Portal:Elvis Presley

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Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Presley in a publicity photograph for the 1957 film Jailhouse Rock

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply the "King".

Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, with his family when he was 13 years old. His music career began there in 1954, recording at Sun Records with producer Sam Phillips, who wanted to bring the sound of African-American music to a wider audience. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was a pioneer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. In 1955, drummer D. J. Fontana joined to complete the lineup of Presley's classic quartet and RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who would manage him for more than two decades. Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel", was released in January 1956 and became a number one hit in the United States. With a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records, he became the leading figure of the newly popular sound of rock and roll. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race relations, made him enormously popular—and controversial.

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"Colonel" Tom Parker (born Andreas Cornelis (Dries) van Kuijk on June 26, 1909 – January 21, 1997), was a Dutch entertainment impresario known best as the manager of Elvis Presley. For many years Parker claimed to have been U.S. born, but it eventually emerged that he was born in Breda, Netherlands to Dutch parents. His management of Elvis Presley re-wrote the role of the manager and was seen as central to the astonishing success of Presley's career. He displayed a ruthless devotion to his client's interests, took 50% of his earnings, and piloted Elvis to global superstardom. Presley said of Parker: "I don't think I would have been very big with another man. Because he's a very smart man."

Did you know?

  • ... that The Sun Sessions album included all of the Elvis Presley tracks recorded by Sam Phillips?
  • ... that the Cryolophosaurus is informally known as the Elvisaurus because the bizarre crest running across its head resembles Elvis Presley's 1950s pompadour haircut?
  • ... that Jamaican actress and singer Amru Sani appeared on the same 1956 episode of The Ed Sullivan Show as Elvis Presley?
  • ... that Just a Gigolo (1978), David Bowie's second major film, was so poorly received by critics that the singer quipped, "It was my 32 Elvis Presley movies rolled into one"?

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