He will forever be remembered as the "King of Rock-n-Roll" but Elvis Presley wasn't born into fame and fortune. He was born in 1935 to his parents Vernon and Gladys, in Mississippi. He was one of two twin boys but his brother was stillborn and Presley was raised an only child.
It is said that Presley grew up in poverty but that isn't entirely true. For the era and for his family's location in the US, Elvis would have been considered a boy living within his family's means. They didn't have money for entertainment or extras but he didn't know what it was like to go to bed hungry.
Elvis Presley was fond of his parents but close to his mother. His father, some would have said, was quite lazy and not as ambitious as his son would later become. At the age of ten, Presley sang at a state fair and won second prize for the performance. In 1946, he received his first guitar and in 1948, the Presley family made their way to a permanent home in Memphis. It provided a turning point for Presley.
Elvis was made fun of by some of the children because he ran around with his guitar on his back. Soon, Elvis was playing music to help support the family and to help bring in a little extra income. His sideburns grew out and he emulated some of the more well known singers from Beale Street.
Presley picked up music wherever he could and eventually learned from the greats like B.B. King and Rufus Thomas and others he would find on Beale Street. Since Elvis didn't read or write music, he had to rely on others and he had to rely a lot on what he heard. He played guitar by ear.
In 1953, Elvis Presley began to play for Sun Records making his first recording for the label then. By 1954, he was playing on the Grand Ole Opry. His breakout year wouldn't happen until 1956. His record "deal" had happened in November the previous year but by the time 1956 was in full gear; Presley was getting many other contracts, albums, and deals. One deal included a two-week stint at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.
Elvis Presley recorded many records during his lifetime and captured countless awards most of them still on display at his estate in Memphis. From That's Alright Baby to Hound Dog, Presley sang and people listened. He would go on to be a father, a husband, and an actor and few, if anyone, would ever understand or live the successful life that Elvis Presley made into a legacy that lives on today.
Presley is buried at Graceland in Memphis. His ex-wife has continued to capitalize on her dead ex-husband's empire and his daughter Lisa Marie has been one that hasn't escaped public attention. A talent vocal voice in her own right, Lisa Marie Presley was married to Michael Jackson for a short period of time and today has her own music gaining its rightful notoriety.