It’s hard for a younger audience to understand just how monumental the death of Elvis Presley was to his millions of fans.
At best, you can compare it to the death of Michael Jackson, and in both cases the cause was the same, prescription drug abuse the two superstars resorted to in order to cope with a waning career.
Oddly enough, had he lived Elvis would have been Michael’s father-in-law. August 16, 1977 is a date the King’s fans will never forget.
The news of Elvis Presley’s sudden death at age 42 travelled the world in minutes and even those who did not like his music understood the magnitude of this loss.
Elvis was the first superstar of the modern era, his face was instantly recognizable all over the world as was his voice.
The Road To Success
Elvis Presley’s rise to fame is the typical rags-to-riches story. Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi.
His folks were poor, sometimes having to rely on food stamps to survive, but they were regular church-goers and this served as little Elvis’ introduction to music. The future King of Rock and Roll started by singing religious hymns.
When Elvis was 13, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he taught himself how to play the guitar, partly to spite a music teacher who told him he could not sing.
Living in Memphis, Elvis was immersed in gospel music and rhythm and blues, which would heavily influence his later music.
From the moment he graduated high-school he knew what he wanted to do with his life – sing.
It wasn’t easy, though Elvis had guts and tried to impress the people at Sun Records, where he went to record a two-song album for his mother, Gladys, whom he adored.
That didn’t work and Elvis had to take a job as a truck driver to support himself. His big break came in 1956, when he finally got a deal with RCA which produced his debut album, ‘Elvis Presley.’
From that moment on, it was smooth sailing for his career. Elvis churned out hit after hit and with his smashing looks and dance moves it wasn’t hard to establish himself as a star.
Everywhere he went he was greeted by screaming fans and the media followed his every step. Soon enough he earned himself the title of King of Rock and Roll. Or simply The King, everybody understood who you were talking about.
A Very Insecure Man
For all his outward image, deep down Elvis was plagued by insecurities. His legend had grown so big, he struggled to keep up with it.