Elvis Presley debuted in the 1950’s and changed the world of music forever. He garnered the title King of Rock “n” Roll with ease. Over the years, Elvis has managed to release a ton of albums, movies, and television specials. He was a superstar like no one before or after him. He was always shown in a very positive light throughout his career. That said, we will show a side of Elvis not seen by many. Prepare to know the Elvis that you’ve never known before.
The Other Presley You Never Knew
From what we know of Elvis, he was raised as an only child. He didn’t have a sibling to play tag with or to keep him company during lonely moments. That said, he almost did. With the guidance of a brother, Elvis’ life may have been very different from the one he lived.
One thing that haunted Elvis throughout his life was the fact that he had a twin brother that passed away at birth. It has been said by his mother that Elvis had the energy of two people. This would explain how he managed to breeze for years through such a tight and busy schedule.
He Was A Loner Growing Up
Throughout his childhood, Elvis was pretty much a loner. In sixth grade, he would bring his guitar to school on a daily basis. During lunchtime, he would take out his guitar and start playing and singing.
He would begin to be tormented by his peers on a daily basis. The other kids would tease him and call him a “trashy” kid and would regard him as the kid who played hillbilly music. Little did they know, this “trashy” kid would soon become the “King of Rock ‘N’ ‘Roll.”
One Of His Biggest Heartbreaks Was His Mother’s Death
Elvis was extremely close with his mother, Gladys. She was very protective of him and the two were very connected. So when Gladys became extremely ill, Elvis immediately came back from the army to see her.
Sadly, not long after, Gladys died of a heart attack; she was only 46 years old. Elvis was devasted, “she’s all I ever lived for. She was always my best girl.” He then entered a long period of grief. This period would ultimately take a toll on his career and start a new era for Elvis.
He Did Not Write A Single Song
Nowadays, Elvis Presley is considered to be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. However, while Elvis recorded 600 songs throughout his career- it turns out he didn’t actually write any of these songs.
While he wasn’t a songwriter, he still managed to put his stamp on the songs. For example, he changed the tempo and arrangement of the original Blue Moon of Kentucky and turned it into a rock and roll number.
His First Public Performance Was At Ten Years Old
However, there was a time when the stage was new to him. When he was only ten years old his life would change forever when his schoolteacher heard him singing a country song and encouraged him to enter a singing contest.
The contest was held in 1945 at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. Elvis was dressed as a cowboy and had to stand on a chair to reach the microphone. He ended up getting fifth place. Guess those judges didn’t know what they were talking about.
Just As He Was Rising To Stardom, He Was Drafted To The US Army
Elvis Presley saw a great rise to stardom in the early ’50s. He was signed with Sun Records and by the end of 1956, he had charted more top 100 hits than any singer before him. His songs such as Love Me Tender and Heartbreak Hotel have become true classics today.
However, in the middle of this rise to fame, in 1958, Elvis was drafted to the US Army. He had to do two years of active duty and four years of reserves. While he was a star, he didn’t want to be treated differently, “the army can do anything it wants with me,” he said.
Meeting The Love Of His Life: Priscilla Beaulieu
While definitely not ideal to go to the army for Elvis, it seems as if Elvis’ military service was fate as this is where he ended up meeting his future wife: Priscilla Beaulieu. He met her in 1959 while he was overseas in Germany during his Army service.
At the time when the young couple met, Elvis was 24 years old and Priscilla was 14 years old when they first got together. Eight years after they met, they got married in Las Vegas, Nevada. A year later, they had their daughter Lisa Marie.
The Real Reason Elvis and Priscilla Divorced
Only a few years after the marriage, they got divorced. When the two married, Priscilla was only 21 years old. When she was 27, she decided to leave Elvis in order to focus on finding herself. We think that she made the right choice and here’s why.
“we truly lived in a bubble…I didn’t have my teenage years as a normal girl…I just kind of followed what he did…I did not divorce him because I didn’t love him. He was the love of my life, truly…If anything I left because—and I still loved him—I needed to find out what the world was like.”
