Friday, August 18, 2017

Today's Featured Artist..August 18, 2017...Shalamar (video + blog + links)

Shalamar

(Read all about Shalamar after the video)



Shalamar (/ˈʃæləmɑːr/) is an American R&B and soul music vocal group, active in the mid-1970s and throughout the 1980s, that was originally a disco-driven vehicle created by Soul Train booking agent Dick Griffey and show creator and producer Don Cornelius.[1][2] They went on to be an influential dance trio, masterminded by Cornelius.[3] As noted in the British Hit Singles & Albums, they were regarded as fashion icons and trendsetters, and helped to introduce "body-popping" to the United Kingdom.[3] Their collective name, "Shalamar", was picked by Griffey.[4]

Career

Their first hit was Uptown Festival (1977), released on Soul Train Records. Its success inspired Griffey and Don Cornelius to replace session singers with popular Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, to join original Shalamar lead singer Gary Mumford. Gerald Brown took over the spot vacated by Mumford for the group's second album, Disco Gardens (1978), which featured the hit "Take That To The Bank". After conflicts over lack of payment from Griffey and SOLAR (short for Sound of Los Angeles Records), Brown left the group.[5] Howard Hewett replaced Brown in 1979.[2] The group was joined up with producer Leon Sylvers III in 1979, signed with SOLAR, and scored a US million seller with "The Second Time Around" (1979).
In the UK, the group had a string of hits with songs such as "Take That To The Bank" (1978), "I Owe You One" (1980), and songs from the Friends (1982) album: "I Can Make You Feel Good" (1982), "A Night To Remember", "There It Is", and the title track "Friends".[1] The album, which crossed the genres of pop, disco, and soul, was also a big seller in the UK in 1982.[citation needed] The band's record sales in the UK increased when Daniel demonstrated his body-popping dancing skills on BBC Television's music programme, Top of the Pops, which had premiered the Moonwalk on television for the first time. Michael Jackson was a fan of Shalamar's, in particular, Daniel and his dance moves, after watching him on Soul Train.[citation needed] Jackson and Daniel met afterward, and Jackson took his then 12-year-old sister Janet to see Shalamar perform at Disneyland. Daniel and Jackson co-choreographed Jackson's "Bad" and "Smooth Criminal" videos from the album Bad (1987).[citation needed]
The "classic" lineup of Shalamar (Hewett, Watley, and Daniel) scored a total of three gold albums in the US with Big Fun (1979), Three for Love (1980) - which eventually went platinum) - and Friends (1982).[1] The group took a knock when Watley and Daniel separately left the band over conflicts within the group, and other issues with Dick Griffey and SOLAR.[6] Adding to Watley's impetus to depart was her increasing frustration with Griffey and SOLAR, shortly after the release of their next album, The Look (1983).[1][2] Nonetheless, the album yielded a number of UK hit singles, including "Disappearing Act", "Dead Giveaway", and "Over and Over". The album itself moved Shalamar into a more new wave/synthpop direction, with rock guitars to the fore. But The Look generally was not the success that Friends had been the previous year.
With a mid 1980s line-up change, adding Micki Free and Delisa Davis, Shalamar returned to the US Top 20 in 1984 with "Dancing in the Sheets" (1984) from the Footloose soundtrack. The song peaked at #17, and the group won a Grammy for "Don't Get Stopped In Beverly Hills" from Beverly Hills Cop (1984) in 1984.[1][2]
In 1985, Kool & the Gang, Midnight Star, Shalamar and Klymaxx performed at the Marriott Convention Center in Oklahoma City.[7] That year Hewett departed to begin his solo career, and was replaced by Sydney Justin. Following Hewett's departure, the band began to lose popularity;[1][2] Circumstantial Evidence (1987) did not sell well, and the band broke up shortly after Wake Up (1990) was released.[2]

Reunions

In 1996, Watley rejoined with Hewett and Daniel, plus LL Cool J, on Babyface's million-selling single "This Is for the Lover in You"; a cover of a hit single from Shalamar's album Three for Love (1980).[1][8] A music video was shot in which the three former members of Shalamar were digitally reunited on screen.[9] Hewett, Watley, and Daniel subsequently joined Babyface and LL Cool J to perform the song on the UK's Top of the Pops in 1996. They are credited on this single release under their individual names; however, it marked the classic trio's first and only live performance together since 1983.[10]
In 1999, Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniel reformed Shalamar and played in Japan. This was followed by UK tours in 2000, 2001, and 2003. From 2003, Shalamar continued touring with the line up of Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Daniel, and Carolyn Griffey. In 2005, this lineup appeared on the UK television series, Hit Me, Baby, One More Time, with original members Daniel and Hewett, and with Carolyn Griffey (a long-time friend and fan of the original band's, and daughter of Dick Griffey). Carolyn's mother is Carrie Lucas, for whom Watley sang backing vocals. Shalamar reached the grand finale of Hit Me, Baby, One More Time in May 2005, ultimately losing out to Shakin' Stevens. This was followed by annual concert tours in the UK, Cannes, USA, Nigeria, and Japan.
Shalamar was featured in a segment[which?] of TV One's series Unsung, in which Watley, Daniel, and Hewett shared their stories about the group's creation, the lack of payments and royalties from SOLAR, success, egos, and the breakup of the classic lineup. Dick Griffey, Micki Free, Delisa Davis, and Sydney Justin were also interviewed for the episode.[citation needed] In October 2009, the reconstituted Shalamar of Hewett, Daniel, and Griffey, performed as a part of "The Ultimate Boogie Nights Disco Concert Series", at IndigO2, within O2 Arena Entertainment Avenue in London.[11][12] This prompted their return to the UK in April 2010 for a tour. Shalamar returned to IndigO2 in October 2011, December 2012, December 2013 and December 2014.[13] Shalamar performed a series of eight UK tour dates in April 2015 and another tour of four UK dates in July 2015.[14][15]

More Music History for August 18, 2017 (with links)


1958 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
Italy's leading male vocalist, Domenico Modugno, hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with "Volare" (Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu). The song would become the year's best selling record and win three Grammy Awards.

August 18
"Patricia" by 41 year old Perez Prado is certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Three years earlier, the Cuban born band leader had his first US chart topper with "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White".

1962 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
After a two hour rehearsal, Ringo Starr plays on stage with The Beatles for the first time at Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight, Birkenhead.

1963 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
21-year-old Wayne Newton sees his rendition of "Danke Schoen" peak at #13 on the Hot 100. The song was originally intended for Bobby Darin as a follow-up to his hit single "Mack the Knife", but after seeing Newton perform at the Copacabana, Darin decided to let him record the song.

August 18
"I Who Have Nothing" by Ben E. King tops out at #29, becoming his fifth solo effort to reach the Billboard Top 40 since he left The Drifters in May, 1960. Other notable versions of the song became hits for Terry Knight And The Pack (#46 in 1966), Liquid Smoke (#82 in 1970 ), Sylvester (#40 in 1979) and Tom Jones (#14 in 1970).

1964 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
The Beatles fly across the Atlantic to begin their first full concert tour of the US, with the debut show slated for the following day at The Cow Palace in San Francisco. Opening acts included The Righteous Brothers, The Exciters, Jackie DeShannon and Bill Black's Combo.

1969 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
The Woodstock festival closes after morning performances by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Sha Na Na and finally, at 9 AM, Jimi Hendrix, who performs his rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner".

August 18
Mick Jagger nearly had his hand blown off when an old gun backfired during the filming the movie Ned Kelly in Australia.

1971 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is certified as a million seller in the US. At the time, despite singing that West Virginia was "almost heaven", neither Denver or the song's writers, Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, had ever been there.

1973 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
According to Cashbox Magazine, Wings had the best selling single in the US with "Live And Let Die". Produced by George Martin, the Grammy nominated song was written specifically for the James Bond film of the same name.

August 18
The Doobie Brothers' "China Grove" is released. A month later it will crack the Hot 100 and eventually reach #15. The song is based on a real town in Texas with the same name, however, the mention of "samurai swords" is inaccurate, as they were in fact Japanese, not Chinese.

1977 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
Two Missouri girls were killed and a third was critically injured when a car being driven by an 18-year-old Memphis teen swerved into a crowd of over 2,000 mourners standing in front of Graceland's music gate at about 4 AM. The driver was charged with drunk driving, leaving the scene of an accident and two counts of second degree murder.

August 18
Funeral services for Elvis Presley are held at Graceland. Inside are 150 mourners, outside are 75,000 more. Presley was entombed in a white marble mausoleum at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis near the grave of his mother, Gladys, but would be re-buried at Graceland the following November at his father's request.

1978 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
Melvin Franklin of The Temptations was shot four times in the hand and the leg while trying to stop a man from stealing his car in Los Angeles. He survived.

1982 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
The City of Liverpool named four streets after The Beatles, John Lennon Drive, Paul McCartney Way, George Harrison Close and Ringo Starr Drive.

1991 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
Billy Preston was arrested in Los Angeles after a 16 year old boy reported being sexually attacked. Although he pleaded not guilty, Preston was convicted and placed on 5 years probation early in 1992.

1997 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
The Rolling Stones announce plans for their upcoming Bridges To Babylon tour in grand style. The band rolls up to the Brooklyn Bridge in New York in a red '55 Cadillac with Mick at the wheel.

2003 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
Tony Jackson, bass player with The Searchers, died from cirrhosis of the liver. The band had a 1964 UK #1 and US #13 single with "Needles And Pins".

2008 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
Pervis Jackson, bass vocalist and original member of the Motown group The Spinners, died of cancer at the age of 70. The band had a series of hits in the 1970s, including "Rubber Band Man", "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" and "I'll Be Around".

2010 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
French beauty brand Etat Libre D'Orange announced that they have teamed up with legendary bad boy rockers The Sex Pistols to bottle the scent of the Punk era by launching the band's first fragrance. Company executives said "To wear this scent, you must resist tradition, fight conformity, and disregard aromatic conventions."

August 18
Kenny Edwards, an original member of the Country / Rock band The Stone Poneys, died of cancer at the age of 64. The group, led by vocalist Linda Ronstadt, reached #13 in late 1967 with "Different Drum".

2012 - ClassicBands.com

August 18
Scott McKenzie, who sang the US #4 hit "San Francisco", the unofficial anthem for "the summer of love" in 1967, died of the nervous system disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome at the age of 73.

Today in Music History...August 18, 2017 (Now with more info & links)

Music History: August 18th




2012 Pop singer-songwriter Scott McKenzie dies at age 73 in Los Angeles, California, after a two-year struggle with Guillain-Barre syndrome.

2011 During a severe storm, high wind and heavy rain cause a stage to collapse while Chicago band Smith Westerns are performing. Four are killed and over 70 injured. Organizers decide to cancel the festival, where Eminem, Face to Face and Foo Fighters were scheduled to perform.

2004 Film score composer/conductor Elmer Bernstein dies of cancer in Ojai, California, at age 82.

2003 Singer/bass player Tony Jackson (of The Searchers) dies from a combination of health issues - including diabetes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver - in Nottingham, England, at age 65.

1991 Billy Preston is arrested on charges of battery after allegedly attacking a 16-year-old prostitute once Preston discovered he was a transvestite. The keyboardist and singer is eventually given five years probation.

1982 The Beatles hometown of Liverpool, England, renames some streets in honor of the band members. There is John Lennon Drive, Paul McCartney Way, George Harrison Close, Ringo Starr Drive, and even Sutcliffe Street (in honor of original bass player Stu Sutcliffe).

1978 The Temptations' Melvin "Blue" Franklin is shot four times in the hand and leg during an attempted carjacking in Los Angeles, but survives.

1977 Elvis Presley's funeral is held at Graceland, where 150 guests are invited inside and about 75,000 fans pay their respects outside.

1973 Jazz drumming legend Gene Krupa plays what is to be his last live show, a gig with the Benny Goodman Quartet in New York City.

1973 Diana Ross' "Touch Me In The Morning" hits #1, where it will stay for one week.

1973 Jethro Tull's LP A Passion Play hits #1.

1973 Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn's "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" hits #1 on the country chart.

1971 Electronic musician Richard David James (best known as Aphex Twin) is born in Limerick, Ireland.

1969 Rapper Everlast is born Erik Francis Schrody in Valley Stream, New York.

1969 While filming the violent gangster movie Ned Kelly in Australia, Mick Jagger is hit in the hand by a stray bullet from an old gun being used as a prop.

