Elvis Aaron Presley, in the humblest of circumstances, was born to Vernon and
Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935.
1948 and Elvis graduated from Humes High School there in 1953.
Elvis ' musical influences were the pop and country music of the day, the country
gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he
frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a
Memphis teenager. In 1954, he began his singing career at the legendary
Sun Studio in Memphis.
In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an
international sensation. With a sound and style that
uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the
social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of
American music and popular culture.
He starred in 31 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great
acclaim through his many, often
record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally,
he has sold in his life more than 500.000 millioen and today more than 1.6 billion records, more than other artist. His American
sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards for 111 different
albums and singles, far more than any other artist or group. Among his many
awards and accolades were the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he
received at age 36, from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences,
his being named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by
the United States Jaycees. Without any of the special privileges his
celebrity status might have afforded him, he honorably served his country in the
His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to
millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his
Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most
important cultural figures of the twentieth century.
Elvis died at his beloved Memphis home,
Graceland, on August 16, 1977. Following is a basic chronology of dates and
events in Elvis' life and career:
April 10, 1912
Vernon Elvis Presley is born.
April 25, 1912
Gladys Love Smith is born.
June, 1933 Gladys Smith and Vernon Presley are married.
January 8, 1935
In Tupelo, Mississippi, shortly before dawn, in a two-room house built by her
husband and her brother-in-law, Gladys Presley gives birth to identical twin
sons. The first, Jesse Garon, is born dead. The second, Elvis Aaron, is born alive and healthy. Elvis would be
their only child.
1937 Glades and Vernon with the two year old Elvis
1935 - 1948
Elvis grows up within a close-knit, working class family, consisting of his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, who all live near each other
in Tupelo. There is little money, but Vernon and Gladys do their best to provide for their son, who is the center
of their lives. They move from one house to another in Tupelo, and even live in Biloxi, Mississippi for a short while, returning to Tupelo. Elvis attends the Assembly
of God Church with his family, and the music and preaching register deeply. Other influences are black bluesmen in the neighborhood and country music radio
programs enjoyed by his family.
Ten-year-old Elvis stands on a chair at a microphone and sings "Old Shep" in a
youth talent contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show, held in
The talent show is broadcast over WELO Radio. Second prize is $5.00 and free
admission to all the rides at the fair.
Elvis's parents cannot afford a bicycle that Elvis wants, so Gladys talks him
into accepting a guitar instead. Elvis's first guitar costs $12.95 and is
purchased at the Tupelo Hardware Company.
The bicycle would have to wait until Christmas of 1947.
Elvis plays his guitar and sings "Leaf on a Tree" for his Milam Junior High
class in Tupelo as a farewell. Elvis and his parents pack their belongings in a
trunk strapped to the roof of their 1939 Plymouth and move to Memphis, Tennessee
in search of a better life economically. Other members of the Presley and Smith
clan would follow.
Elvis and his parents live in public housing or low rent homes in the poor
neighborhoods of north Memphis. Life continues to be hard. Vernon and Gladys go
from job to job,
and Elvis attends The Christine School, then Humes High School. Elvis works at
various jobs to help support himself and his parents.
The Presley-Smith clan remains close-knit,
and Elvis and his family attend the Assembly of God Church. The teenage Elvis
continues to be known for singing with his guitar. He buys his clothes on Beale
Street and he absorbs the black blues and gospel he hears there. He's also a
regular audience member at the all-night white, and black, gospel sings that are
held downtown. He wears his hair long (compared to the day's standards) and
slick, and lets his sideburns grow. He's really different from the other kids, a
good-natured misfit. While at Humes High, Elvis nervously sings with his guitar
at a student talent show.
Much to his own amazement, he gets more applause than anyone else and wins, then
performs an encore. The acceptance feels good.
June 3, 1953
Elvis graduates from Humes High School.
"My Happyness" the origional
Juli 18, 1953
Elvis works at Parker Machinists Shop right after graduation. That summer Juli 18 he drops by The Memphis Recording Service, home of the Sun label and makes a demo
acetate of "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" for a cost of about $4.00. (The studio came to be known as Sun Studio though never
officially named that until many years later. For simplicity this text uses the name Sun Studio.) The studio owner isn't in, so his assistant,
Marion Keisker handles the session. Elvis walked into the Memphis Recording Service to make a record against a small payment (4$). He wanted to hear how he sounded on tape, and gave the record to his mother as a late birthday present. Almost a year later the owner (Sam Philips) of a small starting label working in the Memphis Recording Studio, Sun Records, called Elvis and wanted him to come to the studio and try recording for him accompanied by Bill By the fall, he is working at Precision Tool Company, and soon changes jobs again, going to work for Crown Electric Company. At Crown, he does various jobs, including driving a delivery truck. He also goes to night
school and studies to be an electrician.
The lyric " My Happiness" is made by. Betty Peterson Blasco
Casual Love Affair" and
"I'll Never Stand in Your Way
Elvis makes another demo acetate at Sun. This time the songs are "Casual Love Affair" and "I'll Never Stand in Your Way".
Sam Phillips, the owner, is in this time and, like Marion Keisker, is intrigued by this unusual looking and sounding young man. (There has recently
been scholarly argument about which songs were recorded this time around. The two songs listed here are those most typically identified as the ones he
Scotty, Elvis and Bill
That's All Right (Mama)
Juli 7, 1954
At Marion Keisker 's suggestion,
Sam Phillips calls Elvis into the studio to try singing a song Sam hopes
to put out on record. The song is "Without You" and Elvis does not sing it to
Sam's satisfaction. Sam asks Elvis what he could sing, and Elvis runs through a
number of popular tunes. Sam is impressed enough to team Elvis up with local
musicians Scotty Moore (guitar) and Bill Black (bass) to see if they, together,
could come up with something worthwhile. Nothing really clicks until July 5,
when after a tedious session, Elvis and the guys break into a sped-up version of
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right (Mama)". This song, backed with "Blue Moon
of Kentucky" would be the first of five singles Elvis would release on the Sun label. Elvis, Scotty, and Bill start
performing together, with Scotty acting as the group's manager. Elvis continues to work at Crown Electric as the group starts to play small clubs and other
smalltime gigs locally and throughout the South, enjoying moderate success with the records and personal appearances. Elvis's one appearance on the Grand Ole
Opry doesn't go over particularly well, with one of the Opry officials suggesting that Elvis go back to driving a truck. The Opry is very important at
this time. This is a painful disappointment in Elvis's early career.
Late 1954 - 1955 Elvis, Scotty, and Bill continue to record and to travel.
October 16, 1954
They appear for the first time on the "Louisiana Hayride", a live Saturday night
country music radio show originating in Shreveport, Louisiana, broadcast over
The show is the Grand Ole Opry's chief competitor, carried by 190 stations in
thirteen states. This leads to regular appearances on the "Hayride" and, in
Elvis signs a one-year contract for fifty-two Saturday night appearances. This
is a great break, but as Elvis's popularity grows, his commitment to the
"Hayride" prevents him from traveling much outside the South to further his
career on a larger scale. During Elvis's association with the "Hayride" he meets
"Colonel" Tom Parker, a promoter and manager connected with various acts,
and connected with the "Louisiana Hayride". Parker is also the manager for
country star, Hank Snow. A previous client was country star
January 1955 Elvis signs a contract with Bob Neal, who becomes his manager.
