LIFE

King of rock ‘n’ roll remembered worldwide

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Legendary U.S. rock 'n' roll star Elvis Presley lives on in the hearts of millions of music lovers, even though 42 years have passed since his mysterious death.

Born on Jan. 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Aaron Presley became known worldwide for singing, swaying, and ushering in a new era of popular music.

Presley got into music at the age of 11, when his parents bought him a guitar for his birthday. He learned some basic chords but concentrated on improving his voice.

His music taste was eclectic since he was influenced by the pop and country music, gospel hymns and black R&B of the time. He was also involved in the local blues scene.

Presley began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in 1954 after graduating from Humes High School in Memphis, Tennessee.

In those years, Sam Phillips, the founder and head of Sun Records, was looking for a way to introduce blues music to white audiences without an African-American performer.

When Presley recorded a demo in 1954, Phillips immediately realized he had found the singer he was looking for. Presley's first album, released on RCA Victor Records in 1956, was an overnight sensation.

The album spent 10 weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, making it the first rock 'n' roll album ever to reach the top of the charts, and the first million-selling album of that genre.

To this day Presley is considered the world's best-selling solo artist, with around 1 billion sales worldwide.

Breakthroughs

Presley had a breakthrough in his career when he appeared three times on the top-rated Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 and 1957.

His first appearance was a profound success, with 60 million viewers.

His performance included three future classics: Don't Be Cruel, Love Me Tender, and Hound Dog.

During his third appearance in January 1957, Sullivan praised Elvis, telling him his show had never had a better experience.

From there, Presley was on a rocket ride to fame. His career spawned hit after hit. He sold millions of records worldwide and performed at concerts to screaming fans.

Besides his unique voice and charisma, he dreamed of becoming a successful actor.

Elvis starred in 31 feature films and two theatrically released concert documentary films, all of which were financially successful.

At the time Elvis rose to prominence, it was normal for a big music star to cross over to movies, and he became one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood.

Personal life

Despite being adored by thousands of women, Presley was full of insecurity and worried that he would not be able to live up to the expectations of his fans.

As a result, most of his relationships were short-lived until he met Priscilla Beaulieu, a model and actress. After a seven-year courtship, they got married in 1967.

The couple had one daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, who also built a career in music and released three albums.

While successful in the movie industry, Presley's music career began to suffer.

In the 1970s, his move from a rock star wardrobe to garish costumes was heavily criticized, and he also suffered health problems.

He tried to avoid using drugs but became addicted to amphetamines. By 1972, with the dissolution of his marriage, he suffered two overdoses, one of them putting him in a brief coma.

He grew overweight and suffered from glaucoma and irritable bowel syndrome, which is caused by drug abuse.

On Aug. 16, 1977, Elvis was found on the floor of his bathroom at his Memphis home, Graceland.

The actual cause of his death remains a mystery. His official cause of death was an irregular heartbeat, but he was found to have used various drugs.

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