1969 The Beatles finish recording "The End."

1968 MC Eric/Me One (of Technotronic) is born Eric Martin in Cardiff, Wales, UK.

1965 Herman's Hermits lead singer Peter Noone interviews Elvis Presley in Honolulu, where Elvis filming his movie Paradise, Hawaiian Style.

1962 The Beatles perform at the 17th annual fete for the Birkenhead, England, Horticultural Society at the local Hulme Hall, a gig notable as the first time Ringo Starr will play onstage with the band. Ringo had prepared for two hours with the group beforehand.

1958 Domenico Modugno's "Nel Blu, Dipinto di Blu (Volare)" hits #1 for the first of five weeks.

1958 Perez Prado's "Patricia" is certified gold.

1957 Ron Strykert (lead guitarist for Men at Work) is born in Victoria, Australia.

1955 Pete Seeger testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he is asked if he has performed for communists. Seger replies: "I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody."

1950 Dennis Elliott (drummer for Foreigner) is born in Peckham, London, England.

1949 Ralph Flanagan records "You're Breaking My Heart" with vocalist Harry Prime.

1945 R&B singer Barbara Harris (of The Toys) is born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

1945 Sarah Dash (of Labelle) is born in Trenton, New Jersey.

1943 Carl Wayne (lead singer for The Move) is born Colin David Tooley in Winson Green, Birmingham, England.

1939 Pop singer Johnny Preston is born in Port Arthur, Texas.

1937 The first FM (frequency modulation) radio station in the US, Boston's WGTR (now WAAF), is granted its construction permit by the FCC.

1925 Sonny Til (lead singer for The Orioles) is born in Baltimore, Maryland.
 

Hendrix Wakes Up Woodstock With "Star-Spangled Banner"

 
1969Jimi Hendrix closes out Woodstock with an early morning performance of "Hey Joe." The festival headliner, he was supposed to play the previous night, but when it runs long, he ends up taking the stage on a Monday morning. His set includes a scorching rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."
Read more
 

Featured Events


1992 Frances Bean Cobain is born to Courtney Love and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.

1984 After years toiling in clubs, Red Hot Chili Peppers release their self-titled debut album.


1979 Nick Lowe marries Johnny Cash's stepdaughter, country singer Carlene Carter, in Los Angeles. The wedding is reenacted in Lowe's video for "Cruel To Be Kind." The pair get divorced in 1990.

1979 Chic's "Good Times" hits #1 in America as disco still has some dance. It holds the top spot for one week.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: Don't Forget..U.S.A. to Experience a Rare Total Solar Eclipse (Parties are being planned)

US in rare bull's-eye for total solar eclipse on Aug. 21

 Related image

 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- It will be tough eclipsing this eclipse.
The sun, moon and Earth will line up perfectly in the cosmos on Aug. 21, turning day into night for a few wondrous minutes, its path crossing the U.S. from sea to shining sea for the first time in nearly a century.
Never will a total solar eclipse be so heavily viewed and studied — or celebrated.
"We're going to be looking at this event with unprecedented eyes," promises Alex Young, a solar physicist who is coordinating NASA's education and public outreach.
And the party planning is at full tilt from Oregon to South Carolina.
Eclipse Fests, StarFests, SolarFests, SolFests, Darkening of the SunFests, MoonshadowFests, EclipseCons, Eclipse Encounters and Star Parties are planned along the long but narrow path of totality, where the moon completely blots out the sun.
Vineyards, breweries, museums, parks, universities, stadiums — just about everybody is getting into the act.
The Astronomical League for amateur astronomers is holing up at Casper, Wyoming. Minor league baseball teams will halt play for "eclipse delays" in Salem, Oregon, and elsewhere. By a cosmic quirk of the calendar, the Little Green Men Days Festival will be in full swing in Kelly, Kentucky, as will the American Atheists' annual convention in North Charleston, South Carolina.
And where better to fill up on eclipse T-shirts and safety glasses — and eclipse burgers — than the Eclipse Kitchen in Makanda, Illinois.
Scientists are also going gaga.
"This is a really amazing chance to just open the public's eyes to wonder," says Montana State University's Angela Des Jardins, a physicist in charge of a NASA eclipse ballooning project . The student-launched, high-altitude balloons will beam back live video of the eclipse along the route.
Satellites and ground telescopes will also aim at the sun and at the moon's shadow cutting a swath some 60 to 70 miles wide (97 to 113 kilometers) across the land. Astronauts will do the same with cameras aboard the International Space Station. Ships and planes will also catch the action.
"It's going to be hard to beat, frankly," says Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA's science mission office.
At the same time, researchers and the just plain curious will watch how animals and plants react as darkness falls. It will resemble twilight and the temperature will drop 10 to 15 degrees.
Expect four hours of pageantry, from the time the sun begins to be eclipsed by the moon near Lincoln City, Oregon, until the time the moon's shadow vanishes near Charleston, South Carolina. NASA will emcee the whole show, via TV and internet from that coastal city.
The total eclipse will last just 1 1/2 hours as the lunar shadow sweeps coast to coast at more than 1,500 mph (2,400 kph) beginning about 1:15 p.m. EDT and ending at 2:49 p.m. EDT. The sun's crown — the normally invisible outer atmosphere known as the corona — will shine forth like a halo.
Sure, full solar eclipses happen every one, two or three years, when the moon positions itself smack dab between the sun and Earth. But these take-your-breath-away eclipses usually occur in the middle of the ocean somewhere, though, or near the sparsely populated top or bottom of the world. In two years, Chile, Argentina and the empty South Pacific will share top billing.
The United States is in the bull's-eye this time.
It will be the first total solar eclipse in 99 years to cross coast-to-coast and the first to pass through any part of the Lower 48 states in 38 years.
NASA's meteor guru, Bill Cooke, was in Washington state for that one in 1979. This time, he's headed to his sister's farm in eastern Tennessee.
"It is the most weird, creepy, awe-inspiring astronomical event you will experience," Cooke says.
No other country but the U.S. will be privy to the path of totality. Originating in the wide open North Pacific and ending in the Atlantic well short of Africa, the path of totality will cover 8,600 miles (13,800 kilometers) from end to end.
In all, 14 states (two of them barely) and 21 National Park locations and seven national historic trails will be in the path.
Darkness will last just under two minutes in Oregon, gradually expanding to a maximum two minutes and 44 seconds in Shawnee National Forest in southernmost Illinois, almost into Kentucky, then dwindling to 2 1/2 minutes in South Carolina. Staring at the sun with unprotected eyes is always dangerous, except during the few minutes of totality. But eye protection is needed during the partial eclipse before and after.
With an estimated 200 million people living within a day's drive of the path, huge crowds are expected. Highway officials already are cautioning travelers to be patient and, yes, avoid eclipses in judgment.
The view from the sidelines won't be too shabby, either. A partial eclipse will extend up through Canada and down through Central America and the top of South America. Minneapolis will see 86 percent of the sun covered, Miami sees 82 percent, Montreal gets 66 percent, while Mexico City sees 38 percent.
But who wants to settle for not quite when you can experience the whole eclipsed enchilada?
Not Kevin Van Horn, an astronomy buff from suburban Pittsburgh who will make the 8 1/2-hour drive to Nashville with his wife, Cindy. Nashville is the biggest metropolitan area along the eclipse's main drag.
"It would be like going to the Super Bowl and sitting outside the stadium rather than being inside and watching it," says Van Horn, a total solar eclipse newbie.
By contrast, it will be the 13th total solar eclipse for Rick Fienberg, spokesman for the American Astronomical Society. He's headed to Oregon.
"Going through life without ever experiencing totality," Fienberg declares, "is like going through life without ever falling in love."
To give everyone a shot at the cosmic drama, which falls on a Monday, many schools are canceling classes, while offices plan to take a break or close for the day. The true beauty of the experience, according to NASA's Young, comes from sharing "arguably the most amazing astronomical event that anyone can see" with millions of others.
Those multitudes are what terrify Jackie Baker, who owns and runs the Eclipse Kitchen with her father in a village of 600 that's tucked into a valley in southernmost Illinois. The 18-seat cafe — which had its grand opening last Aug. 21 — is named for this eclipse and the one coming up in 2024.
The Eclipse Kitchen is in the crosshairs of both.
While it won't span coast to coast, the April 8, 2024 eclipse will still be a doozy, coming up from Mexico into Texas, moving through the Midwest and into Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. Darkness will last four minutes. The world record is just over seven minutes.
Baker expects to sell out of food well before showtime on Aug. 21. Then she'll just enjoy the eclipse.
That's Cooke's plan, too. "You just need to sit back and take it all in."

Today's Featured Artist..August 17, 2017...Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers (video + blog + links)

Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers

(Read all about Jive Bunny after the videos)


  Stepping Up The Pace



Moving Right Along! 



Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers were a 1980s and early 1990s novelty pop music act from Rotherham, Yorkshire, England. The face of the group was Jive Bunny, a cartoon rabbit who appeared in the videos, and also (as a human being in a costume) did promotional appearances for them.
Doncaster DJ and producer Les Hemstock created the original "Swing the Mood" mix for the Music Factory owned Mastermix DJ service. It was then taken from there and developed as a single release by father and son team John and Andrew Pickles. The name Jive Bunny came from a nickname Andy Pickles used to call a friend.[1] Ian Morgan a fellow DJ and co-producer also engineered and mixed some of the early releases along with Andy Pickles. Morgan was replaced in the early 1990s by DJ and producer Mark "The Hitman" Smith.
Jive Bunny's three number ones were "Swing the Mood",[1] "That's What I Like" and "Let's Party".[2] All three songs used sampling and synthesisers to combine pop music from the early rock 'n' roll era together into a medley.

Musical career

The act had eleven entries in the UK singles chart between July 1989 and November 1991. Each track used a sampled instrumental theme to join the old songs together, in much the same way as dance music megamixes. "Swing the Mood" began with Glenn Miller's famous "In the Mood" (a recording from 1939), followed immediately by rhythmic re-editing of Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock", Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up, Little Susie". "Swing the Mood" was #1 for five weeks on the UK singles chart in 1989, and quickly caught on in the United States, where it reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
"That's What I Like" featured the theme music from the television police drama Hawaii Five-O, with overlaid excerpts from rock hits like Chubby Checker's "The Twist" and Ernie Maresca's "Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)". "Let's Party" (released originally in the U.S. as "March of the Mods") used "March of the Mods" (also known as the Finnjenka Dance), interpolating Del Shannon's "Runaway" and The Wrens (R&B band)' "Come Back My Love" among others. In the UK "Let's Party" was a Christmas hit with samples of Wizzard's "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday", Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody" and Gary Glitter's "Another Rock 'N' Roll Christmas". Recently this has been remixed to remove the Gary Glitter track to avoid controversy over his subsequent criminal convictions should any radio stations wish to play it over the Christmas period. They did not have permission to use the original Wizzard recording so Roy Wood re-recorded the part of the track for them.
The original European medleys featured the original recordings by the original artists. Legalities prevented certain of the original recordings to be reused in America, so the American Jive Bunny releases substituted later re-recordings of the same tunes by Bill Haley, Del Shannon and others.
The original idea for the project came from Hemstock on the DJ-only Mastermix DJ service. The original Swing The Mood mix appeared on Issue 22 of Mastermix's monthly album release. John Pickles (father of Andy) was strictly speaking never in the band, but the owner of the label and effectively the manager.
Hemstock later became a trance DJ working with Paul Van Dyk. Pickles Jr., went on to found the hard house record label, Tidy Trax, with fellow DJ Amadeus Mozart. Morgan became a successful club DJ and Smith later worked in the music industry as a label manager and producer.
The Mastermix DJ Music Service is now in its 30th year and still supplies mixes and DJ compilations on CD and digital download.

More Music History for August 17, 2017 (with links)


1957 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
Actress Debbie Reynolds led the Cashbox chart with "Tammy", featured in the movie Tammy and the Bachelor. The song would go on to earn a Gold Record and was the best selling single of the year. It was nominated for the 1957 Academy Award for Best Original Song, but lost to "All The Way" from the film The Joker Is Wild, which finished at #15 in total sales.

1960 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
The Beatles perform for the first time using that name. They appear at the Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany, where they play for four and half hours a night and six hours on the weekend, during a 48 night stay.

1965 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
The Byrds were forced to cancel a concert during their UK tour at The Guildhall, Portsmouth, when only 250 of the 4,000 tickets were sold.

1966 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
As if he hadn't said enough already, John Lennon makes another controversial statement when he expresses his admiration for American draft dodgers.

1967 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
Gary Puckett And The Union Gap record "Woman Woman". The song would break first in Cleveland in November and would rise to #4 on the US national charts, but could only manage #48 in the UK.

