Elvis Presley (Jan. 8, 1935-Aug. 16, 1977)
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He had a twin brother named Jesse who was stillborn. With no other siblings, he was raised an only child.
Elvis loved to eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches, as well as many fried, greasy foods. His poor diet may have contributed to his death.
He spent 2 years in the army when he was drafted in 1958. He was a Sergeant when he got out.
In 1957 Elvis paid $100,000 for Graceland, a plantation mansion set in a 13-acre park. It is now a major tourist attraction in Memphis.
He wrote very few of his songs, although he sometimes received songwriter credit in exchange for performing the songs. The last song he wrote was a number with guitar influences from 1962 called "You'll be gone." (thanks, Dennis - Maasdam, Netherlands)
In Wright City, Missouri (about 40 miles west of St. Louis) there is a roadside attraction called the "Elvis Is Alive Museum.". Their theory is that Elvis faked his own death and has lived in obscurity ever since. They're serious.
He was an avid collector of guns and official badges. He collected a police badge in just about every city he played in.
Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie, was born exactly 9 months after he married Pricilla.
He is the only artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Hall of Fame.
The Elvis stamp released by the Postal Service on January 8, 1993, remains the top-selling commemorative postage stamp in the US.
The most requested piece from the US National Archives (of photographs and documents), more requested than the Bill of Rights or even the Constitution of the United States, is the photograph of Elvis Presley shaking hands with then-President Richard Nixon at the White House.
In 1959 he became the first artist to release an album without an artist name on the cover, front or back, with the album For LP Fans Only.
Elvis received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1971 Grammys.
His first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show was watched by a record 82.6% of the nationwide viewing audience. The $50,000 fee Sullivan paid for his appearances was more money than any performer had ever been paid to appear on a network variety program.
His televised concert Aloha From Hawaii was the first global satellite broadcast devoted to a single entertainer. It was seen by 51% of US viewers, more households than watched the first moon landing. In many countries it captured 70-90+% of the television audience. Ultimately, nearly 1.5 billion people in 40 countries saw this performance.
In 2003 a panel of music journalists commissioned by Britain's Q Magazine selected Elvis' first recording, "That's All Right," as the #1 pick in their list of "100 Songs that Changed the World".
Elvis Presley's Sun Records Sessions were among the first group of recordings selected for the National Recording Archives maintained by the US Library of Congress. (thanks to Eileen for above 9)
Especially in his later years he had an incredible vocal range; sometimes Presley is called an operatic singer. He could sing from bass vocal to falsetto. The highest note he could reach was the C. (thanks, Dennis - Maasdam, Netherlands)
He gained a new fandom of younger listeners when some of his songs were featured as part of the soundtrack for the 2001 Disney movie Lilo And Stitch. (thanks, Patrick - Tallapoosa, GA)
In 1955, Sam Phillips away Elvis' contract to RCA records for $35,000. According to music journalist Robert Fontenot, this was not as big a blunder as it sounds, as the music business in 1955 was a quick-cash game; no label owner, certainly not a small, regional one like Phillips, could have possibly asked for a percentage of an artists' future royalties once he was signed away. $35,000 was by far the largest amount ever paid for any artist by a major label, and no one in the business considered Rock music more than a passing fad; if anything, RCA was thought to have wildly overpaid for Elvis. Phillips proved he was indeed a shrewd businessman by investing that $35,000 in a small upstart hotel chain in Memphis. The name of that chain was the Holiday Hotel; you may know it better as the Holiday Inn. (thanks, E - Wenatchee, WA)
In November 2007, Elvis was #1 on a list of the top-earning dead celebrities compiled by Forbes magazine. He (actually, his estate), made $49 million in the previous 12 months, followed by John Lennon ($44 million) and cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, the writer and illustrator of Peanuts comic strip ($35 million). (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Before his career took off, Elvis worked as a truck driver and as an usher at Loew's State Theater in Memphis. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
He loved movies, and was a big fan of the actor James Dean. Elvis starred in 31 movies, but wasn't taken seriously as an actor.
Between 1961 and 1969, Elvis didn't play any live shows. However, from 1969-1976, he performed in Las Vegas over 800 times. He had a contract with the International Hotel, which later became The Hilton. When he was booked, he played two shows a night for seven days a week. Elvis remains a Vegas icon, and some people make their living there as Elvis impersonators.
He played just 2 shows outside the United States: a concert at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on April 2, 1957 and a show the next day in Ottawa. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
Elvis made only one advertisement in his life: a 1954 radio commercial for doughnuts.
Webb talks about his classic songs "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman" and "MacArthur Park."
Charlie Benante of Anthrax
The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.
dUg Pinnick of King's X
dUg dIgs into his King's X metal classics and his many side projects, including the one with Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam.