Long live the King
Elvis Aron Presley would have been 75 years old this week on Jan. 8, 2010. Even in death, he is still a powerhouse performer that has a national following. Memphis is about to start a four day celebration of his life on Jan. 7. 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 Aron 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 and 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 the three show contract at an unprecedented $50,000 dollars because of one appearance on the Steve Allen show. That performance was the first time the Allen show topped Sullivan’s show in the ratings.
Presley received the Allen show booking because of the high ratings Milton Berle’s 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.
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.
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.
Forbes named him the Highest Earning Deceased Celebrity in seven out of the last nine 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 and retained it in 2008. Presley dropped to fourth in 2009, but it wasn’t Micheal Jackson taking the top spot; he only came in third. Because of estate sales and catalog sales, Yves Saint Laurent came out on top, followed by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Next year it should be a battle between “The King” and the self proclaimed “King of Pop” for the top spot.
Presley continues to live on in the hearts and minds of his fans with 33 movies and countless hits to his name.