Long live the King
Elvis Aaron Presley would have been 73 years old this week on Jan. 8, 2008. Even in death, he is still a powerhouse performer that has a national following. Memphis is in the middle of a four day celebration of his life that started on Jan. 5. Throngs of fans will come from all over the globe just to be near “The King” on his birthday.
Coming from humble beginnings, he was born Elvis Aaron Presley on Jan. 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Miss. He was the second of an identical set of twins with his brother Jesse Garon being still born. Even though his birth certificate had his middle name spelled Aaron, Elvis and his mother always spelled it Aron, which is also the way it is spelled on his death certificate.
Before Elvis became a world wide sensation, he toured extensively in the South, including Texas and Louisiana. He was in Beaumont on June 20 & 21, 1955 when his people were trying to convince him it was time to leave Sun Records.
Later that year, at 8 p.m., Nov. 25, Elvis played at Woodrow Wilson Junior High in front of screaming teenagers, just four days after signing on with RCA
That is when his career really took off. RCA re-released all five of Elvis’ Sun records. The first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel” was released on Jan. 27, 1956. It shot to number one and turned gold by April.
Most people know about the “Ed Sullivan Show” appearances, but may not know that he received that three show contract at an unprecedented $50,000 dollars because of one appearance on the Steve Allen show. That evening was the first time the Steve Allen show topped the Sullivan show in the ratings.
Presley received the Allen show booking because of the high ratings the Milton Berle show received on both of Presley’s appearances.
He is the only artist to have been inducted into four music Halls of Fame. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him in 1986; The Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1997; The Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998; and The Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Forbes named him the Highest Earning Deceased Celebrity in six out of the last seven years with Kurt Cobain of Nirvana taking the lead in 2006 after his music catalogue was released, but “The King” regained his throne in 2007.
In the United Kingdom in 2005, three of his singles were re-released with all of them going to number one. Through the rest of the year a total of 20 songs were released with all of them going to at least number five on the charts.
Madonna has recently announced she has a plan to overtake Elvis’ record by releasing all her past hits to download in recognition of her fiftieth birthday.
The world mourned the loss of a great entertainer Aug. 16, 1977, at the age of 42, but in death, he has become an even bigger star. He continues to live on in the hearts and minds of his fans with 33 movies and countless hits to his name.