Elvis and Priscilla Were Not Loyal To Each Other
Like many famous couples, while Elvis and Priscilla were together, the two were not loyal to each other in any way. In 1971 Elvis had an affair with Joyce Bova. This affair resulted in a pregnancy and abortion. The infidelity, their cheating was a two-way street.
Shockingly, later on, Priscilla disclosed that she was having a long going relationship with Mike Stone. Ironically, Mike was the karate instructor Elvis had recommended to her. We can only imagine that this had quite the effect on their marriage.
He Inspired A Prisoner To Become A Singer: Barry White
Sometimes all it takes is one moment and everything changes. This was the case for famous singer Barry White when he first heard Elvis Presley’s It’s Now Or Never on the radio. At the time, White was in jail after stealing tires.
According to him, once he heard Elvis’ song on the radio, his whole life changed as it was then he realized he wanted to pursue a career in music. Luckily he had a unique voice to back up those dreams. We’re glad he did! Barry White would become one of the biggest singers.
Young Elvis Was Too Shy To Sing On Air
Elvis was truly a legendary singer and performer. But he didn’t start out with that much confidence. In fact, when he was twelve years old, a local radio show offered him to sing live on air. Such an offer can be quite the scare for a small child.
Most wouldn’t expect Elvis to reject such an offer but he did. The reason? He was too shy to sing live on the radio. We all start off somewhere and it seems a few years later he was able to overcome this shyness and become one of the world’s biggest stars.
His Home Is The Second Most-Visited Home In The USA
At age 22, Elvis was able to reach a massive amount of success. And of course, with the success came the money and lots of it. Presley ended up buying a 13.8-acre mansion which he called Graceland. It was his home for two decades before he met his very sad fate.
Today Graceland has become a museum and was titled a “National Historic Landmark.” In 1982 it was opened to the public for the first time and today it has become the second most visited home in the USA! Every day hundreds upon hundreds of people visit Graceland.
He Got A Grade “C” In Music Class
When Elvis was young, no one knew how big he would eventually become. In eighth grade, he attended music class. You would think that he would be good at that. Strumming a guitar and singing upon a mic isn’t exactly foreign to Elvis.
For some reason, he ended up getting a grade “C” which at the time was considered failing. Maybe his rebellious nature didn’t fit the classroom environment. When he rose to fame, he broke all the rules with his crazy dance moves and his rocking songs.
Priscilla Finally Opens Up About The Mystery Of Elvis
Recently a two-part documentary came out on HBO called Elvis Presley: The Searcher. The film is a documentary of Elvis’ life; it shows a different side to him that people haven’t seen before. Elvis’ former wife, Priscilla, co-produced it. She said the following during an interview,
“I was still shocked. It was just too hard to believe…And going out the gates in the limo and seeing the streets lined up on both sides all the way to the cemetery. You’d see glimpses, you’d see people crying, hysterical, fainting, and that’s how impactful it was and still to this day.”
Elvis Was Michael Jackson’s Father In Law
Although Elvis never knew it, in 1996 Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’ daughter. Personal problems on both ends plagued the marriage and she eventually filed for divorce against Jackson. It probably had a lot to do with his name being all over the press.
Their divorce and rocky past behind them, it is important to note that at one point the King of Rock n’ Roll was the King of Pop’s father in law. Imagine the duet these two musical giants could have released had things been different for both of the budding musicians.
Elvis Survived The Tupelo Tornado Outbreak
Tupelo, Mississippi is right in the center of Tornado Alley. It isn’t uncommon for this area to experience some of the country’s most horrible tornados. These tornados will often rip through a town at random and tear apart the lives of people with ease.
Elvis learned this the hard way in 1936 when Tupelo was hit with one of the worst tornados in the region’s history. He survived thankfully and Rock n’ Roll was eventually born. The baby king rose from the rubble and took us all for the ride of our lives.
Money Brings On The Bizarre
No question, when you’re the country’s biggest musical sensation and you’re rolling around in millions, some bizarre things will happen to you. Such is the case with Elvis. While hugely popular with some crowds, some saw Rock n’ Roll as a threat to morality.
People ended up sending Elvis tons of threatening letters. As a means of protecting himself, the singer would always carry two means of defense in his boots while performing. He took each one of those letters to heart and would watch his audience closely as he performed.
The Dedication To His Music
In 1973 Elvis found himself in the hospital for being in a state of semi-comatose. This means that he was in a deep state of unconsciousness that he couldn’t awaken from so easily. The singer walked out of the doctor’s office determined to make a musical comeback.
Thus began a period in his life when he’d tour intensively. Failing health aside, the singer would go on to perform 168 concerts in 1973. In 1974 his touring schedule would be even more intense. Eventually, this would take a major toll on Elvis’ life.
The King’s Fling With Cher
Anyone who knows a thing or two about Elvis, knows that he was pretty good with the ladies. He dated and was even married to some of the prettiest girls. It should shock nobody that Elvis had a fling with Cher. That said, it didn’t go as expected.
She stated that she began dating Elvis between her marriages to Sonny Bono and Gregg Allman. There was some genuine affection there but they never did the deed. When he asked her to his room, she rejected him and claims today she was very nervous.
Benjamin Keough: The King’s Grandson
No one ever thought that they’d see Elvis again after we lost him back in the day. Then came Benjamin Keough, the King’s grandson. He is almost an exact clone of the man we lost 40 years ago. That said, looks weren’t the only thing he inherited from his grandfather.
Apparently, Benjamin is also quite the amazing singer. He is currently still deciding which path to go down in terms of his career. While he loves acting and singing, one of his biggest passions is painting. It looks like we won’t be seeing an Elvis number two.
An Evolution In Performance Quality
Elvis’ life had become a life on the road as he continuously crossed the nation back and forth. By any artist standard, his touring schedule was overly intense. Sadly, he couldn’t keep up his slick performances and he began becoming sloppy on stage while still breaking box office records.
His in-studio performances also suffered during this time. They were often unprepared and unlike his prime recordings, but no matter what he released it’d still chart high. From the looks of his sale, he couldn’t do wrong.
The Life Of A King
Without question, Elvis was the most popular musician in the world and a figure that the media would constantly be covering. He would charm the television audiences with his Southern manners and give lavish gifts to complete strangersm but there was another side to him.
His behavior behind the cameras was very different. The singer no longer slept at nights and adapted to a completely nocturnal lifestyle. He would rent out amusement parks and would opt for riding a rollercoaster all night instead of sleep.
Debuting A New Look
1974 saw major changes in Elvis. His diet had always been talked about. He had a huge passion for fried and sweet food, in fact, it made up most of his diet. It seemed that the food mixed with the exhaustion had gotten the better of him as he grew significantly.
At one point his band reported that they couldn’t recognize him when he got on stage. He was a mere imitation of the man he once was. His band would end shows and feel emotionally stricken as they looked upon their friend and bandmate.
1974: The Year Of Loss
Not only had he been divorced by Priscilla the year prior, 1974 saw Elvis lose more of his supporting entourage. Linda Thompson, a huge source of emotional support for Elvis moved out of Graceland. Simultaneously, his father and his beloved step-mother split.
To make matters even more heartbreaking for Elvis, David Briggs, Elvis’ long-time piano player who was getting paid $3,000 a week decided to move on from the band. It seemed his whole world was changing before his eyes.
The King And His Health
The excessive touring was having a dire effect on the singer. He was always in a state of exhaustion and would slur his words whenever he spoke. During concerts, he’d have to hold himself up with the mic stand. Band members stated at this time that they couldn’t even make out what he was singing on stage.