1968 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
The Rascals' "People Got to Be Free" reaches number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It will be awarded a Gold record a week later, eventually selling over 4 million copies.

August 17
Cashbox magazine lists The Doors' "Hello, I Love You" as the best selling single in America. After charges of plagiarism, UK courts would rule that the tune was lifted from The Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night" and British royalties would go to Ray Davies.

August 17
Deep Purple's "Hush" is released in the US, where it will climb to #4 by mid-September.

1973 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
Paul Williams of The Temptations died of a self inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 34. Williams had left the Temps in 1971 because of poor health, although he continued to supervise their choreography. At the time of his death, he owed $80,000 in taxes and his celebrity boutique business had failed.

1974 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
Keyboardist Patrick Moraz was hired to replace Rick Wakeman in Yes. Moraz would stay for 3 years, playing on only one album, "Relayer". Wakeman returned for the next Yes album, "Going For The One."

August 17
Nottingham England's Paper Lace had Billboard's top tune with a song about a gangster shootout called "The Night Chicago Died". After the song became a hit, the band's manager contacted Chicago's mayor Richard Daley, hoping for a civic reception. What they got instead was 'a rather rude letter', ending in ...are you nuts?' Adding to the band's woes, they were forbidden to perform the song 'live' in America at the height of its popularity because of contract issues.

August 17
"When Will I See You Again" by The Three Degrees tops the UK chart for the first of a two week stay. It was a song that the Philadelphia trio didn't really care for, but changed their minds after it became a huge international hit, selling millions of copies.

1976 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
A fanzine called Sniffin' Glue, which chronicled of the early days of British Punk Rock, is first published in the UK. Although initial issues only sold about 50 copies, circulation soon increased to 15,000. Fearing absorption into the mainstream music press, publisher Mark Perry would cease operations in September '77.

1977 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
The day after Elvis Presley's death, President Jimmy Carter issues the following statement, "Elvis Presley's death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than twenty years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense and he was a symbol to people the world over, of the vitality, rebelliousness and good humor of his country."

August 17
Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) reports that in one day, the number of orders for flowers to be delivered to Graceland has surpassed the number for any other event in the company's history.

1989 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
Eagles' drummer Don Henley expresses his displeasure over Joe Walsh performing "Life In The Fast Lane" while touring with Ringo Starr. "He wrote the little guitar riff in the intro and that's all", complained Henley.

1992 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
Despite once being listed in the Guinness Book as the world's highest paid entertainer, Wayne Newton files for bankruptcy, claiming he owes $20 million.

1993 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
Police in Los Angeles began an inquiry into child abuse allegations against Michael Jackson. The investigation began after the son of a Beverly Hills dentist told his therapist that Jackson sexually abused him. Jackson's security staff claimed the allegations followed a failed attempt to blackmail the singer for 20 million dollars. Although no criminal charges were ever laid, lawyers for the 13 year-old filed a civil suit a month later claiming damages for sexual battery, seduction and other allegations. The suit was settled out of court in January 1994 for somewhere between $5 to $24 million.

1997 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
A pair of Elvis Presley's black underwear was stolen from the Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum in Los Angeles.

2004 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
Dan Fogelberg announced that he has been diagnosed with advance stages of prostate cancer. The 53 year old singer scored 7 Top Twenty albums in the US during the 1970s and '80s and charted with 4 hit singles, "Longer", "Leader of the Band", "Run For The Roses" and "Same Old Lang Syne". He would pass away on December 16, 2007.

August 17
After thirteen years, General Motors stopped using Bob Seger's "Like A Rock" in their ads for the Chevy Silverado pickup. Seger would tell The New York Times that the song was actually inspired by the end of a long term relationship.

2011 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
A US court refused to allow music producer Phil Spector to appeal his 2009 murder conviction. The 71-year-old was jailed for 19 years for shooting actress Lana Clarkson at his California home in 2003.

2016 - ClassicBands.com

August 17
The Universal Music Group announced that Paul McCartney had signed a new world-wide recording agreement with Capitol Records, bringing his entire catalog of master recordings with him.

Today in Music History...August 17, 2017 (Now with more info & links)

Music History: August 17th


2016 Tonight's episode of MTV's Catfish: The TV Show introduces Spencer Morrill, a Knoxville, Tennessee native who insists he's been in an online romance with Katy Perry for six years. When hosts Nev and Max lure out the catfish in England and bring her face to face with Morrill, who made a ring for the singer out of a family heirloom, he believes Perry sent the imposter as a joke.

2004 The venerable "Like A Rock" ad campaign comes to an end, as Chevy stops using the song and ends their association with Bob Seger. The 1986 song wasn't written for Chevy, but was used in the ads since 1989. Two years later, John Mellencamp's "Our Country" becomes the Silverado theme.

2004 Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg reveals that he is battling advanced prostate cancer.

2002 Nelly becomes the fifth artist to replace himself at #1 on the Hot 100 when "Dilemma" takes the top spot from "Hot In Herre."

2002 Hours before his wife is murdered, Jacksonville resident Justin Barber downloads the Guns N' Roses song "Used To Love Her." The song is later played at the trial as evidence, with the lyrics displayed for the jury ("I used to love her, but I had to kill her..."). Barber is convicted of first degree murder and given a life sentence.

1999 Derek Longmuir of the Bay City Rollers is arraigned on charges of possession of illegal drugs and child pornography. He is sentenced to 300 hours of community service.

1998 Santana's Carlos Santana is awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1997 Liverpool, Nova Scotia, dedicates The Hank Snow Country Music Centre, a museum dedicated to its native country music legend.

1995 Microsoft buys the rights to The Rolling Stones' 1981 smash "Start Me Up" to use as the theme for their Windows 95 rollout.


1995 Depeche Mode lead singer Dave Gahan slashes his wrists with razor blades in a suicide attempt. He is saved when a friend comes by and calls paramedics, who take him to Cedars Sinai Medical Center, where he wakes up the next morning in the psychiatric ward.More

1992 Exodus release their fifth studio album, Force of Habit.

1992 Wayne Newton files for bankruptcy, claiming debts of over $20 million.

1990 Actress/singer Pearl Bailey dies of arteriosclerotic coronary artery disease in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at age 72. Had a top-ten hit with "Takes Two to Tango" in 1952.

1987 Studio drummer Gary Chester dies in New York at age 62.

1984 At the outset of his latest world tour, a fatigued Elton John announces his upcoming retirement, which, like so many before and after, wouldn't take.

1980 At the Toledo Speedway Jam II in Toledo, Ohio, ZZ Top headlines the show with AC/DC, Sammy Hagar and Humble Pie on the undercard. (Also advertised on the poster: 800 kegs of beer, drinking age 18 in Ohio!) It is the last time AC/DC is a support act until 2003, when they open for The Rolling Stones.

1974 Paper Lace's "The Night Chicago Died" hits #1, where it will stay for one week.

1974 Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard LP hits #1.

1973 Paul Williams (original lead singer for The Temptations) dies of an apparent suicide in Detroit, Michigan, at age 34.

1972 Gladys Knight is a contestant on The Dating Game.

1969 Singer/actor Donnie Wahlberg (of New Kids on the Block) is born in Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts.

1969 Rapper Kelvin Mercer (of De La Soul) is born in The Bronx, New York.

1968 The Rascals' "People Got To Be Free" hits #1 for the first of five weeks.

1968 The Doors third album, Waiting For The Sun, hits #1 in America thanks to the hit "Hello, I Love You." They recorded the song after scraping plans to put a Jim Morrison poetry piece called "Celebration of the Lizard" on the entire first side.

1967 Gary Puckett and the Union Gap records "Woman, Woman."

1966 Vocalist/bassist Jill Cunniff (of Luscious Jackson) is born in New York City.

1965 Steve Gorman (drummer for The Black Crowes) is born in Muskegon, Michigan.

1964 Alt rock/country singer Maria McKee is born in Los Angeles, California.

1962 A riot breaks out during a Gary "U.S." Bonds performance at the Boston Arena.

1960 The Beatles start their run at the Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany, honing their skills with four-hour sets where they play lots of R&B covers along with their original songs.

1958 Belinda Carlisle, lead vocalist for The Go-Go's, is born in Los Angeles, California.

1955 Colin Moulding (bassist for XTC) is born in Swindon, Wiltshire, England.

1950 The Weavers' "Goodnight Irene" hits #1.

1949 Sib Hashian (drummer for Boston) is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

1947 Rock/soul musician Gary Talley (of The Box Tops and Big Star) is born in Memphis, Tennessee.

1944 Folk rocker John Seiter (of Spanky and Our Gang) is born in St. Louis, Missouri.

1933 Pop singer Mark Dinning is born in Manchester, Oklahoma.

1932 Jazz pianist/composer Duke Pearson is born in Atlanta, Georgia.

1919 Jazz singer Georgia Gibbs is born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Known for the 1950 hit "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake."

1917 The Original Dixieland Jass Band (shortly after changing "Jass" to "Jazz") makes the first recording of the standard "Tiger Rag."

1915 Leo Frank, the murderer of Mary Phagan, is kidnapped from his prison in Milledgeville, driven to Marietta, and lynched. This inspires the musical Parade.

1909 Trumpeter/bandleader Larry Clinton is born in Brooklyn, New York.

Nirvana Shoot "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Video

 
1991Nirvana shoot their video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit." It is set to look like a deranged pep rally at "Anarchy High School," and features fans recruited at a concert two days earlier. The video is a huge hit on MTV and helps propel Nirvana into the mainstream.
Read more

Featured Events

2011 "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" by Katy Perry hits #1 on the Hot 100, making her just the second artist with five #1 singles from the same album (Teenage Dream). The other five-time chart topper: Michael Jackson's Bad.

1993 While in therapy, Jordan Chandler, the 13-year-old son of a Beverly Hills dentist, alleges that singer Michael Jackson molested him while he visited Jackson's Neverland Ranch. The resultant civil suit costs Jackson over $20 million, but no criminal charges are filed, with Jackson's lawyers claiming the family in question had previously attempted to extort the singer.

1977 It's the day after Elvis Presley is found dead, and throngs of fans come to Graceland to mourn. President Jimmy Carter releases a statement saying, in part, "Elvis Presley's death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable."

1969 Woodstock moves into day three, with performances by Joe Cocker; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Blood, Sweat & Tears; and Country Joe & the Fish, who perform their famous "Fish Cheer."

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

R.I.P. Elvis Presley....A Tribute to the 'King of Rock & Roll' (Story + Medley)

Remembering the King: Elvis Presley died 40 years ago today

 PHOTO: Elvis Presley is seen in this undated file photo.

 All about Elvis Presley's death below the video of some of his most memorable recordings. (Approx. 1 hour & 20 minutes)
Also, Who was Elvis Presley?
Listen while you read.



Today, Aug. 16, marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, known the world over as the "King of Rock 'n' Roll."
Presley was just 42 years old when he passed away at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, from a heart attack.
Presley was the first rock 'n' roll superstar, whose charisma, energetic music and good looks helped make him one of the most influential and recognizable cultural icons of the 20th century.
His passion for and promotion of artists like Little Richard and Fats Domino helped open the door to the commercial acceptance of black rock 'n' roll artists by white audiences. Presley's musical talents extended beyond rock to pop balladry, gospel and country.

Presley remains the most successful individual music artist ever, with more than 211 million certified units sold worldwide. He's scored 10 chart-topping albums on the Billboard 200 and 18 No. 1 singles on the Hot 100. Various successful posthumous Presley albums, including compilations, rarities collections and more, continue to be released.
After Presley's death, Graceland became a huge tourist attraction. The property recently was expanded to include a huge entertainment complex with museums, eateries and a hotel.
In observance of the anniversary of Presley's passing, Graceland is hosting an expanded, nine-day edition of its Elvis Week celebration that kicked off Friday, Aug. 11, and runs through Saturday, Aug. 19. Today's scheduled events include the "ELVIS: Live in Concert 40th Anniversary Celebration," taking place at the FedExForum in downtown Memphis.
The show will feature film footage of Presley performing his classic songs with live accompaniment from a full symphony orchestra, plus a guest appearance by Presley's ex-wife, Priscilla Presley.

Who was Elvis Presley?

