Shortly before dawn, Gladys Presley gives birth to twin sons. The first, Jessie Garon, is stillborn. The Second Elvis Arron, is born healthy and would be Gladys and Vernon’s only child. Elvis is named after his father, Vernon Elvis Presley, and Mr. Presley’s good friend in Tupelo, Aaron Kennedy. Elvis grows up in a close-knit, working class family, consisting of his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, who all live close by in Tupelo. Although there is little money, Vernon and Gladys do their best to provide for their son. They attend the Assembly of God Church while in Tupelo where Elvis loves singing gospel. He also grows up listening to the bluesmen in the neighborhood and country music on the radio.
and records an acetate of “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.”
After receiving a call from a local guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black, Elvis meets them at Memphis Recording Service for a rehearsal session with Sun Records producer Sam Phillips. Sam decides to team up the local musicians with Elvis to see what they might come up with. After attempting numerous songs that do not spark Sam’s interest, the group takes a break. During the break, Elvis launches into a sped-up version of Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s “That’s All Right.” Scotty and Bill quickly join in and Sam Phillips hears what he has been looking for. He records their version of “That’s All Right” as Elvis’ first single. “Blue Moon of Kentucky” is eventually recorded as the b-side.
and signs his first contract with RCA Records.
Elvis arrives at RCA’s Nashville studio to record his first songs for his new label, including “Heartbreak Hotel.” Guitarist Chet Atkins and pianist Floyd Cramer play on the session. In addition, drummer D.J. Fontana plays in his first recording session with Elvis. “Heartbreak Hotel” and “I Got A Woman” are both recorded, in addition to “Money Honey.” The following day, the session continues with the addition of gospel singers Ben and Brock Speer and Gordon Stoker of The Jordanaires.
on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town, where he is only shown from the waist up. Ed Sullivan himself diffuses some of the controversy surrounding Elvis by telling the studio audience and millions of TV viewers, “This is a decent, fine boy... We want to say we have never had a more pleasanter experience with a big name than we’ve had with you.”
Elvis arrives at the Memphis Draft Board and is inducted into the U.S. Army. Accompanied by his parents, Elvis reports to the Memphis Draft Board. He is assigned serial number 53 310 761. After his physical, Elvis is put in charge of the group and they are put on a bus to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. At Fort Chaffee, Elvis receives his famous GI haircut. He then travels to Fort Hood, Texas, where he goes through basic training and remains on duty there for six months.
Elvis is officially discharged from active duty by the U.S. Army at 9:15 a.m.
to perform a benefit concert at Bloch Arena for the building of the USS Arizona Memorial. Upon arrival in Hawaii, hundreds of fans mob the airport. Elvis holds a press conference before the evening concert at Bloch Arena. Proceeds from the concert go to help fund the building of the USS Arizona Memorial. The show raises around $62,000 for the memorial and helps bring publicity, public awareness and support to the project. As a result, the rest of the needed funds are soon raised and the memorial is completed a year later.
Elvis’ film, Viva Las Vegas, opens nationally. The film features Elvis with co-star Ann-Margret. Viva Las Vegas goes to #14 at the box office. By the end of the year, it is #11, outranking The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night and becoming Elvis’ highest grossing film ever, with revenues of $5.5 million by 1969.
in a private ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. The wedding is held in a second floor suite at the Aladdin Hotel with Nevada Supreme Court Justice David Zenoff residing over the ceremony. A press conference and reception are held following the ceremony. The couple honeymoons for a few days in Palm Springs before returning to Memphis. Another reception for the couple is held at Graceland on May 29 for friends, family and relatives.
and becomes one of the biggest television hits of the year. The television special opens with Elvis singing a new version of “Trouble,” from his 1958 film King Creole, before moving into “Guitar Man,” which becomes the underlying theme of the show. The special also featured Elvis on stage in the round, reunited with two of his original 1950s band members, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana, for an informal session of singing, jamming and swapping stories.