Scotty, and Bill continue touring on their own and in package shows with
various country stars, including package tours of artists from the "Hayride".
Colonel Parker is involved.
This includes touring with
The regular "Hayride" appearances continue. Drummer
D.J. Fontana joins Elvis's band. In the spring,
Elvis fails to be accepted on "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts", a network
television show. As always, Elvis's live appearances have special appeal for the
especially the females. Elvis's unusual style, sexy moves, and good looks start
to cause excitement wherever he plays. Sometimes the crowds break through the
barricades in near-riot behavior. Elvis gains more and more popularity and
begins to receive national attention.
Colonel Parker becomes more involved in Elvis's career.
Elvis / Hank Snow
August 15, 1955
Elvis signs a management contract with Hank Snow Attractions, which is owned
equally by Snow and Colonel Tom Parker. Bob Neal remains involved as an
advisor. Colonel Parker will be Elvis's manager from this time on, and Snow is
soon no longer connected to Elvis.
Elvis signs his first contract
November 20, 1955
Elvis signs his first contract with RCA Records, which would be the label he
would record for from then on. Colonel Parker negotiates the sale of Elvis's Sun
contract to RCA,
which includes Elvis's five Sun singles and his unreleased Sun material. The
price is an unprecedented $40,000, with a $5,000 bonus for Elvis.
RCA soon re-releases the five
Sun singles on the RCA label. At the same time Elvis signs a contract
with Hill and Range Publishing Company,
which is to set up a separate firm called Elvis Presley Music, Inc. Elvis would
share with Hill and Range the publishing ownership of,
and share writers' royalties with writers of, songs bought by Hill and Range for
him to record. Elvis is the hottest new star in the music business.
January 10, 1956
Two days after his twenty-first birthday, Elvis has his first recording session
for RCA, held at their studio in Nashville.
Among the songs laid to tape during this session is "
Heartbreak Hotel ".
The Jordanaires, a gospel
quartet and popular country back-up group, begin working with Elvis in the
studio during the first few RCA sessions and would soon
begin touring with him. They would also appear with him in several films. They
would be his main back-up group until the late sixties.
January 27, 1956
"Heartbreak Hotel" b/w "I Was the One" is released by RCA and sells over 300,000
copies in its first three weeks on the market. It would go to number one on
Billboard's pop singles chart for eight weeks and would also hit number one on
the country chart and number five on the R&B chart. It would become the first
Elvis single to sell over one million copies,
thus becoming Elvis's very first gold record.
January 28, 1956
Elvis appears with
Bill, and D.J. on the Jackie Gleason-produced "Stage Show", starring
Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey on CBS. This is Elvis's first network television appearance.
He appears on six weekly "Stage Shows" in a row and makes minor waves
nationally. The last of these six "Stage Show" appearances is March 24.
Traveling and personal appearances continue during this time, including the
"Louisiana Hayride" appearances for which he is still under contract. Fame and
As "Heartbreak Hotel" makes its climb up the charts, "Mystery Train" b/w "I
Forgot to Remember to Forget", Elvis's fifth and last single to be released on
the Sun label,
hits number one on Billboard's national country singles chart. His first number
one hit on a national chart.
March 13, 1956
RCA releases "Elvis Presley", Elvis's first album. (He had not released an album
on Sun.) The album would go to number on on Billboard's pop album chart for ten
It would become the first Elvis album to reach over $1 million in sales, thus
becoming Elvis's first gold album.
April 1, 1956
Elvis has a screen test for Paramount Studios in Hollywood. He lip syncs "Blue
Suede Shoes" and he performs a scene from the as yet unmade film,"The Rainmaker", a film he did not end up being in.
April 3, 1956
Elvis appears on "The Milton Berle Show" on ABC, which, for this particular
broadcast, originates from the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS Hancock.
April 6, 1956:
Elvis signs a seven-year movie contract with Hal Wallis and Paramount Pictures.
April 23 - May 9, 1956
Compared to the usual hysteria, Elvis has lukewarm acceptance for his two-week
engagement at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. He is not exactly what the
adult audience of Vegas gamblers relates to very well. During these two weeks,
the single "Heartbreak Hotel" and the album "Elvis Presley" both hit number one
on the Billboard pop
charts. Through all of this,
the travel and personal appearances around the country and new record releases
continue. The crowds get bigger and bigger, wilder and wilder.
Elvis's fame grows dramatically Some shows have to end early due to fans'
storming the stage. Elvis creates pandemonium wherever he goes.
The Milton BerleShow
June 5, 1956
Elvis appears again on "The Milton BerleShow", this time in the studio where the show usually originates, this time
backed by The Jordanaires in addition to Scotty, Bill and D.J.
Among his selections is a playfully sensuous, bump and grind performance
of "Hound Dog" that drives the kids in the audience wild, and, the next day,
has the press and some of the adult viewers appalled. It is one of his most
controversial performances. This merely serves to fuel his seemingly unstoppable
popularity even more.
Traveling and personal appearances and new record releases continue. By this
time Elvis, with his sexy moves and black-influenced sound,
is being condemned by certain factions of the " morally concerned" establishment
and the religious community. But, the kids love it.
July 1, 1956
Elvis appears on "The Steve Allen
Show" on NBC. Among his performances that night is a much toned down version of
"Hound Dog". Allen has Elvis dressed in white tie and black tux with tails and
has him sing the song to a live Basset hound, a tongue-in-cheek response to all
controversy created by the Berle appearance the month before. Elvis
good-naturedly goes along with it,
but is not too happy about it. Record releases, touring, and recording continue.
The condemnation and controversy continue along with the ever-growing
Ed Sullivan, who had said that he would never have the likes of Elvis Presley on
his show, changes his tune when he sees the big ratings that Elvis attracts to
the Berle and Allen shows.
A three-appearance deal is worked out for $50,000 and is the highest amount ever
paid to a performer, up to that time, for appearing on a variety show.
Elvis's first movie
Elvis begins shooting his first movie, "Love Me Tender" on loan-out from Paramount to Twentieth Century Fox. It is
originally titled "The Reno Brothers", but is re-titled before its release to
capitalize on Elvis's sure-to-be-a-hit single from the soundtrack.
September 9, 1956
Elvis makes the first of three appearances on Ed Sullivan's
"Toast of the Town Show", the top television program of the era. Elvis attracts
the highest ratings ever for any television variety show.
Elvis Presley Day, Memphis Tennessee
September 26, 1956
"Elvis Presley Day" is proclaimed in Tupelo, Mississippi.
Elvis's parents join him as he returns to the town of his birth as a big star.
He performs two shows that day at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show,
the same fair at which he had performed at age 10. This time there are a hundred
National Guardsmen surrounding the stage to control the crowds of excited fans.
By this time, souvenir merchandising using Elvis's name, image, and likeness has
become a big part of the Elvis phenomenon. Licensees would soon be producing as
many as thirty different products including hats, t-shirts, jeans, kerchiefs,
sneakers, shirts, blouses, belts, purses, billfolds, wallets, charm bracelets,
necklaces, magazines, gloves, bookends, a statue, lipstick, cologne, stuffed
hound dogs, stationery, sweaters, crockery, and more. Elvis and the Colonel
blazed new trails in the area of celebrity merchandising.
