73 things you (probably) didn't know about Elvis Presley (2022)

73 things you (probably) didn't know about Elvis Presley (1)

Like all good guitar gods, Elvis owned a chimpanzee

On the 16th August 1977, Elvis Presley passed away.

So today, 45 years on, and following the recent success of Baz Luhrman's biopic of The King, MusicRadar is bowing a head with a factathon: 73 things you (probably) didn't know about Elvis.

73 things you didn't know about Elvis

1. The King Of Rock 'n' Roll's full name is Elvis Aaron Presley, although for many years Elvis assumed his middle name was spelt Aron (that's what it says on his birth certificate, after all).

2. It wasn't until Elvis sought to officially change it to the more traditional spelling that he learnt that, despite the document, state records did indeed already have him registered as Elvis Aaron.

3. When Elvis was at Humes High School, he was on the boxing team. His favourite class was wood shop.

4. Elvis's first guitar cost $7.75 (plus 2% sales tax) from his home town's Tupelo Hardware Company. His mother, Gladys, helped him buy it for his 11th birthday.

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5. Starting on what would have been his 75th birthday, 14 six-foot public art replicas of Elvis's first acoustic went go on display outside the store as part of the 75th birthday celebrations.

6. Apparently, though, Elvis would have preferred a 22. cal rifle.

7. The gun obsession did continue, however. Elvis had a collection of 40 weapons (including sub-machine guns) and was honoured with a Smith & Wesson signature revolver (the TCB Tribute) in 2007.

8. As a youngster, Elvis idolized gospel group The Statesmen. According to Elvis's back-up singer Joe Moscheo, Elvis's dance moves were inspired by James 'Big Chief' Wetherington (The Statesmen's bass singer), who was famous for his leg twitching.

9. Splash it all over! Elvis's favourite aftershave was Brut.

10. Elvis's first recording at Sun Records was self-funded in August 1953. He cut a two-sided acetate: My Happiness and That's When Your Heartaches Begin.

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11. Elvis claims the record was a gift for his mother (bless). Cynics say he chose Sun Records in the hope of being discovered (far cheaper, amateur recording facilities were available nearby).

(Video) 73 things you maybe didn't know about Elvis

12. In 1954 Elvis auditioned for a place in gospel quartet The Songfellows. The band rejected him because "he did not demonstrate an ear for harmony at the time."

13. Sun Records boss Sam Phillips's first session with Elvis later that year spawned a cover of Arthur Crudup's That's All Right Mama. The recording was picked up by Memphis radio DJ Dewey Phillips who, following a flood of listener calls demanding to know who the singer was, played it repeatedly for two hours.

14. The following week, Sun received an unprecedented 6,000 single pre-orders. That's All Right Mama eventually went on to sell 20,000 copies.

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15. Like all good guitar gods, Elvis owned a chimpanzee. His name was Scatter.

16. Elvis's television debut was on Louisiana Hayride. Filmed in Shreveport, Louisiana, he appeared on 5 March 1955.

17. Prefer a different nickname to The King or the Hillbilly Cat? In September 1955, Country Song Roundup magazine was the first to feature Elvis, tagging him a "folk music fireball."

18. Are You Lonesome Tonight? was written in 1926 (music by Lou Handman, lyrics by Roy Turk). Of the many versions recorded, one of the first versions to feature the 'spoken word bit' was Al Jolson's (recorded in 1950). Like Jolson, Elvis took his 'speech' from Jaques speech on Act II Scene VII of As You Like It.

19. Elvis is responsible for the best-selling single of both the 1950s (Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel (1956)) and the 1960s (It's Now Or Never (1960)).

20. Elvis shared a birthday with David Bowie and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger (both fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members) as well as legendary promoter Bill Graham.

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21. During his two-year stint as a Private in the US Army in 1958, Elvis donated all his pay to charity.

22. Elvis also supplied the base with numerous television sets and brought an extra set of clothes (supplies were meagre) for each of his fellow privates.

23. Elvis was a black belt in karate - he was introduced to martial arts while in the army.

24. Unfortunately, he was also introduced to amphetamines.

25. Elvis is a direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln's great-great grandfather, Isaiah Harrison.

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26. In 1955, RCA acquired Elvis's Sun Records contract for $40,000. The star was 20 years-old (and so legally still a minor) so it was his father, Vernon Presley, who signed on the dotted line.

27. Another deal was struck with Hill And Range Publishing whereby the company's songwriters had to give up to a third of their royalties in exchange for the kudos of having a song recorded by The King. Because of this, Elvis was given several false co-writing credits.

28. In fact, Elvis recorded more than 600 songs without writing any of them.

(Video) 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Elvis Presley

29. Being The King, Elvis rightfully had an entourage (aka the Memphis Mafia). Elvis gave each member a gold ring inscribed with a thunderbolt and the letters TCB (Take Care Of Business).