Elvis Presley

 

Elvis Aaron Presley[a] (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".
Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and relocated to Memphis, Tennessee with his family when he was 13 years old. His music career began there in 1954, when he recorded a song with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who managed the singer for more than two decades. Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel", was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit in the United States. He was regarded as the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines that coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, made him enormously popular—and controversial.
In November 1956, Presley made his film debut in Love Me Tender. In 1958, he was drafted into military service. He resumed his recording career two years later, producing some of his most commercially successful work before devoting much of the 1960s to making Hollywood films and their accompanying soundtrack albums, most of which were critically derided. In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed televised comeback special Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley featured in the first globally broadcast concert via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii. On August 16, 1977, he suffered a heart attack in his Graceland estate, and died as a result. His death came in the wake of many years of prescription drug abuse.
Presley is one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues and gospel, he is one of the best-selling solo artists in the history of recorded music, with estimated record sales of around 600 million units worldwide.[5] He won three Grammys,[6] also receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.

Life and career

1935–1953: Early years

Childhood in Tupelo

Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys Love (née Smith; 1912 – 1958) and Vernon Elvis Presley (1916 – 1979),[7] in the two-room shotgun house built by Vernon's father in preparation for the child's birth. Jesse Garon Presley, his identical twin brother, was delivered stillborn 35 minutes before his own birth.[8] Jesse was buried in an unmarked grave at Priceville Cemetery in Tupelo.[9] After Presley became famous, he asked people on several occasions to try and find the whereabouts of Jesse but to no avail since no papers marked the spot.[9] Presley became close to both parents and formed an especially close bond with his mother. The family attended an Assembly of God, where he found his initial musical inspiration. Although he was in conflict with the Pentecostal church in his later years, he never officially left it.[10][11][12] Rev. Rex Humbard officiated at his funeral, as Presley had been an admirer of Humbard's ministry.[13][14][15]
Presley's ancestry was primarily a Western European mix, including German,[16] Scots-Irish, Scottish,[17] and some French Norman. Gladys would often tell the family that before the Civil War, her great-great-grandmother, Morning Dove White, was a 'full-blooded Cherokee Indian',[18] although some genealogists doubt the claim.[19][20] Elaine Dundy in her book Elvis and Gladys, claims that Presley's great-great-grandmother Nancy Burdine Tackett was Jewish, citing a third cousin of Presley's, Oscar Tackett.[21] However, there is no evidence that the Presley family shared this belief and the syndicated columnist Nate Bloom has challenged the cousin's account, which he calls a "tall tale".[22] Gladys was regarded by relatives and friends as the dominant member of the small family. Vernon moved from one odd job to the next, evincing little ambition.[23][24] The family often relied on help from neighbors and government food assistance. The Presleys survived the F5 tornado in the 1936 Tupelo–Gainesville tornado outbreak. In 1938, they lost their home after Vernon was found guilty of kiting a check written by the landowner, Orville S. Bean, the dairy farmer and cattle-and-hog broker for whom he then worked. He was jailed for eight months, and Gladys and Elvis moved in with relatives.[25]
In September 1941, Presley entered first grade at East Tupelo Consolidated, where his instructors regarded him as "average".[26] He was encouraged to enter a singing contest after impressing his schoolteacher with a rendition of Red Foley's country song "Old Shep" during morning prayers. The contest, held at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show on October 3, 1945, was his first public performance: dressed as a cowboy, the ten-year-old Presley stood on a chair to reach the microphone and sang "Old Shep". He recalled placing fifth.[27] A few months later, Presley received his first guitar for his birthday; he had hoped for something else—by different accounts, either a bicycle or a rifle.[28][29] Over the following year, he received basic guitar lessons from two of his uncles and the new pastor at the family's church. Presley recalled, "I took the guitar, and I watched people, and I learned to play a little bit. But I would never sing in public. I was very shy about it."[30]
Entering a new school, Milam, for sixth grade in September 1946, Presley was regarded as a loner. The following year, he began bringing his guitar in on a daily basis. He played and sang during lunchtime, and was often teased as a "trashy" kid who played hillbilly music. The family was by then living in a largely African-American neighborhood.[31] A devotee of Mississippi Slim's show on the Tupelo radio station WELO, Presley was described as "crazy about music" by Slim's younger brother, a classmate of Presley's, who often took him into the station. Slim supplemented Presley's guitar tuition by demonstrating chord techniques.[32] When his protégé was 12 years old, Slim scheduled him for two on-air performances. Presley was overcome by stage fright the first time, but succeeded in performing the following week.[33]

Teenage life in Memphis

In November 1948, the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. After residing for nearly a year in rooming houses, they were granted a two-bedroom apartment in the public housing complex known as the Lauderdale Courts.[34] Enrolled at L. C. Humes High School, Presley received only a C in music in eighth grade. When his music teacher told him he had no aptitude for singing, he brought in his guitar the next day and sang a recent hit, "Keep Them Cold Icy Fingers Off Me", in an effort to prove otherwise. A classmate later recalled that the teacher "agreed that Elvis was right when he said that she didn't appreciate his kind of singing."[35] He was usually too shy to perform openly, and was occasionally bullied by classmates who viewed him as a "mama's boy".[36] In 1950, he began practicing guitar regularly under the tutelage of Jesse Lee Denson, a neighbor two-and-a-half years his senior. They and three other boys—including two future rockabilly pioneers, brothers Dorsey and Johnny Burnette—formed a loose musical collective that played frequently around the Courts.[37] That September, he began ushering at Loew's State Theater.[38] Other jobs followed, including Precision Tool, Loew's again, and MARL Metal Products.[39]
During his junior year, Presley began to stand out more among his classmates, largely because of his appearance: he grew out his sideburns and styled his hair with rose oil and Vaseline. In his free time, he would head down to Beale Street, the heart of Memphis's thriving blues scene, and gaze longingly at the wild, flashy clothes in the windows of Lansky Brothers. By his senior year, he was wearing them.[40] Overcoming his reticence about performing outside the Lauderdale Courts, he competed in Humes's Annual "Minstrel" show in April 1953. Singing and playing guitar, he opened with "Till I Waltz Again with You", a recent hit for Teresa Brewer. Presley recalled that the performance did much for his reputation: "I wasn't popular in school ... I failed music—only thing I ever failed. And then they entered me in this talent show ... when I came onstage I heard people kind of rumbling and whispering and so forth, 'cause nobody knew I even sang. It was amazing how popular I became after that."[41]
Presley, who never received formal music training or learned to read music, studied and played by ear. He also frequented record stores with jukeboxes and listening booths. He knew all of Hank Snow's songs,[42] and he loved records by other country singers such as Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Ted Daffan, Jimmie Rodgers, Jimmie Davis, and Bob Wills.[43] The Southern gospel singer Jake Hess, one of his favorite performers, was a significant influence on his ballad-singing style.[44][45] He was a regular audience member at the monthly All-Night Singings downtown, where many of the white gospel groups that performed reflected the influence of African-American spiritual music.[46] He adored the music of black gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.[43] Like some of his peers, he may have attended blues venues—of necessity, in the segregated South, on only the nights designated for exclusively white audiences.[47] He certainly listened to the regional radio stations, such as WDIA-AM, that played "race records": spirituals, blues, and the modern, backbeat-heavy sound of rhythm and blues.[48] Many of his future recordings were inspired by local African-American musicians such as Arthur Crudup and Rufus Thomas.[49][50] B.B. King recalled that he had known Presley before he was popular, when they both used to frequent Beale Street.[51] By the time he graduated from high school in June 1953, Presley had already singled out music as his future.[52][53]

1953–1955: First recordings

Sam Phillips and Sun Records


In August 1953, Presley walked into the offices of Sun Records. He aimed to pay for a few minutes of studio time to record a two-sided acetate disc: "My Happiness"[54] and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin". He would later claim that he intended the record as a gift for his mother, or that he was merely interested in what he "sounded like", although there was a much cheaper, amateur record-making service at a nearby general store. Biographer Peter Guralnick argues that he chose Sun in the hope of being discovered. Asked by receptionist Marion Keisker what kind of singer he was, Presley responded, "I sing all kinds." When she pressed him on who he sounded like, he repeatedly answered, "I don't sound like nobody." After he recorded, Sun boss Sam Phillips asked Keisker to note down the young man's name, which she did along with her own commentary: "Good ballad singer. Hold."[55]
In January 1954, Presley cut a second acetate at Sun Records—"I'll Never Stand In Your Way" and "It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You"—but again nothing came of it.[56] Not long after, he failed an audition for a local vocal quartet, the Songfellows. He explained to his father, "They told me I couldn't sing."[57] Songfellow Jim Hamill later claimed that he was turned down because he did not demonstrate an ear for harmony at the time.[58] In April, Presley began working for the Crown Electric company as a truck driver.[59] His friend Ronnie Smith, after playing a few local gigs with him, suggested he contact Eddie Bond, leader of Smith's professional band, which had an opening for a vocalist. Bond rejected him after a tryout, advising Presley to stick to truck driving "because you're never going to make it as a singer".[60]
Phillips, meanwhile, was always on the lookout for someone who could bring to a broader audience the sound of the black musicians on whom Sun focused. As Keisker reported, "Over and over I remember Sam saying, 'If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.'"[61] In June, he acquired a demo recording of a ballad, "Without You", that he thought might suit the teenage singer. Presley came by the studio, but was unable to do it justice. Despite this, Phillips asked Presley to sing as many numbers as he knew. He was sufficiently affected by what he heard to invite two local musicians, guitarist Winfield "Scotty" Moore and upright bass player Bill Black, to work something up with Presley for a recording session.[62]
The session, held the evening of July 5, 1954, proved entirely unfruitful until late in the night. As they were about to give up and go home, Presley took his guitar and launched into a 1946 blues number, Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right". Moore recalled, "All of a sudden, Elvis just started singing this song, jumping around and acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass, and he started acting the fool, too, and I started playing with them. Sam, I think, had the door to the control booth open ... he stuck his head out and said, 'What are you doing?' And we said, 'We don't know.' 'Well, back up,' he said, 'try to find a place to start, and do it again.'" Phillips quickly began taping; this was the sound he had been looking for.[64] Three days later, popular Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips played "That's All Right" on his Red, Hot, and Blue show.[65] Listeners began phoning in, eager to find out who the singer was. The interest was such that Phillips played the record repeatedly during the last two hours of his show. Interviewing Presley on-air, Phillips asked him what high school he attended in order to clarify his color for the many callers who had assumed he was black.[54][66] During the next few days, the trio recorded a bluegrass number, Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky", again in a distinctive style and employing a jury-rigged echo effect that Sam Phillips dubbed "slapback". A single was pressed with "That's All Right" on the A side and "Blue Moon of Kentucky" on the reverse.[67]