This would forever be part of the marketing of Elvis Presley, feeding a
October 28, 1956
Elvis makes his second of three appearances on the Sullivan show.
Elvis's first movie
November 16, 1956
Elvis's first movie, "Love Me Tender" premieres at the Paramount Theater in New York City, opening
nationwide in the days following. It becomes a smash hit,
and the critics' reviews aren't bad for his acting in this melodrama, which is
set in 1800's Civil War era southern America. The film has Elvis performing
several songs, of course.
December 31, 1956
The front page of the Wall Street Journal reports that in the past few months
Elvis merchandise has grossed $22 million in sales.
Elvis ends the pivotal year of his career, when regional popularity gave way to
unprecedented national and international fame. The year of 1956 had seen the
beginning of Elvis souvenir merchandising, the beginning of a successful movie
career, history-making record sales (five number one singles on the pop chart,
two number one albums on the pop chart, and other hits), history-making
television appearances, record-breaking personal appearances and more. Elvis had
become the primary symbol of the new youth culture in America.
He had also become one of society's most controversial figures. His unique
blending of white country and gospel music, black R&B and gospel music, white
and his particular brand of charisma and talent, and the resulting success and
controversy, had him helping greatly to begin, without premeditation, a cycle of
change in music and pop culture and the mores of American society. Nothing would
ever be the same for Elvis Presley or for the world.
His third and final appearance on Ed Sullivan's show
January 6, 1957
Elvis makes his third and final appearance on
Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town Show". It was for this appearance that Elvis is seen only
from the waist up.
It's funny that after all of his television appearances the previous year, such
censorship comes at this time. It is particularly amusing that this guideline
remains in place during Elvis's performance of the gospel standard, "Peace
in the Valley", one of five songs he performs on this Sullivan
appearance. Ed Sullivan himself helps diffuse some of the controversy
surrounding Elvis when he comes out on stage to thank Elvis and tells the studio
audience and millions of American television viewers that "this is a decent,
fine boy" and what a delight he had been to work with when appearing on the
show. Ed Sullivan is the most influential person on television audiences and one
of the most powerful people in the television industry at the time.
Personal appearances, recording sessions, record releases, controversy, and
Elvis begins production of his second movie, "Loving You".
February 3, 1957
The New York Times runs a story entitled "Presley Records a Craze in Soviet
Union". Elvis records are not legally available in the Soviet Union. The article
tells of bootleg recordings
being cut on discarded x-ray plates and being sold in Leningrad on the black
market for fifty rubles (about twelve and a half dollars) each,
a lot of money back then.
Elvis buys Graceland Mansion for himself, his parents, and his paternal grandmother to live in. It will be ready for them to move into in early April.
April , 1957
While touring with his show, Elvis performs outside the United States for the
first time when he appears in Canada: two shows in Toronto on April 2 and two
shows in Ottawa on April 3.
Elvis begins work on his third motion picture, "Jailhouse Rock" for MGM.
July 9, 1957
Elvis's second motion picture, "Loving You" premieres and quickly reaches the
top ten at the box office. Hit records include the title song and the classic
smash "Teddy Bear".
Traveling, touring, record releases, and personal appearances continue.
This is the third Canadian city
he has performed
August 31, 1957
Elvis performs in Vancouver. This is the third Canadian city he has performed
in, and marks the last time he would perform in concert outside the United
September 27, 1957
Elvis returns once more to the town of his birth to perform. This time it is a
benefit for the proposed Elvis Presley Youth Recreation Center in Tupelo,
The grounds include Elvis' birthplace home. He would donate regularly to the
center for the rest of his life. (The center is still used by the general
The birthplace home is open for tours, and there is a small museum and a
October 17, 1957
Elvis's third motion picture premieres in Memphis, opening nationally in
November and quickly going to the top five at the box office. The title song is
a smash hit. This film would, years later, be considered Elvis's best, rivaled
only by "King Creole",
which followed in 1958. "Jailhouse Rock" would come to be considered the
ultimate classic of all "rock opera" movies, and the "Jailhouse Rock" production
number in the film would later be recognized as the grandfather of pop/rock
a music format that would become widely popular by the 1980's.
The First time in Hawaii
November 10, 11 1957
Elvis performs shows in Hawaii for the first time.
The First Christmas at Graceland
Elvis and family enjoy their first Christmas at Graceland and Elvis officially
receives his draft notice, a day he had known would be coming soon.
The Fourth movie
Late January- Early March, 1958
: Elvis films and records for his fourth motion picture, "King Creole".
March 15, 1958
Elvis performs two shows in Memphis. These will be his last stage performances
until after his army release in 1960.
March 24, 1958 Elvis Presley is inducted into the
U.S. Army at the Memphis Draft Board and is assigned serial number
Elvis gets his famous G.I. haircut
March 25, 1958
Elvis gets his famous G.I. haircut at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas
March 29, 1958
Private Presley arrives at Fort Hood, Texas for basic training and is stationed
there for six months. His parents soon move to a temporary home near the base
June 10, 1958
After basic training, while on his first leave, Elvis has a recording session,
his last until 1960.
"King Creole", Elvis's fourth motion picture opens nationally and the reviews are the best he would
ever have for his acting.
Its impressive list of co-stars and supporting cast includes
Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau, Dean Jagger and Vic Morrow. It becomes a top five film at the
This Michael ("Casablanca") Curtiz-directed movie, set in New Orleans and based
upon the Harold Robbins novel, A Stone for Danny Fisher, will come to be
regarded as Elvis's finest film,
his greatest acting performance, and proof positive that he had the talent to
have developed as a respected serious actor,
though the realization of this desire would remain forever out of his grasp.
Gladys Presley becomes ill and returns to Memphis to be hospitalized with acute
hepatitis. Elvis is granted emergency leave and arrives in Memphis on the
afternoon of August 12th. He visits her that night, and the next day and night.
A few hours after Elvis goes home to Graceland to rest, she dies in the early
hours of August 14 at age 46. Her body lies in state at Graceland that
afternoon. Services are at the Memphis Funeral Home on the 15th, with the
Blackwood Brothers singing "Precious Memories" and "Rock of Ages", two of Gladys
Presley's favorite hymns. She is laid to rest at Forest Hill Cemetery, a few
miles down the road from Graceland. Elvis suffers the most overwhelming grief
and despair of his life. He would never be the same after this.
August 25, 1958 Elvis reports back to Fort Hood.
Elvis boards troop train to New York
September 19, Elvis boards a troop train to New York, later boards the USS
Randall, sails to West Germany, arriving on October 1.
He will be stationed in Friedberg for 18 months, maintaining an off-base
shared with his father and grandmother, and some friends from Memphis.
He finds the fans in Europe to be as enthusiastic as those in America.
January 8, 1959
Elvis is interviewed via transatlantic telephone by Dick Clark on his "American
Bandstand" show on ABC-TV. The show (which Elvis never appeared on)
commemorates the star's twenty-fourth birthday.
On a two-week leave
On a two-week leave, Elvis visits Munich, then goes clubbing in Paris, which
includes a visit to the Lido.
Colonel Parker has continued to keep Elvis's career alive with promotions and
hit record releases.
