Well, thank you. Thank you very much.

Many music icons were gone too young, and Elvis Presley was one of them. He was born into a poor family in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. His twin was delivered 35 minutes before him, stillborn. In 1946 for his 11th birthday, his parents gave Elvis his first guitar. At age 13, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he received a “C” in music class in high school. His teacher told Elvis that he just didn’t have an aptitude for singing. So, he brought in his guitar and sang a song that had just been released by Fairly Holden and His Six Cold Papas… “Keep Them Cold Icy Fingers Off Me.” The teacher agreed that Elvis was right. She didn’t appreciate his kind of singing.


Elvis Presley could not read music, but he played and sang by ear. If he heard a song that he liked, he could make it his own. In 1954, at the age of 19, Elvis and his group performed their first live show and he signed his first contract with RCA records at age 20. In Nashville, Tennessee, in 1956, Elvis recorded his first album, which included the hit single “Heartbreak Hotel.” His stardom grew rapidly, even while he served in the U.S. Army from 1958 – 1960. Elvis continued recording music and making movies until his sudden passing in 1977 at his home in Graceland in Memphis at just 42 years of age.


The singer and actor still reigns as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. He holds many records to this day, including the most certified gold and platinum albums, the most albums charted on the Billboard 200, the most number-one albums by a solo artist on the UK Albums Chart, and the most number one singles by ANY act on the UK Singles Chart. In 1971 the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences recognized Elvis Presley with its Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Today marks what would have been the 88th birthday of Elvis Presley. Fans have been celebrating at Graceland with 4 days of live music and special tours.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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