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Elvis Aaron Presley, in the humblest of circumstances, was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948.
Elvis Presley's musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, he began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor
By 1956, he was an international sensation.
His music, personality and verve touched millions, from the American teens of the 1950s to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. Presedent George Bush who paid their respects in June 2007 as just two of the 750,000 annual visitors to Graceland. (See related article)
Among his many awards and accolades were 14 Grammy nominations (3 wins) from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received at age 36, and his being named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Jaycees.
During his 'concert years' from 1969 to 1977, Elvis gave nearly 1,100 concert performances.
Elvis' greatest legacy, though, is the music, and the rockers and other musicians who built on it.
Bruce Springsteen said: 'It was like he whispered his dream in all our ears and then we dreamed it'. Beatles vocalist and rhythm guitarist John Lennon said, 'Before Elvis there was nothing'.
With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture.
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