Captain Joseph Beaulieu is transferred from Texas to Weisbaden Air Force Base
near Friedberg, accompanied by his wife and children, including his
fourteen-and-a-half- year-old stepdaughter, Priscilla Ann. (Priscilla is the
only child from Ann Beaulieu's marriage to her first husband, James Wagner, a
Navy pilot who was killed in a plane crash when Priscilla was an infant.)
Through a mutual friend, Priscilla is invited to a party at Elvis's home soon
after her arrival in West Germany. They meet, and the rest is history.
January 20, 1960 Elvis is promoted to Sergeant.
New Jersey press conference
Elvis leaves West Germany on March 1, arriving in New Jersey the next day for a
press conference, and is officially discharged from active duty on March 5,
1960. He boards a train for Memphis, arriving on March 7. Press and crowds of
fans are everywhere for this historic series of events. He holds a press
conference at Graceland in his father's
office behind the mansion on March 8. He had served his country just like any
other GI, with no special privileges his celebrity status might have afforded
him. These two years away from his career have been a time to mature. He has
also worried constantly that his lengthy absence might have damaged his career
progress. He needn't have worried. He has yet to see his greatest stardom.
Late March, 1960
Elvis has his first post-army recording session. On March 21 he receives his
first degree black belt in karate, an interest he developed while in the
army. On March 26 he tapes a special " Welcome Home, Elvis" version of
Frank Sinatra's ABC-TV variety show, for which he is paid a record sum for a
single variety show appearance.
his fifth film, "GI Blues"
Late April, 1960
Elvis begins filming and recording for his first post-army movie, his fifth
film, "GI Blues" for Paramount, the the first of nine to be produced (not consecutively) by Hal
Wallis."GI Blues" co-stars dancer/actress Juliet Prowse.
Welcome Home, Elvis"
May 8, 1960
ABC airs Frank Sinatra's "Welcome Home, Elvis" edition of his variety show,
which attracts a 41.5% share of the national television audience.
Elvis is sets a new television record by being paid $125,000 for his brief
appearances in the show.
July 3, 1960
Vernon Presley marries divorcee and mother of three sons, Davada "Dee" Stanley,
an American whom he had met in West Germany, where she had been stationed with
They live at Graceland briefly, then move to a home nearby.
Elvis records and films for his sixth movie, "Flaming Star", a drama with limited music. Elvis plays a half-breed Native
American, caught between two cultures.
His positive portrayal of Native Americans earns him special recognition. The
The soundtrack album for "GI Blues" enters the Billboard album chart and soon
goes to number one. It remains number one for ten weeks and stays on the chart
for 111 weeks.
It would be the most successful album of Elvis's entire career on the
Billboard charts. (In terms of total record sales, we do not know which
album was the most successful.) Note: Elvis has three number one singles, one
number two album, one number one album, and other hits in 1960, his first year
out of the army.
Elvis begins recording and filming for his seventh film, "Wild in the Country", which will be completed in January. "GI Blues" opens
nationally to warm reviews and big box office sales and is among the fifteen
top-grossing films of the year. It is a light comedy melodrama with lots of
singing by Elvis, who seen in uniform for most of the movie.
Late December, 1960 "Flaming Star" opens
nationally to warm reviews, but this dramatic film with little singing does not
set the box office on fire so much as "GI Blues".
February 25, 1961
Elvis appears in Memphis at a lunche on in his honor, and numerous recent awards
Elvis has received are shown to those attending, including the press.
A press conference follows. Then there are afternoon and evening shows at Ellis
Auditorium to benefit around thirty-eight Memphis-area charities. Other than the
Sinatra television show, this is, so far, Elvis's only live performance since
his army discharge. "Elvis Presley Day" is proclaimed by Tennessee
Governor Buford Ellington. Every year after this, Elvis donates money to a list of
Memphis-area charities, eventually reaching fifty or more, usually around Christmas time.
Elvis Rock ’n’ Rolled in
For the USS Arizona Memorial
March 25, 1961
Elvis arrives in Hawaii for a press conference, then an evening concert at Bloch
Arena at Pearl Harbor. He is there to perform a benefit to help fund the
building of the USS Arizona Memorial. Hundreds of fans mob the airport as he
arrives. His show raises around $65,000 for the memorial and, beyond that, also
helps bring publicity and public awareness and support to the project. The
fund-raising efforts, for the most part, had been difficult up to that point.
The rest of the needed funds are soon raised, and the memorial is completed a
year later. Elvis receives numerous official honors in appreciation for this
benefit. This turns out to be Elvis's last live, non-movie performance until his
1968 television special.
Late March/Mid- April, 1961
Elvis remains in Hawaii to do location filming for his eighth motion picture, "Blue Hawaii". He has already done soundtrack recording. Later,
there is additional filming to be done back in Hollywood for this film. From
this time on, Elvis will have a great affection for Hawaii, its culture and its
"Wild in the Country", co-starring
Hope Lange, Millie Perkins and Tuesday Weld, opens nationally to mixed reviews.
Like "Flaming Star" it is a melodrama with limited singing by Elvis. It, too,
does not set the box office on fire.
Elvis records and films for his ninth motion picture, "Follow That Dream". Filming includes some location shooting Florida.
Non-movie-related hit records and recording session have continued through this
The soundtrack album for "Blue Hawaii" enters the Billboard chart for a
year-and-a-half run, staying at number one for twenty weeks, second only to "GI
Blues" as the biggest album of Elvis's career on the Billboard charts. It also
yields a number two single destined to become an Elvis classic, "Can't Help Falling in Love".
October/November, 1961 :
Elvis records and films for his tenth motion picture, "Kid Galahad", completing it in January.
Late November 1961
"Blue Hawaii" opens nationally to warm reviews and gets to number two on the box
office charts. It becomes the top-grossing film of Elvis's career thus far. Its
characteristics of a non-cerebral plot, lavish scenery, lots of songs by Elvis,
and lots of pretty girls become the basis for the "Presley formula" movies of
the sixties, though most of them will not be nearly so well done.
Non-movie-related recordings and hit records have continued through this period,
with "Good Luck Charm" hitting number one in 1962
(his last number one pop hit until "Suspicious Minds" in 1969).
Late March/Late April, 1962: Elvis records and films in Hollywood, and does location filming in Hawaii for
his eleventh motion picture, "Girls! Girls! Girls!".
May/June 1962 "Follow That Dream" opens nationally and gets to number five on the box office charts. It is warmly reviewed and does pretty well in sales.
Late August/September 1962
Elvis records and films for his twelfth motion picture, "It Happened at the World's Fair". Shooting is both in Hollywood and on
location at the World's Fair in Seattle."Kid Galahad" opens nationally does relatively well with a brief stay in the top
ten on the box office chart.
In Mexico, riot behavior in a theater showing "GI Blues" prompts the Mexican government to ban elvis movies.
Torn seats, broken windows, and other damage is reported.
"Girls! Girls! Girls!" opens nationally and rivals "Blue Hawaii" in box office
success. This is the second film "Return To Sender" to use the "formula", and it works. The soundtrack album goes
top five and yields the hit single
Priscilla Beaulieu had flown from West Germany to visit Elvis in Los Angeles in
the summer for their first time to see each other after his army discharge. In
December her parents allow her to spend the Christmas holidays with him at
Graceland in Memphis. She returns to her
family briefly, then moves to Graceland in early 1963, finishing her senior year
of high school in
She turns 18 on May 24, 1963. It will be nearly four years before she becomes
Mrs. Elvis Presley.
