Elvis Presley: King of Rock and Roll
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935, to Vernon and Gladys Presley. Elvis had a twin brother, Jessie Garon Presley, who died at birth. Elvis was raised in a small two bedroom house in Tupelo, Mississippi. The towns people called Tupelo, which was located near the Appalachian Mountains, the Mississippi Hills. Elvis grew up in a very poor side of town and where he mingled with the black culture. This exposed him to rhythm and blues, gospel, bluegrass, jazz and pop. Elvis didn't dress like a typical white middle class young man. He dressed with a rebel edge which included leather jackets, open shirts, and upturned colors. He slicked his hair back and grew long side burns. Elvis was a mixture of the black and white cultures that he grew up with.
Elvis began singing at an early age in church, at local assemblies, camp meetings and revivals. While in elementary school his teacher convinced him to participate in a talent contest at the Mississippi/Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. Elvis wore a cowboy suit, had to stand on a chair to reach the microphone, and he sang a Red Foley song, "Old Shep". Elvis won second place and a $5.00 prize. Shortly after this Elvis' uncle bought him a guitar and gave him lessons.
The Presley's moved to Memphis when Elvis was thirteen. He graduated from L. C. Humes high school in 1953. Elvis went to work for Crown Electric Company as a truck driver. He was planning to get a job as an electric repairman and took evening classes towards that end. During 1954 Elvis recorded a disc with two songs on it to give to his mother for her birthday. He paid $4.00 at Sun Records to do this disc. Sam Phillips, head of Sun Records, heard the disc. 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. Phillips made Presley an offer...
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