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It was here that Elvis was first exposed to the rich, Southern style gospel the became a staple of his musical repertoire. According to Assembly of God minister, Brother Frank Smith, Elvis was fascinated with music and the prospect of learning to play the guitar.

Brother Frank taught Elvis how to make D, A and E chords...all he ever needed to play 'Ole Shep'. Elvis never realised his dream of becoming a member of the Statesmen or The Blackwood Brothers gospel quartets, yet throughout the rest of his life, Elvis recorded many of the beloved songs of his youth, the emotional and uplifting gospelmusic of the church.

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1953

Elvis works at Parker Machinists Shop[ right after graduation.

That summer he drops by The Memphis Recording service, Home of the Sun label and makes a demo acetate of 'My Happiness' and 'That's When My Heartaches Begin' for the cost of about $4.00. The studio came to be known as Sun Studio though never officially named until the 1980's. For simplicity the text uses the name Sun Studio.) The studio owner isn't in, so his Studio manager Marion Keisker, handles the session. Elvis wants to hear what his voice sounds like on record and he has aspirations to become a professional singer. Elvis takes the acetate to his friend's house to listen to it, as the Presley family does not have a record player at this time. 

 

January 1954

Elvis make another demo acetate at Sun. Sam Philips, the owner, is in this time and, like Marion Keisker, is intrigued by this unusual looking and sounding young man.

Summer 1954

At Marion Keisker's suggestion, Sam Philips calls Elvis into the studio to try singing a song Sam hopes to put on record. The song is 'Without You' and Elvis does not sing it to Sam's satisfaction. Sam asks Elvis what he can sing, and Elvis runs through a number of popular tunes. Sam is impressed enough to team Elvis up with local musicians Scotty Moore (guitar) and Bill Black (bass) to see if they, together, can come up with something worthwhile. Nothing realy clicks until July 5, when after a tedious session, Elvis and the guys break into a sped-up version of Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup's 'That's All Right'. This song, backed with 'Blue Moon of Kentucky', becomes the first of five singles Elvis will release on the Sun label and catapults his career as a singer and entertainer.

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1957

In 1957, while spending the Christmas holidays at Graceland, his newly purchased Tennessee mansion, rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley receives his draft notice for the United States Army. The following year, at the peak of his career, Elvis receives his draft notice for a two-year stint in the army, before being sworn in as army private in Memphis on March 24, 1958.

After six months of basic training-including an emergency leave to see his beloved mother, Gladys, before she dies in August 1958 - Presley sails to Europe on the USS General Randall. For the next 18 months he serves in the Headquarters Company D, then Company C, 32nd Armor, 3rd Armored Division, in Friedberg, Germany, were he attains the rank of Sergeant E-5, for the rest of his service.

 

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Elvis Presley made 33 films in total, 31 films as an actor between 1956 and 1969 and two film documentary feature films,

Elvis That's the Way It Is and Elvis On Tour.

1956, Love Me Tender, 20th Century Fox

1957, Loving You, Paramount Pictures

1957, Jailhouse Rock, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1958, King Creole, Paramount Pictures

1960, G.I. Blues, Paramount Pictures

1961, Flaming Star, 20th Century Fox

1961, Wild In The Country, 20th Century Fox

1961, Blue Hawaii, Paramount Pictures

1962, Follow That Dream, United Artists

1962, Kid Galahad, United Artists

1962, Girls! Girls! Girls!, Paramount Pictures

1963, It Happened At The World's Fair, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1963, Fun In Acapulco, Paramount Pictures

1964, Kissing Cousins, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1964, Viva Las Vegas, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1964, Roustabout, Paramount Pictures

1964, Girl Happy, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1965, Tickle Me, Allied Artists

1965, Harum Scarum, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1966, Frankie and Johnny, United Artists

1966, Paradise, Hawaiian Style, Paramount Pictures

1966, Spinout, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1967, Easy Come, Easy Go, Paramount Pictures

1967, Double Trouble, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1967, Clambake, United Artists