Elvis records at American Sound Studio in Memphis. Despite having turned down recommendations to work with Chips Moman at American Sound Studio repeatedly, Elvis finally decides to give American Sound a shot at the pleading of Marty Lacker. Elvis gives Lacker four days to setup the sessions. Elvis is squeezed into American Sound’s schedules, which includes the likes of Roy Hamilton and Neil Diamond, that week. The Memphis boys are the house band. The results of the session are impressive. In twelve days, Elvis cuts 36 sides and the session produces four hit singles with “In The Ghetto,” “Don’t Cry Daddy,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Kentucky Rain.” Two albums also came from the sessions: From Elvis in Memphis and From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis, which both go platinum.
Elvis performs two shows at the Annual Texas Livestock Show at the Houston Astrodome. His evening show breaks the previous attendance record by 10,000. After his performances on February 27, Elvis performs two more shows on February 28 and March 1. At a closing press conference and banquet, Elvis receives an armload of recent gold record awards, including awards for “Don’t Cry Daddy,” “In The Ghetto,” and “Suspicious Minds.” He also receives gifts of a Stetson hat, limited-edition Rolex watch and a gold deputy’s badge. The six shows attract 207,494 people and set attendance records. During this time, there is also speculation among the press and the public that Elvis might tour in concert for the first time since the 1950s.
as One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. Elvis is honored to be named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (The Jaycees). The national honor has been awarded each year since the late 1930s and recognizes young men who have made great achievements in their field of endeavor, illustrating the opportunities available in the free enterprise system.
over two days at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Elvis makes entertainment history by being the first entertainer to sell out four consecutive shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Three shows are originally scheduled, but a fourth one is added when tickets sell out almost immediately. John Lennon, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and Art Garfunkel are among the music stars spotted at shows. Just nine days later, RCA rush-releases a live album from one of the shows – Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden.
Elvis makes television and entertainment history with his Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii – Via Satellite special. Performed at the Honolulu International Center Arena, the show is broadcast live at 12:30 a.m. Hawaiian time, via Globecam Satellite to Australia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, South Vietnam and other countries. It is seen on a delayed basis in around 30 European countries, with a tape of the show airing in the U.S. on April 4 on NBC.
Elvis’ live recording of “How Great Thou Art” wins the Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance.
Elvis begins a week of recording sessions in the den at Graceland and RCA brings in mobile recording equipment.
Elvis begins his last concert tour, which includes the cities of Rapid City, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
Elvis’ Graceland Mansion opens for public tours. Graceland hosts visitors from every state in the union and nearly every country of the world. Graceland welcomes over 600,000 visitors each year. In 1984, Elvis’ Lisa Marie jet and Hound Dog II JetStar planes, which Elvis’ father had sold in 1978, are brought back to Graceland and put on display. In addition, The Elvis Presley Automobile Museum opens in Graceland Plaza in 1989.
Elvis is inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame at the first induction dinner.
Elvis receives the first posthumous presentation of the Award of Merit by the American Music Awards.
Elvis stamp is released by the U.S. Postal Service. In 1992, the U.S. Postal Service announces that Elvis’ image would be used for a commemorative postage stamp. The Postal Service narrows down the artwork choices to two images – one of Elvis in the 1950s as a young rocker, and one of him as a concert superstar in his 1973 Aloha from Hawaii special. In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Postal Service puts the decision to the American people and distributes ballots coast to coast. Over 1.2 million votes are cast and the image of the young rocker wins.
Elvis, via video, stars in a concert production at the Mid-South Coliseum where he is accompanied live on stage by former band mates and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.
A remix of Elvis’ song “A Little Less Conversation” hits #1 on charts around the world.
Graceland is named a National Historic Landmark.
Cirque du Soleil announces name of new show is Viva ELVIS. Viva ELVIS, a harmonious fusion of dance, acrobatics and live music, is a tribute to the life and music of Elvis Presley. Nostalgia, modernity and raw emotion provide the backdrop for his immortal voice and the exhilaration and beauty of his music.
Fans celebrate Elvis’ 75th birthday at Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.