CAIRO – 16 August 2017: Wednesday August 16 marks the 40th anniversary of The King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley's death in 1977. Hailed as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, Presley is credited as being one of the founders of the genre of Rock and Roll, and is still every bit as loved as he was back in his heyday, having sold over a billion records worldwide.
Elvis 'Aaron' Presley was born on January 28, 1935 in Mississippi, to parents Vernon and Gladys Presley. He originally had a twin brother named Jessie Garon who was a stillborn, leaving him as an only child. After his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948, Presley would eventually begin his singing career with the help of Memphis's Sun Records label in 1954. Two years later, he was a star.
Elvis Presley via Wikimedia
Presley's diverse range of musical inspirations included the Black R&B musicians he encountered in Memphis, Gospel, Pop and Country. This blend of influence that transcended racial barriers gave Presley's music its unforgettable tune, and it was because of his infectious voice, slick sense of fashion, iconic dance moves and good-hearted nature that he was endeared by the hearts of millions, even to this day.
One of his biggest hits was 1956's 'Hound Dog,' which Presley had to record with his band over 31 times until he was finally satisfied. According to Rolling Stone Magazine, ‘Hound Dog’ was a cover of a 1952 song of the same name, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and performed by Black blues musician Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton.
Presley's version turned the blues song into fresh rock 'n' roll with an anti-authoritarian bent, complete with his iconic hip-swiveling dance moves that attracted both controversy and praise.
Presley wasn't just a stellar musician. He starred in over 30 films across his life, including a lead role in 1957's 'Jailhouse Rock,' directed by Richard Thorpe and based on Presley's hit song of the same name.
Presley died at the age of 42 in his home at Graceland from heart failure. He is survived by a daughter, actress and songwriter Lisa Marie, and the timeless legacy he has left behind on music and pop culture. His fan base remains dedicated even long after his death, with over 30,000 people visiting Graceland to hold a candlelight vigil.
Reports of Elvis still being alive and sighted all over America are a common and well-mocked legend, but seems to express a desire many hold to still have the King of Rock 'n' Roll among them, rocking it like there was no tomorrow.