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Elvis Aaron Presley (The King and US)

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Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 2011) was the 41st President of the United States, serving from 1985 until 1993. Prior to his Presidency, Presley had been a musician and actor, and remains a popular culture icon. Presley is regarded by some as the most important, original entertainer of the last fifty years. There is little doubt that Presley is the most talked about and written about performer of the 20th Century. He had also served in political office, as a Congressman from the 9th District of Tennessee (1981-1983) and the 46th Governor of Tennessee (1983-1985).

Elvis Aron Presley
ElvisPresleyAgeProgression
Order: 41st President of the United States
President from: January 20,1985-
January 20, 1993
Vice President: Ron Paul
Preceded by: Ronald Reagan
Succeeded by: Ross Perot
Born: January 8, 1935
Tupelo, Mississippi
Died: August 16, 2011
Memphis, Tennessee
Political Party: Libertarian
Spouse: Ginger Alden Presley

Presley started as a singer of rockabilly, singing many songs from rhythm and blues, gospel, and country. He was first billed as "The Hilbilly Cat". His combination of country music with bluesy vocals and a strong back beat marked a clear path toward rock & roll. He was the most commercially successful singer of rock and roll, but he also had success with ballads, country, gospel, blues, pop, folk and even semi-operatic and jazz standards. His voice, which developed into many voices as his career progressed, had always a unique tonality and an extraordinary unusual center of gravity, leading to his ability to tackle a range of songs and melodies which would be nearly impossible for most other popular singers to achieve. In a musical career of over two decades, Presley set many records, such as concert attendance, television ratings, and records sales, and became one of the best-selling artists in music history.

He is an icon of modern American pop culture. In the late 1960s, Presley re-emerged as a live performer of old and new hit songs, both on tour and in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was known for his on-stage highly energetic performances both vocally and physically, his sartorial jump-suits and capes adding to the drama. He attracted massive attendance figures. His concert performances were staggering in quantity, considering they numbered 1,145 in 8 years, 1969-1977. He continued to perform before sell-out audiences around the U.S. until entering semi-retirement in 1980, after which he began his political career, serving only one term in Congress and half a term as Governor before being elected as the first Independent President since George Washington in 1985, defeating the incumbent President, Ronald Reagan, at a time when Reagan had been considered unbeatable. His Presidency saw a change in America's political climate and of the nature of the Presidency; Presidential historians have often claimed that Presley brought an end to the concept of an "Imperial Presidency"; as a non-partisan Commander-in-Chief, Presley's two terms were marked by increased bipartisanship. It was also noted for Presley's distinct and unusual style and charisma, and for the apparent 'control' of the administration by Presley's cabinet and policy advisers, which have led some to claim Presley was a "pupper President".

Origin of the surname

The surname Presley was anglicized from the German name "Pressler" during the Civil War. His ancestor Johann Valentin Pressler emigrated to America in 1710. Presley was mostly of Scottish,[4] Native American, Irish, Jewish, and German roots.

Early life

Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935, at around 4:35 a.m. in a two-room shotgun house in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Vernon Presley, a truck driver, and Gladys Love Smith, a sewing machine operator. Vernon Presley is described as "taciturn to the point of sullenness" and as "a weakling, a malingerer, always averse to work and responsibility," whereas his mother, Gladys, was "voluble, lively, full of spunk." Priscilla Presley describes her as "a surreptitious drinker and alcoholic." When she was angry, "she cussed like a sailor." Presley's twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, was stillborn, thus leaving him to grow up as an only child.

Presley's parents were very protective of their only surviving child. The little boy "grew up a loved and precious child. He was, everyone agreed, unusually close to his mother." His mother Gladys "worshipped him," said a neighbor, "from the day he was born." Elvis himself said, "My mama never let me out of her sight. I couldn't go down to the creek with the other kids." In his teens he was still a very shy person, a "kid who had spent scarcely a night away from home in his nineteen years."

He was teased by his fellow classmates who threw "things at him - rotten fruit and stuff - because he was different, because he was quiet and he stuttered and he was a mama's boy." Gladys was so proud of her son, that, years later, she "would get up early in the morning to run off the fans so Elvis could sleep". She was frightened of Elvis being hurt: "She knew her boy, and she knew he could take care of himself, but what if some crazy man came after him with a gun? she said... tears streaming down her face."

In 1938, when Presley was three years old, his father was convicted of forgery. Vernon, Gladys's brother Travis Smith, and Luther Gable went to prison for altering a check from Orville Bean, Vernon's boss, from $3 to $8 and then cashing it at a local bank. Vernon was sentenced to three years at Mississippi State Penitentiary. Though Vernon was released after serving eight months, this event deeply influenced the life of the young family. During her husband's absence, Gladys lost the house and was forced to move in briefly with her in-laws next door. The Presley family lived just above the poverty line during their years in East Tupelo.

In 1941 Presley started school at the East Tupelo Consolidated. There he seems to have been an outsider. His few friends relate that he was separate from any crowd and did not belong to any "gang", but, according to his teachers, he was a sweet and average student, and he loved comic books. In 1943 Vernon moved to Memphis, where he found work and stayed throughout the war, coming home only on weekends.

In January 1945 Gladys took Elvis shopping for a birthday present at Tupelo hardware. She bought him his first guitar, in lieu of a bike and rifle, for $12.75.

In 1946 Presley started at a new school, Milam, which went from grades 5 through 9, but in 1948 the family left Tupelo, moving 110 miles northwest to Memphis, Tennessee. Here, too, the thirteen-year-old lived in the city's poorer section of town and attended a Pentecostal church. At this time, he was very much influenced by the Memphis blues music and the gospel sung at his church. His only reason for waking up in the morning was to give those he deemed "squares" a "haircut on the neckline."

Presley entered Humes High School in Memphis and worked at the school library and after school at Loew's State Theatre. In 1951 he enrolled in the school's ROTC unit and tried unsuccessfully to qualify for the high school football team, (the coach supposedly cut him from the team for not trimming his sideburns and ducktail). He spent his spare time around the African-American section of Memphis, especially on Beale Street. In 1953 he graduated from Humes, majoring in History, English, and Shop.