30. The Memphis Mafia loved their matching rings - but not as much as Elvis who was buried in his!

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31. From the time they met right up until his death, Elvis always sent a roomful of flowers to Ann-Margret whenever she opened up a show in Las Vegas.

32. Elvis was a Deputy Sheriff in Shelby County, Tennessee.

33. Elvis purchased over 100 Cadillacs in his lifetime, many bought as gifts for friends and family. The very first Cadillac he ever bought was pink, and was purchased as a gift for his mother.

34. Elvis met with Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and John Paul Jones in 1973. Plant was so awestruck at meeting his idol that he could barely speak whilst a similarly-awestruck Jones could only make small talk, commenting on Elvis's beautiful watch.

Elvis instantly traded said $5000 gold and diamond watch for Jones' $10 Mickey Mouse watch. This broke the ice with all of them, and they became good friends.

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35. According to Irena Chalmers's The Great Food Almanac, the last food that Elvis ate was four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies.

36. Charles Bronson starred alongside Elvis in Kid Galahad (1962). It was rumoured that the two didn't hit it off.

37. Elvis's first onscreen kiss came courtesy of Jana Lund in Loving You.

38. The self-titled debut LP, Elvis Presley, was the first rock 'n' roll album to make it to the top of the Billboard charts in the US.

39. Elvis's debut was also the first million-selling record in the genre, spending ten weeks at number one in 1956.

40. Elvis is a honorary Member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

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41. Elvis thought that The Beatles represented 'anti-Americanism' because of the Fab Four's open drug use. He shared these thoughts with President Nixon in 1970.

42. …it didn't stop The Beatles' hits Yesterday, Something and Get Back becoming a regular on The King's concert set-list during the 1970's. And, as Paul McCartney said afterwards: "The great joke was that we were taking [illegal] drugs, and look what happened to him."

43. …regardless, Nixon gave Elvis a special agent badge for the Bureau Of Narcotics And Dangerous Drugs (The King collected badges, you see).

44. Elvis's ancestor winegrower Johann Valentin Pressler emigrated to North America from Niederhochstadt (now Hochstadt), Germany in 1710. Pressler first settled in New York, but later moved to the South. Sometime during the American Civil War, Pressler was anglicized to Presley by a Pressler serving in the Confederate Army.

(Video) Priscilla Presley Breaks Down 15 Looks From 1960 to Now | Life in Looks | Vogue

45. On May 18 2006, Uri Geller bought Elvis's ranch-style Memphis home on eBay for $905,100.

46. It was another Geller (Larry - no relation to Uri) who helped introduced Elvis to the studies of religion and mysticism by supplying him with books which the singer "read voraciously." Larry Geller was Elvis's hairdresser.

47. In fact, two of Elvis's favourite books were The Impersonal Life by Joseph Benner (opens in new tab) and The Bible.

48. Resident at Graceland was Elvis's grandmother, Minnie Mae Presley. She outlived her son and grandson, passing away in 1980 at the age of 86.

49. Graceland is the second most-visited house in America. The first is the White House.

50. …Graceland was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

51. After seeing Elvis in concert, Liberace suggested he wear flashy costumes. Elvis took the advice and began sporting gold lame jackets and jewelled white jumpsuits.

52. Kurt Russell's film debut was an uncredited role in Elvis's 1962 musical It Happened At The World's Fair. His character kicked Elvis in the shin.

53. …coincidentally, Kurt Russell played the part of Elvis in three other films: he supplied the voice of Elvis in Forrest Gump; appeared as an Elvis impersonator in 300 Miles To Graceland; and played The King himself in the 1979 made-for-TV film, Elvis.

54. …Elvis was directed by John carpenter. In Change Of Habit (1969), Elvis played a character called Dr John Carpenter.

55. Alongside James Dean, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen, Elvis loved Marlon Brando. Unfortunately, it wasn't reciprocated as Brando strongly disliked the King. "It seems to me hilarious that our government put the face of Elvis Presley on a postage stamp after he died from an overdose of drugs. His fans don't mention that because they don't want to give up their myths.

"They ignore the fact that he was a drug addict and claim he invented rock 'n' roll when in fact he took it from black culture; they had been singing that way for years before he came along, copied them and became a star."


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56. Elvis first auditioned as singer for country band the Starlite Wranglers. It didn't work out so he took most of the band for himself - namely guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black. Thus the soon-to-be-renamed Hillbilly Cat and The Blue Moon Boys were born…

57. Elvis collected statues of Venus de Milo and Joan of Arc.

58. Elvis's shoe size was 11D.

59. In 1973, more people watched Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii than watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

60. Elvis memorised every line from George C Scott's 1970 biographical war film, Patton.

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61. Following a concert in Wisconsin during The King's more 'energetic' performing era, the local Catholic diocese wrote to FBI director J Edgar Hoover, warning that Elvis Presley "is a definite danger to the security of the United States... [His] actions and motions were such as to rouse the sexual passions of teenaged youth."

