Elvis Presley – 25 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know
Elvis Presley took the performing world by storm in the late 1950s and such was his popularity that even though he passed away in 1977, he still holds the record for most top 40 hits.
If you want to know more impressive facts about “The King of Rock and Roll” keep reading.
He Won 3 Grammy Awards Singing Gospel Songs
During his career, Elvis won 3 Grammy Awards, all of them for gospel music. His first was in 1967 for “How Great Thou Art”, his second was for “He Touched Me” in 1972 and the third was for “Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis” which included the song “How Great Thou Art” which won the Best Inspirational Performance in 1974.
He Had A Identical Twin Brother
Elvis Aron (later spelled Aaron) Presley was born on January 8th 1935 at his parents’ 2-roomed home in Tupelo, Mississippi.
He was born 35 minutes after his identical twin brother, Jesse Garon, who was sadly stillborn. Jesse was buried the following day in Priceville cemetery in an unmarked grave.
He Paid $122,500 For Graceland When He Was Only 22
In 1957, at the age of 22 Elvis bought Graceland, a mansion in Memphis Tennessee. It included almost 14 acres of land and was built in 1939 by Dr. Thomas Moore and his wife Ruth on a piece of land which was once part of a 500 acre farm called Graceland in honour of Ruth’s great aunt Grace. Eventually the Moore’s house became known as Graceland and Elvis never changed the name.
His Manager “Colonel Tom Parker” Wasn’t A Real Colonel (or even an American)
Colonel Tom Parker who was Elvis Presley’s manager from 1955 was actually an illegal immigrant from Holland. His real name was Andreas Cornelis Van Kujik who called himself Tom Parker and claimed to be from West Virginia. He somehow tricked the governor of Louisiana into giving him the honorary title of Colonel in 1948.
He First Met Priscilla At A Party When He Was 24, And She Was 14
Elvis spent some of his 2 years National Service in Germany, and it was while he was there that he met the daughter of a US Navy pilot at a party, who would later become his wife. That girl was Priscilla Beaulieu who later became Mrs. Priscilla Presley. They married in Las Vegas when she was 21.
He Gave All Of His Army Pay To Charity
By the time Elvis started his National Service, he was already a star. In 1958, the year he was conscripted, he had more than $400,000 in his bank account. So he donated all of his Army pay to charity.
He Was Turned Down By A Gospel Group
In 1954 Elvis auditioned for a gospel group called The Songfellows, Elvis later told his father “They told me I couldn’t sing”.
A spokesman for the gospel quartet later explained that he was turned down because he never demonstrated an ear for harmony at that time.
He Only Played 5 Concerts Outside Of The USA
The only time Elvis Presley ever performed any shows outside of the US was during a 3 day tour of Canada in 1957. There was speculation that it was because of his manager’s illegal status in the US which prevented them from leaving the country. Because Tom Parker never owned a passport and was fearful the truth about his past would surface if he did.
He Gave John Paul Jones His $5000 Gold & Diamond Wristwatch
In 1973 Elvis met Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. The pair were so in awe of meeting their idol that they could hardly speak. John Paul Jones made some comment about Elvis’s watch so Elvis traded his watch for John’s Mickey Mouse watch.
He Often Impersonated A Police Officer
Elvis once told the story of how he liked to dress up as a police officer and pull over other drivers and then give them his autograph. He said he mainly stopped female drivers which annoyed his wife. If you were fortunate enough to have been stopped and given Elvis Presley’s autograph, it would be worth a considerable amount nowadays.
He Had A Sandwich Named After Him
Elvis Presley was a fan of the loaf of bread called Fool’s Gold Loaf. It is said that he used to hollow this loaf out and fill it with bananas, peanut butter and bacon. There is now a sandwich called “The Elvis Sandwich” which is made from two slices of bread, sliced bananas, peanut butter and bacon.
He Was A Black Belt In Karate
During his time in the American Army, Elvis was instructed in the art of Chito-Ryu by Hank Slemansky. He trained in this style of Karate for 2 years and eventually became a black belt. He would often use some of his moves learned in Karate onstage.
He Used Shoe Polish To Keep His Hair Black
As Elvis grew older, he became more and more concerned with his appearance. To the point that he dyed his hair and eyebrows black. At one point he got some of the hair dye in his eyes which caused a severe allergic reaction. From that time onwards, he used to dye his hair using shoe polish.
He Recorded The First Million Selling Rock And Roll Album Ever
His self titled debut album, was the first rock and roll album to reach the top of the US album charts where it stayed for 10 weeks. Selling more than a million copies.
He Starred In More Than 30 Films
His draught into the US Army was put back 8 weeks by special licence so he could finish making the film “King Creole”. In all he starred in 31 films but many believe “King Creole” to be his best.