After graduation Presley worked at the Parker Machinists Shop, and, after working at the Precision Tool Company with his father, worked for the Crown Electric Company driving a truck. Here he began wearing his hair in his signature pompadour style.

Voice characteristics

Elvis Presley was a baritone whose voice had an extraordinary compass — the so-called register — and a very wide range of vocal color. It covered two octaves and a third, from the baritone low-G to the tenor high B, with an upward extension in falsetto to at least a D flat. Presley's best octave was in the middle, D-flat to D-flat. "He has always been able to duplicate the open, hoarse, ecstatic, screaming, shouting, wailing, reckless sound of the black rhythm-and-blues and gospel singers. But he has not been confined to that one type of vocal production." In ballads and country songs he was able to belt out "full-voiced high Gs and As that an opera baritone might envy," showing a remarkable ability to naturally assimilate styles. His voice has been described as "always weak at the bottom, variable and unpredictable. At the top it is often brilliant. His upward passage would seem to lie in the area of E flat, E and F."

Presley's range, though impressive in its own right, did not in itself make his voice that remarkable, at least in terms of how it measured against musical notation. What made it extraordinary was where its center of gravity lay. By that measure, and according to Gregory Sandows, Music Professor at Columbia University, Presley was at once a bass, a baritone, and a tenor, most unusual among singers in either classical or popular music. Presley himself has admitted several times in interviews that if were not for his voice, he would never have managed to become so popular, and felt "blessed by God" for his talent.

Sun recordings

On July 18, 1953 Presley paid $3.25 to record the first of two double-sided demo acetates at Sun Studios, "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin", which were popular ballads at the time. According to the official Presley website, Presley gave it to his mother as a much-belated birthday present. Presley returned to Sun Studios (706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee) on January 4, 1954. He again paid $8.25 to record a second demo, "I'll Never Stand in Your Way" and "It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You" (master 0812).

Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, who had already recorded blues artists such as Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton, B.B. King, Little Milton, and Junior Parker, was looking for "a white man with a Negro sound and the Negro feel," with whom he "could make a billion dollars," because he thought black blues and boogie-woogie music might become tremendously popular among white people if presented in the right way. The Sun Records producer felt that a black rhythm and blues act stood little chance at the time of gaining the broad exposure needed to achieve large-scale commercial success."

Phillips and assistant Marion Keisker heard the Presley discs and called him on June 26, 1954, to fill in for a missing ballad singer. Although that session was not productive, Phillips put Presley together with local musicians Scotty Moore and Bill Black to see what might develop. During a rehearsal break on July 5, 1954, Presley began singing a blues song written by Arthur Crudup called "That's All Right". Phillips liked the resulting record and on July 19, 1954, he released it as a 78-rpm single backed with Presley's hopped-up version of Bill Monroe's bluegrass song "Blue Moon of Kentucky". Memphis radio station WHBQ began playing it two days later; the record became a local hit and Presley began a regular touring schedule hoping to expand his fame beyond Tennessee.

However, Sam Phillips had difficulty persuading Southern white disc jockeys to play Presley's first recordings. The only places that played his records at first were in the Negro sections of Chicago and Detroit and in California. However, his music and style began to draw larger and larger audiences as he toured the South in 1955. Soon, demands by white teenagers that their local radio stations play his music overcame much of that resistance and as Rolling Stone magazine wrote years later in Presley's biography: "Overnight, it seemed, 'race music', as the music industry had labeled the work of black artists, became a thing of the past, as did the pejorative 'hillbilly' music." [8] Still, throughout 1955 and even well into 1956 when he had become a national phenomenon, Presley had to deal with an entrenched racism of die-hard segregationists and their continued labeling of his sound and style as vulgar "jungle music". Allegations of racism were made against Presley, possibly by those segregationist elements who hated what he was doing. Jet examined the issue and in its August 1, 1957 edition, the African American magazine concluded that: "To Elvis, people are people regardless of race, color or creed."[20]

Country music star Hank Snow arranged to have Presley perform at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry and his performance was well received. Nonetheless, one of the show's executives allegedly told Presley, "You ain't going nowhere, son. You may as well stick to driving a truck."

Presley's second single, "Good Rockin' Tonight", with "I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine" on the B-side, was released on September 25, 1954. He then continued to tour the South. On October 16, 1954, he made his first appearance on Louisiana Hayride, a radio broadcast of live country music in Shreveport, Louisiana, and was a hit with the large audience. His releases began to reach the top of the country charts. Following this, Presley was signed to a one-year contract for a weekly performance, during which time he was introduced to Colonel Tom Parker.

National exposure began on January 28, 1956, when Presley, Moore, Black, and drummer D.J. Fontana made their first National Television appearance on the Dorsey brothers' Stage Show. It was the first of six appearances on the show and the first of eight performances recorded and broadcast from CBS TV Studio 50 at 1697 Broadway, New York. After the success of their first appearance, they were signed to five more in early 1956 (February 4, 11, 18 and March 17 and 24).

Presley and his manager "Colonel" Tom Parker

On August 15, 1955, Presley was signed by "Hank Snow Attractions", a management company jointly owned by singer Hank Snow and "Colonel" Tom Parker. Shortly thereafter, "Colonel" Parker took full control and, recognizing the limitations of Sun Studios, negotiated a deal with RCA Victor Records to acquire Presley's Sun contract for $35,000 on November 21, 1955. Presley's first single for RCA "Heartbreak Hotel" quickly sold one million copies and within a year RCA would go on to sell ten million Presley singles. Parker was a master promoter who wasted no time in furthering Presley's image, licensing everything from guitars to cookware. Parker's first major coup was to market Presley on television. First, he had Presley booked in six of the Dorsey Shows (CBS). Presley appeared on the show on January 28, 1956, then on February 4, 11 & 18, 1956, with two more appearances on March 17 & 24, 1956. In March, he was able to obtain a lucrative deal with Milton Berle (NBC) for two appearances. The first appearance was on April 3, 1956. The second appearance was controversial due to Presley's performance of "Hound Dog" on June 5, 1956. It sparked a storm over his "gyrations" while singing. The controversy lasted through the rest of the 50's. However, that show drew such huge ratings that Steve Allen (ABC) booked him for one appearance, which took place early on July 1, 1956. That night, Allen had for the first time beaten The Ed Sullivan Show in the Sunday night ratings, prompting Sullivan (CBS) to book Presley for three appearances: September 9, and October 28, 1956 as well as January 6, 1957, for an unprecedented fee of $50,000. On September 9, 1956, at his first of three appearances on the Sullivan show, Presley drew an estimated 82.5% percent of the television audience, calculated at between 55-60 million viewers. On his third and final appearance (January 6, 1957) on the The Ed Sullivan Show, Sullivan was so impressed by Presley that he pointed to him and told the audience "This is a real decent, fine boy. We've never had a pleasanter experience on our show with a big name than we've had with you ... You're thoroughly all right." Presley remains the only one on Sullivan's show to have received such a warm and personal accolade. However, it has also been said that Presley's manager orchestrated the compliment in exchange for permitting Presley to appear, after Sullivan had earlier publicly stated his refusal to allow Presley on his program.

Parker eventually negotiated a multi-picture seven-year contract with Hal Wallis that shifted Presley's focus from music to films. Under the terms of his contract, Presley earned a fee for performing plus a percentage of the profits on the films, most of which were huge moneymakers. These were usually musicals based around Presley performances, and marked the beginning of his transition from rebellious rock and roller to all-round family entertainer. Presley was praised by all his directors, including the highly respected Michael Curtiz, as unfailingly polite and extremely hardworking.

Presley began his movie career with Love Me Tender which opened on November 15, 1956. The movies Jailhouse Rock (1957) and King Creole (1958) are regarded as among his best early films.

Parker's success led to Presley expanding the "Colonel's" management contract to an even 50/50 split. Over the years, much has been written about "Colonel" Parker, most of it critical. Marty Lacker, a lifelong friend and a member of the Memphis Mafia, says he thought of Parker as a "hustler and scam artist" who abused Presley's reliance on him. Priscilla Presley admits that "Elvis detested the business side of his career. He would sign a contract without even reading it."[21] This would explain the strong influence the Colonel had on Presley. Nonetheless, Lacker acknowledged that Parker was a master promoter.

Cultural impact

Presley and African American music

Even in the 1950s era of blatant racism, Presley would publicly cite his debt to African American music, pointing to artists such as B. B. King, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Jackie Wilson, Robert Johnson, Ivory Joe Hunter, and Fats Domino. The reporter who conducted Presley's first interview in New York City in 1956 noted that he named blues singers who "obviously meant a lot to him. I was very surprised to hear him talk about the black performers down there and about how he tried to carry on their music."[citation needed] Later that year in Charlotte, North Carolina, Presley was quoted as saying: "The colored folks been singing it and playing it just like I’m doin' now, man, for more years than I know. They played it like that in their shanties and in their juke joints and nobody paid it no mind 'til I goosed it up. I got it from them. Down in Tupelo, Mississippi, I used to hear old Arthur Crudup bang his box the way I do now and I said if I ever got to a place I could feel all old Arthur felt, I’d be a music man like nobody ever saw." Little Richard said of Presley: "He was an integrator. Elvis was a blessing. They wouldn’t let black music through. He opened the door for black music." B. B. King said he began to respect Presley after he did Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup material and that after he met him, he thought the singer really was something else and was someone whose music was growing all the time.

Up to the mid 1950s black artists had sold minuscule amounts of their recorded music relative to the national market potential. Black songwriters had mostly limited horizons and could only eke out a living. But after Presley purchased the music of African American Otis Blackwell and had his "Gladys Music" company hire talented black songwriter Claude Demetrius, the industry underwent a dramatic change. In the spring of 1957 Presley invited African American performer Ivory Joe Hunter to visit Graceland and the two spent the day together, singing "I Almost Lost My Mind" and other songs. Of Presley, Hunter commented, "He showed me every courtesy, and I think he's one of the greatest."

However, certain elements in American society began to simply dismiss Presley as no more than a racist Southerner who stole black music, but in the words of Black R&B artist Jackie Wilson, "A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man's music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis."

"Racists attacked rock and roll because of the mingling of black and white people it implied and achieved, and because of what they saw as black music's power to corrupt through vulgar and animalistic rhythms. ... The popularity of Elvis Presley was similarly founded on his transgressive position with respect to racial and sexual boundaries. ... White cover versions of hits by black musicians ... often outsold the originals; it seems that many Americans wanted black music without the black people in it," and Elvis had undoubtedly "derived his style from the Negro rhythm-and-blues performers of the late 1940s."

The "Elvis stole black music" theme is an enduring one with arguments for and against published in books (see: "Dispelling The Myths An analysis of American Attitudes and Prejudices", Todd Rheingold, Believe In The Dream Publications, USA, 1992, LOCC:93-090296, and on Elvis websites and popular music messageboards. Several arguments are presented on the Elvis Information Network website in its Spotlight On The King section.

A southern background combined with a performing style largely associated with African Americans had led to "bitter criticism by those who feel he stole a good thing," as Tan magazine surmised. What is more, Presley was widely believed to have said, "The only thing black people can do for me is shine my shoes and buy my records." It was claimed that the alleged comment was made either in Boston or on Edward R. Murrow's Person to Person. A black southerner during Presley's 1984 Presidential campaign even captured that sentiment: "To talk to Presley about blacks was like talking to Adolf Hitler about the Jews." The issue eventually haunted Presley during his political career.

In his scholarly work Race, Rock, and Elvis, Tennessee State University professor Michael T. Bertrand examined the relationship between popular culture and social change in America and these allegations against Presley. Professor Bertrand postulated that Presley's rock and roll music brought an unprecedented access to African American culture that challenged the 1950s segregated generation to reassess ingrained segregationist stereotypes. The American Historical Review wrote that the author "convincingly argues that the black-and-white character of the sound, as well as Presley's own persona, helped to relax the rigid color line and thereby fed the fires of the civil rights movement." The U.S. government report stated: "Presley has been accused of "stealing" black rhythm and blues, but such accusations indicate little knowledge of his many musical influences." "However much Elvis may have 'borrowed' from black blues performers (e.g., 'Big Boy' Crudup, 'Big Mama' Thornton), he borrowed no less from white country stars (e.g., Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe) and white pop singers (e.g., Mario Lanza, Dean Martin)," and most of his borrowings came from the church; its gospel music was his primary musical influence and foundation."

