40th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley August 16, 2017 (great article)

Tens of thousands of Elvis fans join ex-wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie for moving candlelit vigil at Graceland on the 40-year anniversary of The King’s death

  • Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977; on Tuesday night fans gathered at Graceland to begin an overnight vigil
  • His ex-wife, Priscilla, greeted fans before the event; later their daughter, Lisa Marie, lit candles for the visitors
  • Organizers haven’t yet released how many people were at the event, but they prepared for as many as 50,000
  • Once candles were lit, the visitors walked through the grounds of Graceland in a solemn vigil procession
  • For the first time after years of such vigils, Graceland charged for admittance this year – causing some anger
  • But the organizers said that the money was needed for the extra security due to the large number of visitors 

Elvis Presley’s ex-wife and their daughter joined thousands of his fans at his old Graceland ranch on Tuesday night as they gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of his death with a candlelight vigil.

Priscilla Presley, 72, was seen greeting fans before the event on Tuesday, as they arrived at the 13.8-acre Memphis, Tennessee estate for the gathering.

And Lisa Marie Presley, 49, lit candles for mourners as they gathered to remember the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, holding their lights aloft throughout the vigil, which continued on into Wednesday.

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Greeting: Priscilla Presley is seen left on Tuesday afternoon greeting visitors to an overnight vigil in memory of her ex-husband, Elvis

Family: Elvis and Priscilla are seen here around 1970 with their daughter, Lisa Marie

Greeting: Priscilla Presley is seen left on Tuesday afternoon greeting visitors to an overnight vigil in memory of her ex-husband, Elvis. They pair are also seen right around 1970 with their daughter Lisa Marie

Presence: Lisa Marie was also present at the event, lighting the candles of some of the thousands of visitors that had gathered to remember her father and his impact on modern American culture

Presence: Lisa Marie was also present at the event, lighting the candles of some of the thousands of visitors that had gathered to remember her father and his impact on modern American culture

Vigil: The visitors were asked to hold their candles aloft as they remembered Elvis at his former home of Graceland, the 13.8-acre property that includes his old mansion

Vigil: The visitors were asked to hold their candles aloft as they remembered Elvis at his former home of Graceland, the 13.8-acre property that includes his old mansion

Priscilla Presley, center, former wife of Elvis Presley, is escorted by security after greeting fans at Elvis Presley's Memphis home

Priscilla Presley, center, former wife of Elvis Presley, is escorted by security after greeting fans at Elvis Presley’s Memphis home

Love: Fans had traveled from all across America - and the rest of the world - to pay respect to the memory of the departed King of Rock and Roll

Love: Fans had traveled from all across America – and the rest of the world – to pay respect to the memory of the departed King of Rock and Roll

Memorial: Visitors are seen here taking part in the vigil outside the Graceland mansion, where Elvis died of a heart attack some 40 years ago

Memorial: Visitors are seen here taking part in the vigil outside the Graceland mansion, where Elvis died of a heart attack some 40 years ago

Procession: Once they had their candles, the visitors began a procession around the grounds, through the graves that are there: those of Elvis, his parents and his grandmother

Procession: Once they had their candles, the visitors began a procession around the grounds, through the graves that are there: those of Elvis, his parents and his grandmother

Colorful: Many fans set up their own memorial sites at the festival, such as this colorful display

Colorful: Many fans set up their own memorial sites at the festival, such as this colorful display

Organizers had planned for as many as 50,000 people at the event, which runs every year on the anniversary of his death.

But this year’s caused some consternation as visitors were charged $28.75 to attend – a first, at an event that is usually free of charge.

‘In order to keep everyone safe and ensure an enjoyable and meaningful event for all, we have worked closely with local, state and federal security authorities to establish new procedures that have been widely used across the U.S.,’ Graceland’s statement said.  

Some fans objected to the decision to charge an entry fee.

Longtime fan Fred Schwarz of Springfield, Illinois, said Tuesday that he and his wife have been to several vigils and have enjoyed them. But not this year. He says fans should be insulted at the new charge.

‘I looked forward to going down there this year, and they come up with all this,’ he said. ‘I don’t want to even go to Memphis anymore. The people running that are not Elvis fans. They are in business. Corporations, they want the bottom line.’

