July is THE month of THE KING of Rock and Roll. Say what you want and listen to what you listen to, he didn’t get that name by accident.
I didn’t really know a lot about him (and there’s probably laws about that somewhere but COME ON I’m not that old and don’t know A LOT of history) so I decided to devote some time this month for our new THROWBACK feature to learn all about Elvis Presley.
Why do I say July is his month?
He was 18 on July 18, 1953 when he strolled into Sun Records studio and prepared to surprise his mother with a few birthday songs as a gift. Before YouTube, you had to find a label and an office manager and impress them in the flesh with vocals and talent. Elvis Presley nailed it.
Fast forward exactly one year and one day, and the two covers “That’s All Right (Mama)” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” are released. Memphis loves the covers even though they were already hits from Arthur “Big Boy” Cruddup and Bill Monroe, respectively.
That July, Guitarist Winfield “Scotty” Moore and upright bass player Bill Black joined Presley and the three began performing at the Bon Air Club. We’ll blame the summer heat and the infamous wide pants on the ladies going wild for the shows.
Commercial and nationwide acceptance came with TV appearances, notably the Steve Allen show July 1, when Hound Dog was heard for the first time. The singles, the music, the masses of fans grew and grew, and like the pop stars now, Elvis went for it all, creating films and going on tour throughout the next ten years.
I don’t think I knew the length of Elvis’ career or the twists and turns it took. I think later generations may be more familiar with the fall rather than the rise, but suffice to say the ten years that Elvis brought himself to the stage, the music of the world changed. All this began from someone who “never received formal music training or learned to read music, studied and played by ear” (wikipedia line not mine).
I couldn’t believe the guy made 27 films in the 60s. 15 had soundtracks, 5 had EPs. I mean, busy GUY.
In 1969, Elvis took on Vegas at the end of July. The concert was his first in 8 years and was the beginning of a landscape shift there as well. He held his ground at the International Hotel, in Vegas, and received a standing ovation from 2,200 people including celebrities. This was the beginning of a five year, one million dollar a year contract with Elvis. Talk about hitting the jackpot.
Although everything in July was wonderful to Elvis, he was unable to get a grip on real life where his health would deteriorate and he would have multiple divorces. Eventually, after many shows of slurring his words and barely getting by, his newest girlfriend, Ginger Alden, would find him unresponsive on the bathroom floor where he passed away – his funeral held in Graceland.
Elvis Presley is so iconic that we’re honestly just really lucky to have had him perform in our lives. There’s more than I can give justice to encapsulate here so def read more online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_Presley
And go figure I wasn’t the first person to see these dates, after writing this I found http://www.elvis-history-blog.com/elvis-in-july.html and so there are a few more fun dots to connect about the man, the legend, the King of Rock and Roll.