He Had More Than One Nickname
Elvis is fondly remembered as “The King Of Rock And Roll” but he was also once known as “The Atomic Powered Singer” and “Elvis The Pelvis”. During his early days, Elvis was also known as “The Memphis Flash”, “The Hillbilly Cat”, “The Hopping Hillbilly”, “The Cool Cat”, “The Tennessee Troubadour”, “The Vibrating Valentino” “Ol’ Snake Hips”, “Folk Music Fireball” and “Mr. Hound-Dog”.
He Helped To Wipe Out Polio
In 1955 Jonas Salk, a scientist, invented a cure for polio. However, teenagers were reluctant to take the vaccine. That was until Elvis posed for the press as he got his polio vaccine. Cases of polio decreased by 90% in the period between 1950 to 1960 in the US.
He Bought A Presidential Yacht And Then Donated It To A Children’s Hospital
Elvis bought the Potomac, a 165 foot long boat which president Roosevelt used as a “floating white house” from 1936 to 1945. When Elvis bought it in 1964, it cost him $55,000. Not long after, he gave it to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. This was one of the many charitable acts which Elvis performed during his lifetime.
He used to give away jewellery, cars and money to friends and strangers and he performed several benefit concerts. Including one for the completion of the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii. That concert in 1961 raised over $50,000.
He Has Been Inducted Into 5 Halls Of Fame
Elvis is the undisputed “King of Rock and Roll” and he has been recognised by 5 audacious bodies. He has been inducted into the following Halls Of Fame;
- Rock ’n’ Roll
He Has Sold More Than One Billion Records Worldwide
Elvis has had more than 150 albums and singles certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum. He also still holds the record for most top 40 hits with a staggering 114 top 40 hits to his name.
On top of which, he had 53 top 40 albums on the Billboard 200 chart.
His Face Has Appeared On 2 US Postal Stamps
Elvis is the only musical artist to ever have been honoured with 2 US postal stamps.
His stamps were released in 1993 and 2015. The 1993 stamp is the most popular US commemorative stamp of all time.
He Was A Big Fan Of Guns
When Elvis was 11 he got his first guitar for his birthday, he was a bit disappointed because he wanted a gun. When he grew up he had lots of guns (over 40) and often carried one around with him. On one occasion, Tom Jones remembers Elvis leaving a gun laying around in his dressing room.
Another time one of his girlfriends recalls Elvis firing a gun at his TV set. On another occasion, he fired a bullet into the headboard while she was sleeping, she said “it was to get her attention”.
His First TV Appearance Was In 1955
Elvis first appeared on TV on the Louisiana Hayride, filmed in Shreveport, Louisiana on March 5th 1955. That same year he was signed to RCA from Sun Records, RCA paid $40,000 for his contract. As he was only 20 years old and considered to be a minor, his dad had to sign the contract for him.
He Recorded Over 600 Songs
Elvis recorded more than 600 songs during his lifetime and never wrote a single one of them. He had a knack for taking someone else’s songs and making them his own. He either slowed the tempo or gave the song more soul or sometimes just made it rock.
He Had His Own Mafia Mob
Elvis always surrounded himself with friends, associates, family members and employees. All of whom worked in some capacity for Elvis and they all received a wage but he also gave them cars, houses and other bonuses. The media named these people “The Memphis Mafia”.
Elvis gave each member a gold and diamond necklace with a lightning bolt and the initials TCB on them. TCB stood for the phrase Taking Care of Business which Elvis first heard on the Bachman Turner Overdrive hit song of the same name.
Do You Know Any More?
That’s our 25 impressive facts about Elvis Presley that you probably didn’t know. Do you know any more? Let us know in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, USA.
Elvis Presley won all 3 of his Grammy Awards in the gospel category.
Elvis Presley was 22 years old when he bought Graceland for $122,500.
The Elvis Presley song which contains the lines “You know someone said that the world’s a stage and each of us must play a part, fate had me playing in love with you as my sweetheart” is Are You Lonesome Tonight.
The only woman Elvis Presley married was Priscilla Beaulieu.
The only other country that Elvis Presley performed in apart from the USA was Canada.
The Folk Music Fireball was one of Elvis Presley’s nicknames.
The Elvis Prsley song which contains the lines “You know they said you was high-classed, well, that was just a lie” is Hound Dog.
The martial art which Elvis Presley had a black belt in was karate.
The Elvis Presley song which contains the lines “So if an old friend I know, stops by to say hello” is Suspicious Minds.
The vaccine which Elvis Presley posed for the press when he received it was polio
According to Elvis Presley’s christmas song from 1964 it was a Blue Christmas.
The Elvis Presley song which contains the lines “This time I’m gonna take it myself and put it right in her hand, and if it comes back the very next day then I’ll understand” is Return To Sender.
The famous singer that Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie was married to was Michael Jackson.
Elvis Presley’s very first car was a Lincoln Zephyr which was a gift from his dad.
Elvis Presley’s biggest selling single was Hound Dog.
Elvis Presley had 18 number one songs, but he never wrote any of them. He never wrote any of his songs.
The initials TCB on Elvis Presley’s ring stand for Taking Care of Business.