Mourners stroll past the grave of Elvis Presley as they gathered to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of the singer

Mourners stroll past the grave of Elvis Presley as they gathered to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of the singer

This group of music lovers wore red t-shirts emblazoned with the words 'Elvis Week 2017' 

This group of music lovers wore red t-shirts emblazoned with the words ‘Elvis Week 2017’

Cheryl Penny assists Ann Lawlor (left), who traveled from England to participate in the candle light vigil where mourners gathered to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of singer Elvis Presley

Cheryl Penny assists Ann Lawlor (left), who traveled from England to participate in the candle light vigil where mourners gathered to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of singer Elvis Presley

The pair sported their best Elvis Presley merchandise as they waited in line outside Graceland before the vigil 

The pair sported their best Elvis Presley merchandise as they waited in line outside Graceland before the vigil

A woman participates in a candlelight vigil for Elvis Presley at Graceland in Tennessee 

A woman participates in a candlelight vigil for Elvis Presley at Graceland in Tennessee

Singalong: Jerry Engelby sings along with a recorded performance of Elvis Presley performing 'America the Beautiful' during the candlelight vigil

Singalong: Jerry Engelby sings along with a recorded performance of Elvis Presley performing ‘America the Beautiful’ during the candlelight vigil

Tribute: Cassandra Fisher traveled all the way from Manchester, England, to pay tribute to Elvis - and dressed as a young Priscilla, complete with beehive hairdo - to do so

Tribute: Cassandra Fisher traveled all the way from Manchester, England, to pay tribute to Elvis – and dressed as a young Priscilla, complete with beehive hairdo – to do so

Walking: The fans walked slowly and solemnly through the grounds as they remembered Elvis - though a few took some cheeky pictures while they were there

Walking: The fans walked slowly and solemnly through the grounds as they remembered Elvis – though a few took some cheeky pictures while they were there

Celebration: Visitors hold aloft their candles in celebration as they watch themselves being projected onto a screen behind a stage at the Graceland vigil

Celebration: Visitors hold aloft their candles in celebration as they watch themselves being projected onto a screen behind a stage at the Graceland vigil

Lighting the way: Although Lisa Marie was on hand to help out some visitors, others had to light each-others' candles so they could join in the event

Lighting the way: Although Lisa Marie was on hand to help out some visitors, others had to light each-others’ candles so they could join in the event

Others didn’t mind the charge. Joe Makowski, who saw Presley more than 80 times in concert and came to Graceland after Presley died in 1977, said the cost of security justified a charge, and added that similar charges are seen at other tourist attractions.

‘It goes along with the territory of the popularity of Elvis,’ said Makowski, of St. Petersburg, Florida. ‘There’s a price for that as well, to accommodate all the people.’

Priscilla and Lisa Marie thanked the crowd for their love and dedication before the amassed Elvis fanatics began a slow procession through Graceland.

Thousands of mourning fans holding white candles then made a slow, silent walk through the graves on the property on Tuesday night. 

Priscilla was married to Elvis from 1967 until their divorce in 1973. Lisa Marie, their daughter, was born in 1968.

Elvis Presley died of a heart attack on August 16, 1977, in Graceland, at the age of 42.

Got it pictured: Photos, posters and statues of Elvis - as well as some wreaths (pictured far right, rear of picture) were on display throughout Graceland as people gathered to remember the singer

Got it pictured: Photos, posters and statues of Elvis – as well as some wreaths (pictured far right, rear of picture) were on display throughout Graceland as people gathered to remember the singer

Gathering: Fans gather before the vigil begins on Tuesday. It then continued throughout the night, ending on Wednesday

Gathering: Fans gather before the vigil begins on Tuesday. It then continued throughout the night, ending on Wednesday

Bust: This likeness of Elvis was also on display at the event

Bust: This likeness of Elvis was also on display at the event

Mourners left trinkets and stuffed animals in honour of the rock and roll legend at his former Graceland home

Mourners left trinkets and stuffed animals in honour of the rock and roll legend at his former Graceland home

 

Shout out to exceptional Elvis Presley related websites – June 2015 Edition

The Elvis Presley Collector

Besides the official Elvis Presley website http://www.Elvis.com, which is a great site and I encourage others to visit it routinely, there are some exceptional Elvis Presley related sites that I have enjoyed and I welcome you to do the same.

In no specific order they are:

Elvisblog.net

Elvis-express.com

Elvisnews.com

Graceland.com

Elvisthemusic.com

http://www.thekingsransom.com

http://www.Elvisinfo.net

We know firsthand the amount of hard work, dedication, passion, sacrifice, etc. that it takes to put together a good website let alone an Elvis Presley website that is highly scrutinized by fans around the world.