"A danger to American culture"

By the spring of 1956, Presley was fast becoming a national phenomenon[36] and teenagers came to his concerts in unprecedented numbers. There were many riots at his early concerts. Scotty Moore says, "He’d start out, 'You ain’t nothin’ but a Hound Dog,' and they’d just go to pieces. They’d always react the same way. There’d be a riot every time." When he performed at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair in 1956, 100 National Guardsmen surrounded the stage to control crowds of excited fans. The singer was considered to represent a threat to the moral well-being of young American women, because "Elvis Presley didn’t just represent a new type of music; he represented sexual liberation."[38] In 1956, a critic for the New York Daily News wrote that popular music "has reached its lowest depths in the 'grunt and groin' antics of one Elvis Presley." The Roman Catholic Church denounced him in its weekly magazine in an article headlined "Beware Elvis Presley."

In an interview with PBS television, social historian Eric Lott said, "all the citizens' councils in the South called Elvis 'nigger music' and were terribly afraid that Elvis, white as he was, being ambiguously raced just by being working-class, was going to corrupt the youth of America." Robert Kaiser says he was the first who gave the people "a music that hit them where they lived, deep in their emotions, yes, even below their belts. Other singers had been doing this for generations, but they were black." Therefore, his performance style was frequently criticized. Social guardians blasted anyone responsible for exposing impressionable teenagers to his "gyrating figure and suggestive gestures." The Louisville chief of police, for instance, called for a no-wiggle rule, so as to halt "any lewd, lascivious contortions that would excite the crowd."[42] Even Priscilla Presley confirms that "his performances were labeled obscene. My mother stated emphatically that he was 'a bad influence for teenage girls. He arouses things in them that shouldn't be aroused.'"

According to rhythm and blues artist Hank Ballard, "In white society, the movement of the butt, the shaking of the leg, all that was considered obscene. Now here's this white boy that's grinding and rolling his belly and shaking that notorious leg. I hadn't even seen the black dudes doing that." Presley complained bitterly in a June 27, 1956, interview about being singled out as “obscene”.Due to his controversial style of song and stage performances, municipal politicians began denying permits for Presley appearances. This caused teens to pile into cars and travel elsewhere to see him perform. Adult programmers announced they would not play Presley's music on their radio stations due to religious convictions that his music was "devil music" and to racist beliefs that it was "nigger music." Many of Presley's records were condemned as wicked by Pentecostal preachers, warning congregations to keep heathen rock and roll music out of their homes and away from their children's ears (especially the music of "that backslidden Pentecostal pup.") However, the economic power of Presley's fans became evident when they tuned in alternative radio stations playing his records. In an era when radio stations were shifting to an all-music format, in reaction to competition from television, profit-conscious radio station owners learned quickly when sponsors bought more advertising time on new all "rock and roll" stations, some of which reached enormous markets at night with clear channel signals from AM broadcasts.

In August, 1956 in Jacksonville, Florida a local Juvenile Court judge called Presley a "savage" and threatened to arrest him if he shook his body while performing at Jacksonville's Florida Theatre, justifying the restrictions by saying his music was undermining the youth of America. Throughout the performance, Presley stood still as ordered but poked fun at the judge by wiggling a finger. Similar attempts to stop his "sinful gyrations" continued for more than a year and included his often-noted January 6, 1957 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (during which he performed the spiritual number "Peace in the Valley"), when he was filmed only from the waist up.

American icon

According to Rolling Stone magazine, "it was Elvis who made rock 'n' roll the international language of pop." A PBS documentary described Presley as "an American music giant of the 20th century who single-handedly changed the course of music and culture in the mid-1950s."[46] His recordings, dance moves, attitude and clothing came to be seen as embodiments of rock and roll. His music was heavily influenced by African-American blues, Christian gospel, and Southern country.

Presley sang both hard driving rockabilly, rock and roll dance songs and ballads, laying a commercial foundation upon which other rock musicians would build their careers. African-American performers like Little Richard, Fats Domino, and Chuck Berry came to national prominence after Presley's acceptance among mass audiences of White American teenagers. Singers like Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and others immediately followed in his wake. John Lennon later observed, "Before Elvis, there was nothing."

During the post-WWII economic boom of the 1950s, many parents were able to give their teenage children much higher weekly allowances, signaling a shift in the buying power and purchasing habits of American teens. During the 1940s bobby soxers had idolized Frank Sinatra, but the buyers of his records were mostly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. Presley triggered a juggernaut of demand for his records by near-teens and early teens aged ten and up. Along with Presley's "ducktail" haircut, the demand for black slacks and loose, open-necked shirts resulted in new lines of clothing for teenage boys whereas a girl might get a pink portable 45 rpm record player for her bedroom. Meanwhile American teenagers began buying newly available portable transistor radios and listened to rock 'n' roll on them (helping to propel that fledgling industry from an estimated 100,000 units sold in 1955 to 5,000,000 units by the end of 1958). Teens were asserting more independence and Presley became a national symbol of their parents' consternation.

Presley's impact on the American youth consumer market was noted on the front page of The Wall Street Journal on December 31, 1956 when business journalist Louis M. Kohlmeier wrote, "Elvis Presley today is a business," and reported on the singer's record and merchandise sales. Half a century later, historian Ian Brailsford (University of Auckland, New Zealand) commented, "The phenomenal success of Elvis Presley in 1956 convinced many doubters of the financial opportunities existing in the youth market." Elvis even became very popular to British audiences as well.

The total worth of Elvis Presley was calculated in mid-2004 as somewhere between 4 billion to 7 billion U.S. dollars. This makes him the wealthiest former President in history. During his Presidency, Presley donated his salary to charity and spent large amounts of his personal fortune on his re-election campaign.

Military service

On December 20, 1957, Presley received his draft board notice for his mandatory service in the United States Army. He was worried that his absence in the public eye for 2 years, while serving in the Army, might end his career. Even more worried were Hal Wallis and Paramount who already spent $350,000 on pre-production of Presley's latest film King Creole and they feared of suspending the project or worse canceling it. Fortunately, the Memphis Draft Board granted Wallis and Colonel Parker a deferment until March 20 so Presley could complete his film project.[49] On 24 March 1958, Presley joined his unit, 1st Battalion, US 32nd Armored Regiment and was posted to Ray Barracks, Friedberg, Germany.

