When Elvis Presley died on 16th August, 1977, radio and television programs all over the world were interrupted to give the news of his death. President Carter was asked to declare a day of national mourning. Carter said:‘Elvis Presley changed the face of American popular culture …… He was unique and irreplaceable.’Eighty thousand people attended his funeral. The streets were jammed with cars, and Elvis Presley films were shown on television, and his records were played on the radio all day. In the year after his death, one hundred million Presley LPs were sold.
Elvis Presley was born on January 8th, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. His twin brother, Jesse Garon, died at birth. His parents were very poor and Elvis never had music lessons, but he was surrounded by music from an early age. His parents were very religious, and Elvis regularly sang at church services. In 1948, when he was thirteen, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. He left school in 1953 and got a job as a truck driver.
In the summer of 1953 Elvis paid four dollars and recorded two songs for his mother's birthday at Sam Phillips' Sun Records studio. Sam Phillips heard Elvis and asked him to record "That's All Right" in July 1954. Twenty thousand copies were sold, mainly in and around Memphis. He made five more records for Sun, and in July 1955 he met Colonel Tom Parker, who became his manager in November. Parker sold Elvis's contract to RCA Records. Sun Records got thirty-five thousand dollars and Elvis got five thousand dollars. With the money he bought a pink Cadillac for his mother. On January 10th, 1956, Elvis recorded "Heartbreak Hotel", and a million copies were sold. In the next fourteen months he made another fourteen records, and they were all big hits. In 1956 he also made his first film in Hollywood.
In March, 1958, Elvis had to join the army. He wanted to be an ordinary soldier. When his hair was cut thousands of women cried. He spent the next two years in Germany, where he met Priscilla Beaulieu, who became his wife eight years later on May 1st, 1967. In 1960 he left the army and went to Hollywood where he made several films during the next few years.
By 1968 many people had become tired of Elvis. He hadn't performed live since 1960. But he recorded a new LP "From Elvis in Memphis" and appeared in a special television program. He became popular again, and went to Las Vegas, where he was paid seven hundred fifty thousand dollars for four weeks. In 1972 his wife left him, and they were divorced in October, 1973. He died from a heart attack. He had been working too hard, and eating and drinking too much for several years. He left all his money to his only daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. She became one of the richest people in the world when she was only nine years old.