We have great respect for those associated with these sites and we thank them for their fine works.

Please feel free to share this post via social media as well as our sites listed below.

Take care and may God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorworldwide.freeforums.org

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Elvis Presley’s return the 1968 ‘Comeback Special article

We say now, and always, THANK YOU to Steve Binder for having the vision and will to produce Elvis’ 1968 Singer TV Special aka Elvis 1968 ‘Comeback Special.

Courtesy of Jeff Schrembs and http://www.ElvisCollector.info:

1968 Comeback Special collageElvis 1968 Comeback Special

Original concept

Despite huge success in both his music and acting careers following his release from the army in 1960, Presley’s career had declined steadily in the years leading up to 1968. The music scene had changed dramatically since his last U.S. #1 single in 1962, and Presley was in no doubt that bands such as the Beatles, and the British Invasion in particular, were leading “the swinging sixties”.

Partly due to the repetitive scripts and laughable song choices, as well as the general feeling that he was “uncool”, Presley’s films had been making less money with each release and he was tiring of Hollywood. Colonel Parker, Presley’s manager, had found it increasingly difficult to secure the usual $1,000,000 fee for a Presley film, and had no alternative than to take a different approach. Parker negotiated a deal with NBC for $1,250,000 to finance both a television special and a film (1969’s Change of Habit).

Parker wanted the show, which was scheduled as a Christmas season broadcast, to be little more than Presley singing Christmas carols. He believed the special could simply be a TV-version of the Christmas radio show Presley had contributed to the year before. Binder argued that the special was an opportunity to re-establish the singer’s reputation after years of formulaic movies and recordings of variable quality. He and Howe hired writers to script a show with specific themes: they envisaged large set designs, dance sequences and big productions of Presley’s hits. However, Binder was open to any variations on this that would showcase the singer’s talent, and Presley was apparently very happy to go along with this flexible approach.

The special eventually included an extravagant musical sequence featuring Gospel-style numbers, a semi-autobiographical “mini-movie” centered around the song “Guitar Man” and other re-recordings given lavish set designs. A segment set in a bordello featuring the song “Let Yourself Go” was initially passed by the network’s censors, but was removed at the request of the show’s primary sponsor, Singer Corporation, as it was deemed too risqué. (The first public appearance of this sequence was in the expanded video version of the 1981 documentary film This Is Elvis. It was later restored for RCA’s 3-DVD release in 2004.) The special ends with Presley appealing for world peace and tolerance with the song “If I Can Dream.”

Studio recordings for these segments were made at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California between June 20 and 23 and featured an orchestra and The Blossoms as background vocalists: Fanita James, Jean King and Darlene Love. Other musicians included drummer Hal Blaine, pianist Don Randi, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, bass player Larry Knechtel and harmonica player Tommy Morgan.

Live segments

It was after rehearsals at Western Recorders that Binder took special note of how Presley and the other musicians would spontaneously unwind by improvising old blues and rock ‘n’ roll numbers. Binder commented: “…and that’s when I really got the idea: Wouldn’t it be great if I had a camera in here and they didn’t know I was here?”

Presley is said to have been very apprehensive about the idea of performing live. His last live concert had been at the Bloch Arena in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on March 25, 1961. Binder offered a lot of support and reassurance to stop the singer from rejecting the idea of any live segments. He realized some songs already re-recorded or scheduled would need to be cut (The special was only an hour long). He quickly arranged for rehearsals to take place to capture the feel of Presley’s informal studio jamming, drafting in the surviving members of Presley’s original backing band – Scotty Moore andD. J. Fontana (bassist Bill Black had died in 1965). He also brought in Presley’s friends Alan Fortas, Lance LeGault and Charlie Hodge to encourage Presley and make him feel at ease. Two sessions took place, each about two hours in length; the first on June 24 and the second on the 25th. Both took place in the informal surroundings of the dressing room at NBC. They were recorded by Presley’s friend Joe Esposito using the singer’s own tape recorder. Many songs were tried, including “Danny Boy”, “Blue Moon”, “That’s My Desire” and “I Got A Woman”, before the final repertoire was decided for the actual TV recording.