(Video) Top 10 Things Elvis (2022) Got Factually Right & Wrong

62. The FBI has more than 600 pages on file in Elvis's name.

63. White Christmas composer, Irving Berlin, was so disgusted with Presley's "profane parody" of his beloved Yuletide standard on Elvis' Christmas Album that he demanded that the song (and all subsequent album tracks) be banned from radio play. He was mostly ignored.

64. Between 1957 and 1969, Elvis made just two television appearances

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65. The last film Elvis saw at the cinema was The Spy Who Loved Me. The last song he ever performed in public was Can't Help Falling In Love.

66. Still at the movies, Elvis tried to get a print of Star Wars to show his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, the day before he died.

67. A.P.E.P.T.A. stands for Association Of Professional Elvis Presley Tribute Artists.

68. Elvis's favourite impersonator of himself was the late American performer/actor Andy Kaufman.

69. Unlike The King himself, Kaufman would ask his audience to return the items of clothing he'd tossed at them during the show.

70. In 2009, Elvis was the fourth top-earning dead celebrity according to Forbes. He earned $55 million.

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71. The plural of Elvis is Elvii.

72. Elvii Radio only plays music sung by Elvis impersonators.

73. The Junkie XL remix of A Little Less Conversation (Elvis Vs JXL) adopted by Nike for its 2002 FIFA World Cup campaign topped the charts in over 20 countries.

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(Video) Elvis Presley: 10 things you may not know | USA TODAY


What did Elvis do for fun? ›

He was a young man with hobbies that enjoyed serving his country, just like everyone else! While in the army, Elvis became very interested in karate and studied the fighting style of Chito-Ryu under Hank Slemansky. He would use his karate skills on stage, and he received his black belt in 1960.

Did Elvis have a twin? ›

Elvis Presley was born in a two-room house in a Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. He was the only living child of his parents Gladys and Vernon as his identical twin brother Jesse died. After his brother's death, Elvis grew up in Tupelo before his family moved to his beloved Memphis in 1948.

What was Elvis favorite food? ›

The peanut butter and banana sandwich has been referred to as a favorite of Elvis Presley, who was renowned for his food cravings such as the Fool's Gold Loaf, a loaf of French white bread filled with a pound each of bacon, peanut butter, and grape jelly.

What was Elvis favorite candy? ›

Jelly doughnuts were his favorite. They were purchased for him at the local Piggly Wiggly — Krispy Kreme didn't open a store in Memphis until after Elvis died. When they did open it, they built it near Graceland,” he remarked.

Did Priscilla go to Elvis funeral? ›

“It was just too hard to believe,” she told Hoda Kotb during a 2018 appearance on TODAY. Priscilla noted that Elvis' funeral procession reminded her of how iconic the singer was. "Going out the gates in the limo and seeing the streets lined up on both sides all the way to the cemetery.

Why did Elvis cry before his wedding? ›

Why Elvis Presley Cried a Night Before His Marriage to Priscilla?

Did Elvis wear makeup? ›

Elvis was ahead of his time in more ways than one and often wore makeup, especially for his performances. "Elvis had these really dreamy lashes and bedroom eyes, so we wanted to re-create that look," Thomas says.

What color were Elvis Presley's eyes? ›

While his gorgeous locks of jet-black hair that perfectly complement Elvis Presley's eye color of striking ice blue helped him seduce any woman possible, it's surprising to know that The King of Rock' n' Roll was actually born a natural blonde. He started dying his hair black from a very early age.

How old was Priscilla Presley when she married Elvis? ›

May 1, 1967: Elvis and Priscilla Presley get married in Las Vegas. When she was 21 years old, Elvis and Priscilla got married on May 1, 1967, in a Las Vegas ceremony that lasted just eight minutes.

Did Elvis play any instruments? ›

What instruments did Elvis play? He played guitar, bass and piano, and often toyed with instruments like the drums, accordion and ukulele. While he couldn't read or write music and had no formal lessons, he was a natural musician and played everything by ear. He could often hear a song, pick up an instrument, and play.

What was Elvis favorite ice cream? ›

"Elvis' Favorite" Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream - 5 Pints by Sloan's Ice Cream - Goldbelly.

What did Elvis like for breakfast? ›

Note for his future wife: Elvis loves enormous breakfasts complete with sausage, bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, home-baked rolls, and coffee. He has a tremendous appetite at breakfast. His wife should never develop elegant or expensive tastes.

What was Elvis favorite cake? ›

Legend has it that Elvis Presley's favorite cake was an ultra moist and flavorful pineapple and pecan cake that Elvis' grandmother used to make for him at his request whenever he came to visit.

