January 8, 2011

The King's Birthday – U.S.

I know what you're thinking—the United States doesn't HAVE a king!

But today is Elvis Presley's birthday, and he has been so often called “King of Rock and Roll” that many people have shortened the label to “the King.”

Born on this day in 1935 in Mississippi, Presley began his career in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1954 with Sun Records. By 1956, he was already popular and controversial, with a number one hit (“Heartbreak Hotel”) and a movie (Love Me Tender).

Did you know...?

  • Elvis Presley served in the U.S. Army for two years. Even though he was already famous, he urged the military to treat him like every other soldier, and he was generous with money, donating his Army pay to charity and buying TV sets for the base and extra sets of fatigues for his entire outfit.

  • While in the Army, Elvis was introduced to amphetamines (bummer), karate (cool), and future wife Priscilla Beaulieu (interesting, since she was only 14 years old then!).
  • Elvis is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music.
  • He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won 3, plus a Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • He has been inducted into four music halls of fame.
  • Conductor Leonard Bernstein said about Elvis, “He introduced the beat to everything and he changed everything—music, language, clothes.

Check out the Graceland for Kids website. There is a video meant for kids that will play automatically with a bit of virtual tour of Graceland! 

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