Subsequently, at 6.00pm, June 27, Presley took to the stage for the first time in over seven years, resulting in four one-hour live shows being taped at NBC’s Burbank studios. A black-clad Presley sat down and jammed with band mates for two shows, each show having a different audience. There was a one hour break between them (enough time for Presley to shower and have his outfit dry cleaned after performing under the hot studio lights). In the second two, recorded at 8.00pm, June 29, he remained standing and sang live to a mix of live and pre-recorded backing, again in front of two different audiences. These four sessions are often referred to collectively as “The Burbank Sessions”, the name coming from not just the venue, but the titles of two collectible bootleg LPs which feature them. The role of each musician at the two sit-down performances was:

Elvis Presley: vocals, guitars (acoustic and electric – he and Scotty Moore use the same ones and swap them)

D. J. Fontana: drumming, using a guitar case
Alan Fortas: guitar back-slapping, occasional vocals
Charlie Hodge: acoustic guitar, occasional vocals
Lance LeGault: guitar back-slapping, tambourine
Scotty Moore: guitars (acoustic and electric)

Filmed in the round, only a small portion of these – and the stand-up sets – were included in the televised special. Presley and the others played and sang while interjecting personal stories of his music and early performances. Referring to music and his religious upbringing in a break between songs, Presley says: “Rock and roll is basically gospel (music), or rhythm & blues (is too). It sprang from that, people have been adding to it.” He also makes reference to the leading groups of the time, like The Byrds and The Beatles, and notes how things have improved and not just changed, like the standard of musicians and sound engineering. Presley is also prompted to speak about a Florida concert at which the police had filmed the show, threatening to use the film as evidence to prosecute him for “vulgarity.”

Presley sings many of the songs he was famous for including: “That’s All Right”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “One Night”, “Love Me Tender” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”. He also reprises Jimmy Reed’s”Baby What You Want Me to Do” on several occasions and includes the less well known songs, “Tryin’ To Get To You” and “When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”. As each session progresses, he can be observed playing and singing with such gusto that he occasionally feels the urge to rise up and sing off mike, even when he uses the electric guitar with no strap (during a reprise of “One Night”).

During “Love Me Tender”, he sang particularly to his wife, Priscilla, who was in the audience. During the first verse, he jokingly replaced the line “You have made my life complete” with “You have made my life a wreck…err, complete” as a brief, lighthearted joke. It drew a giggle from the audience, including Priscilla.

In both sit-down shows, Presley sits between two of the women sat at the edge of the stage to sing the final song, “Memories”. Although this move was Binder’s idea, Colonel Parker had originally been concerned that the audiences would contain older, more reserved adults and that this might give the impression that Presley had lost some of his appeal (The only time Presley had ‘bombed’ at a live gig was in front of a mature audience in Las Vegas in 1956). Parker had therefore arranged that young women should be seen nearest the stage during filming.

The stand-up shows feature Presley performing a similar energetic set by himself, mostly without guitar. He performs on the same small stage (no more than ten feet square) which is closely surrounded by the audience. Musical backing this time comes from an unseen live orchestra and the Blossoms. Presley also sings to a pre-recorded track on a few songs that were intended to be integrated into other parts of the show.

Acclaim

The edited broadcast of December 3 – combining the big, choreographed numbers, lavish sets and some of the informal live sessions – was an enormous success. The show was the highest-rated television special of the year. According to Binder, it was probably the first one-man TV special to appear on commercial American television. Previously, TV specials tended to be packed with guest stars, like Frank Sinatra’s Timex Special of 1960, in which Presley himself appeared with other celebrities, including Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr..

At the beginning of the ’68 Special project, a nervous Presley had said to the executive producer Bob Finkel: “I want everyone to know what I can really do.” Critics generally agree that the broadcast did show what Elvis Presley really could do – in addition to making profitable, but generally uninspired movies and soundtracks. The ’68 Special is widely credited with revitalizing his career: chart statistics for the summer of 1968 suggest that Presley’s recording career was becoming all but non-existent and irrelevant. After the special, he began his stint in Las Vegas and toured, achieving a string of record-breaking sell-out performances across America. Chart successes returned, including a U.S. number one in 1969 (“Suspicious Minds”) and a U.K. number one (“The Wonder of You”, (1970)) – his first since 1965.

The live segments of the ’68 Comeback Special in particular gave the audience more than a glimpse of Presley’s charismatic and emotionally charged performing style that won him his first fans in the 1950s. This is arguably even more evident in the later uncut versions of the special .

