Elvis Presley is the undisputed King of Rock and Roll. He rose from humble circumstances to launch the rock and roll revolution with his commanding voice and charismatic stage presence. In the words of the historical marker that stands outside the house where he was born: “Presley’s career as a singer and entertainer redefined popular music.”
Beginning in 1954, Presley recorded five ground-breaking singles for Sun Records. His contract was then sold to RCA Records, and his career really took off. Presley’s hip-shaking performances on a series of TV variety shows, including Ed Sullivan’s, generated hysteria and controversy. From blistering rockers to aching balladry, Presley captivated and liberated the teenage audience. His historic string of hits in 1956 and ‘57 included “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” “Love Me Tender,” “All Shook Up” and “Jailhouse Rock.” After a stint in the Army, Presley occupied himself with movie-making and soundtrack-recording during much of the Sixties. His acclaimed 1968 TV special was followed by some of his most mature work. Recording in Memphis, he cut such classic tracks as “In the Ghetto, “Suspicious Minds” and “Kentucky Rain.” Presley toured constantly during the Seventies, performing to capacity crowds around the country until his death. Presley died of a heart attack at Graceland, his Memphis mansion, on August 16, 1977.
Statistically, Presley holds records for the most Top 40 hits (107), the most Top 10 hits (38), the most consecutive Number One hits (10) and the most weeks at Number One (80). Elvis Presley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.