His thirteenth film
(another "formula" movie)
Late January/February 1963
Elvis records and films for his thirteenth film (another "formula" movie), "Fun in Acapulco".
"It Happened at the World's Fair" opens nationally and does relatively well at
the box office, though its plot is the most frivolous of any Elvis film so far.
And the soundtrack album goes top five. Non-movie recordings and hits continue
through this period.
Elvis records and shoots for his fifteenth motion picture, "Kissin' Cousins".
(It would be his fifteenth movie to be released as "Kissin' Cousins", which he
would shoot next, would actually be released before "Viva Las Vegas".)
Elvis records the music, then, on location in Las Vegas and in a Hollywood studio, he films for his fourteenth motion picture,
"Viva Las Vegas", co-starring
Late November 1963
"Fun in Acapulco" opens nationally and quickly goes to number five at the box
office. The soundtrack goes to the top five on
The pop chart.
Elvis purchases the "Potomac", former presidential yacht of Franklin Roosevelt,
for $55,000. He intends to donate it to the March of Dimes for use as a national
(FDR suffered from polio, the main disease fought by the March of Dimes). Costs
of maintaining the yacht would be prohibitive, so the March of Dimes declines to
accept the gift. Elvis attempts to give it to the 7th Coast Guard District
Auxilliary in Miami, which also doesn't work out. Finally, on February 13 he
presents the yacht to
Danny Thomas as a gift to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis for them to use to
raise funds as they see fit. The ceremony takes place in Long Beach, California.
During this saga of trying to donate the yacht, the Beatles make their first
appearance on the "Ed
Sullivan Show" and Sullivan reads on the air a congratulatory telegram
from Elvis and the Colonel. American music and pop culture soon change
dramatically with the "British invasion", much as it had after Elvis hit it big
in the fifties Elvis has become bored and frustrated with his film and recording
career. It will only get worse.
"Kissin' Cousins" opens nationally. One of the poorest quality films of his
career, it still quickly hits number eleven at the box office (then quickly
falls) and the album goes top ten. Elvis begins filming for his sixteenth motion
picture, "Roustabout", co-starring Hollywood legend Barbara Stanwyck
He had recorded the music during the previous month.
Elvis records music for his next film, "Girl
Happy". "Viva Las Vegas" opens nationally and goes to number eight at
the box office. It's one of the better Elvis movies of this period, and the
songs are better as well.
Elvis shoots his seventeenth motion picture, "Girl Happy", which co-stars
and former "Miss America",
Mary Ann Mobley.
This involves some location shooting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Elvis begins shooting eighteenth motion picture, "Tickle Mequot;. The soundtrack has no new recordings. Instead, previously released
non-movie recordings are used,
apparently to keep production costs to a minimum.
"Roustabout" opens nationally and hits number eight at the box office. The soundtrack, which represents some of the best Elvis movie music in a while,
goes to number one on the Billboard
Pop album chart.
Elvis records the soundtrack and does the filming for his nineteenth motion picture, "Harum Scarum",
Mary Ann Mobley.
"Girl Happy" opens nationally and does relatively good business. The
soundtrack album goes top ten. Non-movie record releases have continued
during this period.
Some do well.
Elvis records music and does filming for his twentieth motion picture (to be
released out of chronology as his twenty-first), "Frankie and Johnny",
co-starring Donna Douglas.
"Tickle Me" opens nationally. Elvis donates $50,000 to the Motion Picture Relief
Fund, reportedly the largest single donation the organization had ever received.
Accepting for the organization are
Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Sinatra.
Elvis records soundtrack music for his twenty-first motion picture, "Paradise, Hawaiian Style", (which will be released out of chronology as his
twentieth) then goes to Hawaii for location shooting. During a break in filming,
he visits the USS Arizona Memorial. The visit is covered by the press and
prompts Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye to have the visit recognized in the
Congressional Record. Elvis returns to Hollywood for more shooting for the film.
The Beatlesvisit Elvis
August 27, 1965: The Beatlesvisit Elvis for several hours at his home in California and have an informal jam session.
November 24, 1965
"Harum Scarum" opens nationally and hits number eleven at the box office, then
falls, as has been the pattern for most of Elvis's movies during the past few
(Hit fast, burn out quickly, but make a sizable profit and sell some records.)
soundtrack album goes to number eight.
February 1966 Elvis records the soundtrack music and shoots his twenty-second motion picture, "Spinout", co-starring
March 1966 "Frankie and Johnny" opens nationally and doesn't do particularly well. The
soundtrack album goes to number twenty.
June 1966"Paradise, Hawaiian Style" is released and doesn't do well. The soundtrack album peeks at number fifteen.
Soundtrack recording and shooting for Elvis's twenty-third motion picture (to be the twenty-fourth released), "Double Trouble".
September 1966 Soundtrack recording and filming for Elvis's twenty-fourth motion picture (the twenty-third to released), "Easy Come, Easy Go".
November 1966 "Spinout" opens nationally and doesn't do well. The soundtrack album goes to number 18.
December 1966 Elvis formally proposes marriage to Priscilla.
Elvis buys a 163-acre ranch in Mississippi
Elvis buys a 163-acre ranch in Mississippi, minutes across the Tennessee state line from Graceland. He and his entourage
and their wives had become
interested in horseback riding after Elvis purchased a horse for Priscilla as a
gift. The hobby had outgrown the pasture at Graceland. Over the months to
come, Elvis and the gang would enjoy spending a lot of time at the
Circle G. It becomes a happy diversion for Elvis as his frustration and
the state of his career reaches its height.
Grammy Award for
Best Sacred Performance
"Easy Come, Easy Go" opens nationally and doesn't do well. RCA releases Elvis's
second gospel album, "How Great Thou Art", which was recorded in mid-1966. It is gets very good reviews and goes on to earn Elvis the Grammy Award for Best Sacred Performance,
his first Grammy.
Soundtrack recording and filming for "Clambake", Elvis's twenty-fifth movie. It is the third of three movies to co-star
April 1967"Double Trouble" opens nationally. Better than some of his recent screen efforts, it doesn't do well at the box office.
May 1, Elvis and Priscilla are married
On May 1, Elvis and Priscilla are married in a private ceremony amongst a small group of family and friends at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, just after
9:30 AM. A press conference and breakfast reception follow. The couple honeymoon for a few days in Palm
Springs. Elvis wraps up some over-dubbing on "Clambake". Then they return to Memphis.
May 29, 1967
Elvis and Priscilla dress in their wedding clothes and have a second wedding reception in the trophy room at Graceland to accommodate
family and friends who were not in Las Vegas for the wedding.
Soundtrack recording and filming for Elvis's twenty-sixth movie, "Speedway", co-starring Nancy Sinatra.
During the production, news of Priscilla's pregnancy is released.
Soundtrack recording and filming for Elvis's twenty-seventh movie, "Stay Away, Joe". He plays a half-breed Native American in this western themed
comedy. It's a real departure from the virtually interchangeable plots and
characters in most of the films over the past several grueling years. He has fun
with this one.
December 1967"Clambake" is released nationally and goes to number fifteen at the box office. The soundtrack album< goes to number 40.