Early live performances and signing with RCA

The trio played publicly for the first time on July 17 at the Bon Air club—Presley still sporting his child-size guitar.[68] At the end of the month, they appeared at the Overton Park Shell, with Slim Whitman headlining. A combination of his strong response to rhythm and nervousness at playing before a large crowd led Presley to shake his legs as he performed: his wide-cut pants emphasized his movements, causing young women in the audience to start screaming.[69] Moore recalled, "During the instrumental parts, he would back off from the mike and be playing and shaking, and the crowd would just go wild".[70] Black, a natural showman, whooped and rode his bass, hitting double licks that Presley would later remember as "really a wild sound, like a jungle drum or something".[70] Soon after, Moore and Black quit their old band to play with Presley regularly, and DJ and promoter Bob Neal became the trio's manager. From August through October, they played frequently at the Eagle's Nest club and returned to Sun Studio for more recording sessions,[71] and Presley quickly grew more confident on stage. According to Moore, "His movement was a natural thing, but he was also very conscious of what got a reaction. He'd do something one time and then he would expand on it real quick."[72] Presley made what would be his only appearance on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry on October 2; after a polite audience response, Opry manager Jim Denny told Phillips that his singer was "not bad" but did not suit the program.[73][74] Two weeks later, Presley was booked on Louisiana Hayride, the Opry's chief, and more adventurous, rival. The Shreveport-based show was broadcast to 198 radio stations in 28 states. Presley had another attack of nerves during the first set, which drew a muted reaction. A more composed and energetic second set inspired an enthusiastic response.[75] House drummer D. J. Fontana brought a new element, complementing Presley's movements with accented beats that he had mastered playing in strip clubs.[76] Soon after the show, the Hayride engaged Presley for a year's worth of Saturday-night appearances. Trading in his old guitar for $8 (and seeing it promptly dispatched to the garbage), he purchased a Martin instrument for $175, and his trio began playing in new locales including Houston, Texas, and Texarkana, Arkansas.[77]
By early 1955, Presley's regular Hayride appearances, constant touring, and well-received record releases had made him a regional star, from Tennessee to West Texas. In January, Neal signed a formal management contract with Presley and brought the singer to the attention of Colonel Tom Parker, whom he considered the best promoter in the music business. Having successfully managed top country star Eddy Arnold, Parker was now working with the new number-one country singer, Hank Snow. Parker booked Presley on Snow's February tour.[78][79] When the tour reached Odessa, Texas, a 19-year-old Roy Orbison saw Presley for the first time: "His energy was incredible, his instinct was just amazing. ... I just didn't know what to make of it. There was just no reference point in the culture to compare it."[42] Presley made his television debut on March 3 on the KSLA-TV broadcast of Louisiana Hayride. Soon after, he failed an audition for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts on the CBS television network. By August, Sun had released ten sides credited to "Elvis Presley, Scotty and Bill"; on the latest recordings, the trio were joined by a drummer. Some of the songs, like "That's All Right", were in what one Memphis journalist described as the "R&B idiom of negro field jazz"; others, like "Blue Moon of Kentucky", were "more in the country field", "but there was a curious blending of the two different musics in both".[80] This blend of styles made it difficult for Presley's music to find radio airplay. According to Neal, many country-music disc jockeys would not play it because he sounded too much like a black artist and none of the rhythm-and-blues stations would touch him because "he sounded too much like a hillbilly."[81] The blend came to be known as rockabilly. At the time, Presley was variously billed as "The King of Western Bop", "The Hillbilly Cat", and "The Memphis Flash".[82]
Presley renewed Neal's management contract in August 1955, simultaneously appointing Parker as his special adviser.[83] The group maintained an extensive touring schedule throughout the second half of the year.[84] Neal recalled, "It was almost frightening, the reaction that came to Elvis from the teenaged boys. So many of them, through some sort of jealousy, would practically hate him. There were occasions in some towns in Texas when we'd have to be sure to have a police guard because somebody'd always try to take a crack at him. They'd get a gang and try to waylay him or something."[85] The trio became a quartet when Hayride drummer Fontana joined as a full member. In mid-October, they played a few shows in support of Bill Haley, whose "Rock Around the Clock" had been a number-one hit the previous year. Haley observed that Presley had a natural feel for rhythm, and advised him to sing fewer ballads.[86]
At the Country Disc Jockey Convention in early November, Presley was voted the year's most promising male artist.[87] Several record companies had by now shown interest in signing him. After three major labels made offers of up to $25,000, Parker and Phillips struck a deal with RCA Victor on November 21 to acquire Presley's Sun contract for an unprecedented $40,000.[88][b] Presley, at 20, was still a minor, so his father signed the contract.[89] Parker arranged with the owners of Hill and Range Publishing, Jean and Julian Aberbach, to create two entities, Elvis Presley Music and Gladys Music, to handle all the new material recorded by Presley. Songwriters were obliged to forgo one third of their customary royalties in exchange for having him perform their compositions.[90][c] By December, RCA had begun to heavily promote its new singer, and before month's end had reissued many of his Sun recordings.[93]

1956–1958: Commercial breakout and controversy

First national TV appearances and debut album

On January 10, 1956, Presley made his first recordings for RCA in Nashville.[94] Extending the singer's by now customary backup of Moore, Black, and Fontana, RCA enlisted pianist Floyd Cramer, guitarist Chet Atkins, and three background singers, including first tenor Gordon Stoker of the popular Jordanaires quartet, to fill out the sound.[95] The session produced the moody, unusual "Heartbreak Hotel", released as a single on January 27.[94] Parker finally brought Presley to national television, booking him on CBS's Stage Show for six appearances over two months. The program, produced in New York, was hosted on alternate weeks by big band leaders and brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. After his first appearance, on January 28, introduced by disc jockey Bill Randle, Presley stayed in town to record at RCA's New York studio. The sessions yielded eight songs, including a cover of Carl Perkins' rockabilly anthem "Blue Suede Shoes". In February, Presley's "I Forgot to Remember to Forget", a Sun recording initially released the previous August, reached the top of the Billboard country chart.[96] Neal's contract was terminated and, on March 2, Parker became Presley's manager.[97]
On March 12, 1956,[98] Elvis purchased a one-story ranch-style house with two-car attached garage[99] in a quiet residential neighborhood on Audubon Street in Memphis. The home was profiled in national magazines, and soon became a focal point for fans, media and celebrities to visit.[98] Elvis lived here with his parents between March 1956 and March 1957.[100]

RCA Victor released Presley's eponymous debut album on March 23. Joined by five previously unreleased Sun recordings, its seven recently recorded tracks were of a broad variety. There were two country songs and a bouncy pop tune. The others would centrally define the evolving sound of rock and roll: "Blue Suede Shoes"—"an improvement over Perkins' in almost every way", according to critic Robert Hilburn—and three R&B numbers that had been part of Presley's stage repertoire for some time, covers of Little Richard,[54] Ray Charles, and The Drifters. As described by Hilburn, these "were the most revealing of all. Unlike many white artists ... who watered down the gritty edges of the original R&B versions of songs in the '50s, Presley reshaped them. He not only injected the tunes with his own vocal character but also made guitar, not piano, the lead instrument in all three cases."[102] It became the first rock-and-roll album to top the Billboard chart, a position it held for 10 weeks.[94] While Presley was not an innovative guitarist like Moore or contemporary African American rockers Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry, cultural historian Gilbert B. Rodman argues that the album's cover image, "of Elvis having the time of his life on stage with a guitar in his hands played a crucial role in positioning the guitar ... as the instrument that best captured the style and spirit of this new music."[103]

Milton Berle Show and "Hound Dog"

Presley made the first of two appearances on NBC's Milton Berle Show on April 3. His performance, on the deck of the USS Hancock in San Diego, prompted cheers and screams from an audience of sailors and their dates.[104] A few days later, a flight taking Presley and his band to Nashville for a recording session left all three badly shaken when an engine died and the plane almost went down over Arkansas.[105] Twelve weeks after its original release, "Heartbreak Hotel" became Presley's first number-one pop hit. In late April, Presley began a two-week residency at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The shows were poorly received by the conservative, middle-aged hotel guests[106]—"like a jug of corn liquor at a champagne party," wrote a critic for Newsweek.[107] Amid his Vegas tenure, Presley, who had serious acting ambitions, signed a seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures.[108] He began a tour of the Midwest in mid-May, taking in 15 cities in as many days.[109] He had attended several shows by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys in Vegas and was struck by their cover of "Hound Dog", a hit in 1953 for blues singer Big Mama Thornton by songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.[106] It became the new closing number of his act.[110] After a show in La Crosse, Wisconsin, an urgent message on the letterhead of the local Catholic diocese's newspaper was sent to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. It warned that "Presley is a definite danger to the security of the United States. ... [His] actions and motions were such as to rouse the sexual passions of teenaged youth. ... After the show, more than 1,000 teenagers tried to gang into Presley's room at the auditorium. ... Indications of the harm Presley did just in La Crosse were the two high school girls ... whose abdomen and thigh had Presley's autograph."[111]
The second Milton Berle Show appearance came on June 5 at NBC's Hollywood studio, amid another hectic tour. Berle persuaded the singer to leave his guitar backstage, advising, "Let 'em see you, son."[112] During the performance, Presley abruptly halted an uptempo rendition of "Hound Dog" with a wave of his arm and launched into a slow, grinding version accentuated with energetic, exaggerated body movements.[112] Presley's gyrations created a storm of controversy.[113] Newspaper critics were outraged: Jack Gould of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability. ... His phrasing, if it can be called that, consists of the stereotyped variations that go with a beginner's aria in a bathtub. ... His one specialty is an accented movement of the body ... primarily identified with the repertoire of the blond bombshells of the burlesque runway."[114] Ben Gross of the New York Daily News opined that popular music "has reached its lowest depths in the 'grunt and groin' antics of one Elvis Presley. ... Elvis, who rotates his pelvis ... gave an exhibition that was suggestive and vulgar, tinged with the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos".[115] Ed Sullivan, whose own variety show was the nation's most popular, declared him "unfit for family viewing".[116] To Presley's displeasure, he soon found himself being referred to as "Elvis the Pelvis", which he called "one of the most childish expressions I ever heard, comin' from an adult."[117]

Steve Allen Show and first Sullivan appearance


The Berle shows drew such high ratings that Presley was booked for a July 1 appearance on NBC's Steve Allen Show in New York. Allen, no fan of rock and roll, introduced a "new Elvis" in a white bow tie and black tails. Presley sang "Hound Dog" for less than a minute to a basset hound wearing a top hat and bow tie. As described by television historian Jake Austen, "Allen thought Presley was talentless and absurd ... [he] set things up so that Presley would show his contrition".[118] Allen, for his part, later wrote that he found Presley's "strange, gangly, country-boy charisma, his hard-to-define cuteness, and his charming eccentricity intriguing" and simply worked the singer into the customary "comedy fabric" of his program.[119] Just before the final rehearsal for the show, Presley told a reporter, "I'm holding down on this show. I don't want to do anything to make people dislike me. I think TV is important so I'm going to go along, but I won't be able to give the kind of show I do in a personal appearance."[120] Presley would refer back to the Allen show as the most ridiculous performance of his career.[121] Later that night, he appeared on Hy Gardner Calling, a popular local TV show. Pressed on whether he had learned anything from the criticism to which he was being subjected, Presley responded, "No, I haven't, I don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong. ... I don't see how any type of music would have any bad influence on people when it's only music. ... I mean, how would rock 'n' roll music make anyone rebel against their parents?"[115]

The next day, Presley recorded "Hound Dog", along with "Any Way You Want Me" and "Don't Be Cruel". The Jordanaires sang harmony, as they had on The Steve Allen Show; they would work with Presley through the 1960s. A few days later, the singer made an outdoor concert appearance in Memphis at which he announced, "You know, those people in New York are not gonna change me none. I'm gonna show you what the real Elvis is like tonight."[122] In August, a judge in Jacksonville, Florida, ordered Presley to tame his act. Throughout the following performance, he largely kept still, except for wiggling his little finger suggestively in mockery of the order.[123] The single pairing "Don't Be Cruel" with "Hound Dog" ruled the top of the charts for 11 weeks—a mark that would not be surpassed for 36 years.[124] Recording sessions for Presley's second album took place in Hollywood during the first week of September. Leiber and Stoller, the writers of "Hound Dog," contributed "Love Me."[106][125]
Allen's show with Presley had, for the first time, beaten CBS's Ed Sullivan Show in the ratings. Sullivan, despite his June pronouncement, booked the singer for three appearances for an unprecedented $50,000.[126][106] The first, on September 9, 1956, was seen by approximately 60 million viewers—a record 82.6 percent of the television audience.[127] Actor Charles Laughton hosted the show, filling in while Sullivan recuperated from a car accident.[116] Presley appeared in two segments that night from CBS Television City in Los Angeles. According to Elvis legend, Presley was shot from only the waist up.[106] Watching clips of the Allen and Berle shows with his producer, Sullivan had opined that Presley "got some kind of device hanging down below the crotch of his pants–so when he moves his legs back and forth you can see the outline of his cock. ... I think it's a Coke bottle. ... We just can't have this on a Sunday night. This is a family show!"[128] Sullivan publicly told TV Guide, "As for his gyrations, the whole thing can be controlled with camera shots."[126] In fact, Presley was shown head-to-toe in the first and second shows. Though the camerawork was relatively discreet during his debut, with leg-concealing closeups when he danced, the studio audience reacted in customary style: screaming.[129][130] Presley's performance of his forthcoming single, the ballad "Love Me Tender", prompted a record-shattering million advance orders.[131] More than any other single event, it was this first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that made Presley a national celebrity of barely precedented proportions.[116]
Accompanying Presley's rise to fame, a cultural shift was taking place that he both helped inspire and came to symbolize. Igniting the "biggest pop craze since Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra ... Presley brought rock'n'roll into the mainstream of popular culture", writes historian Marty Jezer. "As Presley set the artistic pace, other artists followed. ... Presley, more than anyone else, gave the young a belief in themselves as a distinct and somehow unified generation—the first in America ever to feel the power of an integrated youth culture."[132]