1968, Stay Away, Joe, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1968, Speedway, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1968, Live a Little, Love a Little, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1969, Charro!, National General Pictures

1969, The Trouble with Girls, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1969, Change of Habit, Universal Pictures

1970, Elvis: That's the Way It Is, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

1972, Elvis On Tour, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

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1968

Elvis (commonly referred to as the '68 Comeback Special) airs by NBC as a Christmas special on December 3, 1968. Elvis is thirty-three, a new dad and unbenknown to all, even himself, he is at the peak of his powers. This television special marks Presley's return to live performance after seven years during which his career was centred on the film industry. Elvis is unhappy with his distance from musical trends of the time, and low quality film productions in which he is involved with. 

Initially planned as a Christmas special by the network and Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker, producer Bob Finkel transforms the idea. He hires Steve Binder to update Presley's sound, and to create a concert that would be current and appeal to a younger audience. Filming takes place in June 1968 at NBC Studios in Burbank, California. The show consists of a sit-down section, stand-up numbers and two musicals. The sit-down session showcases Presley in an informal setting, surrounded by fans and a small band, consisting of Charlie Hodge and Elvis's original band members Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana. Two versions of the special are initially aired by NBC. The first includes Presley singing 'Blue Christmas' - the only seasonal song Binder agrees to use. When the special is rebroadcast the following summer, this is replaced with a performance of 'Tiger Man'. The show garners positive reviews, tops the Nelson television ratings for the week, and is the most watched show of the season. It re-launches Presley's singing career and his return to live performance.

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1969

A deal is negotiated with Alex Shoofey, president of the International Hotel, owned by Kirk Kerorian. The Colonel takes notes on the tablecloth as they hammer out the deal, including a proviso that if Shoofey leaves the hotel, the contract could be renegotiated. Presley is to be paid $100,000 per week for a four week engagement. In 1971, Kerkorian would sell the hotel to Baron Hilton whereupon Shoofey would retire and veteran hotel executive Henry Lewin would take over, and after the Colonel totes the old tablecloth with the scribbled contract renegotiation clause, Lewin makes a new deal paying Presley four weeks a year for five years at a salary of $125,000 per week.

 

The hotel, which is still under construction, is to be Nevada's tallest building and largest hotel at that time. Before Elvis could play to an audience, though, he would need a backing group. He decides to forego familiar faces like Scotty More, D.J. Fontana and The Jordanaires, settling instead on a new line up - later dubbed the TCB band (short for 'Taking Care of Business') - that features lead guitarist James burton, rhythm guitarist John Wilkinson, pianist Larry Muhobeac (later to be replaced by Glen Hardin) bassist Jerry Scheff, drummer Ronnie Tutt, rhythm guitar and background vocalist Charlie Hodge and a vocal gospel backing outfit named The Sweet Inspirations. Shoofey isn't able to convince Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, to let Elvis open the new 2000-seat Showroom Internationale. Instead, he books Barbara Streisand, a 27-year-old singer, to perform on the opening night. She is nervous and in a state of shock as the audience is frosty and as a result she spends a lot of her performance singing to her orchestra with her back to the audience which the critics criticised her for in their review of her performance the following day. 

Elvis chooses songs that he wants to sing including many songs his fans haven't herd him sing before. He performs his first show on July 31 at the International with surprisingly few special effects and little emphasis on production values. Elvis is the show. Performing his first night in front of well known actors, singers and celebrities, Presley is received with critical acclaim. 

Elvis performs two shows per night, for 58 consecutive sell out shows, attracting 101,500 for his Initial season, breaking all Vegas attendance records, for which he is awarded a gold belt by the hotel owner in recognition of this achievement. 

Presley releases 'Suspicious Minds' later that fall, and it shoots up the Billboard Hot 100 chart - becoming Elvis's last No.1 hit.

He would ultimately play 767 shows in Nevada. 

Elvis performed over 1,600 shows during his career. Each one was a sell-out.