The Teenager Today – August 2019

(Barré) #1
to pay his way into the Memphis
Recording Services Studio to get
studio time.
He cut his first demo record at
what later came to be known as
Sun Studio. He sang the song My
Happiness and That’s When Your
Heartaches Begin and before long,
Sam Phillips, the record label owner,
decided to sign on the young singer.
He got his first break with That’s
All Right, Mama which was his first
single in 1954. Soon enough, the hits
came rolling in for Elvis.

Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog,
Don’t be Cruel, All Shook Up,
Jailhouse Rock, Teddy Bear, It’s Now
Or Never among many others
put him in everyone’s heart. His
impact on American culture was

stupendous, as he seemed to have
an effect on the manner of dressing,
hairstyles, and even behaviour,
which many copied. His spinning
movements on stage became
legendary. His stardom got him
136 gold records and 10 platinum
records. He was the top recording
artiste for two straight decades,
the 50s and 60s. Elvis received
14 Grammy nominations and won
three wins for Gospel recordings —
the album How Great Thou Art (1967),
He Touched Me (1972) and his live
Memphis concert recording of the
song How Great Thou Art (1974).

Elvis also tried his hand at acting,
thereby showcasing his music, too.
His first film was Love Me Tender
(1956) and the very popular Jailhouse
Rock (1957) followed by many
more, making him a singer and
actor. Called to serve his country,
Elvis began a well-publicized
stint in the army in 1958, but
returned when his mother
passed away that same year. The
remainder of his military service
was spent stationed in Germany
(until 1960), where he met his
future wife Priscilla
Beaulieu whom he
married in 1967. They
were blessed with a
daughter Lisa Marie.

Elvis’s success in
the entertainment
industry came the hard
way and with it a few
wrong decisions and
unneeded advice. This

took a toll on him when he faced
numerous failures in his personal life.
In 1973, he and Priscilla divorced;
as Elvis’s millions grew, so too did
the mismanagement by Parker, his
longtime manager. Elvis made an
estimated US$4.3 billion in earnings
during his lifetime. His personal
problems were never ending, weight
gain and drug dependency hitting
him hard.

Through all this, Elvis continued a
steady flow of concert performances
in sold-out arenas well into the
1970s. On 16 August 1977, the day
before another concert tour was
about to begin, Elvis was found dead
in Graceland Mansion by his fiancée,
Ginger Alden. He was only 42 years.
The official cause of death was
heart disease, although information
revealed after his death about his
drug dependency.

Elvis continues to be celebrated as
a superstar and legend as much in
death as he was in life. Graceland
Mansion, which he purchased in
1957 for his parents for US$102,500,
is the top tourist attraction in
Memphis and attracts millions of
visitors from around the world.

Graceland lies near the majestic
Graceland Hotel on Elvis Presley
Boulevard. There are many budget
hotels nearby. You can opt for The
Ultimate VIP Tour ($169) that gets
you a personal tour guide, a meal
voucher, an exclusive lounge and a
chance to view and hold some rare
exhibits of the King. The pass also
lets you make multiple return visits
to the exhibits before closing time.
There’s also the Elvis Entourage
($96) and the most popular $59 Elvis
Experience Tour. All tours have a
mandatory interactive iPad.

Once on the tour you would be
drooling over the man and his
almost unbelievable, superhuman
charisma. I went crazy to see the
home where he had lived, breathed,
sang, lived with Priscilla and
breathed his last. The two-storied
limestone mansion with green

Graceland Mansion

The last jumpsuit Elvis
wore at his concert

(Above) One
of Elvis’ many
jackets, and
(left) the boots
he wore at
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