Elvis Presley is one of the most influential cultural icons in American history. He defined a generation and was the voice of many generations.
Though it’s hard to see past the glitz and glamor that became apart of Elvis’ life, it’s easy to see that Elvis became the icon he is today because of his upbringing and sticking to the core of who he was– a small town boy. He was just a kid from Tupelo, Mississippi who had a dream and worked hard to make it happen.
5 Small Town Values Elvis carried with him:
Elvis grew up attending the Assembly of God church with his family. It was there that he fell in love with music. His roots, like so many singers before him and even now, are in the church. He was particularly influenced by Jake Hess and his ballad-style singing. Elvis was influenced by many types of music from country to blues to rock, but none more than Gospel. He even released several Gospel albums long after he was a worldwide phenomenon.
After his twin brother was delivered stillborn right before his birth, Elvis grew up an only child, extremely close to both of his parents, but especially his mother, Gladys. Elvis often referred to his mother as “the light of my life” and his best friend. When Elvis bought Graceland he moved both of his parents in with him and dutifully called Gladys from the road every night, up until her death.
3. Work Ethic
From 1954 to 1978, Elvis released 107 singles, 30 EPs, 74 albums and starred in 31 movies. (For comparison’s sake– Justin Timberlake seems to be everywhere these days and he still hasn’t created as much material as Elvis. In 12 years as a solo artist he’s released 40 singles, four studio albums and has appeared in 17 films.)
At the height of his career breakout, Elvis was drafted into the United States Army. He served two years and despite the offer to enlist in Special Services, which would let him entertain the troops and live in priority housing, Presley decided to serve as a regular soldier.
To simply call Elvis “generous” is an understatement. He lavished gifts on his friends and family without question. Famously, many of those gifts were Cadillacs. He bought homes for his friends and paid for more than one wedding. It’s also been said that the sum of his gifts, both public and private, often totaled around $2 million a year. (It’s also been noted that while Elvis was in the army he donated his Army pay to charity and purchased extra sets of fatigues for everyone in his outfit.)
We’re celebrating Elvis Presley all year long. Elvis would have been 80 years old this year, and his legacy lives on making him just as relevant today as he ever was. Click here to celebrate Elvis with us.