John Wilkinson, Elvis’ guitarist recalled himself watching Elvis during a performance and crying while playing one of the songs. After a lot of protests, Elvis finally went to the hospital and had an enlarged colon due to his diet and a damaged kidney.
Five Month Vacation
The doctor urged Elvis to change his eating habits and although he agreed to do so, he went right back to the fried foods once the doctors left the room. His will to tour and create music began to visibly fade and many took immediate notice to this.
Elvis would need to be pushed by his bandmates to fulfill contract obligations. In 1976, the King recorded From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis Tennessee. The album does a great job reflecting how Elvis felt at the time. The track Hurt was a major hit.
Elvis Would Fast Before Touring
In his later years, Elvis would take to fasting and playing racquetball before going on a big tour. This wasn’t the only method he tried. The King also tried the sleeping beauty diet and he tried living off of nothing back soda and bananas for an entire week.
When tours would be scheduled he’d be determined to get the weight down and appearing thinner to his fans. That said, on August 14, 1977 Elvis weighted a shocking 250 pounds. This was a huge weight gain for the once thin rock star.
The Final Month
The world awoke to shock on August 16, 1977 the world woke up to horror as headline around the world read statements like, “The King is Dead” and others to that liking. While in the final autopsy it reports that a heart attack was responsible for the King’s end.
The people closest to him had a very different story to tell. They would open up a side of Elvis that no fan could have expected at the time. For many the truth would go on to break the hearts of many of his fans as they never knew he suffered so much.
Bandmates And Doctors
While for forty years the world believed Elvis died from a heart attack, rent toxicology reports proved otherwise. Dr. Forest Tennant who studied his toxicology reports and testified in court has stated that Dr. Lester Hofman was responsible for the singer’s death.
Elvis got some dental work done the day before he passed on and Dr. Hofman prescribed the codeine to the singer. Elvis, his friends, and doctors were all aware that he was severely allergic to this medication. It was even marked in his medical charts and hospital records.
Priscilla’s Take On It
Priscilla believes that her former husband took his own life with those pills. The bottle was empty after only receiving it a day prior. He knew he was allergic but took anyway. While some say he just mistook the pill for another medication.
Others believe that he had been thinking about taking his own life. Notes to Joe Esposito reveal these intentions. In one Elvis writes, “I’m sick and tired of my life. I need a long rest” This says a lot about the struggling artist’s final days on earth.
Elvis Caused Concerned
While most of America embraced fully the Rock n’ Roll style that Elvis introduced into America, others resented it and thought it would corrupt the minds of America’s youth. After appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show and garnering up to 80% of America’s ratings.
While being a major hit another world, the people in his hometown saw things differently. The folks in Nashville turned to the streets and protested the singer. Answering the protesters, censors demanded that Elvis be filmed from the waist up when he performed.
Elvis Wanted To Take Things To Higher Level
The King rarely ever gave a half-hearted performance. You could have always expected an Elvis show to be a great time. Before Elvis passed on, he made a request to his stage manager to create a white suit for the singer that would shoot laser beams into his audience.
This has yet to become a reality in rock music. We could have only imagined how this would have rocked the crowds of the 1970’s. Elvis was always known for breaking new grounds wherever he went. What would the king be doing today.
Elvis Turns His Back On The Beatles
Elvis inspired a lot of the world’s biggest rock acts. Even The Beatles worshiped Elvis and even went out of their way to meet with him early on during their career. That said, in the late 1960’s when The Beatles were at the top of their game, they’d be in for a shock.
Elvis met with President Nixon and denounced The Beatles for their wild antics. He called them un-American and painted them as a bad influence on American youth. Elvis had served his country and was a very proud American.
28 Pound Suits
Elvis will forever be remembered for is sparkling, diamond studded suits. No artist to date has rocked such a unique stage look. That said, some of these suits weighted up to 28 pounds. This would be a challenge to wear for anyone, but mroe for Elvis.