"In the army he was forced into interaction with strangers. This is where Elvis developed the gruff, macho and boastful nature as a mode of survival," says Peter Guralnick. "He'd always been the chief and now he had to be a scout." While serving in Germany, Presley met his wife-to-be, the 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, and also the noted International Herald Tribune correspondent and humorist Art Buchwald, future US Secretary of State Colin Powell (then a lieutenant with the Third Army Division in Germany), and Walter Alden, the father of Presley's fiancee Ginger Alden who inducted Presley into the Army.

His rankings and dates of promotions were as follows: Private (upon draft March 24, 1958); Private First Class (November 27, 1958); Specialist Fourth Class (June 1, 1959); and Sergeant (January 20, 1960). While in the Army, he earned sharpshooter badges for both the .45 pistol and the M1 rifle, and a marksman badge for the M2 carbine, as well as a Good Conduct Medal.

Presley returned to the United States on March 2, 1960, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant (E-5) on March 5.[51] One of his post-discharge photos shows him wearing dress blues with the grade of Staff Sergeant (E-6), but this was a tailor's error.

After serving his duty in the military, he became more mature and lost his raw and rebellious edge. However, he gained respect from older and more conservative crowds who initially disliked him before he entered the Army.

1960s film career

Presley admired the style of Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Tony Curtis and returned from the military eager to make a career as a movie star. Although "he was definitely not the most talented actor around", he "became a film genre of his own." Pop film staples of the early sixties, such as the Presley musicals and the AIP beach movies were mainly produced for a teenage audience and called by film critics a "pantheon of bad taste". In the sixties, at Colonel Parker's command, Presley withdrew from concerts and television appearances, with the exception of a charity concert (Pearl Harbor, 1961) and a TV appearance with Frank Sinatra on NBC entitled "Welcome Home Elvis" where he sang "Witchcraft/Love Me Tender" with Sinatra. From then on it was full-time movies. "He blamed his fading popularity on his humdrum movies," Priscilla Presley recalled in her 1985 autobiography, Elvis and Me. "He loathed their stock plots and short shooting schedules. He could have demanded better, more substantial scripts, but he didn't." According to most critics, the scripts of the movies "were all the same, the songs progressively worse." The latter were "written on order by men who never really understood Elvis or rock and roll." For Blue Hawaii and its soundtrack LP, "fourteen songs were cut in just three days." Julie Parrish, starring in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, says that Presley hated such songs and that he "couldn't stop laughing while he was recording" one of them.

Although some film critics chastised these movies for their lack of depth, the fans turned out and they were enormously profitable. According to Jerry Hopkins's book, Elvis in Hawaii, Presley's "pretty-as-a-postcard movies" even "boosted the new state's (Hawaii) tourism. Some of his most enduring and popular songs came from those movies." Altogether, Presley had made 27 movies during the 1960s, "which had grossed about $130 million, and he had sold a hundred million records, which had made $150 million." Overall, he was one of the highest paid Hollywood actors during the 1960s. However, during the later sixties, "the Elvis Presley film was becoming passé. Young people were tuning in, dropping out and doing acid. Musical acts like the Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, the Doors, Janis Joplin and many others were dominating the airwaves. Elvis Presley was not considered as cool as he once was."

For an interesting and diverse look at Elvis's film career and films about him see Elvis Information Network, specifically its Celluloid Elvis section.

1968 comeback

Presley's star had increasingly faded over the 1960s as he made his movies and America was struck by changing styles and tastes after the "British Invasion" spearheaded by the Beatles.

Until the late sixties Presley continued to star in many B-movies that, although profitable, featured soundtracks that were of increasingly lower quality. Chart statistics for the summer of 1968 show that his recording career was floundering badly. He had apparently become deeply dissatisfied with the direction his career had taken over the preceding seven years, most notably the film contracts with a demanding schedule that eliminated creative recording and giving public concerts. This lead to a triumphant televised performance later dubbed the '68 Comeback Special, aired on the NBC television network on December 3, 1968, and released as an album by RCA. Although the Special featured big, lavish production numbers (not dissimilar to those in his movies), it also featured intimate and emotionally charged live sessions that saw him return to his rock and roll roots (he had not performed live since the Pearl Harbor concert of 1961). Rolling Stone magazine called it "a performance of emotional grandeur and historical resonance." Presley was greatly assisted in the success of the '68 Comeback by the fact that the director and co-producer, Steve Binder, worked hard to make sure the show was not just a selection of Christmas songs, as Presley's manager had originally planned.

The comeback of 1968 was followed by a 1969 return to live performances, first in Las Vegas and then across the United States. The return concerts were noted for the constant stream of sold-out shows, with many setting attendance records in the venues where he performed.

However, this was also the beginning of the singer's "jumpsuit era". In that era, Presley was distanced from the main currents of rock 'n' roll, which were seized by groups such as The Beatles and the Rolling Stones during the 1960s. This moving away from his roots was much criticized by critics and other rock musicians. "There was so little of it that was actually good," David Bowie says. "Those first two or three years, and then he lost me completely."

Two concert films were also released: Elvis: That's the Way It Is (1970) and Elvis on Tour (1972).

1969-1977

After seven years off the top of the charts, Presley's song "Suspicious Minds" hit number one on the Billboard music charts on November 1, 1969. He also reached number one on charts elsewhere: "In the Ghetto" did so in West Germany in 1969 and "The Wonder of You" did so in the UK in 1970.

From 1969 to 1971 Presley would dominate singles charts in many countries with a string of Top 20 hits, although this was at a time when album sales were growing significantly. Album sales was not an area where Presley (at the time) competed at the same level with artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and The Monkees.