Additional information

Two versions of the special were initially aired by NBC. The first included Presley singing “Blue Christmas” – the only seasonal song Binder agreed to use. When the special was rebroadcast the following summer, this was replaced with a performance of “Tiger Man”.
In 1984, one of the sit down sessions was released uncut and unedited by Media Home Entertainment, Inc. on a video as Elvis – One Night With You. RCA Video Productions also made a shorter version for television and an album. The original special has also been made available for television and home video – the reissued version restores the censored musical numbers from the “Guitar Man” segment, and features both “Blue Christmas” and “Tiger Man”.

In June 2004, RCA Records issued a deluxe 3-disc DVD release containing all the video footage still in existence, including bloopers and incomplete performances. It features a 24-page color booklet with text written by Greil Marcus.

A number of songs were shortlisted for recording but were rejected. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” was cut in favor of “If I Can Dream”. Undistinguished songs showcasing his movie career, like “Cotton Candy Land” and “How Would You Like To Be”, were axed – as was “U.S. Male”. A song that was partially re-recorded but did not make the final show was “A Little Less Conversation”, a track from Presley’s then-current film release, Live a Little, Love a Little. In 2002, this version was used as the basis for a popular remixed version of the song by Junkie XL, giving Presley his second posthumous #1 hit in Britain (he has now had a record twenty-one no.1s in the British charts). The remix reached #1 in an additional 20 countries, and was added, at the last minute, to the quadruple platinum 2004 compilation ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits.

The show’s opening sequence, “Trouble/Guitar Man”, was copied or paid homage to on at least three later occasions. The first was Falco’s music video for the title track of his fourth album, Emotional(1986), including giant red letters spelling the artist’s stage name instead of ELVIS. He was followed by an even more open tribute in the video for Texas’ 2000 song “Inner Smile”, featuring a leather-clad Sharleen Spiteri singing in front of an Elvis-like red TEXAS sign and remarkably resembling a young Elvis, thanks to the use of prosthetics. Finally, the opening sequence was re-shot as an almost exact copy (down to the same opening song with the same arrangement) in Robbie Williams’ 2003 live DVD The Robbie Williams Show. The stage sets in Williams’ show are also similar to the ones in Presley’s.
Trix also paid homage to the opener for one of their 2011 commercials.

Elvis Presley – US Army Veteran

From http://www.military.com

Famous Veterans: Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley inducted

He was the rebellious King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but Elvis Presley didn’t shirk his duty when he was drafted by the U.S. Army and gained the more modest title of “sergeant.” With that said, the timing for young Presley wasn’t the greatest, as he was experiencing a rise to stardom seldom seen before or since in popular music.

After some early dabblings as a blues snger, Elvis had hooked up with Sun Records and its famous owner Sam Phillips, and with his strutting yet sensitive rockabilly style, had rattled off a number of hits by 1957 that are still classic to this day: “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and “Love Me Tender.” At the end of 1956, he had already charted more top-100 hits than any performer since the list had been invented, and his handsome looks had scored him roles in movies such as Jailhouse Rock — and that’s not even mentioning his legendary appearances on the Ed Sullivan television show, which led to near-riots by the studio audience and an order from the show’s producers to show him performing “from the waist up” so America’s youth wouldn’t be corrupted by his gyrating hips.

Elvis Presley in the Army

And then the Army entered the picture. On January 8, 1957 (the King’s 22nd birthday), the Memphis Draft Board announced that Elvis had been chosen under the current selective service system to serve two years of active duty and four years in the Reserves. Knowing that the military had happened upon a good thing, the Navy and Air Force quickly made offers for him to join them — the Navy was ready to start a specially trained “Elvis Presley company” and the Air Force had starry visions of using Elvis at their recruiting centers. Refusing special treatment, Elvis turned them down, and after getting a deferment so he could finish filming King Creole, he entered the Army as a regular GI at Ft. Chaffee on March 24, 1958. As his famously tousled hair was shaved down to regulation length, he cracked, “Hair today, gone tomorrow.” His induction was a major event, with hundreds of overlookers and media there to witness it.