He had to be in great shape to perform a whole concert while wearing these. In his later days, he would come off stage completely exhausted and much it had to do with these wild costumes. He would jump out of if as quickly as he could.
Elvis’ Watch Swap
In 1973 legends in the world collided and Elvis met with Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and John Paul Jones in Las Vegas. While the two musical acts have very different styles, they have both made such a huge impact on music.
As a gesture of goodwill and friendship, Elvis secretly swapped his $5,000 gold watch for Jones’ cheap Micky Mouse watch. Elvis didn’t need his luxury watch. He was the king and he probably had dozens of them back at Graceland.
Elvis Wanted A Bike
Elvis could have been very different if he had his way when he was 11-years-old. His birthday and The King wanted nothing more than a bike. Perhaps he would have been the king of bikes or the BMX King. This would have surely been a different path for him.
That said, he was given a guitar instead. He was massively disappointed by the guitar, but on rainy days he’d strum along to his favorite country songs and soon he and his guitar were best friends. He would take it everywhere with him, even to school.
Having Fun With Elvis
In 1974, Elvis was really struggling. His weight was fluctuating wildly, he was very exhausted and was losing his will to produce albums. That said, he had contract obligations he had to fulfill. This led to him releasing an album called Having Fun With Elvis.
You won’t hear any guitars or singing on this album. It is completely made of on-stage banter that he’d talking between songs during his concerts. Only someone beloved by the entire world can pull off an album like this.
Elvis And Cash
If Elvis is the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Johnny Cash is the King of Country. Most don’t know this, but the two were actually really great friends. They would often impersonate each other and sing each other’s songs. Imagine how that would sound?
Getting a tape of this would be pure amazement. They were easily two of the most popular musicians in the early 1960’s. Hearing them cover each other’s music would be absolutely insane. We wonder if their extended families have any of these gems hidden away.
Elvis Had An Open Mind
Coming from the South, many would assume that Elvis was a Christian. That said, he did wear a cross around his neck. That wasn’t all he wore. The King would also wear a Star of David around his neck. What could this mean for Elvis and the masses?
He was hip to the fact that there were many religions out there. When asked about this, he said, “I don’t want to miss out on heaven due to a technicality.” Elvis just wanted to make sure that he would have a secure place in any afterlife.
Elvis Was A Black Belt
When most people think of Elvis, they only see him as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and a movie star. That said, Elvis was also the proud owner of a black belt in karate. If you were lucky, he might have even sported some moves for you during one of his concerts.
It would not be so uncommon to see Elvis do a quick during his shows or raise a karate chop. He really had a profound admiration for the sport and would even spend some of his off time watching some of the kung fu movies that came out in the 70’s.
His Mystery Bedroom
Few people ever got to see his bedroom in his Graceland home. Till this day, the only people to ever see his bedroom were immediate members of his family. Today it looks much like it did in the 1970’s and has been mostly untouched.
That said, one man has seen the room and that is Nicholas Cage. He was married to Lisa Marie Presley and she showed him the bedroom. We would love to get an exclusive interview with Cage and find out everything he knows about the mystery behind that room.
The Legacy Of A King
Despite his troubles toward the end of his career, his impact on the music scene never faded. Even Moody Blue, his last album which was released less than a month before his demise made it to number one on the charts. He was still on top of the world.
In the days leading up to his passing, he was preparing for a tour that would have definitely been a major success. He was truly the King of rock. He was planning something huge that we’d sadly never know about. What could have been on his mind?
The King’s Last Picture
This picture was taken in a blur. What we see here is the last picture ever taken of Elvis. He drove away and would never be before a camera again. He waved at the camera from the side as if he knew that this was it. He has played his last show and was moving on.
He definitely wasn’t in the best condition when this was taken. As you can see, he looks a bit bloated and his hair is sticking to his forehead with sweat. Never the less, this is the man who introduced the world to Rock N’ Roll.