Tagged the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley was a musical icon who earned his place as one of the greatest music makers of all time in the world. Elvis began his career in 1954 after he completed high school. Due to his upbringing, the singer’s musical influence was majorly based on pop, country, and gospel music. He also added a twist of R&B, which he picked up as a teenager on the streets of Memphis.
Elvis was first signed to the legendary Sun Records label in 1954, until his contract was later sold to RCA victor in 1955. Shortly after, the singer became a musical sensation globally. Elvis’ success was majorly tied to his unique sound which was a fusion of different genres. Over the years, his sound evolved to a point where it challenged the racial and social barriers which led to the creation of a new era in music and pop culture. In his days, Elvis wasn’t very open to the media, and fans did not know a lot about him. Here are some recently surfaced facts about the icon.
10 Elvis Bought Graceland At 22
In 1957, Elvis paid a whopping $102,500 for the Memphis mansion called Graceland, and it served as his home for over 20 years. His home was sited on a 14-acre land, which was part of a 500-acre farmland named ‘Graceland’ after the original owner’s daughter. The mansion was built in 1939 by Dr. Thomas Moore and his wife Ruth Moore. Although Elvis made a couple of changes to the building, such as an indoor waterfall and music-themed gates, he decided to keep the building’s name as Graceland.
After Elvis’ death, his ex-wife Priscilla Presley opened up the building for tourists which attracts over half a million fans annually. In 1993, when Elvis’ daughter turned 25, her inheritance kicked in and Graceland was reverted to her care.
9 His Manager, Colonel Tom Parker Used To Be A Carnival Baker
Elvis’ controversial manager, born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk, moved to America illegally and rebranded himself as Tom Parker. Parker claimed to be from West Virginia until his true origins were traced back to the Netherlands in the 1980s. While reinventing himself, Parker did a series of jobs such as dog catching, pitchman for Carnivals and he also founded a pet cemetery before music management.
After making a name for himself managing country musicians, he was given the honorary title of colonel by governor Jimmie Davis in 1948. Parker became Elvis’ manager in 1956 and controlled the star’s career for two decades after and took commissions as high as 50 percent. In general Parker’s time with Elvis is considered controversial because many believed him to have been holding Elvis back creatively.
8 Elvis Was Drafted Into The Army After He Was Already Famous
Even though Elvis Presley was already a star as of December 1957, he was drafted to serve in the U.S. military. However, the star’s service was delayed shortly so he could finish up the production of his film King Creole. Later, on March 24, 1958, the 23-year-old Elvis was inducted into the Army as a private. Shortly after, he was assigned to the second armored division and went on to get his basic training at Fort Hood Texas. While still in training, his mother got sick and later passed away on August 14, 1958.
7 Elvis Was A Twin
Most people know Elvis was born to a poor family and his dad, Veron Presley had to work a series of unusual jobs to put food on the table. However, what most people don’t know is that he was born 35 minutes after his twin brother Jessie Garon, who died shortly after birth. Jessie was buried the day after in an unmarked grave at Cemetery in Priceville.
6 All His Performances Were Within North America
Although 40 percent of all Elvis’ music sales were outside the United States, the star never actually performed outside the U.S., besides at a Canadian concert in 1957. According to unnamed sources, Colonel Parker, Elvis’ manager, rejected several lucrative concert offers abroad because he was an illegal immigrant. As such, his fear of not being allowed back in the U.S. prevented Elvis from ever performing outside North America.
5 He Was Burned In Effigy After A Performance
In 1956, Elvis got booked to make three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show at a fee of $50,000, which was a lot at the time. Even though Sullivan had previously stated that he wasn’t interested in having Elvis on his show, his mind changed after he saw the ‘Elvis effect’ on a competitor’s show.
Upon Elvis’ first appearance on the show in September 1956, over 60 million people tuned in. The number at the time was equal to more than 80 percent of television viewers. On his second performance, residents of St. Louis and Nashville were upset by his sexy performance. Later that night, a crowd stormed the show to burn and hang Elvis in effigy for fears that his music would corrupt American teens.
4 He Bought The Presidential Yacht Of Franklin Roosevelt
Tagged “The Floating White House,” the presidential Yacht is a 165-foot long vessel that served FDR from 1936 to 1945 and in 1946, Elvis paid $55,000 for the Potomac. Shortly after he bought the presidential boat, he donated it to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, which later sold it to raise money.
3 Elvis Was Related To Former Presidents
In the late years of his life, Elvis found out that he was a distant relative of two of the past American Presidents. The first is Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th U.S. President and was found to have ties deep in Elvis’ family tree. The 39th President of the U.S. Jimmy Carter was also discovered to be a distant relative to the singer.
2 He Was Given A Badge By The President
The 37th President of the United States, Richard Nixon, was quite fond of Elvis. As much as Elvis was a talented singer, President Nixon liked him more for his love for law enforcement. To show how much it meant to him, the President Awarded Elvis a Narcotic Officer’s badge at the White House.
1 He Was A Free Giver And A Big Tipper
In his time, Elvis was well known for giving as he gave away cars, jewelry, and money to both his friends and strangers on several occasions. In addition to this, he also gave his services by performing at a couple of benefit concerts to raise money. On one of those occasions, Elvis’ performance raised over $50,000 which was directed towards aiding victims of the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack.