Elvis is one of the most decorated musicians of all time. He’s made waves throughout the music industry with his unique tunes and notable dance moves. He’s inspired so many impersonators that of course he’s reached legend status! There are at least 85,000 Elvis impersonators around the world – the numbers speak for themselves!
He’s known as the king of rock ‘n’ roll and has gone down in history as one of the most influential people of the 20th century. What about the stories that no one has heard about him, though? No one quite matches up to his legacy, and even his look has become iconic in its own rite. These are some interesting and little-known facts about the king himself, Elvis Presley!
He Wasn’t “Anything Special”
Many superstars are known for overcoming adversity, specifically when it comes to succeeding in school. Elvis Presley was one of them, having teachers tell him that he was mediocre and not anything special. The king? Just average? How could it be? Clearly, this school teacher had it all wrong…
His music teacher told him that he was only average, and he was kind of a loner in his school days. His classmates teased him whenever they could for playing “hillbilly music.” Maybe this is why he became such a charming and charismatic performer – he didn’t want to remain the same shy kid he was in his early days.
His Iconic Jet-Black Hair Wasn’t Natural!
One of his most notable features is his iconic jet-black hair. His hair was known for being shiny and full of volume. But his signature color wasn’t natural by any means – he actually dyed it. Believe it or not, but Elvis was a natural blonde! Can you imagine the king with blonde hair?
Yeah, I didn’t think so. He started dying his hair at a young age because he felt he needed a bit more “edge,” which seems to be how things went on. Elvis admitted to dying his hair with black shoe polish to get the job done. (Who knows; maybe that’s all he had access to).
He Asked for a Rifle Instead
Despite having the title “the King of Rock,” Elvis Presley wasn’t always interested in music. In fact, receiving a guitar as a gift from his mother was the opposite of what he really wanted. Initially, he had asked his mother to buy him a rifle, but she wouldn’t have it!
He got his first guitar at 11 years old, though he didn’t have a ton of interest in music in general. However, as soon as he got the guitar, he taught himself how to play. Though he had wanted a rifle instead, his mom wouldn’t let him put his hands on one. Later in life, though, he would still remain interested in firearms.
He Never Performed Outside of North America
He became a global sensation, but he never ended up making it to see many of his fans outside of the North American continent. He was selling out shows and stealing hearts left, right and center. His performances of songs like “Heartbreak Hotel” amongst others would go down in history.
Still, he never played outside of the United States, with the exception of a performance in Canada in 1957. Being such a global sensation would certainly elicit a world tour, or so we would think. Yet he never did, and there are many speculations around this, mostly centered around his manager.
He Served His Country Mid-Stardom
Many folks know that the king took a break from music for a moment when he was drafted into the U.S. Army back in 1958. In today’s day and age, you probably would search far and wide to find a celebrity who would take time off to serve his country, but luckily Elvis Presley was no average celebrity!
His choice to enlist (though, maybe it was less of a choice than a requirement) earned respect from those who didn’t like him. Something else that shows how awesome he is was that upon drafting, he was offered to enlist in Special Services as an entertainer. And he refused!
He Wanted to Be Like His Fellow Soldiers
While he must have been flattered to receive such a unique offer, he ultimately decided to turn it down because he wanted to serve as a regular soldier with the others in his battalion. There were many people across the USA that saw him as a negative cultural influence, but he seemed to do a good job changing that.
It was around this time that he really became the American treasure we know him as. He was admired for taking time away from his own passions and success to serve the country he loved so much. It really helped the Americans that were skeptical of him see him in a new light!
He Met His Wife When She Was… Too Young for Him
Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army when he was in his early 20s, around age 24. Well, whilst serving in West Germany during, he met the woman that would become his wife. It was here that he first set his gaze upon the young and beautiful Priscilla Beaulieu.
When Elvis first set his sights on her, Priscilla was only 14 years old. That’s a pretty significant age difference – 10 years. That’s quite a scandal, I’d say!
They Met at a Party
I’m not entirely sure what kind of party would have a 14-year-old socializing with a 24-year-old, but hey – being social has no age! Nonetheless, that’s where Elvis and Priscilla met. They hit it off instantly, though of course their big age difference made Priscilla’s parents uneasy.
It wasn’t just his age that made her parents uncomfortable with the two getting involved. They were also hesitant because of his rockstar status. Somehow he managed to charm them, and Priscilla even shared in 2017 that her parents grew to like him! Good for Elvis.
He Had a Different Girlfriend in America
When Elvis and Priscilla first got involved, Elvis was dating another woman in the United States. He had a girlfriend named Anita Wood, who was working in Hollywood at the time. He and Wood began their relationship in 1957 and continued when he returned to the United States.