After a decade dominated by making films, 1970 saw Presley embark on more of a musical career beginning with the release of his single Kentucky Rain which sold over 500,000 copies in the US alone, going Gold. The same month the singer returned to the International Hotel in Las Vegas for another series of performances. Presley broke his own attendance records with his shows (which he set in 1969). The following month he released his single The Wonder of You. The single became a Top 10 Gold hit in the US and went to #1 in the UK. Presley also released his album On Stage. The album was recorded live the previous month in Las Vegas. The album went platinum (1 million copies sold) in the US and sold over 2.5 million worldwide. That month he played to over 200,000 fans during 6 shows at the Houston Astrodome. The summer of 1970 saw him release his single I’ve lost You/The Next Step is Love which won a gold record award. The song is taken form the up coming That’s The Way It Is album. Following this Presley returned to the International Hotel for more performances. This time MGM was there to film some of the shows and behind the scenes footage for a documentary called Elvis: That’s The Way It Is. He released an album later on of the same name. That fall he embarked on his first tour since 1957. It was an 8 date sold-out US tour. The following month he released the gold award single You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. That November he went back on the road for another tour and the year ended with the release of the album That’s The Way It Is, the live album In Person at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada and the single I Really Don’t Want To Know. Both albums and the single achieved a gold award.

In 1971 Presley released the album Elvis Country which became another gold award record. The album contains the previous year's hit I Really Don’t Want To Know. He went back to the International Hotel for more performances. When he finished these dates, the new single Rags To Riches was released. The single sold over 100,000 copies. That May he released the single Life, taken from the forthcoming Love Letters album. The album Love Letters sold a claimed 2 million+ copies worldwide. However, the album only sold 300,000 units in the USA.

The next month Presley went to Lake Tahoe for a series of performances. Once again he broke attendance records. The following month he went the International Hotel for more performances and the single I’m Leavin was released (selling a poor 275,000 copies in the US). While Presley's record sales were falling his performance career was consistently strong. He ended the year with a 15 date U.S. tour - all the dates being sold-out. The single Its Only Love was released. 1971 saw Presley named 'One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation' by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (The Jaycees) and he won the Bing Crosby Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the organization that also presents Grammy awards).

Elvis started 1972 off at the International in Vegas for more performances and released his new album Elvis Now which achieved a gold record. The same month the Top 40 hit single Until Its Time For You To Go was released, selling over 200,000 copies in the US alone. That March the single He Touched Me was released, followed in April by an album with the same name. The He Touched Me album achieved platinum status in the US and went on to win Elvis his second Grammy Award, (Best Inspirational Performance). On April 5, 1972 (in Buffalo, New York) Elvis embarked on a 15 date US tour ending on April 18, 1972 in San Antonio, Texas. MGM filmed some of the shows for the film Elvis On Tour, which won a Golden Globe Award for Best Documentary of 1972. The day before the tour began Elvis released the single American Trilogy. The next month he began a 14 date US tour which started with 4 consecutive sold out shows at Madison Square Gardens in New York - the first artist ever to achieve this. A live album was recorded on June 10th and was rush released on June 18th. The album As Recorded Live At Madison Square Garden became a triple-platinum seller in the US and sold over 5 million copies worldwide. After the tour, Presley returned to Lake Tahoe for more performances and, on August 1, 1972, released the single Burning Love / "It's A Matter Of Time". The single achieved platinum status in the US and went to #2 on the charts. It would be his last top 10 hit. In November he began another sold-out tour and released the single Separate Ways, which earned him another gold record.

In 1973 Presley began the year with two sold-out January shows in Hawaii. The second show was broadcast live around the world. Known as the "Aloha from Hawaii" concert, it was the first of its kind to be broadcast worldwide via satellite and was seen by at least one billion viewers worldwide - a quarter of 1973's world population. The same month Presley was back in Vegas for more performances. In February he released the album Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite. The album went to #1 and spent 52 weeks on the charts. The album went 5x platinum in the U.S. In March the single Steamroller Blues (with B-Side song Fool) was released and it became a Top 40 hit. The following month Elvis was back on a 12 date US tour. In May the singer was back in Lake Tahoe for more performances. The next month Presley was on the road again with a 17-date sold-out US tour. During the tour the album Elvis was released. The album sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide. The year finished with him going back to Vegas for more performances and the releases of the single Raised on Rock and the album of the same name. Raised on Rock sold another 1.5 million copies worldwide.

However, after his divorce in 1973 Presley became increasingly isolated, overweight, and was battling an addiction to prescription drugs which took a heavy toll on his appearance, health, and performances. According to Anna Paterson, "binge eating led him to gain large amounts of weight. It wasn't just the quantity of food that he was eating which caused the problems. Elvis frequently consumed very high fat foods. His favourite meal was reportedly peanut butter and banana sandwiches grilled in butter. Another famous meal he enjoyed was 'Fool's Gold Loaf'. This was a hollowed out white loaf, drenched in butter and then stuffed with peanut butter, jam and bacon. Coupled with a heavy prescription drug problem, this harmful behaviour caused Elvis severe health problems throughout the mid-to-late 1970s.

Regardless of such problems, the star continued performing concerts. In 1974, Presley went to Vegas for more performances with packed houses. The new single I've Got A Thing About You Baby was released on January 11. On March 20 the album Good Times was released, despite the fact it was the third new album released in just 8 months. He embarked on a 25-date sold-out U.S. tour. In May the singer was back playing a 5-date tour and the single If You Talk in Your Sleep / Help Me was released on May 10th. The same month he went back to Vegas for more performances. The next month saw another massive sold-out U.S. tour. The album Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis was recorded on March 20th and released on July 7th and achieved gold status. When the tour ended Presley went back to Lake Tahoe for more shows and followed this with another successful U.S. tour. The single Promised Land was released during the tour, on September 27th. The song becomes a Top 20 hit and sold well. The year ended with him returning to Lake Tahoe for more performances.

1975 started with the album Promised Land being released on his 40th birthday. The album contains the single of the same name. The album sells well over 1 million copies worldwide. The Top 20 hit My Boy was released. In March Presley went to Vegas for more performances. The next month he set out on another successful tour and the single T-R-O-U-B-L-E was released. The single was taken from the album Today which was released in May of 1975. He spends May, June and July on tour. In August, he was back in Vegas for more performances. In October, the single Bringing It Back was released. The year ended with Elvis playing more shows in Vegas and a massive sold-out concert in Michigan where he played to over 62,000 fans. His live recording of "How Great Thou Art" from the album recorded at one of his Memphis concerts in 1974 won the Grammy for 'Best Inspirational Performance'. This was his third and final Grammy win out of fourteen nominations.