Priscilla gives birth to Lisa Marie Presley
February 1, 1968
Priscilla gives birth to Lisa Marie Presley nine months to the day after her
marriage to Elvis. It is a time of great happiness. Lisa's site
"Stay Away, Joe" opens to mixed reviews and doesn't do well at the box office, though like all of Elvis's films, it makes a profit. Soundtrack recording and
filming for Elvis's twenty-eighth movie, "Live a Little, Love a Little". It is a sexy, more adult kind of comedy/melodrama. It, like "Stay Away, Joe" is a real departure from the typical
Presley film. It is yet another breath of fresh air.
June 1968"Speedway" is released nationally and doesn't do very well. The soundtrack album
goes only as far up the chart as number 82.
Elvis rehearses for the taping
of his 1968 television special
Mid-to-Late June, 1968
Elvis rehearses for the taping of his 1968 television special. A press conference is held on June 25th. Videotaping is done June 27, 28, 29, and 30.
This is Elvis's first performance before a live audience since the U.S.S. Arizona benefit in March 1961. The name of the show is "Elvis", but it would
come to be known as the
"68 Comeback Special". In the '68 special, Elvis is reunited with two of his
original fifties band members, guitaristScotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana
Bill Black had
died.). They sit together on stage in the round, along with several other
friends and associates of Elvis for an informal jam session. Parts of this
session are woven throughout the special. There are also sequences of Elvis
taking the stage alone and performing many of his greatest hit rock and roll
songs and ballads, such as "Hound Dog", "Don't Be Cruel", "Jailhouse Rock","All
Shook Up", "Love Me Tender", and "Can't Help Falling in Love" Along with singing
the old hits, Elvis introduces a new song that would become another classic,
One can speculate that he poured years of frustration into the performance of
these songs, along with the nervous energy of appearing live for the first time
in so long. His natural talent, charisma, and sensuality had not been diminished
by Hollywood or by the passage of time. In fact, he looked, sounded, moved, and
grooved better than he ever had.At 33, he was better than he had ever been.
Better than anybody in the business. For most of the show Elvis wears a
two-piece black leather outfit specially designed for the special, a look
evocative of the era of James Dean, of Marlon Brando type motorcycle films of
the fifties, and of Elvis' early days, the era when he had first been proclaimed
the "king of rock and roll."
In the jam session segment, Elvis speaks of the gospel origins of rock and roll.
This segues into the gospel music portion of the show, which has Elvis wearing a
two-piece burgundy suit, singing "Where Could I Go But to the Lord" , "Up Above
My Head", and "I'm Saved", backed by the black female group, The Blossoms, and
accompanied by a troupe of dancers - all of this for a rousing gospel production
Toward the end of the special Elvis appears in a lengthy production number that,
through song, dance, karate, and various situations, traces a young man's
journey from a struggling guitar player, through all the challenges, dangers and
compromises on the path to his dreams of success and superstardom. Something is
lost along the way. Once the dream is achieved, the man realizes that he remains
unfulfilled, that he has abandoned his true self. He decides to return to his
roots, where he was happiest. The parallels to Elvis's own life are clear and
deliberate, and his doing the '68 special represents his own return to his true
self, to his roots.
At the end of the special, Elvis appears alone, wearing a simple white two-piece
suit, standing in front of the towering backdrop of red lights that spell Elvis,
and sings a brand new song, specially written for the show, called "If
I Can Dream". The writers had created the song based on conversations
with Elvis about his own thoughts about what was happening in the turbulent
sixties, his feelings about life, and his hopes for mankind. It represents one
of the few times Elvis would sing a "message" song, and it stands as one of the
most brilliant moments of his singing career. It is yet another classic, and the
lyrics are as timely today as they were in 1968.
Elvis records the theme and does filming for his twenty-ninth movie, "Charro!", a dramatic western, again a very different kind of role. Elvis grows a beard for
this. The theme song will be heard over the opening credits, but there will be no other Elvis songs used. This will be the first and only film in which Elvis does
not sing on camera.
Elvis records the soundtrack and does filming for his thirtieth movie,"The Trouble with Girls". He sings in this one, but in very natural
situations for a change.
It is quite a bit different from the typical Elvis films. "Live a Little, Love a Little" opens in the U.S. in October and doesn't do very well.
"If I Can Dream", from the soon-to-be aired '68 special hits number 12 on the pop singles chart in November, making it
Elvis's biggest single since 1965.
The 1968 television special
December 3, 1968
"Elvis", the 1968 television special first airs on NBC-TV on December 3, 1968 and is one of this biggest television hits of the year, receiving rave reviews
from the public and the critics alike. The soundtrack album will go to number eight on the pop chart. Elvis' career is to take a dramatic and exciting turn.
Elvis wraps shooting on "The Trouble with Girls".
American Sound Studio 1969
Elvis records in Memphis for the first time since 1955. He has all-night marathon sessions at American Sound Studio. His work here will become regarded
as some of the finest music of his career, his best work since the innovative
days at Sun and the exciting early days at RCA before he went into the army.
Elvis has excellent material to choose from and pours his heart and soul into
the sessions. He works with a lot of top-notch Memphis musicians. The sound is
fresh and gutsy. On every track one can sense his creative excitement and
energy. This is joyful work after years of movie boredom. Two albums will result
from these sessions. The sessions will also yield four hit singles to be
released over the coming year: "In the Ghetto", "Suspicious Minds", "Don't Cry,
Daddy" and "Kentucky Rain". ("Suspicious Minds" becomes his first number one
single since "Good Luck Charm" in 1962, and will be his last number one pop
though he'll have many big hits.)
Elvis returns to Hollywood to film and record the soundtrack music for his thirty-first, and what will turn out to be his last, acting role in a motion
picture.It is "Change of Habit", co-starring Mary Tyler
Moore. Elvis plays a hip ghetto doctor in a Northern city, having come
from Tennessee. Mary Tyler Moore and two others play nuns who go "undercover"
into the ghetto to assist with health and societal troubles in the community.
The theme, though serious and timely, is not particularly well carried out by
the script in the opinion of many, and the title is frivolous. But, Elvis looks
magnificent, and gives a natural, easy, understated performance that is a
refreshing pleasure to see after the silliness he endured in his films through
most of the sixties. The few songs in the movie are good and they're performed
rather than the usual badly contrived, situations.
March, 1969"Charro!" opens in theaters and doesn't do much at the box office.
International Hotel in Las Vegas
July 31 - August 28, 1969
Elvis is booked for a four-week, fifty-seven show engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, which has just been built and has the largest
showroom in the city. Elvis puts together top-notch rock and roll musicians, an orchestra, a male gospel back-up group, and a black female soul/ gospel back-up
group for his show. They rehearse for several weeks and open on July 31, 1969. (Barbra Streisand has just closed her show the night before, having been the
first headliner in the new showroom.) The show is a delightful mix of fresh arrangements of classic Elvis hits, exciting new material he has recorded, a few
covers of current and past hits of other artists, and charming on-stage antics and sharing of personal recollections of his career. A press conference follows
the first of his two opening night shows.
This engagement breaks all existing Las Vegas attendance records and attracts
rave reviews from the public and the critics. It is a triumph. Elvis's first
live album is recorded during this engagement and is soon released. For the
shows a lean Elvis in top physical form, wears simple, unique, karate-inspired
two-piece outfits in black or white. These are designed by Bill Belew, who had
done the wardrobe for the '68 special. These are the predecessors to the famous
one-piece jumpsuits which will be simple at first, then become flashier and more
elaborate over the years.