Wood knew that something strange was afoot. She had heard rumors about his infidelity and didn’t confront it until she found a letter that Priscilla wrote to the king himself. The letter was asking him if she could come visit him in the United States, and instead of just owning up to it, he kind of freaked out!
“She’s Just a Child”
When Wood confronted Elvis about what she had found, he freaked out by saying that Priscilla was “just a child.” If that’s the case, then why are you exchanging such flirty messages? Learning of this new inappropriate relationship made Wood uncomfortable.
“I remember when he got me on the phone, (he said) ‘Little, please don’t tell anybody about this. This girl, again, she’s just a child. She’s just a fourteen-year-old child it means absolutely nothing. She just wants to visit, it means nothing. And if you told anybody, I’d get in a lot of trouble, she’s so young’,” she recalled.
He Finally Married His Precious Priscilla
After Elvis and Anita Wood called it quits in 1962, he continued to remain involved with Priscilla. She spent a summer with him in the USA and soon moved into his home in Graceland. At the time, she was still a high school student! She was only 17 when they moved in together.
The two joined each other in holy matrimony in 1967 and had a child together just a year later. Their daughter, Lisa Marie, was born in 1968. Unfortunately, their marriage was not built to last forever, and the two broke up and got divorced by 1973.
Priscilla’s Hunt for a Wedding Dress
Priscilla admitted to having to disguise herself when she started shopping for her wedding dress. Priscilla told Vogue that despite the speculation that it was designed for her, it was not a custom dress. She found it on a store rack, and it still suited her just as well!
While shopping for the gown for her big day, she used the pseudonym “Mrs. Hodge.” She recalled, “I went to places like Neiman Marcus in disguise. I went with a [blonde] wig and everything just to keep it private!” She didn’t want anyone to detect her!
It Was a Quick Ceremony
Vogue noted that the couple’s nuptials were relatively small, and that the ceremony happened just before 10 a.m. with only 14 people there to witness. Country Living noted that the ceremony was a mere eight minutes long – it was quick and straight to the point!
The couple celebrated their wedding with a small group of family and friends, along with a hearty breakfast. They were married at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, and since Elvis was a relatively private person, he needed to make sure that everything went as planned and remained private.
Dating the King Wasn’t Easy
Dating an international sensation like Elvis certainly came with its pros and cons – just ask Priscilla. Sure, many young women would probably love to be the apple of the king of rock ‘n’ roll’s eye, but young Priscilla found herself dealing with many different anxieties along the way.
Priscilla found herself walking in his shadows more often than she’d probably like. Being in a relationship with an international star really began to weigh on her. “I was kind of lost really in who I was earlier in my life, I really didn’t have teenage years,” she stated. “I learnt so much about him and was with him so much that I thought the way he did.”
He Wasn’t Always Faithful
Not only did he rock the world with his musical abilities, but he also had a reputation as a gentle giant that women could find themselves fawning over (duh)! Especially in his younger years, he wasn’t known for sleeping alone.
While many speculated that his fear of being alone was because of his mother’s passing, it’s probably safe to assume that he just really enjoyed the company of beautiful women. Who wouldn’t? Well, turns out that Priscilla wasn’t the only one keeping him company on his cold, lonely nights in West Germany.
He Was a “Hunk of Burning Love” to Many Women
So yeah… he was seemingly far from faithful. Isn’t that what we’d expect from one of the biggest rockstars of all time? When he served in West Germany, Priscilla was not the only one that caught his attention in his brief stint abroad.
Though Priscilla was the daughter of a U.S. Navy officer, that didn’t keep Elvis from casting a wider net with different women who also lived in the area. He became acquainted with a younger German girl, 19-year-old Elisabeth Stefaniak. She was hired to handle all of Elvis’ fan mail!
He Was Only Married Once
Relationships in the spotlight aren’t really known for lasting long, but so what? At the time of his passing, Elvis was nearly married to his second wife (her family even sued his estate to get a payout they thought they deserved!). But he only made it down the aisle once.
The king only joined one woman in a formal union, and that was Priscilla. They were married in Las Vegas in 1976, and though their marriage ended within a couple of years, she remained his one and only wife! Priscilla definitely had bragging rights.
She Was Always Done Up
There are some couples in this world that still hide their natural features. You might hope that people in relationships will accept their partner for who they are, but that’s not always the case! I guess Priscilla was concerned about his feelings for her without makeup…
That’s right, the king never saw his queen without her veil of caked-on makeup. If it was her own choice to wear make up at all times, then it’s her own prerogative. But was this a request from her husband?
Strange Habits for a Couple
Ok, so Priscilla Presley divulged that her husband rarely saw her without makeup. In this case, let’s just chalk it up to them living in a truly different time. Well, according to his only bride, Elvis didn’t even like to watch her get dressed and ready for the day!