Crazed crowds and film debut


The audience response at Presley's live shows became increasingly fevered. Moore recalled, "He'd start out, 'You ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog,' and they'd just go to pieces. They'd always react the same way. There'd be a riot every time."[133] At the two concerts he performed in September at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show, 50 National Guardsmen were added to the police security to prevent crowd trouble.[134] Elvis, Presley's second album, was released in October and quickly rose to number one. The album includes "Old Shep", which he sang at the talent show in 1945, and which now marked the first time he played piano on an RCA session. According to Guralnick, one can hear "in the halting chords and the somewhat stumbling rhythm both the unmistakable emotion and the equally unmistakable valuing of emotion over technique."[135] Assessing the musical and cultural impact of Presley's recordings from "That's All Right" through Elvis, rock critic Dave Marsh wrote that "these records, more than any others, contain the seeds of what rock & roll was, has been and most likely what it may foreseeably become."[136]
Presley returned to the Sullivan show at its main studio in New York, hosted this time by its namesake, on October 28. After the performance, crowds in Nashville and St. Louis burned him in effigy.[116] His first motion picture, Love Me Tender, was released on November 21. Though he was not top billed, the film's original title—The Reno Brothers—was changed to capitalize on his latest number one record: "Love Me Tender" had hit the top of the charts earlier that month. To further take advantage of Presley's popularity, four musical numbers were added to what was originally a straight acting role. The film was panned by the critics but did very well at the box office.[108]
On December 4, Presley dropped into Sun Records where Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis were recording and jammed with them. Though Phillips no longer had the right to release any Presley material, he made sure the session was captured on tape. The results became legendary as the "Million Dollar Quartet" recordings—Johnny Cash was long thought to have played as well, but he was present only briefly at Phillips's instigation for a photo opportunity.[137] The year ended with a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal reporting that Presley merchandise had brought in $22 million on top of his record sales,[138] and Billboard's declaration that he had placed more songs in the top 100 than any other artist since records were first charted.[139] In his first full year at RCA, one of the music industry's largest companies, Presley had accounted for over 50 percent of the label's singles sales.[131]

Leiber and Stoller collaboration and draft notice

Presley made his third and final Ed Sullivan Show appearance on January 6, 1957—on this occasion indeed shot only down to the waist. Some commentators have claimed that Parker orchestrated an appearance of censorship to generate publicity.[130][140] In any event, as critic Greil Marcus describes, Presley "did not tie himself down. Leaving behind the bland clothes he had worn on the first two shows, he stepped out in the outlandish costume of a pasha, if not a harem girl. From the make-up over his eyes, the hair falling in his face, the overwhelmingly sexual cast of his mouth, he was playing Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik, with all stops out."[116] To close, displaying his range and defying Sullivan's wishes, Presley sang a gentle black spiritual, "Peace in the Valley". At the end of the show, Sullivan declared Presley "a real decent, fine boy".[141] Two days later, the Memphis draft board announced that Presley would be classified 1-A and would probably be drafted sometime that year.[142]

Publicity photos for Jailhouse Rock
Each of the three Presley singles released in the first half of 1957 went to number one: "Too Much", "All Shook Up", and "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear". Already an international star, he was attracting fans even where his music was not officially released. Under the headline "Presley Records a Craze in Soviet", The New York Times reported that pressings of his music on discarded X-ray plates were commanding high prices in Leningrad.[143] Between film shoots and recording sessions, the singer also found time to purchase an 18-room mansion eight miles (13 km) south of downtown Memphis for himself and his parents: Graceland.[144] When he reported to the film studio for his second film, the Technicolor Loving You, released in July, "The makeup man said that with his eyes he should photograph well with black hair, so they dyed it."[145] Loving You, the accompanying soundtrack, was Presley's third straight number one album. The title track was written by Leiber and Stoller, who were then retained to write four of the six songs recorded at the sessions for Jailhouse Rock, Presley's next film. The songwriting team effectively produced the Jailhouse sessions and developed a close working relationship with Presley, who came to regard them as his "good-luck charm".[146]
Leiber remembered initially finding Presley "not quite authentic—after all, he was a white singer, and my standards were black."[147] According to Stoller, the duo was "surprised at the kind of knowledge that he had about black music. We figured that he had these remarkable pipes and all that, but we didn't realize that he knew so much about the blues. We were quite surprised to find out that he knew as much about it as we did. He certainly knew a lot more than we did about country music and gospel music."[148] Leiber remembered the recording process with Presley, "He was fast. Any demo you gave him he knew by heart in ten minutes." [147] As Stoller recalled, Presley "was 'protected'" by his manager and entourage. "He was removed. … They kept him separate."[148]
Presley undertook three brief tours during the year, continuing to generate a crazed audience response.[149] A Detroit newspaper suggested that "the trouble with going to see Elvis Presley is that you're liable to get killed."[150] Villanova students pelted him with eggs in Philadelphia,[150] and in Vancouver, the crowd rioted after the end of the show, destroying the stage.[151] Frank Sinatra, who had famously inspired the swooning of teenaged girls in the 1940s, condemned the new musical phenomenon. In a magazine article, he decried rock and roll as "brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious. ... It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people. It smells phoney and false. It is sung, played and written, for the most part, by cretinous goons. ... This rancid-smelling aphrodisiac I deplore."[152] Asked for a response, Presley said, "I admire the man. He has a right to say what he wants to say. He is a great success and a fine actor, but I think he shouldn't have said it. ... This is a trend, just the same as he faced when he started years ago."[153]

Leiber and Stoller were again in the studio for the recording of Elvis' Christmas Album. Toward the end of the session, they wrote a song on the spot at Presley's request: "Santa Claus Is Back in Town", an innuendo-laden blues.[154] The holiday release stretched Presley's string of number one albums to four and would eventually become the best selling Christmas album of all time.[155][156] After the session, Moore and Black—drawing only modest weekly salaries, sharing in none of Presley's massive financial success—resigned. Though they were brought back on a per diem basis a few weeks later, it was clear that they had not been part of Presley's inner circle for some time.[157] On December 20, Presley received his draft notice. He was granted a deferment to finish the forthcoming King Creole, in which $350,000 had already been invested by Paramount and producer Hal Wallis. A couple of weeks into the new year, "Don't", another Leiber and Stoller tune, became Presley's tenth number one seller. It had been only 21 months since "Heartbreak Hotel" had brought him to the top for the first time. Recording sessions for the King Creole soundtrack were held in Hollywood mid-January. Leiber and Stoller provided three songs and were again on hand, but it would be the last time they worked closely with Presley.[158] A studio session on February 1 marked another ending: it was the final occasion on which Black was to perform with Presley. He died in 1965.[159]

1958–1960: Military service and mother's death


On March 24, 1958, Presley was conscripted into the U.S. Army as a private at Fort Chaffee, near Fort Smith, Arkansas. His arrival was a major media event. Hundreds of people descended on Presley as he stepped from the bus; photographers then accompanied him into the fort.[160] Presley announced that he was looking forward to his military stint, saying he did not want to be treated any differently from anyone else: "The Army can do anything it wants with me."[161]
Soon after Presley commenced basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, he received a visit from Eddie Fadal, a businessman he had met on tour. According to Fadal, Presley had become convinced his career was finished—"He firmly believed that."[162] But then, during a two-week leave in early June, Presley recorded five songs in Nashville.[163] In early August, his mother was diagnosed with hepatitis and her condition rapidly worsened. Presley, granted emergency leave to visit her, arrived in Memphis on August 12. Two days later, she died of heart failure, aged 46. Presley was devastated;[164] their relationship had remained extremely close—even into his adulthood, they would use baby talk with each other and Presley would address her with pet names.[3]

After training, Presley joined the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany, on October 1.[165] Introduced to amphetamines by a sergeant while on maneuvers, he became "practically evangelical about their benefits"—not only for energy, but for "strength" and weight loss, as well—and many of his friends in the outfit joined him in indulging.[166] The Army also introduced Presley to karate, which he studied seriously, later including it in his live performances.[167] Fellow soldiers have attested to Presley's wish to be seen as an able, ordinary soldier, despite his fame, and to his generosity. He donated his Army pay to charity, purchased TV sets for the base, and bought an extra set of fatigues for everyone in his outfit.[168]
While in Friedberg, Presley met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. They would eventually marry after a seven-and-a-half-year courtship.[169] In her autobiography, Priscilla says that despite his worries that it would ruin his career, Parker convinced Presley that to gain popular respect, he should serve his country as a regular soldier rather than in Special Services, where he would have been able to give some musical performances and remain in touch with the public.[170] Media reports echoed Presley's concerns about his career, but RCA producer Steve Sholes and Freddy Bienstock of Hill and Range had carefully prepared for his two-year hiatus. Armed with a substantial amount of unreleased material, they kept up a regular stream of successful releases.[171] Between his induction and discharge, Presley had ten top 40 hits, including "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck", the best-selling "Hard Headed Woman", and "One Night"[172] in 1958, and "(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I" and the number one "A Big Hunk o' Love" in 1959.[173] RCA also generated four albums compiling old material during this period, most successfully Elvis' Golden Records (1958), which hit number three on the LP chart.[174]

1960–1967: Focus on films

Elvis Is Back

Presley returned to the United States on March 2, 1960, and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant on March 5.[176] The train that carried him from New Jersey to Tennessee was mobbed all the way, and Presley was called upon to appear at scheduled stops to please his fans.[177] On the night of March 20, he entered RCA's Nashville studio to cut tracks for a new album along with a single, "Stuck on You", which was rushed into release and swiftly became a number one hit.[178] Another Nashville session two weeks later yielded a pair of his best-selling singles, the ballads "It's Now or Never" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?",[179] along with the rest of Elvis Is Back! The album features several songs described by Greil Marcus as full of Chicago blues "menace, driven by Presley's own super-miked acoustic guitar, brilliant playing by Scotty Moore, and demonic sax work from Boots Randolph. Elvis's singing wasn't sexy, it was pornographic."[180] As a whole, the record "conjured up the vision of a performer who could be all things", in the words of music historian John Robertson: "a flirtatious teenage idol with a heart of gold; a tempestuous, dangerous lover; a gutbucket blues singer; a sophisticated nightclub entertainer; [a] raucous rocker".[181]
Presley returned to television on May 12 as a guest on The Frank Sinatra Timex Special—ironic for both stars, given Sinatra's not-so-distant excoriation of rock and roll. Also known as Welcome Home Elvis, the show had been taped in late March, the only time all year Presley performed in front of an audience. Parker secured an unheard-of $125,000 fee for eight minutes of singing. The broadcast drew an enormous viewership.[182]
G.I. Blues, the soundtrack to Presley's first film since his return, was a number one album in October. His first LP of sacred material, His Hand in Mine, followed two months later. It reached number 13 on the U.S. pop chart and number 3 in the UK, remarkable figures for a gospel album. In February 1961, Presley performed two shows for a benefit event in Memphis, on behalf of 24 local charities. During a luncheon preceding the event, RCA presented him with a plaque certifying worldwide sales of over 75 million records.[183] A 12-hour Nashville session in mid-March yielded nearly all of Presley's next studio album, Something for Everybody.[184] As described by John Robertson, it exemplifies the Nashville sound, the restrained, cosmopolitan style that would define country music in the 1960s. Presaging much of what was to come from Presley himself over the next half-decade, the album is largely "a pleasant, unthreatening pastiche of the music that had once been Elvis's birthright."[185] It would be his sixth number one LP. Another benefit concert, raising money for a Pearl Harbor memorial, was staged on March 25, in Hawaii. It was to be Presley's last public performance for seven years.[186]