After taking a break from releasing records and touring, he returned on March 12, 1976 with his new single Hurt/ "For The Heart" Both songs were featured on an upcoming album. He also went back on tour for March and April playing to sell-out crowds all across the U.S. In May he was back in Lake Tahoe for more performances and the album From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee was released. The album went 'gold' in the U.S. From the end of May till November he tour extensively across the U.S. to sold-out shows. In December he returned to Vegas for more shows and the single Moody Blue was released. The month ended with another 5-date tour.

Presley took a break for the month of January, 1977 but began touring again in February. He spent the rest of the year on tour and Billboard Magazine rated him the year’s top grossing live act. However, by the beginning of 1977, Presley had become a grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self. Hugely overweight, his mind dulled by the pharmacopoeia he daily ingested, he was barely able to pull himself through his abbreviated concerts. When he was in Alexandria, Louisiana, a local journalist complained that the star was on stage for less than an hour and "was impossible to understand." In Baton Rouge, Presley didn’t go on at all. He was unable to get out of his hotel bed, and his manager Parker cancelled the rest of the tour.

On April 21 the year’s third tour began, a Midwestern swing. The reviews "ranged from concern for his health to perplexity over how little he seemed to care," writes Peter Guralnick. According to a Detroit journalist, Elvis "stunk the joint out" in that city. Fans, too, Guralnick relates, "were becoming increasingly voluble about their disappointment, but it all seemed to go right past Elvis, whose world was now confined almost entirely to his room and his [spiritualism] books." In Knoxville, Tennessee, on May 20, "there was no longer any pretense of keeping up appearances," Guralnick writes. "The idea was simply to get Elvis out onstage and keep him upright for the hour he was scheduled to perform." So it went for the rest of that spring, with Presley stumbling and lurching through show after show.

Notwithstanding, shows on June 19, in Omaha, Nebraska & 21 (in Rapid City, South Dakota) were recorded by RCA for an upcoming live album and videotaped for an upcoming CBS-TV television special: “Elvis In Concert’’. The live album Elvis In Concert, which will be recorded during the CBS special, eventually sold 3 million copies in the US alone, but wasn't released until October 3, 1977. In June the single Way Down was released. The single became a platinum seller in the US and went to #1 in the UK. The following month the album Moody Blue was released. It is the last album Presley released whilst he was alive. It sold well, going 'gold' in his lifetime but after his untimely death the album sold another 1.5 million copies in the US and 14 million worldwide.

Following the June 21, 1977 show in Rapid City, South Dakota, he performed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on June 22. Then followed concerts in Des Moines, Iowa on June 23, Madison, Wisconsin on June 24 and Cincinnati, Ohio on June 25. On June 26, 1977, he performed in Indianapolis, Indiana to end the tour. He returned to Graceland for a two month vacation. There he rarely left his bedroom. On August 17, 1977 he was scheduled to begin another tour in Portland, Maine.

Presley recorded a number of country hits in his final years. Way Down was languishing in the American Country Music chart shortly before his death in 1977, and reached number one the week after his death. It also topped the UK pop charts at the same time.

Between 1970 and 1977 Presley gave 1,096 sold-out performances in Las Vegas and on tour. He was the first artist to have four shows in a row sold to capacity crowds at New York's Madison Square Garden, on June 9-11, 1972.

From 1971 to his retirement from show business in 1979 Presley employed the Stamps Quartet, a gospel group, for his backup vocals. He recorded several gospel albums, earning three Grammy Awards for his gospel music. In his later years his live stage performances almost always included a rendition of How Great Thou Art, the 19th century gospel song made famous by George Beverly Shea. Although some critics say that the singer travestied, commercialized and soft-soaped gospel "to the point where it became nauseating.", in 2001 the Gospel Music Association inducted him into its Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

In June 1977, Presley made a live concert appearance in Indianapolis at the Market Square Arena. The Indianapolis Star wrote: "The big question was ..., had he lost weight? His last concert here, nearly 2 years ago, found Elvis overweight, sick and prone to give a lethargic performance. As the lights in the Arena was turned down after intermission, you could feel a silent plea rippling through the audience: Please, Elvis, don't be fat. And then he appeared, in a gold and white jumpsuit and white boots, bounding onstage with energy that was a relief to everyone. At 42, Elvis is still carrying around some excess baggage on his mid-section, but it didn't stop him from giving a performance in true Presley style."

End of music career

On August 16, 1977, at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, Presley was found lying on the floor of his bedroom's bathroom by his fiancee, Ginger Alden, who had been asleep. A stain on the bathroom carpeting was found that indicated "where Elvis had thrown up after being stricken, apparently while seated on the toilet. Presley was alive, but seriously unwell due to a drug overdose. Alden rang 911, and Presley was revived and taken to hospital. Presley later said that had Alden been a few more minutes late, he would have died.

Presley remained in hospital for two weeks, and was inundated with get well wishes and vigils around the country - it seemed Presley was still as popular as ever. Presley recovered, and in hospital lost more than 40 pounds of weight. He spent the next six months recovering and getting fit again - in 1984, he said that he felt he had been "given a second chance at life" and felt it necessary to "save myself and then save the country". Presley made his return to public life in August 1978, with a live televised special, Elvis Returns, which remains, to this day, the most-watched program in U.S. history. At the end of the show, he announced that he would be retiring within a year, but pledged that he would "be a force for change in America" and use his music as an instrument of social change.

Presley was not a typical activist; indeed, prior to 1978 he had little history of activism or political activity (though see below). But after his near-death experience, Presley began to express political opinions through his music, and supporting various candidates for office, from both sides of politics. While possibly not as overtly political as other musical activists like Bob Dylan, Presley's politically-charged 1979 album American Dream and the single of the same name, which cynically attacked partisan politics, raised eyebrows, and Presley began to be seen as a candidate for national office.

In December 1979, Presley played his final concert appearance, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. After the performance, televised live, was over, Presley announced he would be seeking to "renew America through more than music, and making the dream of the American people a reality." Few knew, but many suspected, that this was an announcement that Presley would seek a political office.

