Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in the town of Tupelo, Mississippi. His father Vernon worked as a truck driver, and his mother Gladys Love was a seamstress. Elvis grew up a quiet and modest boy, the main person in the world for whom was always his mother. He got his first guitar at the age of eight; he first went on stage at 10, taking part in a young talent contest. That same year his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee - according to the official version his father found work there, but in reality he was hiding from the law after transporting a shipment of contraband liquor.
The bulk of Presley's childhood was spent in Memphis, where he absorbed a rattling mix of influences, from country to blues to gospel. At school, he occasionally performed at concerts, but did not think about a professional singing career. After high school, Elvis took a job as a truck driver, and made his first studio recordings in his spare time just for fun and to please his mother.
Elvis made these personal recordings on the newly opened Sun Records label - and it just so happened that the owner of the label Sam Phillips was looking for a white singer who performed music with a "black" mood. Phillips found Presley, a guitarist and bassist, and the three of them recorded the debut single "That's All Right, Mama," their own version of bluesman Arthur Cradup's song. It was followed by four more singles that many researchers consider Elvis' strongest work - "Blue Moon of Kentucky," "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Baby Let's Play House" and "Mystery Train."
By the end of 1955, "Mystery Train" had reached number one on the national country chart, and major labels were interested in Elvis. In late 1955, Sam Phillips sold the contract with Presley to the label RCA for 35 thousand dollars - at the time it was almost astronomical amount.
The first single for RCA, "Heartbreak Hotel," was really slow to sell out at first - but soon Elvis was invited to appear on national television, and the single was immediately swept off the shelves. Presley became a superstar overnight - his singles went like hotcakes, and his first full-length record "Elvis Presley" became the first record in the history of rock music, the income from which exceeded a million dollars.
In 1956, he starred in his first Hollywood movie, Love Me Tender; from then on, movies starring him (and, by extension, their soundtracks) were released at least once a year. In 1958, however, Presley was drafted into the army - and rather than try to use his stardom to avoid it in any way, the singer went to fulfill his duty to his homeland. When Elvis returned from the army in 1960, his popularity surprisingly not only did not fade, but even on the contrary, gained strength.
Until the end of the 60's Presley tuned about two dozen paintings. Moreover, he gave up concert activity and increasingly lost interest in working in the studio - as a result, most of his discography of the 60's are all sorts of soundtracks to his films, often filled with various unclaimed early recordings. In 1964 The Beatles, always openly recognized as Elvis fans, burst onto the world scene - not only did they become extremely popular at about the same rate as Elvis, but they also wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, something Presley had never done. All in all, the second half of the 60's was not going well for Presley, at least from a creative point of view.
Towards the end of the '60s, however, modest signs of improvement began to arrive - fresh singles like "Guitar Man" or "Big Boss Man" were energetic and punchy, bringing Elvis back to the rock 'n' roll sound. A televised concert of the singer in 1968 gave him a chance to revive himself as a great rock'n'roll artist in front of everyone - Elvis went on stage in a slightly changed image, reincarnating himself as a tough rocker in a leather jacket.
In the 70's Presley entered the active musician - concerts were given constantly, singles and records, both studio and live, were released several times a year, Hollywood was crossed. Nevertheless, his last top ten hit was released in 1972. This was not the only problem that happened to the singer that year - after five years of marriage, he divorced his wife Priscilla, with whom they met in the mid-sixties. After the divorce, Elvis fell into a severe depression - he spent more and more time in his bed, on tour almost never left his hotel room. He gained weight and became dependent on various pills.
In the end, the situation reached a critical level - in one of the cities the concert had to be simply canceled because Elvis could not be raised from bed. Presley gave his last concert on June 26, 1977 in Indianapolis - the performance lasted less than an hour. On August 17, 1977, he was found in the bathtub of his own Graceland estate; the great singer was dead. The causes of the singer's death are still debated to this day - the most common and convincing version states that the cause of death was a heart attack.