The Singer Who “Couldn’t Sing”
In Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8th 1935, twins were born to a mediocre family. One of the boys was still born, leaving his brother an only child. No doubt the parents paid a visit to the Heartbreak Hotel. Saying to their still born child, you are Always on My Mind, they shifted all their focus onto their other baby, feeling a Burning Love for their remaining son. While he was growing up, that son found a passion for singing and knew he wanted a career performing with his voice. He said to himself, “If I Can Dream it, one day I will make it happen.” With the right amount of positivity, purpose and perseverance, he proved all Suspicious Minds wrong and got himself crowed the King of rock and roll. A Little Less Conversation and a little more action made him a world-wide sensation by the time he was 21.
In case the interspersed songs in that little story weren’t clear enough, we are, of course, talking about Elvis Presley.
Early Steps on the Ladder
Elvis did not have the easiest start in life. His family moved away from their home in Mississippi to live in a boarding house within Tennessee, which was a set of rentable rooms in a larger house. The Presley’s had to live there until they could afford a two-bedroomed apartment in a public housing complex. However, positive little Elvis kept practicing his singing and in 1953, when he was just 18 years old, he took his first step towards being a professional singer; he paid a visit to Sun Records where he recorded a demo disc. Nothing came of it, but none-the-less, with his purpose in mind, he returned a year later to record another. Once again, nothing came of it, which is where his perseverance came in handy.
Elvis attended an audition to become part of a vocalist quartet called Songfellows. When he returned home and his father asked him what had happened, Elvis had replied, “They told me I couldn’t sing.” Couldn’t sing…Elvis Presley was told he couldn’t sing. In fact, this was not the only time this happened; when a friend introduced him to a band in need of a vocalist, he was told he would “never make it as a singer.”
However, months later the same band who said he had no future in singing found themselves lumbered with a song that required a specific type of voice to be brought to life. They considered the young wanna-be pop star they had met a few months ago and asked Elvis to come back for another audition. Elvis later said that when he received their request, he “ran all the way”. The song, That’s All Right, was a success under his special tones and when a professional DJ heard it, it got Elvis noticed. And up the ladder he went…
DJ Dewey Phillips played Elvis’s song, That’s All Right, on the radio one night and reported that the switchboard “lit up like a Christmas tree” with numerous listeners ringing in to give their opinion about the song. It was such a success that Dewey played the song repeatedly through the evening.
This soon led to Elvis’s first live performance. Who remembers Elvis for his dancing knees while he was singing? Well, those famous knees originated from this very first performance when Elvis was nervous enough to let his knees get the better of him, quaking in his straight trousers; the crowd misinterpreted this as a signature performance dance move and went crazy for it. Before long, Elvis had a show broadcasted over 198 radio stations in 28 states.
Heartbreak Hotel was Elvis’s first number one hit (understandably, because it’s so awesome!) but many more followed, including sensations such as Jailhouse Rock, Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, Devil in Disguise and It’s Now or Never.
Elvis Has Left the Building.
Elvis’s home was the famous Graceland House for 20 years. Today, Graceland is one of America’s most visited homes with over 600,000 visitors annually. In 1991, it was even placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This was where Elvis Presley died of heart failure on August 16th, 1977 at a still-ripe and young age of 42 years old. Despite his passing, he is remembered today as the King of Rock and Roll and his songs are still considered magical pieces of music, made magical by his voice.
For more stories like Elvis’s, visit our blog; www.enlightenea.co.uk/blog.