Lost in Hollywood

Parker had by now pushed Presley into a heavy film making schedule, focused on formulaic, modestly budgeted musical comedies. Presley at first insisted on pursuing more serious roles, but when two films in a more dramatic vein—Flaming Star (1960) and Wild in the Country (1961)—were less commercially successful, he reverted to the formula. Among the 27 films he made during the 1960s, there were few further exceptions.[187] His films were almost universally panned; critic Andrew Caine dismissed them as a "pantheon of bad taste".[188] Nonetheless, they were virtually all profitable. Hal Wallis, who produced nine of them, declared, "A Presley picture is the only sure thing in Hollywood."[189]
Of Presley's films in the 1960s, 15 were accompanied by soundtrack albums and another 5 by soundtrack EPs. The films' rapid production and release schedules—he frequently starred in three a year—affected his music. According to Jerry Leiber, the soundtrack formula was already evident before Presley left for the Army: "three ballads, one medium-tempo [number], one up-tempo, and one break blues boogie".[190] As the decade wore on, the quality of the soundtrack songs grew "progressively worse".[191] Julie Parrish, who appeared in Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), says that he hated many of the songs chosen for his films.[192] The Jordanaires' Gordon Stoker describes how Presley would retreat from the studio microphone: "The material was so bad that he felt like he couldn't sing it."[193] Most of the film albums featured a song or two from respected writers such as the team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. But by and large, according to biographer Jerry Hopkins, the numbers seemed to be "written on order by men who never really understood Elvis or rock and roll."[194] Regardless of the songs' quality, it has been argued that Presley generally sang them well, with commitment.[195] Critic Dave Marsh heard the opposite: "Presley isn't trying, probably the wisest course in the face of material like 'No Room to Rumba in a Sports Car' and 'Rock-a-Hula Baby.'"[136]
In the first half of the decade, three of Presley's soundtrack albums hit number one on the pop charts, and a few of his most popular songs came from his films, such as "Can't Help Falling in Love" (1961) and "Return to Sender" (1962). ("Viva Las Vegas", the title track to the 1964 film, was a minor hit as a B-side, and became truly popular only later.) But, as with artistic merit, the commercial returns steadily diminished. During a five-year span—1964 through 1968—Presley had only one top-ten hit: "Crying in the Chapel" (1965), a gospel number recorded back in 1960. As for non-film albums, between the June 1962 release of Pot Luck and the November 1968 release of the soundtrack to the television special that signaled his comeback, only one LP of new material by Presley was issued: the gospel album How Great Thou Art (1967). It won him his first Grammy Award, for Best Sacred Performance. As Marsh described, Presley was "arguably the greatest white gospel singer of his time [and] really the last rock & roll artist to make gospel as vital a component of his musical personality as his secular songs."[196]
Shortly before Christmas 1966, more than seven years since they first met, Presley proposed to Priscilla Beaulieu. They were married on May 1, 1967, in a brief ceremony in their suite at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.[197] The flow of formulaic films and assembly-line soundtracks rolled on. It was not until October 1967, when the Clambake soundtrack LP registered record low sales for a new Presley album, that RCA executives recognized a problem. "By then, of course, the damage had been done", as historians Connie Kirchberg and Marc Hendrickx put it. "Elvis was viewed as a joke by serious music lovers and a has-been to all but his most loyal fans."[198]

1968–1973: Comeback

Elvis: the '68 Comeback Special

Presley's only child, Lisa Marie, was born on February 1, 1968, during a period when he had grown deeply unhappy with his career.[199] Of the eight Presley singles released between January 1967 and May 1968, only two charted in the top 40, and none higher than number 28.[200] His forthcoming soundtrack album, Speedway, would die at number 82 on the Billboard chart. Parker had already shifted his plans to television, where Presley had not appeared since the Sinatra Timex show in 1960. He maneuvered a deal with NBC that committed the network to both finance a theatrical feature and broadcast a Christmas special.[201]

Recorded in late June in Burbank, California, the special, called simply Elvis, aired on December 3, 1968. Later known as the '68 Comeback Special, the show featured lavishly staged studio productions as well as songs performed with a band in front of a small audience—Presley's first live performances since 1961. The live segments saw Presley clad in tight black leather, singing and playing guitar in an uninhibited style reminiscent of his early rock-and-roll days. Bill Belew, who designed this outfit, gave it a Napoleonic standing collar (Presley customarily wore high collars because he believed his neck looked too long), a design feature that he would later make a major trademark of the outfits Presley wore on stage in his later years. Director and coproducer Steve Binder had worked hard to reassure the nervous singer and to produce a show that was far from the hour of Christmas songs Parker had originally planned.[204] The show, NBC's highest rated that season, captured 42 percent of the total viewing audience.[205] Jon Landau of Eye magazine remarked, "There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home. He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect of rock 'n' roll singers. He moved his body with a lack of pretension and effort that must have made Jim Morrison green with envy."[206] Dave Marsh calls the performance one of "emotional grandeur and historical resonance."[207]
By January 1969, the single "If I Can Dream", written for the special, reached number 12. The soundtrack album broke into the top ten. According to friend Jerry Schilling, the special reminded Presley of what "he had not been able to do for years, being able to choose the people; being able to choose what songs and not being told what had to be on the soundtrack. ... He was out of prison, man."[205] Binder said of Presley's reaction, "I played Elvis the 60-minute show, and he told me in the screening room, 'Steve, it's the greatest thing I've ever done in my life. I give you my word I will never sing a song I don't believe in.'"[205]

From Elvis In Memphis and the International

Buoyed by the experience of the Comeback Special, Presley engaged in a prolific series of recording sessions at American Sound Studio, which led to the acclaimed From Elvis in Memphis. Released in June 1969, it was his first secular, non-soundtrack album from a dedicated period in the studio in eight years. As described by Dave Marsh, it is "a masterpiece in which Presley immediately catches up with pop music trends that had seemed to pass him by during the movie years. He sings country songs, soul songs and rockers with real conviction, a stunning achievement."[209]
Presley was keen to resume regular live performing. Following the success of the Comeback Special, offers came in from around the world. The London Palladium offered Parker $28,000 for a one-week engagement. He responded, "That's fine for me, now how much can you get for Elvis?"[210] In May, the brand new International Hotel in Las Vegas, boasting the largest showroom in the city, announced that it had booked Presley, scheduling him to perform 57 shows over four weeks beginning July 31. Moore, Fontana, and the Jordanaires declined to participate, afraid of losing the lucrative session work they had in Nashville. Presley assembled new, top-notch accompaniment, led by guitarist James Burton and including two gospel groups, The Imperials and The Sweet Inspirations.[211] Nonetheless, he was nervous: his only previous Las Vegas engagement, in 1956, had been dismal, and he had neither forgotten nor forgiven that failure. To revise his approach to performances, Presley visited Las Vegas hotel showrooms and lounges, at one of which, that of the Flamingo, he encountered Tom Jones, whose aggressive style was similar to his own 1950s approach; the two became friends. Already studying karate at the time, Presley recruited Bill Belew to design variants of karatekas's gis for him; these, in jumpsuit form, would be his "stage uniforms" in his later years. Parker, who intended to make Presley's return the show business event of the year, oversaw a major promotional push. For his part, hotel owner Kirk Kerkorian arranged to send his own plane to New York to fly in rock journalists for the debut performance.[212]
Presley took to the stage without introduction. The audience of 2,200, including many celebrities, gave him a standing ovation before he sang a note and another after his performance. A third followed his encore, "Can't Help Falling in Love" (a song that would be his closing number for much of the 1970s).[213] At a press conference after the show, when a journalist referred to him as "The King", Presley gestured toward Fats Domino, who was taking in the scene. "No," Presley said, "that's the real king of rock and roll."[214] The next day, Parker's negotiations with the hotel resulted in a five-year contract for Presley to play each February and August, at an annual salary of $1 million.[215] Newsweek commented, "There are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars."[216] Rolling Stone called Presley "supernatural, his own resurrection."[217] In November, Presley's final non-concert film, Change of Habit, opened. The double album From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis came out the same month; the first LP consisted of live performances from the International, the second of more cuts from the American Sound sessions. "Suspicious Minds" reached the top of the charts—Presley's first U.S. pop number one in over seven years, and his last.[218]
Cassandra Peterson, later television's Elvira, met Presley during this period in Las Vegas, where she was working as a showgirl. She recalls of their encounter, "He was so anti-drug when I met him. I mentioned to him that I smoked marijuana, and he was just appalled. He said, 'Don't ever do that again.'"[219] Presley was not only deeply opposed to recreational drugs, he also rarely drank. Several of his family members had been alcoholics, a fate he intended to avoid.[220]

Back on tour and meeting Nixon

Presley returned to the International early in 1970 for the first of the year's two month-long engagements, performing two shows a night. Recordings from these shows were issued on the album On Stage.[221] In late February, Presley performed six attendance-record–breaking shows at the Houston Astrodome.[222] In April, the single "The Wonder of You" was issued—a number one hit in the UK, it topped the U.S. adult contemporary chart, as well. MGM filmed rehearsal and concert footage at the International during August for the documentary Elvis: That's the Way It Is. Presley was by now performing in a jumpsuit, which would become a trademark of his live act. During this engagement, he was threatened with murder unless $50,000 was paid. Presley had been the target of many threats since the 1950s, often without his knowledge.[223] The FBI took the threat seriously and security was stepped up for the next two shows. Presley went onstage with a Derringer in his right boot and a .45 pistol in his waistband, but the concerts went off without incident.[224][225]
The album That's the Way It Is, produced to accompany the documentary and featuring both studio and live recordings, marked a stylistic shift. As music historian John Robertson notes, "The authority of Presley's singing helped disguise the fact that the album stepped decisively away from the American-roots inspiration of the Memphis sessions towards a more middle-of-the-road sound. With country put on the back burner, and soul and R&B left in Memphis, what was left was very classy, very clean white pop—perfect for the Las Vegas crowd, but a definite retrograde step for Elvis."[226] After the end of his International engagement on September 7, Presley embarked on a week-long concert tour, largely of the South, his first since 1958. Another week-long tour, of the West Coast, followed in November.[227]

On December 21, 1970, Presley engineered a meeting with President Richard Nixon at the White House, where he expressed his patriotism and his contempt for the hippies, the growing drug culture, and the counterculture in general.[228] He asked Nixon for a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge, to add to similar items he had begun collecting and to signify official sanction of his patriotic efforts. Nixon, who apparently found the encounter awkward, expressed a belief that Presley could send a positive message to young people and that it was therefore important he "retain his credibility". Presley told Nixon that the Beatles, whose songs he regularly performed in concert during the era,[229] exemplified what he saw as a trend of anti-Americanism and drug abuse in popular culture.[230] On hearing reports of the meeting, Paul McCartney later said he "felt a bit betrayed" and commented: "The great joke was that we were taking [illegal] drugs, and look what happened to him", a reference to Presley's death, hastened by prescription drug abuse.[231]
The U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce named Presley one of its annual Ten Most Outstanding Young Men of the Nation on January 16, 1971.[232] Not long after, the City of Memphis named the stretch of Highway 51 South on which Graceland is located "Elvis Presley Boulevard". The same year, Presley became the first rock and roll singer to be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award (then known as the Bing Crosby Award) by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Grammy Award organization.[233] Three new, non-film Presley studio albums were released in 1971, as many as had come out over the previous eight years. Best received by critics was Elvis Country, a concept record that focused on genre standards.[234] The biggest seller was Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas, "the truest statement of all", according to Greil Marcus. "In the midst of ten painfully genteel Christmas songs, every one sung with appalling sincerity and humility, one could find Elvis tom-catting his way through six blazing minutes of 'Merry Christmas Baby,' a raunchy old Charles Brown blues."[235] According to Guralnick, "the one real highlight" of one of the 1971 sessions were the recording of "I Will Be True," "It's Still Here," and "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," a trio of songs that Presley recorded in a rare solo set, sitting at the piano after everyone else had gone home: "Yearning, wistfulness, loneliness, need—all were communicated with a naked lack of adornment that Elvis was seeming to find increasingly difficult to display in the formal process of recording."[236]

Marriage breakdown and Aloha from Hawaii

MGM again filmed Presley in April 1972, this time for Elvis on Tour, which went on to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Documentary Film that year. His gospel album He Touched Me, released that month, would earn him his second Grammy Award, for Best Inspirational Performance. A 14-date tour commenced with an unprecedented four consecutive sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden.[237] The evening concert on July 10 was recorded and issued in LP form a week later. Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden became one of Presley's biggest-selling albums. After the tour, the single "Burning Love" was released—Presley's last top ten hit on the U.S. pop chart. "The most exciting single Elvis has made since 'All Shook Up'", wrote rock critic Robert Christgau. "Who else could make 'It's coming closer, the flames are now licking my body' sound like an assignation with James Brown's backup band?"[238]

Presley and his wife, meanwhile, had become increasingly distant, barely cohabiting. In 1971, an affair he had with Joyce Bova resulted—unbeknownst to him—in her pregnancy and an abortion.[240] He often raised the possibility of her moving into Graceland, saying that he was likely to leave Priscilla.[241] The Presleys separated on February 23, 1972, after Priscilla disclosed her relationship with Mike Stone, a karate instructor Presley had recommended to her. Priscilla relates that when she told him, Presley "grabbed ... and forcefully made love to" her, declaring, "This is how a real man makes love to his woman."[242] Five months later, Presley's new girlfriend, Linda Thompson, a songwriter and one-time Memphis beauty queen, moved in with him.[243] Presley and his wife filed for divorce on August 18.[244] Presley became depressed after the break up of his marriage.[245] According to Joe Moscheo of the Imperials, the failure of Presley's marriage "was a blow from which he never recovered."[246]
In January 1973, Presley performed two benefit concerts for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund in connection with a groundbreaking TV special, Aloha from Hawaii. The first show served as a practice run and backup should technical problems affect the live broadcast two days later. Aired as scheduled on January 14, Aloha from Hawaii was the first global concert satellite broadcast, reaching millions of viewers live and on tape delay.[247][248][249] Presley's costume became the most recognized example of the elaborate concert garb with which his latter-day persona became closely associated. As described by Bobbie Ann Mason, "At the end of the show, when he spreads out his American Eagle cape, with the full stretched wings of the eagle studded on the back, he becomes a god figure."[250] The accompanying double album, released in February, went to number one and eventually sold over 5 million copies in the United States.[251] It proved to be Presley's last U.S. number one pop album during his lifetime.[252]
At a midnight show the same month, four men rushed onto the stage in an apparent attack. Security men leapt to Presley's defense, and the singer's karate instinct took over as he ejected one invader from the stage himself. Following the show, he became obsessed with the idea that the men had been sent by Mike Stone to kill him. Though they were shown to have been only overexuberant fans, he raged, "There's too much pain in me ... Stone [must] die." His outbursts continued with such intensity that a physician was unable to calm him, despite administering large doses of medication. After another two full days of raging, Red West, his friend and bodyguard, felt compelled to get a price for a contract killing and was relieved when Presley decided, "Aw hell, let's just leave it for now. Maybe it's a bit heavy."[253]