September 1969"The Trouble with Girls", Elvis's thirtieth movie, opens in theaters and doesn't
do much at the box office.
November 1969"Change of Habit" , Elvis's thirty-first movie, opens in theaters and doesn't do
much at the box office.
Some say it was a mistake to go back to Vegas so soon, especially during the slowest season for the city. Can he fill the seats? But, Elvis returns to the
International Hotel for another month-long engagement. This time he breaks his own attendance records. Another live album is recorded.
A press conference in Houston
A press conference in Houston on the 27th. Elvis performs afternoon and evening shows at the Houston Astrodome in connection with the Texas Livestock Show. Two
more shows follow on the 28th. Two more follow on March 1. A closing press conference and banquet follow, and Elvis is presented an armload of recent gold
record awards. The six shows attract 207,494 people and set records. There is speculation among the press and the public that Elvis might tour in concert for
the first time since the fifties.
June 1970 Elvis has recording sessions in Nashville.
films a documentary
Back to Las Vegas for rehearsals for another month-long engagement at the International. He opens on August 10 and closes on September 7. MGM is on hand
to film a documentary film called "Elvis -That's the Way It Is" that will show Elvis off stage, in rehearsals, in the
recording studio, and on stage.
RCA will also release an album with the same title.
From the 9th through the 14th Elvis takes his show on a nine-city tour. It is a
smashing success, the first tour since 1957, only these days the show is
much more elaborate and requires a big crew. (MGM films portions of the first
show on this tour for use in "Elvis - That's the Way It Is".)
Elvis has a recording session in Nashville.
"That's the Way It Is" opens in theaters to good reviews and good box office.
Documentaries traditionally do not do well at the box office, but this one makes
a respectable showing. It, like other Elvis movies will go on to have a life on
television and home video in years to come. Elvis does a successful eight-city
Elvis met President Richard Nixon
December 1970 :Elvis's famous visit with President Richard Nixon at the White House occurs.
One of the Ten Outstanding
Young Men of the Nation
January 16, 1971
Elvis attends a day of functions culminating in an evening awards banquet. He and nine others accept the honor of being named "One of the Ten Outstanding
Young Men of the Nation" by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. He is nervous about his acceptance speech. He is touched, excited and deeply proud.
This national honor has been given each year since the late 1930's and recognizes young men who have made great achievements in their field of
endeavor, illustrating the opportunities available in the free enterprise system. It also applauds humanitarianism and community service. Scientists,
inventors, performers, filmmakers, politicians bound for the Presidency, and men of greatness in all fields, have been selected for this award over the years.
For Elvis, a man who had grown up poor, and, in his early career had known the
sting of ridicule from the Establishment, who, through the years had known
criticism of his work, this is one of his proudest moments.
It is a sign that he has achieved acceptance, recognition, and respect for his
work and for the kind of person he is.
Late January/February 1971 Elvis plays another month-long engagement at the International Hotel in Las
Elvis begins a recording session in Nashville, but cancels it due to pain and
inflammation in an eye. He is treated at a Nashville hospital where he is
diagnosed with secondary glaucoma. This eye condition will plague him from time
to time in varying degrees for the rest of his life.
Elvis is featured on the cover of Look Magazine, which carries an installment of the forthcoming biography on Elvis by Jerry Hopkins. Many books and
articles have been written over the years, but this is the first in-depth, serious biography. The book Elvis : A Biography will be released in October.
Elvis has recording sessions in Nashville. Much of the work is for his forthcoming album "Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas".
Elvis Place of Birth
The two-room house Elvis was born in opens to the public for tours, having been restored by the East Heights Garden Club in Tupelo. Elvis has more recording
sessions in Nashville, this time mostly for an upcoming gospel album, "He Touched Me".
A long stretch of Highway 51 South, part of which runs in front of Graceland, is officially renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard. The first of the new street
signs will go up in January of 1972. Various albums and singles continue to be released to various degrees of success during this period.
Elvis plays a two-week engagement at the Sahara Hotel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
Elvis receives on August 28, the Lifetime Achievement Award
August 9 - September 6, 1971
Elvis plays an engagement in Las Vegas at the International Hotel, which has been renamed the Las Vegas Hilton International Hotel. He breaks another
attendance record and tops himself once again. During the engagement an award is presented to Elvis in his dressing room. On August 28. It is the Bing Crosby Award from the
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammy Awards). The award is a special means of recognition from NARAS and is named for its first
recipient. The award is not given every year as a rule. It will later be re-named the Lifetime Achievement Award. Elvis is 36 years old.
November 5-16, 1971 Elvis goes on a 12-city concert tour.
Late 1971, Early 1972 Elvis and Priscilla separate. She moves out on her own with Lisa Marie.
January 26 - February 23, 1972
Elvis plays another successful engagement at the Hilton in Vegas.
MGM Films Elvis
in a Hollywood studio
In April MGM Films Elvis in a Hollywood recording studio, then Films on and off stage during his 15-city concert tour, which is a big success.
MGM will use the footage for another theatrically released documentary, "Elvis on Tour". In April the gospel album "He Touched Me" is released to good
reviews. The album will go on to win Elvis his second Grammy Award, this one for the category of Best Inspirational Performance. The movies with an Elvis song
Elvis continues touring in concert, beginning with a press conference in New York on the 9th. (MGM is on hand to film the conference for use in "Elvis on Tour".) Elvis makes entertainment history by performing four sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. John Lennon, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, David
Bowie, and Art Garfunkel are among the music stars spotted at the shows. RCA rush-releases a live album from one of the Madison Square Garden shows, nine
days after it is recorded. Elvis tours to seven more cities. Elvis's Vegas and concert tour career is hot, hot, hot during the early to mid-seventies. He
breaks attendance records in cities all over America. Record releases also continue.
Elvis - Linda Thompson
Elvis and Priscilla's separation is formalized. A divorce is to come. Elvis has begun seeing Linda Thompson, who will be his main female companion until late 1976.
August 4 - September 4, 1972
Elvis plays a month-long engagement at the Hilton in Vegas.
September 5, 1972
Elvis participates in a press conference in Vegas announcing plans for a television concert to be broadcast via satellite around the world from Hawaii.
It is predicted that the show will reach the largest audience in television history and that the live album will be a big hit.
October 1972 Elvis has a number two pop hit with the single "Burning Love", one of his biggest records in recent years.
October 1972 Elvis has a number two pop hit with the single "Burning Love", one of his biggest records in recent years.
"Elvis on Tour" opens to good reviews and good box office performance in theaters. Later, its producers will receive the Golden Globe Award for Best
Documentary of 1972. Like other Elvis films it will have a life on television and on home video. Elvis tours seven cities in concert. The last is Honolulu,
Hawaii, where he does three shows at the Honolulu International Center Arena, the same venue that will host his satellite special in January. Elvis appears at
a press conference in Hawaii regarding his upcoming satellite show. It is announced that it will be a benefit for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund.