Elvis always emphasized to his wife that mystique and mystery were vital in their relationship. As a result, he never saw the “before” photo. “He never wanted to see me getting dressed, he wanted to see the result of getting dressed,” Priscilla once stated in an interview.
Who Made This Call?
Alright, here’s another curveball. Or maybe this is exactly what you’d expected (but hoped you’d just never end up hearing)… Elvis and Priscilla didn’t have as much power in making their marriage happen as you’d think! That’s right… neither one of them was entirely responsible for the wedding taking place.
There are several reasons why people might get married (beyond simply loving each other!) and sometimes fame and fortune cause those lines to blur. Maybe their marriage was inspired by a record executive or a publicist – either way, it’s believed that the couple wasn’t at the center of their own marriage.
He Changed After Priscilla Gave Birth
It’s probably the last thing that anyone would expect, but Elvis would barely touch his beautiful wife Priscilla after she gave birth to their daughter. He grew noticeably distant, and they even split up just a couple of years later. Something was noticeably off.
Their relationship went sour not long after they got married, at least as far as the press was concerned. It was pretty well known that their relationship started to break down after their wedding, but Priscilla divulged that he grew distant after she gave birth.
He Barely Touched Her
Things had changed, that’s for sure. Their relationship wasn’t what it was just a couple of years before, but this time around Priscilla had expected them to bond and become more intimate than they had been before – they’ve just brought a child into the world together after all!
He apparently didn’t even want to touch her. It’s unclear if they never touched as man and wife again in that kind of way, but it seems like the king wasn’t quite looking forward to getting it on with his wife again. Elvis definitely missed out with her!
He Was a Germaphobe
Sure, the king of rock ‘n’ roll seemed fearless, but not everything is as it seems! He was reportedly a major germaphobe. He had such a fear of germs that you could go as far as calling it a phobia. Even though he was known for being a “man’s man,” he still was terrified of yucky germs.
He would go to extreme measures to make sure he was protected – but honestly, who could blame him in that case? He hated eating at other people’s homes so he would bring his own silverware. Talk about going to extreme lengths!
His World-Famous Pet
Many celebrities love animals – pets help make our favorite celebrities seem relatable. Elvis had a fur baby of his own, though it was a little bit different than we’re used to. He had a pet chimpanzee! The things I would do to meet that monkey…
His rockstar image really developed with the adoption of his exotic pet. His pet chimpanzee was named Scatter. What a cute name for a pet chimpanzee, right? He received that name because he would run and scream around the Graceland mansion. He would even scream at guests attending parties there!
Scatter Had a Big Personality
Scatter had a pretty big personality! Those who were lucky enough to be graced by this famous chimpanzee’s presence were greeted by his screams and cries as he ran throughout the Graceland mansion, yelling at guests he had met along the way. This was a monkey with a lot to say!
While a “hound dog” was what we expected the king to have as his pet, that kind of animal might not have been able to absolutely rock all of the Hawaiian novelty shirts Scatter sported! Additionally, Scatter had quite some smooth moves with the ladies he interacted with!
How Did Elvis Presley Die?
Elvis Presley died in his home in Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on August 16th, 1977. Doctors stated his cause of death was a heart attack. It turns out, it was a little more than just that. His heart attack had several causes.
The king had a heart attack while he was sitting on the toilet. He was trying to push out the rest of his business when his heart gave out. He was also addicted to prescription medication… addictions are hard to overcome, and Elvis reportedly spent the last few years of his life battling with substance abuse.
His First Recordings Were Gifts
His first recordings weren’t even part of his journey toward success and fame. The king had reportedly walked into a recording studio somewhere in Memphis, Tennessee and asked to record some songs for his mother. He only paid $4 to make it happen!
His musical stylings and unique sound intrigued the owner of the studio. He wanted to hear more from this dashing young man with such a unique sound. Elvis was invited to come back and play with some other top musicians in rhythm and blues. This introduction would help Elvis release his first single!
He Was a Gun Enthusiast
He was just like many other Americans back then (and so many today). The year that he received a guitar as a gift, he had really wanted a rifle! He was just a child then but getting a guitar would never fill the sense of satisfaction the king felt when handling a gun.
He was known for loving guns almost as much as he loved guitars! He was also known for being rather careless with his firearms. He loved them but would allegedly discard them casually. He would also leave them laying around, allowing the weapons to get into the wrong hands!
He Wasn’t Casual About His Love for Firearms
The king would apparently assert his dominance through the pleasure he got from owning and handling firearms. He loved guns so much that he would love to make examples of whatever he could, as long as it was an excuse to use a gun. He once shot at their T.V.!
Before he was married, Elvis sat with an ex-girlfriend as he played with his gun. His ex-girlfriend Ginger Alden recounted this incident specifically because he fired at their television set. It was unclear from her accounts if he fired at the T.V. because he was angry or if it was just an accident. Either way, it sounds like he needed to cool it!
