To mark the 40th anniversary of his death (August 16), we've compiled plenty of fascinating facts about the life, work, and influence of the "King of Rock and Roll."
1. Though commonly associated with Memphis, Elvis was born in Tupelo, Miss., on Jan. 8, 1935. His family moved to Memphis when Elvis was 13.
2. Elvis was a twin. His brother, Jesse Garon Presley, born before him, died at birth.
3. Elvis and David Bowie have the same birthday (p.s. Happy birthday, David Bowie!).
4. As a child, Elvis' family was very poor, often relying on government assistance.
5. A deadly tornado tore through Tupelo, Miss., when Elvis was a baby, killing more than 200 people.
6. Elvis boasts relations to former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter (distant cousin) and Abraham Lincoln (Elvis is a direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln's second great grandfather Isaiah Harrison).
7. In his youth, Elvis was a sleepwalker.
8. He also sang in a talent show. He came in fifth place.
9. At 12 years of age, Elvis's mom bought him his first guitar. He'd wanted a bicycle.
10. Presley's grade 8 music teacher gave him a "C" in her class.
11. Before hitting it big Elvis held many blue-collar jobs, including movie theatre usher and truck driver.
12. Wood shop was Elvis's favourite subject in high school.
13. He also joined his high school boxing team.
14. Some consider Elvis's 1954 single "That's All Right (Mama)" as the world's first rock 'n' roll record.
15. Television talent show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, a precursor to the American Idol's of today, actually turned Elvis down when he attempted to land a spot on the show in 1955.
16. Presley's debut album, Elvis Presley, released in March of 1956, became the first rock 'n' roll album in history to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
17. Some of Elvis's first concerts didn't go over well, with one reviewer likening them to "a jug of corn liquor at a champagne party."
18. Elvis is described as a "folk music fireball" in one of the earliest magazine articles written about him, a 1955 piece in Country Song Roundup.
19. Ed Sullivan said he wouldn't have Elvis appearing on his show. That lasted until Elvis's appearance on Sullivan-rival Steve Allen's talk show garnered big ratings. Sullivan then promptly secured Elvis for three shows.
20. Mobs in some U.S. cities burned Elvis in effigy, believing him to be a bad role model following his performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
21. At some of Elvis's early concerts, the National Guard was called in to act as security.
22. Elvis only ever performed outside of the United States three times, and all three times were in Canada. In 1957, he played Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.
23. Some claim Elvis's music video for the single "Jailhouse Rock" in 1957 was the first ever music video, while others cite Tony Bennett's "Stranger in Paradise" video from the year before as the inaugural video.
24. When filming Kid Galahad in 1961, Elvis was given a director's chair with the name "Mr. Presley" on the back. After expressing his dislike for the formal name on the chair, it was replaced with a much more satisfactory one that read "Just plain ol' Elvis."
25. Elvis was reportedly rather smitten with Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery.
26. Some of Elvis's celebrity romances included Candice Bergen, Ann-Margret, Cybill Shepherd, Connie Stevens and Natalie Wood.
27. Elvis met future wife Priscilla while stationed with the U.S. army in Germany.
28. Elvis was originally pegged to star as Tony in the musical West Side Story. His manager Colonel Tom Parker nixed the idea, however, and the part went to Richard Beymer.
29. Until the day he died, Elvis lavished Ann-Margret with flowers whenever she debuted a new Las Vegas act.
30. Elvis only ever endorsed one product in his lifetime: Texas-based Southern Maid Doughnuts.
31. Elvis was reportedly a huge fan of James Dean and was emotionally distraught when he passed away.
32. The person who inspired Elvis's trademark mane? Robert Mitchum.
33. One of the secrets to styling and maintaining his famous hairdo: a combination of Vaseline and rose oil.
34. Elvis's natural hair colour is brown; he dyed his hair black.
35. After recording "If I Can Dream," Elvis was so exhausted he passed out.
36. "Scatter" was Elvis's pet chimp. He also had a pet turkey called "Bow Tie."
37. Elvis's nicknames, other than the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," included "The Memphis Flash," The King of Western Bop," "Big E," "The Chief" and "The Hillbilly Cat."
38. When described as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll" by a journalist, Elvis declined the crown and instead directed the title to Fats Domino.
39. Elvis was a karate black belt.
40. Elvis was an insomniac.
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