ironic given the success he experienced
in Las Vegas during his later years.
- After appearing on The Milton Berle Show in June and causing a national
furor with his controversial and sensuous performance of "Hound Dog,"
Elvis appeared on The Steve Allen Show on July 1, 1956.
He performed a more modest version of "Hound Dog," singing to a
live Basset hound while dressed in a black tux with tails.
- In August 1956, Elvis began shooting his first movie, Love Me
Tender, on loan-out from Paramount to 20th Century Fox.
- On September 9, 1956, Elvis made his first of three appearances on
the Ed Sullivan Show, the top television program of the era, and attracted
the highest ratings ever for any television variety show. During his famous
third appearance on January 6, 1957, Elvis was shown from the waist
- "Elvis Presley Day" was proclaimed in Tupelo, Mississippi on September
26, 1956. Elvis returned home to perform two shows at the Mississippi-Alabama
Fair and Dairy Show, the same fair at which he had performed at age 10. Nearly
22,000 fans attended Elvis' evening performance, more than the entire population
- When Elvis received his draft notice from the U.S. Army in December 1957,
Paramount requested a two-month deferment so he could complete filming of
his next movie, King Creole.
- Gladys Presley died in Memphis on August 14, 1958 and was buried
at Forest Hill Cemetery.
- In September 1959, while stationed in Freidberg, Germany, Elvis met
fourteen-and-a-half-year-old Priscilla Ann Beaulieu whose father was in the
U.S. Air Force. They married on May 1, 1967. On February 1, 1968,
Lisa Marie was born.
- Elvis' last live performance until 1968 took place on March 25, 1961
at Bloch Arena in Pearl Harbor; the concert raised $62,000 for the USS Arizona
- Between 1956-1972, Elvis made 33 movies, including two documentaries.
He focused intently on his film career from 1961-67 when he made 18
movies during a hiatus from live performances.
- Elvis' first Grammy Award is for the 1967 Gospel release, "How
Great Thou Art."
- On December 3, 1968, Elvis staged one of the most remarkable revivals
in music history with the airing of his comeback special, "Elvis,"
- On July 31, 1969, Elvis returned to live performing with his concert
engagement at The International Hotel in Las Vegas. His four-week stay broke
all attendance records.
- In July and August 1970, the first documentary about Elvis was filmed.
That's The Way It Is was filmed during one of Elvis' Las Vegas concert
engagements and features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.
- On January 16, 1971, Elvis was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young
Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce
(The Jaycees). This national honor recognizes young men who have made great
achievements in their field of endeavor.
- In June 1971, a long stretch of Highway 51 South, part of which runs
in front of Graceland, was officially renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard.
- On August 28, 1971, Elvis received the Bing Crosby Award from
the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The award, named for
its first recipient, is a special recognition from NARAS. It was later re-named
the Lifetime Achievement Award.
- In March and April 1972, Elvis was filmed during a nationwide tour.
The footage was later used to make Elvis on Tour, which won the Golden
Globe for Best Documentary.
- June 9-11, 1972, Elvis performed four sold-out concerts at Madison
Square Garden, setting a record for the first performer to sell out four consecutive
shows at the Garden.
- In January 1973, Elvis made television and entertainment history
with the "Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii" special broadcast to more than
one billion viewers in 40 countries.
- On October 9, 1973, Elvis and Priscilla were officially divorced.
- In February 1976, Elvis held a week of recording sessions in the
den of Graceland, with RCA bringing in mobile recording equipment. The sessions
produced the album "From Elvis Presley Boulevard."
- Elvis performed his last concert on June 26, 1977 at Market Square
Arena in Indianapolis.
- Elvis died of heart failure on the morning of August 16, 1977. He
had been scheduled to fly to Portland, Maine for a show on August 17.
- Elvis is also 69 gold, 43 platinum, 13 double platinum, 9 triple platinum, 1 quadruple platinum, 1 quintuple platinum and 1 sixfold platinum
- 556,000 - Visitors to Graceland in 2006, a slight drop from the two previous years. It's still the second most popular private home for tourists, after the White House.
- $25 - Price of basic adult admission to Graceland.
- $68 - Price for the VIP tour, which includes Presley's two custom airplanes and his automobile museum.
- $100 million - Price paid by the New York-based entertainment firm CKX to Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie in 2005 for 85% of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
- 253 - Number of companies that are official Elvis licensees.
- 118 million - Number of Elvis Presley albums sold, second only to the Beatles.
- 2 million - Number of copies sold by Presley's best-performing album Blue Hawaii, which was No. 1 on the charts for 20 weeks during the winter of 1961-62.
- 107 - Number of Elvis Top 40 hit songs, the most of any artist in history.
- 10 - Number of consecutive Elvis songs that went to No. 1.
- $4 - Elvis' cost to record his first two songs, "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartache Begins," at Sun Records in Memphis in July 1953.
- $35,000 - The price Sun Records obtained when it sold Elvis' contract to RCA in 1955, after sales of his first five songs disappointed.
- 8 - The number of consecutive weeks Presley's first single for RCA, "Heartbreak Hotel," held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts.
- 3.02 million - Number of Google hits for "Elvis Presley." By way of comparison, Paul McCartney checks in with 2.5 million hits, John Lennon 2.9 million, Chuck Berry 2.5 million, Garth Brooks 1.9 million.
- 54 million - Number of viewers who watched Presley perform "Love Me Tender" on the Ed Sullivan Show on Sept. 9, 1956. That's nearly one-third of the entire U.S. population at the time.
- 17 - Number of months Presley served in Germany during his stint in the U.S. Army, from Oct. 1, 1958 to March 1, 1960. He reportedly went on all regular maneuvers and won medals for marksmanship.
- $125 - Price of a standard room at Graceland's Heartbreak Hotel during summer weekends.
- $575 - Price of a deluxe suite at Heartbreak Hotel during summer weekends.
- $595 - Price to rent the facility's Chapel in the Woods for a wedding.
- 550 million - Number of Elvis commemorative stamps sold in 1993.
- 124 million - Number of those stamps never used on postage.
- 2- Number of "all-Elvis" radio stations worldwide.
- 450-plus - Number of Elvis fan clubs worldwide.
- 45 - Number of countries with at least one fan club.
- 0 - Number of times Elvis played outside North America.
- $130 million - Total gross of Presley's movies in the 1960s. Were the movies cheesy? Maybe. But they were popular.
- 2005 - Year that saw a Broadway musical based on Elvis songs, a CBS TV special, sportswear line and mobile content like ring tones, pictures and songs. The musical, "All Shook Up," ended its run on Broadway after five months but continues touring.