Aloha from Hawaii - Via Satellite
Elvis makes television and entertainment history with his "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii - Via Satellite" special. Performed at the Honolulu International
Center Arena on January 14, 1973, broadcast live at 12:30 AM Hawaiian time, beamed via Globecam Satellite to Australia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, the
Phillipines, South Vietnam and other countries. It is seen on a delayed basis in around 30 European countries. A tape of the show will be seen in America on
April 4th on NBC. The live broadcast in January attracts 37.8% of the viewers in Japan, 91.8% in the Phillipines, 70% in Hong Kong, and 70-80% of the viewers in
Korea. The April showing in America attracts 51% of the television viewing audience, and is seen in more American households than man's first walk on the
moon. In all, it will be seen in about 40 countries by one billion to 1.5 billion people. Elvis commissions an American Eagle design for his jumpsuit for
this show, his patriotic message to his worldwide audience. Never has one performer held the world's attention in such a way. This is probably the
pinnacle of his superstardom. It is one of the great moments of his career. The soundtrack album "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii -
Via Satellite" is soon released and goes to number one on the Billboard Pop Album Chart, and stays on the chart at various positions for 52 weeks. The show
will later have continued life on television through the years and eventually home video.
January 26-February 23, 1973 Elvis plays an engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton.
March 1973 Elvis and the Colonel sell RCA the singer's royalty rights on Elvis's entire
recording catalog up to that point.
April 4, 1973 The "Aloha" special is seen on American television for the first time.
Late April 1973 Elvis goes on an eight-city concert tour.
May 4-16, 1973
Elvis plays an engagement at the Sahara Hotel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
The "Aloha from Hawaii" concert album hits number one on the Billboard pop album
chart. It is his first number one album since "Roustabout" in 1965.
It will also be his last number one album on the pop chart.
June 20 - July 3, 1973 Elvis goes out on concert tour.
Elvis records a few songs at the Stax Recording Studio in Memphis - his first
time to record in Memphis since 1969.
August 6 - September 3, 1973 Back to the Vegas Hilton for another engagement.
October 9, 1973
Elvis and Priscilla make a court appearance together and their divorce is
granted. They will continue to be close friends. Though Priscilla has custody of
Lisa Marie, there will be no formal schedule of visitation for Elvis, and he and his
daughter will spend time together regularly.
October 15 - November 1, 1973
Elvis is hospitalized in Memphis for recurring pneumonia and pleurisy, an
enlarged colon, and hepatitis. Elvis has been battling health problems for some
time, including an increasing dependency upon prescription drugs. It will get worse.
He also battles his weight.
Elvis returns to the Stax Recording Studio in Memphis for a week of sessions.
January 26-February 9, 1974 Elvis plays the Vegas Hilton again.
Elvis his third Grammy
March - July 1974
Elvis is on tour through much of March. In March he plays the Houston Astrodome and sets a one-day attendance record with his two shows. Also in March he plays
Memphis for the first time since 1961 and does four shows in two days to meet the demand for tickets. Another live album results from the excitement in
Memphis, and it includes a performance of "How Great Thou Art" that will win Elvis his third Grammy. He takes a break in April. He resumes touring in May and
plays the Sahara in Lake Tahoe May 16 -26. He's back on tour in mid-June and takes a few weeks off, starting in early July.
August 19-September 2, 1974
Back to the Hilton in Vegas for an engagement. During this engagement Barbra
Streisand and Elvis discuss his playing the male lead opposite her in her remake
of "A Star is Born". Elvis is excited by the prospect of returning to the screen
in a serious film. He still has aspirations to become a serious actor. He is
growing weary of the road, his health is worsening, his performances are
suffering, and he needs a new challenge. Unfortunately, it doesn't work out for
various reasons. After his death some will speculate that this film role would
have changed the course of his career and his life had he done it.
September 27 - October 14, 1974
Elvis on tour again. Plays the Sahara-Tahoe October 11-14. Record releases have
continued through this period with varying degrees of success.
January 29-February 14, 1975
Elvis is hospitalized with health and prescription problems again.
Elvis's live recording of "How Great Thou Art" from the album recorded at one of his Memphis concerts in 1974 wins the Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance.
This is Elvis's third and final Grammy win out of fourteen nominations (one nomination posthumously). All three Grammy wins have been for his gospel music rather than pop or rock.
March 18-April 1, 1975 Engagement at the Hilton.
April - July, 1975 Concert touring.
August 18 - September 5, 1975 Elvis opens in Vegas but ends his engagement on the 20th and is hospitalized in
Memphis until September 5.
The Lisa Marie
The renovation of a Elvis bought earlier in the year is complete, and he takes his first flight on the "Lisa Marie" jet.
December 2-15, 1975 Elvis returns to the Hilton in Vegas to make up for the shows that were canceled
during his previous engagement.
December 31, 19755
Elvis performs a special New Year's Eve concert in Pontiac, Michigan and sets a
single performance attendance record of 62,500.
February 1976 Elvis has a week of recording sessions in the den at Graceland, with RCA
bringing in mobile recording equipment.
March 17-22, 1976 Elvis tours in concert.
April 21-27, 1976 Elvis tours in concert.
April 30 - May 9, 1976 An engagement at the Sahara Tahoe in Nevada.
May 27- June 6, 1976 Elvis tours in concert.
June 25 - July 5, 1976 Elvis tours in concert.
July 23 - August 5, 1976 Elvis tours in concert.
August 27-September 8, 1976 Elvis tours in concert.
October 14-27, 1976 Elvis tours in concert.
October 29-30, 1976 Two more nights of recording in the den at Graceland.
Early November, 1976 Elvis and Linda Thompson, his steady girlfriend since 1972, split up.
Elvis - Ginder Alden
Late November, 1976 Elvis meets Ginger Alden who will be his steady girlfriend until his death.
November 24-30, 1976 Elvis tours in concert.
December 2-12, 1976 Elvis plays the Hilton in Vegas for what will turn out to be the last time.
December 27-31, 1976
Elvis tours in concert, ending with a special New Year's Eve concert in
February 12-21, 1977 Elvis tours in concert.
March 23-30, 1977 Elvis tours in concert.
April 1-5, 1977 Elvis is hospitalized in Memphis and tour shows scheduled for March 31-April 3 are canceled.
April 21- May 31, 1977 Elvis tours in concert.
June 1-2, 1977 More concert dates.
Elvis in Consert juni 1977
June 17-26, 1977
Elvis tours in concert. Shows on June 19, 20, and 21 are recorded by RCA and videotaped by CBS-TV for an upcoming live album and television special. Footage
from the show on the 20th is not used in the show. The special will be called "Elvis in Concert". It will air in early October after Elvis's death in August.
The camera gives a shocking picture of Elvis's poor health in his final days. Still, some of the song performances are great. He still had his voice.
June 26, 1977 A concert at Indianapolis, Indiana's Market Square Arena. This will turn out to be his very last concert performance.
June 27- August 15, 1977 Elvis relaxes in Memphis and prepares for the next leg of touring for 1977.
Elvis died at 42
August 16, 1977
Shortly after midnight Elvis returns to Graceland from a late-night visit to the dentist. Through the early morning of the 16th he takes care of last minute tour
details and relaxes with family and staff. He is to fly to Portland, Maine that night and do a show there on the 17th, then continue the scheduled tour. He
retires to his master suite at Graceland around 7:00 AM to rest for his evening flight. By late morning, Elvis Presley is
dead. It is announced by mid-afternoon. In a matter of hours the shock registers around the world.