This Day In History: Elvis Pressley Dies (1977)

This day in history the best known and loved popular singer in American and in world history died. Elvis Pressley died on this day in 1977.  He died in his Memphis Home, he was only 42 years of age. The death of the “King of Rock and Roll” resulted in thousands of fans going to his mansion in Memphis. His home known as Graceland became a shrine for fans from all over America and beyond. There were scenes of great grief all over the world when news of the King’s death was announced. It shocked the world.

Doctors said he died of a heart attack and it was most likely due to his addiction to prescription barbiturates.

Elvis  was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8th, 1935. His twin brother died during their birth. Elvis grew up very poor in Tupelo and Memphis. His mother was devoted to him, but his father was often unemployed and at one time served a sentence in jail for fraud. Poverty had driven him to crime.  Elvis was not much of a student and after school, he found work as a truck driver. At the age of nineteen , he walked into a Memphis recording studio to record a few songs as a present to his beloved mother. Sam Philips, the legendary owner of the studio, was stunned by the quality of the young man’s voice. He asked Presley to sing  with some local musicians. Phillips liked what he heard and released this song as a record and it was a sensation. The recording went to the top of the local charts, and Presley’s career was launched and he was soon one of the most famous men in the world and worshiped by a generation.

Elvis went on to become a recording sensation and his songs became instant classics. He achieved nationwide fame after his appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

Teenagers girls went into hysterics over his outrageous stage presence, good looks, and simple but infectious songs. Many parents did not approve of his overt sexuality and on The Ed Sullivan Show, Elvis was filmed  only from the waist up.

Elvis being sworn into the US Army

From 1956 through 1958, Elvis  had number one records, He  paved the way for many other rock and roll artists. His music was deeply influenced by black music and he opened the door for many black singers. During this period,  he appeared in  many films such as Love Me Tender (1956) and his best King Creole (1958).

In 1958, Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army, however, he was still releasing songs and they all sold a million copies.

After being discharged in 1960, Elvis underwent a style change and became more mainstream. In 1967 he married and had a daughter Marie. By the end of the 1960s his career went into a relative decline he was no longer that popular with young people and he frequently appeared in Las Vegas.

Elvis and his backing group

By the mid-1970s, Elvis career was in trouble and he was in declining physical and mental health. He divorced his wife and became addicted to painkillers and especially barbiturates.  He Elvis was also addicted to fast fund and ate huge amounts of burgers.  In the last two years of his life, he rarely sang  and withdrew from the outside world and lived in Graceland-like a recluse.   On  August 16th, 1977, he was found unconscious in his Graceland home, on his bathroom and rushed to the hospital, where he died.