1973–1977: Health deterioration and death

Medical crises and last studio sessions

Presley's divorce took effect on October 9, 1973.[254] He was now becoming increasingly unwell. Twice during the year he overdosed on barbiturates, spending three days in a coma in his hotel suite after the first incident. Toward the end of 1973, he was hospitalized, semicomatose from the effects of pethidine addiction. According to his primary care physician, Dr. George C. Nichopoulos, Presley "felt that by getting [drugs] from a doctor, he wasn't the common everyday junkie getting something off the street."[255] Since his comeback, he had staged more live shows with each passing year, and 1973 saw 168 concerts, his busiest schedule ever.[256] Despite his failing health, in 1974 he undertook another intensive touring schedule.[257]
Presley's condition declined precipitously in September. Keyboardist Tony Brown remembers the singer's arrival at a University of Maryland concert: "He fell out of the limousine, to his knees. People jumped to help, and he pushed them away like, 'Don't help me.' He walked on stage and held onto the mike for the first thirty minutes like it was a post. Everybody's looking at each other like, Is the tour gonna happen?"[258] Guitarist John Wilkinson recalled, "He was all gut. He was slurring. He was so fucked up. ... It was obvious he was drugged. It was obvious there was something terribly wrong with his body. It was so bad the words to the songs were barely intelligible. ... I remember crying. He could barely get through the introductions".[259] Wilkinson recounted that a few nights later in Detroit, "I watched him in his dressing room, just draped over a chair, unable to move. So often I thought, 'Boss, why don't you just cancel this tour and take a year off ...?' I mentioned something once in a guarded moment. He patted me on the back and said, 'It'll be all right. Don't you worry about it.'"[259] Presley continued to play to sellout crowds.
On July 13, 1976, Vernon Presley—who had become deeply involved in his son's financial affairs—fired "Memphis Mafia" bodyguards Red West (Presley's friend since the 1950s), Sonny West, and David Hebler, citing the need to "cut back on expenses".[260][261][262] Presley was in Palm Springs at the time,[263] and some suggest the singer was too cowardly to face the three himself. Another associate of Presley's, John O'Grady, argued that the bodyguards were dropped because their rough treatment of fans had prompted too many lawsuits.[264] However, Presley's stepbrother David Stanley has claimed that the bodyguards were fired because they were becoming more outspoken about Presley's drug dependency.[265]
RCA, which had enjoyed a steady stream of product from Presley for over a decade, grew anxious as his interest in spending time in the studio waned. After a December 1973 session that produced 18 songs, enough for almost two albums, he did not enter the studio in 1974.[266] Parker sold RCA on another concert record, Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis.[267] Recorded on March 20, it included a version of "How Great Thou Art" that would win Presley his third and final competitive Grammy Award.[268] (All three of his competitive Grammy wins—out of 14 total nominations—were for gospel recordings.) Presley returned to the studio in Hollywood in March 1975, but Parker's attempts to arrange another session toward the end of the year were unsuccessful.[269] In 1976, RCA sent a mobile studio to Graceland that made possible two full-scale recording sessions at Presley's home.[270] Even in that comfortable context, the recording process was now a struggle for him.[271]
For all the concerns of his label and manager, in studio sessions between July 1973 and October 1976, Presley recorded virtually the entire contents of six albums. Though he was no longer a major presence on the pop charts, five of those albums entered the top five of the country chart, and three went to number one: Promised Land (1975), From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee (1976), and Moody Blue (1977).[273] The story was similar with his singles—there were no major pop hits, but Presley was a significant force in not just the country market, but on adult contemporary radio as well. Eight studio singles from this period released during his lifetime were top ten hits on one or both charts, four in 1974 alone. "My Boy" was a number one adult contemporary hit in 1975, and "Moody Blue" topped the country chart and reached the second spot on the adult contemporary chart in 1976.[274] Perhaps his most critically acclaimed recording of the era came that year, with what Greil Marcus described as his "apocalyptic attack" on the soul classic "Hurt".[275] "If he felt the way he sounded", Dave Marsh wrote of Presley's performance, "the wonder isn't that he had only a year left to live but that he managed to survive that long."[276]

Final year and death

Presley and Linda Thompson split in November 1976, and he took up with a new girlfriend, Ginger Alden.[277] He proposed to Alden and gave her an engagement ring two months later, though several of his friends later claimed that he had no serious intention of marrying again.[278] Journalist Tony Scherman writes that by early 1977, "Presley had become a grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self. Hugely overweight, his mind dulled by the pharmacopia he daily ingested, he was barely able to pull himself through his abbreviated concerts."[279] In Alexandria, Louisiana, the singer was on stage for less than an hour and "was impossible to understand".[280] Presley failed to appear in Baton Rouge; he was unable to get out of his hotel bed, and the rest of the tour was cancelled.[280] Despite the accelerating deterioration of his health, he stuck to most touring commitments. In Rapid City, South Dakota, "he was so nervous on stage that he could hardly talk", according to Presley historian Samuel Roy, and unable to "perform any significant movement."[281] Guralnick relates that fans "were becoming increasingly voluble about their disappointment, but it all seemed to go right past Presley, whose world was now confined almost entirely to his room and his spiritualism books."[282] A cousin, Billy Smith, recalled how Presley would sit in his room and chat for hours, sometimes recounting favorite Monty Python sketches and his own past escapades, but more often gripped by paranoid obsessions that reminded Smith of Howard Hughes.[283] "Way Down", Presley's last single issued during his lifetime, came out on June 6. On the next tour, CBS filmed two concerts for a TV Special, Elvis in Concert, to be aired in October. On the first of these, captured in Omaha on June 19, Presley's voice, Guralnick writes, "is almost unrecognizable, a small, childlike instrument in which he talks more than sings most of the songs, casts about uncertainly for the melody in others, and is virtually unable to articulate or project."[284] He did better on the second night, two days later in Rapid City: "He looked healthier, seemed to have lost a little weight, and sounded better, too", though his appearance was still a "face framed in a helmet of blue-black hair from which sweat sheets down over pale, swollen cheeks."[285] His final concert was held in Indianapolis, Indiana at Market Square Arena, on June 26.

The book Elvis: What Happened?, cowritten by the three bodyguards fired the previous year, was published on August 1.[286] It was the first exposé to detail Presley's years of drug misuse. He was devastated by the book and tried unsuccessfully to halt its release by offering money to the publishers.[287] By this point, he suffered from multiple ailments: glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, and an enlarged colon, each aggravated—and possibly caused—by drug abuse.[255] Genetic analysis of a hair sample in 2014 found evidence of genetic variants that could have caused his glaucoma, migraines and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.[288][289] In addition, his drug abuse had led to falls, head trauma, and overdoses that most likely had damaged his brain.[290]
Presley was scheduled to fly out of Memphis on the evening of August 16, 1977, to begin another tour. That afternoon, Ginger Alden discovered him unresponsive on his bathroom floor. According to her eyewitness account, "Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position while using the commode and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position, directly in front of it. [...] It was clear that, from the time whatever hit him to the moment he had landed on the floor, Elvis hadn't moved."[291] Joel Williamson writes: "For some reason — perhaps involving a reaction to the codeine and attempts to move his bowels — he experienced pain and fright while sitting on the toilet. Alarmed, he stood up, dropped the book he was reading, stumbled forward, and fell face down in the fetal position. He struggled weakly and drooled on the rug. Unable to breathe, he died."[292] Attempts to revive him failed, and death was officially pronounced at 3:30 p.m. at Baptist Memorial Hospital.[293]
President Jimmy Carter issued a statement that credited Presley with having "permanently changed the face of American popular culture".[294] Thousands of people gathered outside Graceland to view the open casket. One of Presley's cousins, Billy Mann, accepted $18,000 to secretly photograph the corpse; the picture appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer's biggest-selling issue ever.[295] Alden struck a $105,000 deal with the Enquirer for her story, but settled for less when she broke her exclusivity agreement.[296] Presley left her nothing in his will.[297]
Presley's funeral was held at Graceland on Thursday, August 18. Outside the gates, a car plowed into a group of fans, killing two women and critically injuring a third.[298] Approximately 80,000 people lined the processional route to Forest Hill Cemetery, where Presley was buried next to his mother.[299] Within a few days, "Way Down" topped the country and UK pop charts.[274][300]
Following an attempt to steal the singer's body in late August, the remains of both Presley and his mother were reburied in Graceland's Meditation Garden on October 2.[296]
Since his death, there have been numerous alleged sightings of Presley. A long-standing theory among some fans is that he faked his death.[301][302] Fans have noted alleged discrepancies in the death certificate, reports of a wax dummy in his original coffin and numerous accounts of Presley planning a diversion so he could retire in peace.[303]

Questions over cause of death

"Drug use was heavily implicated" in Presley's death, writes Guralnick. "No one ruled out the possibility of anaphylactic shock brought on by the codeine pills ... to which he was known to have had a mild allergy." A pair of lab reports filed two months later each strongly suggested that polypharmacy was the primary cause of death; one reported "fourteen drugs in Elvis' system, ten in significant quantity."[304] Forensic historian and pathologist Michael Baden views the situation as complicated: "Elvis had had an enlarged heart for a long time. That, together with his drug habit, caused his death. But he was difficult to diagnose; it was a judgment call."[305]
The competence and ethics of two of the centrally involved medical professionals were seriously questioned. Before the autopsy was complete and toxicology results known, medical examiner Dr. Jerry Francisco declared the cause of death as cardiac arrhythmia, a condition that can be determined only in someone who is still alive.[306] Allegations of a cover-up were widespread.[305] While Presley's main physician, Dr. Nichopoulos, was exonerated of criminal liability for the singer's death, the facts were startling: "In the first eight months of 1977 alone, he had [prescribed] more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines and narcotics: all in Elvis's name." His license was suspended for three months. It was permanently revoked in the 1990s after the Tennessee Medical Board brought new charges of over-prescription.[255]
Amidst mounting pressure in 1994, the Presley autopsy was reopened. Coroner Dr. Joseph Davis declared, "There is nothing in any of the data that supports a death from drugs. In fact, everything points to a sudden, violent heart attack."[255] Whether or not combined drug intoxication was in fact the cause, there is little doubt that polypharmacy contributed significantly to Presley's premature death.[306]
More recent research has revealed that it was only Dr Francisco who told the news people that Elvis apparently died of heart failure. In fact, the doctors "could say nothing with confidence until they got the results back from the laboratories, if then. That would be a matter of weeks." One of the examiners, Dr E. Eric Muirhead "could not believe his ears. Francisco had not only presumed to speak for the hospital's team of pathologists, he had announced a conclusion that they had not reached." "Early on, a meticulous dissection of the body … confirmed [that] Elvis was chronically ill with diabetes, glaucoma, and constipation. As they proceeded, the doctors saw evidence that his body had been wracked over a span of years by a large and constant stream of drugs. They had also studied his hospital records, which included two admissions for drug detoxification and methadone treatments."[307] Therefore, Frank Coffey is of the opinion that a plausible cause of Elvis' death is "a phenomenon called the Valsalva maneuver (essentially straining on the toilet leading to heart stoppage — plausible because Elvis suffered constipation, a common reaction to drug use)..."[308] In similar terms, Dr Dan Warlick, who was present at the autopsy, "believes Presley's chronic constipation — the result of years of prescription drug abuse and high-fat, high-cholesterol gorging — brought on what's known as Valsalva's maneuver. Put simply, the strain of attempting to defecate compressed the singer's abdominal aorta, shutting down his heart."[309]