Undeniably referred to as, “The King of Rock n’ Roll” Elvis Aaron Presley, born January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Missisippi, has been the center of the public eye for decades. Even after his death. By the age of 8, Elvis had already made up his mind on a musical career. Elvis would ensure he was the first at the local radio station WELO, to perform at their Saturday Jamboree. Members of the public were invited to sing or play their instruments. He was most remembered for singing, “Old Shep.” Ironically, when his parents bought Elvis his first guitar, he was disappointed as he originally wanted a bike or a rifle.
His musical career really started to form in 1954 and flourished until his death, in 1977. Elvis is an undeniable icon across the globe. His popularity dwindled in the 60’s with artists like: The Beatles, The Doors and The Rolling Stones emerging on the music scene. His 1968 comeback television special, one of the original “unplugged” concert settings, was highly successful. The King remained a living legend until his death, August 16, 1977. Even now, Elvis is often immortalized as his younger self. It is even estimated that there are over 250,000 Elvis impersonators. Since the legend and King of Rock n’ Roll shared so much of his life with the world, it’s difficult to imagine we don’t everything about him. Below are 10 lesser known morsels of Elvis information.
10. Elvis Held a 7th Degree Black Belt in Karate
Elvis started taking lessons twice a week in December 1959. He became thoroughly invested in Karate and loved the dedication that it required. It made him feel empowered. By the 1970’s, Elvis was known for incorporating karate moves into his show in Las Vegas. Though Elvis wanted to make a Karate focused movie, which Colonel Parker was never a fan of, the project was suddenly canceled on Christmas Eve,1974.
9. Elvis was Born Blonde
When we picture Elvis, whether in his Las Vegas, Jailhouse Rock or his comeback special black leather ensemble, we tend to imagine Presley with jet black hair. To the surprise of many, Presley was born blonde. By the time he went into the service, he was reported as having a chestnut hair color. Elvis had admitted to using shoe polish in his hair to make it jet black. Additionally, he had Priscilla dye her hair jet black as well.
8. Elvis Never Wrote a Song
Out of all of the songs recorded by ‘The King’, none of them were written by Elvis himself. Though, he was known for changing lyrics during live concerts. One humorous variation was during a show in Las Vegas, 1969 “Do you look at your bald head, and wish you had hair?” From the popular tune, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” The exact number of recordings is difficult to find a consensus on. It’s estimated that around an astonishing 760 songs were recorded by Elvis. For so many recordings, it’s ironic that Elvis was given a C in grade 8 music. It’s recounted that he told his teacher that she simply didn’t appreciate his style of music.
7. Elvis Was Shy
Even though Elvis was known for his ability to charm women just by looking into their eyes, it was said that he was fairly shy. It’s fascinating that this Mississippi born man was actually very shy, until he would take the stage. The King had major insecurities about not being able to live up to the expectations women would have of him as a lover. So, he often surrounded himself with girls who were much younger than him. He was also incredibly fearful of being alone. It’s been said that he always had a television on, like some sort of comforting company.
6. Elvis was Related to Two Former Presidents
Interestingly, Elvis was distantly related to the 39th President of The United States, Jimmy Carter and the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. Elvis is related to Lincoln’s second great-grandfather, Isaiah Harrison. President Jimmy Carter is a 6th cousin, once removed from Elvis. There is certainly greatness threaded throughout those genes!
5. Elvis and The Beatles
The Beatles had long awaited meeting their idol. Though the group had received a congratulatory telegraph from Elvis in February 1964, they weren’t able to meet up with Elvis due to conflicting schedules. Finally, after years of trying to arrange a meeting, The Fab Four met their hero August 27, 1965. In a recount of the evening, John Lennon recalled that they were all overwhelmed when meeting Elvis. The room was silent. Eventually, Elvis said “Look, guys” he said, “if you’re just going to sit there and stare at me, I’m going to bed.” With that, the tension lifted and they all began to laugh. That’s when Elvis suggested that they all sing and play a bit, The Beatles were thrilled. Though they never saw Elvis again, it was a night that none of them would ever forget.
4. “It’s Now or Never” Influenced an Imprisoned Man to Pursue a Musical Career
At the age of 17, legendary singer Barry White was serving a four month sentence for stealing tires. He heard Elvis’ song, “It’s Now or Never” on the radio. White attributed the song to changing the course of his life. It isn’t difficult to conceive that a song can really influence someone. In the case of Barry White, we are surely glad that the jail was playing the right station to send this man on the path to find himself in music.
3. TCB and The Memphis Mafia
“TCB” or, Taking Care of Business in a Flash were symbols given to the “Memphis Mafia” by Elvis. In her book, Priscilla Presley mentioned that Elvis wasn’t a fan of the “Memphis Mafia” title. He felt that it was too negative of a connotation. These men were always with Elvis, many from childhood when he was bullied, straight to his untimely death in 1977. Often considered the best of his friends, they often survived off of Elvis’ generosity. The TCB Oath: More self respect, more respect for fellow man, Respect for fellow students & techniques. Body conditioning, Mental conditioning, Meditation for calming & willing of the mind & body. Sharpen your skills increases mental awareness for all those who might choose a new outlook and personal philosophy Freedom from constipation.
2. Only Toured Outside of the USA 5 Times
It’s thought that Elvis didn’t perform outside of the USA and Canada because of Colonel Parker. Either because of Parker’s sketchy past, or that he was an illegal immigrant who could be deported if he applied for a US passport. All of his outside performances were in Canada. Elvis did an impromptu performance in Paris, while on leave with the Army. However, it was not an official concert. Regardless, Elvis remains a musical icon all around the world, in spite of his inability to play overseas.
1. He Owned a Pet Chimpanzee
With a room in his home dubbed, “The Jungle Room” it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Elvis owned a chimpanzee. Elvis purchased the chimpanzee, affectionately named Scatter, from a children’s entertainer in Memphis. Scatter had a nasty habit of peeking under women’s blouses. Elvis thought that this was hilarious. Elvis reportedly treated Scatter like a baby, often carrying him around on his shoulders and changing his diapers.