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Published: September 30th 2019
ELVIS BORN HEREANOTHER SINGER
His dad, Vernon, built this house. It is now part of a park and museum owned by the city of Tupelo. They have been maintaining it for decades. When Elvis lived here it probably wasn't even painted.
There was another guy born in Mississippi who could sing a little. He became so immensely popular that he was known as the King of Rock and Roll. His name was Elvis Presley. Even some milennials may have heard of him. He died of self-indulgence on August 16, 1977. It was right around the time most of them were born. Elvis, himself, was born on January 8, 1935 over in Tupelo. He had a twin brother that was stillborn 35 minutes before he burst on to the scene. His dad, Vernon, built the little shotgun style house where he was born. Times, in those days, were hard everywhere. Vernon got along as best could by doing odd jobs around town. He mostly was desperate to keep his family fed. One day a guy paid him with a bank draft and Vernon decided to alter the amount. He was caught and sent to jail for two years. In his absence the family got so poor they lost the house and couldn’t even afford to pay attention. In 1948 they all piled into an old wreck of a 1939 Pontiac and made for Memphis. They left in the middle of the night one jump ahead of their many creditors. Elvis started out singing some gospel tunes back in Tupelo, but he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, and he was terribly shy. He had child’s size guitar that he never learned to play very well. Finally a black guy down on Beale Street taught him some chords and influenced him in the blues and Black gospel music. Elvis still was white hillbilly trash though, and he was still shy about performing. The music industry did not know what to make of him, but he would not go away. Sam Phillips, the record producer down at Sun Records saw some potential in him, and didn’t give up either. Eventually Elvis broke out with a song called That’s Alright
but to overcome his shyness he had to move his feet and dance around like a fool. It was the sound that Phillips was looking for, and it helped rockabilly take off. Elvis made an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, but they did not appreciate his style or his potential, and he was not invited back ever. They started in calling him Elvis the Pelvis. He got a gig down in Shreveport on the Louisiana Hayride with Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash and his popularity soared. In 1958 he was drafted and got inducted into the Army at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and then went to Fort Hood, Texas for training. By then he switched labels from Sun to RCA Victor and got a new manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Tom was not the colonel of anything. It was an honorary title bestowed on him by some backwoods southern governor. From Fort Hood, Elvis was sent to an armored division in Germany. He served as ordinary soldier for two years and came out as a sergeant. Colonel Tom would not allow him to perform or cut new records while he was in the Army, and Elvis was worried that he would be forgotten. He could not have been more wrong. Rock and Roll had taken off, and Elvis would soon become its King. Following the career path of Gene Autry, Elvis started in making movies. None of them were really very good, but all of them were commercially successful. Drug addiction finally did him in.
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