Elvis was stationed at Ft. Hood for Basic Training and was assigned to the Second Armored Division’s ‘Hell On Wheels’ unit (once led by General George Patton). He still remained involved with music in his free time, cutting a five-song record in Memphis during a two-week leave. Later he was assigned to the Third Armored ‘Spearhead’ Division, and stationed in Friedberg, Germany — it was here that he met Priscilla Beaulieu, who would eventually become his wife over seven years later. During his time in Texas and Germany, Elvis kept a low profile, although he was already wealthy enough to bring his father and grandmother to live with him off-base. One hundred members of his division also got a taste of Elvis-mania when they participated as extras in the film G.I. Blues, made during his stay in Germany. A Stars and Stripes article at the time described the movie as “a comedy on the light side dealing with 3d Armored Division soldiers. There will be three or four girls, one French, one Italian and two Germans. The finished film will about three GI’s or possibly four… The show will include eight or nine songs, mostly ballads, and some rock ‘n’ roll.”

By February 1960 Elvis had been promoted to sergeant (E-5), and he finished his 18-month stint in Germany in March of that year. At Fort Dix, New Jersey he was honorably discharged from active duty on March 5, 1960, receiving a mustering-out check of $109.54. Just prior to his return, Elvis reflected on his experiences in an interview for Armed Forces Radio and Television: “I was in a funny position. Actually, that’s the only way it could be. People were expecting me to mess up, to goof up in one way or another. They thought I couldn’t take it and so forth, and I was determined to go to any limits to prove otherwise, not only to the people who were wondering, but to myself.”

It has been reported that Elvis privately feared that his stint in the military would negatively affect the momentum he had building in his music and film career, but he needn’t have worried — over fifty years and a multitude of hits later, his legendary status and legacy as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is still secure.

Some of the achievements of Elvis Presley

Per http://www.Elvis.com the official Elvis Presley website:

Record Sales

It is estimated that Elvis Presley has sold over one billion recordRacquetball Building at Graceland units worldwide, more than anyone in record industry history. In America alone, Elvis has had 150 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), with more certifications expected as research into his past record sales continues and as current sales go on. Research is also underway to document hisrecord sales achievements in other countries. It is estimated that 40% of Elvis’ total record sales have been outside the United States.

International Acclaim

Elvis Presley’s trophy room at Graceland is filled with gold and platinum records and awards of all kinds from around the world. Some of the countries represented are: Norway, Yugoslavia, Japan, Australia, South Africa, England, Sweden, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, and The Netherlands.

It is interesting to note that, except for a handful of movie soundtrack songs, Elvis did not record in other languages, and, except for five shows in three Canadian cities in 1957, he did not perform in concerts outside the United States. Still, his recordings andfilms enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, popularity all over the globe, and he is known throughout the world by his first name.

Record Chart Statistics

Elvis has had no less than 149 songs to appear on Billboard’s Hot 100 Pop Chart in America. Of these, 114 were in the top forty, 40 were in the top ten, and 18 went to number one. His number one singles spent a total of 80 weeks at number one. He has also had over 90 charted albums with ten of them reaching number one. These figures are only for the pop charts and only in America. He was also a leading artist in the American country, R&B, and gospel fields, and his chart success in other countries was substantial.

Historic Television Guest Appearances

In 1956, Elvis made his network television debut with the first of his six appearances on “Stage Show,” a weekly variety program hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. He followed these with two appearances on “The Milton Berle Show,” the second of which included a performance of “Hound Dog” that was so provocative (for that time, anyway) that it caused a national scandal. Elvis next appeared on “The Steve Allen Show,” with Allen mocking the sensation of the Berle appearance by having Elvis dress in a tuxedo, eliminate his usual physical gyrations, and sing “Hound Dog” to a Basset Hound. Ed Sullivan had once said he would never have the controversial singer on his top-rated show, but that was before the week that Elvis’ appearance on “Steve Allen” had surpassed Sullivan’s ratings. Sullivan paid Elvis $50,000 to make three appearances on his show, which was, at the time, more money than any performer had ever been paid to appear on a network variety program. When Elvis made his third Sullivan appearance in January of 1957, Ed Sullivan surprised Elvis by telling him on camera that his show had never had a better experience with a name act, and said “I wanted to say to Elvis and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy.” It was on this very same Sullivan appearance that Elvis was shown on camera from the waist up only, one of early television history’s most memorable moments. Elvis’ next network television appearance was in 1960, when Frank Sinatra gave his variety show a “Welcome Home, Elvis” theme to herald Elvis’ return from the Army. Elvis was paid $125,000 to appear – again, making history.