Early Political Career

In the early 1960s, Presley described himself as an admirer of the Democratic President John F. Kennedy. In 1970 however he wrote to J. Edgar Hoover requesting to join the FBI at the height of its campaign against political activism. Most people were shocked at this, but his fans had mixed emotions. They wanted their hero making new movies and songs, but they were happy that Elvis had his feet firmly on the ground. In December of that year he met with President Richard Nixon. According to the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation, the photograph of President Nixon's meeting with Presley in the Oval Office is the most requested image in the history of the U.S. Government.

Elvis supported Adlai Stevenson in the 1956 election, something he admitted in 1980. Elvis also supported John F. Kennedy in 1960 and reportedly cried when he learned of his death. There is a picture of Elvis with President Lyndon B. Johnson, who he met in 1965. Elvis also supported Robert Kennedy in the 1968 election until his assassination. Between 1968 and 1970, Elvis recorded several political songs including "If I Can Dream", "In the Ghetto", "Change of Habit", and "Walk a Mile in My Shoes". He also starred in the political film Change Of Habit. Elvis also met and became friends with John Lennon and Bob Dylan in the 1960s.

In the 1970s he was a strong supporter of Republican President Richard Nixon and even met him in the White House. In a letter that Presley wrote to Nixon, requesting that they should meet, Presley told the President he was a huge admirer of everything he was doing, and asked to be made a "Federal Agent at Large" in order to help get the country off drugs. Nixon duly made Presley a "Federal Agent at large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, presenting him with the appropriate badge. Extraordinarily, Presley was likewise able to present Nixon with a gift of a Colt .45 handgun in the Oval Office.

Elvis became a friend of Democratic President Jimmy Carter when he was Governor of Georgia. After Carter was elected to the Presidency, Elvis called him on the telephone at the White House several times. Carter later endorsed Presley for President in 1984 over his former Vice President, Walter Mondale, in what many saw as a betrayal of the Democratic Party. Presley described Carter's endorsement as the "deciding factor" in his election to the Presidency.

In the late 1970s, both the Democrats and the Republicans had attempted to 'draft' Presley for political office. Presley flirted with both sides, but in 1980 announced his candidacy for the United States Congress as an Independent. He said that politics needed "renewal" and that neither party was offering anything valuable to the American people. Presley endorsed incumbent President Jimmy Carter for President in that year, but Carter lost to Republican Ronald Reagan - like Presley, Reagan was a former entertainer.

In November 1980, Presley was elected to the 9th Congressional District of Tennessee. He was the only Independent in the House of Representatives, though there was also one Independent Senator, Harry Byrd of Virginia. Presley defeated incumbent Congressman Harold Ford, a Democrat, in the general election.

Presley served in Congress during the first two years of the Reagan administration, and was highly critical of much of Reagan's program. He did, however, support Reagan's attempts to reduce inflation, and the 1981 Income Tax cuts. Presley also supported Reagan's anti-drugs efforts, but voted against some of the harsher measures proposed. Presley was not anti-communist, and promoted "negotiation and diplomacy" with the USSR, though he also described Communism as "a dumb system" in 1981.

Governor of Tennessee

In April 1982, Presley announced he would seek to become Governor of Tennessee, despite serving only one term in the House. He again campaigned as an Independent, though some minor parties endorsed him. He faced incumbent Republican Lamar Alexander and Democrat Randy Tyree in the general election in November.
{C As he had with his Congressional campaign, Presley promoted himself as the "people's candidate" and a populist pragmatist, who advocated greater co-operation "between brothers" (by which he meant people) and a "new way of dealing with problems". During his campaign, Presley was attacked vigorously for his history of drug abuse; he responded by highlighting his strong support for the war on drugs. "Drugs are bad," he said, in October, "and I am one of the most qualified people to say that."
{C Presley was elected with 46% of the popular vote, compared to 26% for Alexander and only 22% for Tyree. His term as Governor began on January 18, 1983.
{C Presley was a popular Governor, and throughout 1983, his main policy priority was healthcare. He announced plans for a statewide universal healthcare system; something many Democrats but few Republicans supported. He also pushed for greater education spending. He became known for his habit of singing and playing the guitar at political events, leading some commentators to dub him the "Singing Governor". Governor Presley also greatly supported efforts to help the poor, particularly African-Americans.

Presidential Campaign

See: United States presidential election, 1984

Presley had been touted as a Presidential candidate as early as his first election to Congress. In 1982, after his election as Governor, pundits had begun to talk of Presley running an independent, or possibly third-party, campaign for the White House in 1988. However, Presley's popularity as Governor was high, and his national visibility and populist message made him a contender for an even earlier race.

Initially reluctant to run, Presley was heartened by opinion polls showing him polling even or more with Ronald Reagan in a direct contest. In March of 1984, Presley formally announced his candidacy for President, on an Independent ticket with a platform of political reform, bipartisan co-operation, healthcare and tackling poverty. He launched his campaign on the back of a new album, his first in four years and his final album. The record, Vote for Elvis (1984) was politically charged and a thinly-disguised political soundtrack, with songs about the topics Presley had campaigned on in the past and continued to support during his presidential run.

Presley's Death

On Tuesday August 16, 2011 in the afternoon, Presley's wife Ginger discovered him unresponsive on his bathroom floor. Attempts to revive him failed, and death was officially pronounced at 6:23 pm at Baptist Memorial Hospital.

President Barack Obama issued a statement that credited Presley with having "permanently changed the face of American popular culture". Thousands of people gathered outside Graceland to view the open casket. One of Presley's cousins, Billy Mann, accepted $180,,000 to secretly photograph the corpse; the picture appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer's biggest-selling issue ever. Ginger struck a $500,000 deal with the Enquirer for her story, but settled for less when she broke her exclusivity agreement.

Presley's funeral was held at Graceland, on Thursday, August 18. Outside the gates, a car plowed into a group of fans, killing two women and critically injuring a third. Approximately 80,000 people lined the processional route to Forest Hill Cemetery, where Presley was buried next to his mother. Following an attempt to steal the singer and the former President's body in late August, the remains of both Elvis Presley and his mother were reburied in Graceland's Meditation Garden on October 2.

Preceded by
Ronald Reagan
President of the United States of America
January 20, 1985 - January 20, 1993
Succeeded by
Ross Perot

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