From small-town boy to household name
Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1935, Elvis Presley began his career in Memphis, Tennessee. He is pictured here in 1954 while recording at the famous Sun Studio in Memphis, which also helped launch blues guitarist B.B. King's career. Quickly rising to fame, Presley's first hit, "Heartbreak Hotel," propelled him into stardom in 1956. He would go on to become known as the "king of rock and roll."
A GI in Germany
Presley put his career on hold while serving in the US military in Germany from 1958 to 1960. Stationed in the small town of Friedberg, Presley stayed in a hotel in nearby Bad Nauheim instead of living in the barracks. There, he lived with an entourage: his grandmother, father and two bodyguards. Today, hotel guests can sleep in the Elvis Room, which was preserved to commemorate the King's stay.
Made in Germany
Although he was prohibited from performing during military service, the King still found time to make music. Germany was the birthplace of two chart-toppers: "One Night" and "A Fool Such as I." He also gave global fame to the popular German folk song, "Muss i denn zum Städtele hinaus," or in English, "Wooden Heart."
Happily ever after?
While Elvis was stationed in Germany, he also met Priscilla Beaulieu, the daughter of a US military officer. She was just 14 years old at the time. The couple married years later at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas in 1967, although Elvis reportedly continued to enjoy the company of other women.
Profiting after death
Elvis passed away at his residence, Graceland, on August 16, 1977. Graceland is the second-most-visited home historical residence in the US, after the White House. It's run by a multi-million dollar company called Elvis Presley Enterprises — making it unsurprising that Elvis regularly hits the top of Forbes' annual "Top-Earning Dead Celebrities" list.
The King lives on
His legacy is honored all over the world, including at the "European Elvis Festival" in Bad Nauheim, Germany. Elvis also has official fan clubs in at least 38 countries. And of course, "The King" graces stamps as well: Germany issued an Elvis stamp in 1988.
License to suit up
Legend has it that Elvis adopted the jumpsuit after he split his pants while performing on stage. Whatever the reason, the garment was an instant hit. B&K, a company in Charlestown, Indiana, creates Elvis jumpsuits based on the originals, such as for impersonator Dave Stovall (pictured). The company also created suits for the 2022 film "Elvis."
Inspiration from Hollywood
Elvis has inspired an entire industry of impersonators, as well as films like "Bye Bye, Birdie" (1967), based on his career. But who inspired the King? Elvis was known to enjoy the music of gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and once called actor James Dean (pictured) a "genius."
Inspiration for Hollywood
June 2022 saw the life story of Elvis Presley, played by Austin Butler (pictured), hit movie theaters. The film focuses on the complicated relationship with his shady manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks). Director Baz Luhrmann set electrifying music and stage scenes; and Butler has been celebrated for his fantastic portrayal of "The King."