Elvis' Rock 'n' Roll History

Presley is pictured in a 1957 publicity photo. Presley was the most notable performer to work with Phillips, but perhaps the most historically important recording he made was 1953's "Rocket 88," which featured Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner's band and is widely considered the first rock 'n' roll record.
AP
Elvis' Rock 'n' Roll History

Only 42 years old at the time of his death, Elvis Presley lived a life long on groundbreaking musical achievements. Follow the American legend's rise to the top.





Jan. 8, 1935

Elvis Aaron Presley is born in a shotgun shanty in Tupelo, Miss. An identical twin brother, Jesse, does not survive the birth.

(Photo: AP)




1938

Vernon Presley is sent to prison for about a year for altering a $4 check. Elvis and his mother cannot afford to keep the house and move in with relatives.




1945

Elvis gets his first taste of fame, winning second prize for singing "Old Shep" at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show.




1946

The future king of Rock 'n' Roll gets his first guitar. Elvis had asked his parents for a bicycle, but the guitar was the most they could afford.




1948

The Presleys move to Memphis, Tenn. in search of brighter fortunes.




1953

Fresh out of high school, 17-year-old Elvis makes his first record. He cuts two songs at the now-legendary Sun Studio, a $5 birthday gift for his mother.




1954

Elvis returns to Sun and meets studio owner Sam Phillips. Phillips had proclaimed that if he could find a young white singer with the sound and spirit of a black man, he would make a billion dollars. He hooks Elvis up with some local musicians to record and play shows.

(Photo: AP)




August 1955

Elvis signs a contract with Hank Snow Attractions. Co-owner "Colonel" Tom Parker becomes the singer's exclusive manager.




November 1955

Phillips sells Elvis' contract and the rights to his Sun singles to RCA. He quickly becomes pop music's biggest new star.




February 1956

"Heartbreak Hotel" hits the top of the Billboard charts. The single also earns Elvis his first gold record.




April 6, 1956

Elvis signs a seven-year movie contract with Paramount Pictures. Being a movie star was one of his main ambitions.

(Photo: AP)




Sept. 9, 1956

His hometown of Tupelo, Miss., declares "Elvis Presley Day" on the occasion of his return performance at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. This time, the National Guard has to be called in to maintain order.

(Photo: AP)




November 1956

"Love Me Tender," Elvis' first musical movie, premieres. From 1956 to 1969, he stars in 33 feature films, most of them following nearly identical scripts, and all subject to approval by Colonel Parker.




March 1957

Elvis returns to Sun and meets studio owner Sam Phillips. Phillips had proclaimed that if he could find a young white singer with the sound and spirit of a black man, he would make a billion dollars. He hooks Elvis up with some local musicians to record and play shows.

(Photo: AP)




March 24, 1958

Elvis is drafted into the U.S. Army. A throng of photographers and reporters are on hand as he gets his first G.I. haircut. Most of his military service is done in West Germany.

(Photo: AP)




Aug. 14, 1958

Gladys Presley dies of complications from hepatitis. Elvis, who was granted emergency leave to be by her side, is devastated.




Jan. 8, 1935

Elvis meets 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu at a party at his home in Germany.

(Photo: AP)





March 5, 1960

Elvis is discharged from the Army and immediately returns to recording, performing and filming movies.

(Photo: AP)




1963

Priscilla moves into Graceland, finishing her senior year of high school in Memphis.




Feb. 9, 1964

The Beatles debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, and congratulations from Elvis and the Colonel are read over the air. Sgt. Presley didn't know it at the time, but his perch at the top of the pops was about to come under a "British invasion."




May 1, 1967

Elvis and Priscilla say "I do" in a Las Vegas wedding. Daughter Lisa Marie is born exactly nine months later.

(Photo: AP)




Dec. 3, 1968

"Elvis," a television special that captures the singer's first performances in front of a live audience in seven years, is aired on NBC. It earns rave reviews and becomes one of pop music's greatest TV moments.




Summer 1969

A four-week engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas breaks attendance records for the city and spawns Elvis' first live album. He returns to the road for the first time in years with the musical extravaganza.




Dec. 21, 1970

President Richard Nixon meets with Elvis in Washington. Former Nixon White House aide Egil "Bud" Krogh set up the meeting.




October 1972

"Burning Love" hits number two on the charts, Elvis' biggest single in years.

(Photo: AP)





Oct. 9, 1972

Elvis and Priscilla divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable difference.




1976

A year of heavy touring for Elvis.




Aug. 16, 1977

Elvis dies at Graceland. The cause is listed as congestive heart failure, but later investigations show drug abuse may have been a factor. His personal physician is accused of indiscriminately giving the singer pills, but is acquitted of the charges.

(Photo: AP)

Sources: Associated Press, Hollywood.com, Elvis.com