The Silver Screen

Elvis in the moviesElvis starred in 31 feature films as an actor and two theatrically released concert documentary films, all of which enjoyed financial success. For a number of years he was one of Hollywood’s top box office draws and one of its highest-paid actors. His two most critically acclaimed films, “Jailhouse Rock” (1957) and “King Creole” (1958), have become classics of their era. His movies and concert films enjoy a healthy life today in television syndication and home video sales and rentals. Some of his top-selling music came from his movies. Eleven of his movie soundtrack albums went to the top 10, and of those, four went to number one. The soundtrack for “G.I. Blues” (1960) was number one on the Billboard Top 100 album chart for 10 weeks and remained on the chart for 111 weeks. The album from “Blue Hawaii” was number one for 20 weeks and was on the chart for 79 weeks.

Elvis TV Specials

The three Elvis TV specials on network television – “Elvis” (1968), “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite” (1973), and “Elvis in Concert” (1977) – stand among the most highly rated specials of their time. His 1968 special, “Elvis,” is one of the most critically acclaimed music specials of all time. His 1973 special, “Elvis – Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite,” was seen in 40 countries by 1 billion to 1.5 billion people and made television history. It was seen on television in more American homes than man’s first walk on the moon.

The Concert Stage

When Elvis returned to the live stage after the success of his 1968 television special and the wrap-up of his Hollywood movie contract obligations, he opened at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in the summer of 1969 for a four-week, 57-show engagement that broke all existing Las Vegas attendance records. He returned to the International a few months later in early 1970, during the slow winter season in Vegas, and broke his own attendance record. Right after that came a record-breaking six-show engagement at the Astrodome in Houston, where Elvis played to a total of 207,494 people. Elvis took his elaborate live show on the road in the latter part of 1970 for his first concert tour since 1957. Throughout the 1970’s, Elvis toured America where he broke box office records, while continuing to play an engagement or two per year in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. Among the outstanding highlights of this period was in 1972, when Elvis performed four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. During his “concert years” from 1969 to 1977, Elvis gave nearly 1,100 concert performances.

Grammy Awards

Elvis received 14 Grammy nominations from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). His three wins were for gospel recordings – the album “How Great Thou Art” (1967), the album “He Touched Me” (1972) and his live Memphis concert recording of the song “How Great Thou Art” (1974). In 1971, NARAS also recognized him with their Lifetime Achievement Award (known then as the Bing Crosby Award in honor of its first recipient). Elvis was 36 years old at the time.

Six of Elvis’ recordings, all of them his original studio masters, have been inducted into the NARAS Hall of Fame: “Hound Dog” (1956 recording, inducted 1988); “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956 recording, inducted 1995); “That’s All Right” (1954 recording, inducted 1998); “Suspicious Minds” (1969 recording, inducted 1999); “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956 recording, inducted 2002); and “Are You Lonesome Tonight” (1960 recording, inducted 2007). The Recording Academy’s national trustees established the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1973 to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old. Many inductees are recordings that were created and released before the 1958 inception of NARAS and the Grammy Awards.
Elvis Ten Outstanding Young Men

One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation

The United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (the Jaycees) named Elvis One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 in a ceremony on January 16, 1971, one of Elvis’ proudest moments. This award has been given since 1938 and has honored men of achievement in all areas of endeavor – sports, government, science, medicine, entertainment, etc. It recognizes outstanding personal achievement and the exemplification of the opportunities available in the free enterprise system, along with patriotism, humanitarianism, and community service. (In the 1980’s, eligibility was opened to women as well as men, and the award has since been presented to the year’s Ten Outstanding Young Americans.)

Charitable Endeavors

Elvis Presley was famous for giving away Cadillacs, cash and jewelry, often on the spur of the moment. But, the true depth and breadth of his generosity and community involvement is not so widely known. In 1961, Elvis gave a benefit concert at Bloch Arena in Hawaii that raised over $65,000 toward the building of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. The resulting publicity gave new life to the fund-raising effort, which had, by then, lost its momentum. The memorial opened a year later. Audience tickets for his 1973 “Aloha from Hawaii” television special and its pre-broadcast rehearsal show carried no price, as each audience member was asked to pay whatever he or she could. The performances and concert merchandise sales were a benefit raising $75,000 for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund in Hawaii. Each year, for many years, Elvis gave $1,000 or more to each of 50 Memphis-area charities, but also continually made many other charitable donations in Memphis and around the country.
Most of Elvis’ philanthropic endeavors received no publicity at all. Throughout his adult life, for friends, for family, and for total strangers, he quietly paid hospital bills, bought homes, supported families, paid off debts, and much more.

