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All Hail the King (of Rock n’ Roll)

March 21, 2022

Elvis Presley famously wore a medallion bearing the letters “TCB,” representing his personal motto “takin’ care of business.” So that’s what we’re going to do here, and answer every big question you’ve ever had about Elvis. (Thank you. Thank you very much.)

 

 

What was Elvis Presley’s real name?

Elvis Presley’s real full name: Elvis Aaron Presley, or Elvis Aron Presley. In the mid-1970s, he wanted to change the Aron to Aaron, to match the biblical spelling, but found out that his legal middle name actually was that already, due to a clerical error on his birth records from 1935.

Elvis Presley

Who inspired Elvis Presley?

Most of the King’s biographers attribute his singing style to black gospel and country music. But Elvis wanted to reach a wider audience, so he based his early vocal stylings on pop crooner Dean Martin. (For evidence, listen to Elvis’s first recording of “Love Me Tender.”)

What was Elvis Presley’s biggest hit?

Elvis Presley’s biggest hit (and the song he said was his personal favorite) was “Don’t Be Cruel,” his third song to hit #1 on the American pop chart, following “Heartbreak Hotel” and “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.” (Its B-side was “Hound Dog,” which followed “Don’t Be Cruel” to the top of the charts.) According to Billboard, “Don’t Be Cruel,” released in 1956, is Elvis’s top performing song ever, and it stayed at #1 for 11 weeks, a record that held until Boyz II Men topped it in 1992 with “End of the Road.”

How many number one hits did Elvis Presley have?

In the 1950s and 1960s, Elvis hit the peak of the pop chart 18 times. Only the Beatles (with 20) and Mariah Carey (with 19) would do it more often. Among Elvis’s best-remembered #1 hits: “Jailhouse Rock,” “Love Me Tender,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” “All Shook Up,” and “Suspicious Minds.”

Who called Elvis Presley “The King of Rock n’ Roll”?

In 1956, early in Elvis’s explosive career, a writer for his hometown newspaper, the Memphis Press-Scimitar, coined the nickname for which he’d forever be known. Robert Johnson, in a piece about the then-emerging musician offhandedly called Elvis “the fledgling king of rock n’ roll.” As Elvis’s career grew, he proved the moniker to be accurate, and the “fledgling” part was summarily dropped.

How did Elvis die?

On August 16, 1977, Elvis spoke with his girlfriend, Ginger Alden, and went into one of the bathrooms at his Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee. While reading A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus by Frank O. Adams, Elvis died on the floor. His death at the age of 42 was attributed to a heart attack, the organ weakened by heavy prescription barbiturate use.

What was Elvis Presley’s last hit?

The final single released by RCA Records during Elvis’s lifetime: the 1977 song “Way Down,” which peaked at #31 on the pop chart two weeks before the King’s death, but as the nation mourned, it climbed back to hit #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard country chart.

Read more about Elvis — and one of the most important and exciting moments in rock, television, and pop culture history — in Elvis ’68 Comeback: The Story Behind the Special by Steve Binder. It’s available now from Thunder Bay Press.

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