How Tall Was Elvis Presley?
The king of rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t the tallest guy around. Pictures certainly made him look good, but he was just under 5’10”. He wasn’t short, per se, but he wasn’t tall either. Maybe the stage made him look taller?
Maybe if he was shorter, women wouldn’t be as obsessed with him – but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Standing just under 5’10” is still a pretty average height. He was taller than his wife and tall enough to see above the large crowds cheering him on – that’s good enough!
He Was an Attention Seeker
Well, this part shouldn’t come as a shock. While you could safely assume that many stars are attention seekers, Elvis pulled a stunt with firearms that put him in a league of his own. This guy really struggled with living life on the edge and giving in to temptation.
One evening as he slept in bed with his ex-girlfriend Ginger Alden, Elvis shot a bullet into their bed’s headboard! She was sleeping and he fired a shot as an “attention grabber,” which is beyond disturbing. What a classy move… not! That’s not the smartest move.
When Did Elvis Presley Die?
His obsession with guns might have brought him close to an untimely fate, but luckily he didn’t die at the hands of firearms. He died on August 16th, 1977, and the world was truly never the same after losing the king of rock ‘n’ roll.
He died far too young and left behind one of the greatest legacies in the music industry that ever existed. He lived a very full life for his short time on earth. By the end of his life, he was addicted to both barbiturates and junk food, and he seldom made appearances by the end.
He Hired Non-Americans
His manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was at the top of his game and one of the greatest music managers of all time. However, did you know that he wasn’t even an American citizen? That’s right, Colonel Tom Parker was not an American-born music manager – it wasn’t even his real name.
His manager wasn’t a legal immigrant in the USA. He was born in the Netherlands as Andreas van Kuijk. He never became a citizen of the land of the free and home of the brave in his time – it just didn’t seem like a priority for him.
Elvis Was Far From Stingy
Elvis was many things, and generous was certainly one of them. He credited his manager Colonel Parker for helping him rise to fame – and certainly made sure he paid him for it, too. Parker took home a hefty profit – sometimes as much as 50% of Elvis’ earnings.
Elvis was also known for pulling these big, elaborate stunts to show the people he cared about just how much he loved them. He was known for his generosity and most people really appreciated that! He was even generous when going to meet his fans, pulling stunts to surprise them in elaborate ways.
His Cop Costume Rocked
This is probably one of his funniest stunts to date. This guy would dress up in costumes like a police officer and give people tickets! But instead of “tickets,” he would do something else that made fans swoon – his “tickets” were actually just his autograph!
He lived to surprise his loyal fans. He wanted to thank them and reward them for constantly having faith in him, and his fans were always surprised when he “pulled them over.” Later in life, he received a real police badge – given by someone surprising!
He Had a Positive Relationship with President Nixon
Elvis Presley seemed to be a pretty big fan of President Richard Nixon. Not only did he request to meet the now late-President, but he was granted his visit. During his meeting with the leader of the free world, Elvis asked him for a federal narcotics badge…
President Nixon awarded him this! It was bizarre to anyone who knew Elvis and even more bizarre to other average Americans. Elvis reached out to many politicians in his time in the spotlight and didn’t seem to have much of an allegiance to a single party.
His Favorite Sandwich Was Strange
While many people might choose peanut butter and jelly or a tuna sandwich as their favorite mid-day meal, he had to assert his dominance and stand out however he could. His favorite sandwich was far from average – what kind of “typical” star wouldn’t have a unique meal?
Brace yourself for this strange-as-heck sandwich. His go-to snack was made up of peanut butter, bacon, banana, and honey. Maybe that’s a southern delicacy? Or not… it could have just been a series of strange cravings. This sandwich was complex, just like the guy who made it.
Elvis Had a Face-Lift
While always in the public eye, Elvis surely had to deal with the pressure of always looking camera-ready. He had an image he needed to keep up and when you get to a certain age, it’s probably hard to hide it! He realized he didn’t look as young as he once had and decided to do something about it.
Elvis had a face-lift, according to his ex-girlfriend Linda Thompson. He was 40 years old at the time and was constantly struggling with his battle to stay young. It was reportedly the only surgery that he underwent to keep up his image of being a timeless king!
Is Elvis Presley Still Alive?
Though it appears that the conspiracy theory that the king has not really left the building, this theory has been proven wrong time and time again. Elvis Presley indeed passed away at his home on August 16th, 1977. He had a cardiac incident while sitting on the toilet.
He was trying to pass a bowel movement when he pushed a little too hard, straining his heart and aorta to a point of no return. Though we’d all like to see him still be alive, he met his unfortunate fate. He died too soon, and his cause of death wasn’t the most glamorous!