Elvis’ legacy of generosity continues through the work of the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, which is the philanthropic branch of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. and the creator of the Elvis Presley Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Memphis. The tradition of giving also continues through the work of the Elvis fan clubs worldwide, most of which are heavily involved in charitable endeavors in Elvis’ memory.

Graceland Mansion

Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home and refuge for 20 years, is one of the most visited homes in America today, now attracting over 600,000 visitors annually. In 1991, Graceland Mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2006, Graceland was designated a National Historic Landmark. Find out more about visiting Graceland.

The Elvis Stamp

In 1992, the U.S. Postal Service announced that Elvis’ imageElvis Stamp would be used for a commemorative postage stamp. The Postal Service narrowed the artwork choices down to two images – one of Elvis in the 1950’s as a sizzling young rocker, and one of him as a concert superstar in his 1973 “Aloha from Hawaii” special. In an unprecedented move, the USPS put the decision to the American people and distributed ballots coast to coast. Over 1.2 million votes were cast and the image of the young rocker Elvis stamp won. The stamp was released on January 8, 1993, with extravagant first day of issue ceremonies at Graceland. The Elvis stamp is the most widely publicized stamp issue in the history of the U.S. Postal Service and it is the top selling commemorative postage stamp of all time. The USPS printed 500 million of them, three times the usual print run for a commemorative stamp. Several countries outside the U.S. also have issued Elvis stamps over the years and they’ve become an essential piece of Elvis Presley memorabilia.

Special Posthumous Honors

The 1984, W.C. Handy Award from the Blues Foundation in Memphis recognized Elvis for “keeping the blues alive in his music – rock ‘n’ roll.” The Academy of Country Music’s first Golden Hat Award presented in 1984 recognized Elvis’ influence on country music. In 1986, Elvis was among the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1987, Elvis was honored with the first posthumous presentation of the Award of Merit by the American Music Awards. In 1998, Elvis received the Country Music Association’s highest honor, induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2001, Elvis was inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame. With that honor, Elvis was the first artist to become a member of all three of these halls of fame – Rock and Roll, Country and Gospel.

A New Concert Career

On August 16, 1997, Elvis, via video, starred in an extravagant concert production entitled Elvis in Concert ’97 at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee, accompanied live on stage by over 30 of his former bandmates and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. The show played before a capacity crowd of fans who had come to Memphis from around the world to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Elvis’ death. Elvis broke the MidSouth Coliseum’s all-time record dollar figure for box office sales. This concert was the prototype for the 1998/99 touring production Elvis – The Concert. By being the first performer ever to headline a live concert tour while no longer living, Elvis made history again. The March 1998 tour included a three-show smash engagement at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The August 1998 tour included the excitement of Elvis’ “return” to the Las Vegas Hilton with an eight-show engagement. The January/ February 1999 European tour opened with a sell-out at London’s Wembley Arena and, in effect, marked Elvis’ first-ever concerts outside of North America. As of 2010, the show continues to tour worldwide.

Elvis Presley during August in his lifetime

1969 side shot head down BW

August 1, 1955 — Elvis appeared at the Tupelo Fairgrounds. It was his first professional show in his hometown.

 

August 15, 1955 — The first managerial contract linking Elvis and Colonel Parker was signed by both men.

 

August 22, 1956 — Principal photography began on Elvis’s first movie, Love Me Tender, on 20th Century Fox’s lot in Hollywood.

 

August 24, 1956 — Elvis recorded the song “Love Me Tender” in Hollywood.

 

August 31, 1957 — Elvis performed a controversial concert at Empire Stadium in Vancouver, B.C. It was Elvis’s last concert outside of the U.S.

 

August 14, 1958 —Elvis’s mother, Gladys, died in Memphis.

 

August 16, 1960 — Principal photography on Elvis’s sixth movie, Flaming Star, began at the Conejo Movie Ranch in Thousand Oaks, CA.

 

August 29, 1962 — Kid Galahad, Elvis’s tenth film, opened nationwide.

 

August 7, 1965 — Principal photography began on Paradise, Hawaiian Style, Elvis’s 21st movie.

 

August 27, 1965 — The Beatles came for an evening visit with Elvis at his Perugia Way home in California.

 

August 16, 1977 — Elvis Presley died in Memphis at the age of 42.