25 Facts About Elvis Presley: The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll

Posted by , Updated on June 21, 2024

Called many names like the Memphis Flash, Hillbilly King, Rock ‘n’ Roll King, or just the King, Elvis Presley remains one of the most **influential icons** of the last seventy years. Even four decades after his death, he’s still the **top-selling solo artist** ever. According to RCA records, he sold more than 600 million records. Some say it’s over a **billion units**! His cool dance moves and **handsome looks** made him a style legend and a global **sex symbol**. Women went absolutely wild whenever he performed on stage or showed up on TV.

His musical influence and cultural impact on modern music and pop culture is best illustrated by this statement from Rolling Stone: “It was Elvis who made rock ’n’ roll the international language of pop,” and John Lennon’s legendary remark, “Before Elvis there was nothing.” But who was Elvis Presley? Who was the man behind the artist who made billions of people around the world love and admire him even more than religious figures, politicians, and presidents? It’s time to find out! These are 25 Captivating Facts About Elvis Presley: The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll.


Back in 1936 more than 216 people were killed in Tupelo, Mississippi, in one of the deadliest tornadoes in history. One of the survivors of this deadly tornado was fifteen-month-old Elvis Presley.

TupeloSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

The first time Presley made a recording, it was for his mother. He paid $4 to Sun Studio to press two songs—“My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”—as a gift for her.

Sun RecordsSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

Presley recorded anywhere from 600 to 1,200 songs, depending on whether the list includes unfinished works, alternate versions, bootlegs, etc.

Elvis concertSource: popmatters.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

When Elvis was only two, he wiggled out of his mother’s arms and joined the choir to sing with them during an Assembly of God service.

He's in here somewhereSource: popmatters.com

At age ten Elvis participated in a children’s talent show and sang “Old Shep.” He finished fifth but his artistic talents began to become clear to those who knew him and watched his performance.

Elvis talent showSource: popmatters.com, Image: Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com

One of the gifts his parents got him was a guitar. Elvis was eleven at the time and had asked for a bicycle, but his parents couldn’t afford one so he ended up with a guitar instead.

guitarSource: popmatters.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

As a teenager Elvis worked as an usher at Loew’s State Theater in Memphis. He was fired when another usher ratted on him for getting free candy from the girl behind the concession stand.

candySource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

Presley’s idol was Tony Curtis, who had shiny black hair. When he decided to dye his hair for the first time, he used black shoe polish. He also dyed his eyelashes to match, which would later cause him minor health issues and allergies.

Tony CurtisSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

An online poll during the late nineties showed that “Elvis” was one of the most popular passwords for computers in the United States at the time.

passwordSource: popmatters.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Elvis used to tell his friends and people close to him that he would die in his forties, just like his mother. Ironically, on August 16, 1977, the date of his death, Elvis was only forty-two.

Elvis and his motherSource: popmatters.com, Image: pixabay.com

It has been reported that Presley had 199 different prescriptions which totaled to about ten thousand pills the year he died (1977).

pillsSource: popmatters.com, liveleak.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Presley, his parents, his grandmother, and his golden palomino quarter horse, Rising Sun, are all buried at Graceland.

GracelandSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

In the early 1970s Presley would impersonate a police officer, driving around with a blue light, a long flashlight, a billy club, and guns, and pulling people over. Instead of giving out tickets, he would hand out his autograph.

Elvis policeSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

When Elvis met boxing icon Muhammad Ali, he gave him one of his robes declaring the boxer, “The People’s Champion.” Ali in return gave Elvis a pair of boxing gloves that said, “You’re the greatest.”

Muhammed AliSource: popmatters.com, Image: YouTube

During the 1970s Elvis started every concert with “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” a nineteenth-century Richard Strauss tone poem and the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey, because he liked its rhythm and movements.

2001: A Space OdysseySource: popmatters.com, Image: imdb.com

Elvis was a huge fan of The Tonight Show until Johnny Carson joked about him being “fat and forty.”

The Tonight Show by Johnny CarsonSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

When he was young, Elvis would lose several pounds during a concert tour. Later in life, his metabolism wasn’t so kind to him and he reportedly reached 250 pounds.

Jailhouse RockSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

While serving in the army overseas, the Germans gave him the nickname “the rock and roll matador.” Also, during his service in Germany he developed the habit of smoking thin German cigars.

Elvis in the armySource: popmatters.com, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Some of Elvis’s favorite foods included biscuits and gravy, potato cheese soup, meatloaf with mushroom gravy and beefsteak tomato. One of his least favorite foods was fish, and he despised it so much that he reportedly wouldn’t allow Priscilla to eat it at Graceland.

Source: popmatters.com, Image: YouTube Source: popmatters.com, Image: YouTube

His last words, according to his then girlfriend Ginger Alden, were, “Okay, I won’t,” when he assured her he wouldn’t fall asleep reading in the bathroom.

ElvisSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

In August 1992 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awarded Elvis 110 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums and singles, the largest presentation of gold and platinum record awards in history. Almost forty years after his death, Elvis has 106 gold, 63 platinum, and 27 multi-platinum album awards, more than any other solo artist or group in history.

Elvis golden and platinum recordsSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

When Elvis met President Nixon in 1970 and took one of the most famous photographs of the twentieth century, the president reportedly said to the king of rock ‘n’ roll: “You dress kind of strange, don’t you?” Presley smiled and replied to him in style, “Well, Mr. President, you got your show, and I got mine.” The meeting remained a secret until the Washington Post broke the story about a year later.

Elvis and president NixonSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

When he died in 1977 there were about 170 Elvis impersonators. It is estimated that today there are more 250,000 worldwide.

Elvis impersonatorsSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

The first post-death Presley spotting was in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where a mother of five told the Weekly World News that she saw him in a grocery store and at a Burger King.

Burger King restaurantSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia

In case you’re wondering why some fans call Elvis the first true rock star it is because he would sometimes autograph his female fans’ breasts—“Elvis” on the left and “Presley” on the right.

Elvis and fansSource: popmatters.com, Image: Wikipedia