Elvis Presley was rock & roll’s first real American star, not to mention one of the most important cultural forces in history, a hip-shaking symbol of abolition for the steady America of the 1950s. Presley’s personality was so fresh and striking that he could never be labeled. He changed music forever as a king and a music legend. Elvis became the first rock-and-roll superstar that broke the boundaries of American culture. Almost everyone knows that Elvis Presley was a famous singer, but many people don’t fully understand what he contributed to popular music to earn his widespread fame.
Born January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley was the son of Gladys and Vernon Presley, a sewing-machine operator and a truck driver (Jann S.). Elvis was actually born right after his twin Jessie Garon. Jessie was born a still born making Elvis the only healthy child to Vernon and Gladys Presley. Vernon and Gladys did not have much money but they did everything they could to provide for their son Elvis. Elvis grew up around his family for a lot of his life including his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins which all lived in Tupelo as well. Presley’s career started all the way back when he was 10 years old where he took 5th place in a competition. Elvis won 5 dollars in fair ride tickets for singing “Old Sheep” (Elvis.com). Now when Elvis was young he was like most other kids and wanted a bike. Elvis parents could not afford to buy him a bike so Gladys talked Elvis into buying his first guitar instead of the bike. Elvis first guitar was $12.95 at the Tupelo Hardware store. In 1948, Elvis played “Leaf on a Tree” to his Milam Junior High class in Tupelo as a farewell because he was moving to Memphis, Tennessee.
Elvis was planning to get a job as an electric repairman and took evening classes to learn that trade. During 1954 Elvis recorded a record with two songs on it to give to his mother for her birthday. He paid $4.00 at Sun Records for this record. Sam Phillips, head of Sun Records, heard the record. Sam was looking for a white man who could emulate the R&B and jazz sounds of the black artists and knew he had found that in Elvis. From then on it was a bundle of ups and downs that led him through his career.
In the summer of 1953, Presley recorded “My Happiness” and “That’s Where Your Heartaches Begin” at the Memphis Recording Service. He was disappointed in what he sounded like and wished he could have done better. As time went on in 1955, Elvis signed his first contract with RCA Records. Presley became a hit in 1956 with songs like “Heartbreak Hotel” which turned out to be his number one song. He was also the first rock star to cross over into films with consistently commercial, if not critical, success. Teens fell in love with him across the world with his smooth moves and slick black hair. All of Elvis’s hit singles in 1956 were certified gold. With the release of “Hound Dog,” Elvis solidified rock & roll as the newest sound of the day....