Did Elvis ever wear eyeliner? ›

"Elvis had these really dreamy lashes and bedroom eyes, so we wanted to re-create that look," Thomas previously told POPSUGAR. "He wore a lot of eyeliner." So how exactly did he achieve the look on Butler?

Who was Elvis favorite co star? ›

Elvis was 'obsessed' with co-star Debra Paget and proposed: Priscilla even looked like her.

Was Elvis Presley's hair dyed? ›

Amazingly Elvis was actually a natural blonde until his late teens and even after when his hair began to go darker it wasn't naturally the shade we all know so well. It was usually dyed a shade of brown known as 'Mink Brown', but once when the King himself tried to do it, he opted to use black shoe polish.

What is Elvis Presley's favorite song? ›

Elvis Presley sent a letter to the teenage artist who sang his favorite tune. The song in question was “Halfway to Paradise” by Tony Orlando. Orlando discussed how much Elvis liked the song. “As a matter of fact, I got a letter from Elvis,” he said.

What was Elvis hairstyle called? ›

In the 1950s, this signature hairstyle was not yet called the pompadour, but went by names such as Quiff, Ducktail, Jelly Roll, Rocker, Greaser, or eventually "The Elvis Cut."

How many jumpsuits did Elvis have? ›

In what Graceland archivist Angie Marchese touts as "the largest exhibit of Elvis stagewear ever," more than 100 jumpsuits, tunics, capes, belts, pieces of jewelry and pairs of sunglasses worn by the King of Rock 'n' Roll from 1969 to 1977 go on display Saturday at Elvis Presley's Memphis, the museum-and-entertainment ...

Did Elvis Presley love Priscilla? ›

Priscilla was only 14 when Elvis fell in love with her

The King of Rock 'n' Roll fell for his future wife when she was merely 14 years old, while he was 24. The year was 1959 and Priscilla's family — by virtue of her stepfather Paul Beaulieu's military job with the Air Force — were stationed in Germany (via PopSugar).

How many cars did Elvis own? ›

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Elvis Presley, who in his lifetime owned more than 200 automobiles and crooned the tune “No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car,” took the wheel of one of his favorite cars in 1977 for what was to be his final drive.

What made Elvis happy? ›

And it turns out Elvis took real joy in sharing his great wealth with friends and family. Danny continued: “He could pretty much have anything he wanted; do anything he wanted. “So he got happiness and thrill out of giving to others, as we've talked about many times.

What is so special about Elvis Presley? ›

Having sold over 500 million records worldwide, Presley is recognized as the best-selling solo music artist of all time by Guinness World Records. He was commercially successful in many genres, including pop, country, rhythm & blues, adult contemporary, and gospel.

Did Elvis Presley have perfect pitch? ›

'I am reminded of a comment made shortly after the death of Elvis Presley by a musician he had worked with. He pointed out that despite an impressive vocal range of two and a half octaves and something approaching perfect pitch, Elvis was perfectly willing to sing off-key when he thought the song required it.

What color were Elvis Presley's eyes? ›

While his gorgeous locks of jet-black hair that perfectly complement Elvis Presley's eye color of striking ice blue helped him seduce any woman possible, it's surprising to know that The King of Rock' n' Roll was actually born a natural blonde. He started dying his hair black from a very early age.

Did Elvis ever write any songs? ›

And while Elvis wasn't a songwriter per se, he did co-write a few songs in his career including “That's Someone You Never Forget” and the haunting “You'll Be Gone.” From the '50s through the '70s, Elvis demonstrated his innate gift as a seasoned song man.

How good was Elvis Presley's voice? ›

Elvis Presley's three-octave vocal range was exceptional, 'very narrowly all at once a tenor, baritone, and bass'. A 1987 article in the Village Voice included an assessment of his voice in classical terms, categorizing it as a 'lyric baritone ... [but with] unexpectedly rich low [notes] ... and astounding high notes'.

What type of voice did Elvis have? ›

Voice characteristics

Elvis Presley was a baritone whose voice had an extraordinary compass — the so-called register — and a very wide range of vocal colour. 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.

What was Elvis's most popular song? ›

Elvis Presley


1. Elvis Presley - You Gave Me A Mountain (Aloha From Hawaii, Live in Honolulu, 1973)
(Elvis Presley)
2. Elvis Presley - Baby, What You Want Me To Do (Alternate Cut) ('68 Comeback Special)
(Elvis Presley)
3. Elvis Presley - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (Aloha From Hawaii, Live in Honolulu, 1973)
(Elvis Presley)
4. Elvis Presley My Way 1977 High Quality
(Alexander Eriksson Elvis)
5. Why was this concert LESS than 40 min? | Rare footage shows SHOWMANSHIP
(ElvisistheMan _)
6. Priscilla Presley Revealed The Unsettling Words That Elvis Used To Say To Her At Night

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