Elvis Presley was one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century and often known as “The King of Rock and Roll.” When he was young, no one would have ever thought that he would have risen to such acclaimed fame. His family was not wealthy and moved from place to place, often relying on neighbors and government support to survive. He reluctantly began to learn to play guitar at a young age, often too shy to sing in front of others. The only class he failed in school was music and was told by his teacher that he had no aptitude for singing. He was even bullied by fellow classmates. But none of these things deterred his growing passion for music.

Presley continued practicing his guitar and singing occasionally. He had no formal music training and never learned to read music, learning and playing by what he heard. He was a frequent visitor of record stores with jukeboxes and listening booths. He grew up in heavily populated African-American areas which influenced his musical style. Presley began to go to recording studios in hopes of being discovered, but nothing ever came of his efforts. After being rejected at a tryout for a vocalist with a local band, he was told to stick to driving trucks because he would never make it as a singer. Sam Phillips, the boss of Sun Records, had been looking for a way to bring the black cultural music to a broader audience and saw Elvis Presley as the key.

Phillips brought in two local musicians, Winfield “Scotty” Moore and Bill Black, to play with Presley. They played late into the night without any success. When they were about to give up, they started to fool around and suddenly found the stride that Phillips had been looking for. He quickly recorded their session and began playing it on his shows which quickly began to garner interest. This marked the beginnings, though still rather unsuccessful, of Presley’s music career. The group had a tough time because their music was somewhere between the largely African-American Soul sound and Hillbilly Country. The blend would eventually become known as Rockabilly. Often Presley would need police escorts because groups of boys from various towns would want to beat him up because of some sort of twisted sense of jealousy. Presley still struggled with his issues with stage fright and during one of his early performances on stage he was so nervous that his legs began to shake, the movement emphasized by his wide cut pants. The young woman in the audience went wild at the action and Presley began to steer into the storm, dancing and shaking his legs to draw reactions from the crowd. His band began to feed into the reaction by playing to Presley’s movements. This would become one of his staple moves as his career progressed, the “sexual” nature causing a stir of controversy.

With the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement on the horizon, Presley came to be a symbol for the shift and an inspiration. His music career would take him to concerts, television shows, and movies. The crowds would become so fevered when Presley began that some shows needed to add the National Guardsmen to the security to prevent crowd trouble. Presley’s music gave the young a reason to believe in themselves and unified an entire generation.

From humble beginnings and many hardships, Presley overcame them all to rise to such stardom that many will never achieve. He is a grand example of believing in oneself and never letting someone tell you what you can or cannot do. We exist in a time when we are told to do what you believe in, but it is Presley that truly embodied those ideals. He has definitely earned the title of being “The King of Rock and Roll” and is easily deserving of a star dedicated in his name. So much could say about The King, but one thing that is certain is that he has carved his name into the sands of time.

View or Dedicate a star near Elvis Presley's Star at YourStarForever.com

Posted on May 25, 2015 by Ryan Hart

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