In 1935, Elvis Presley was born in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi. Before Elvis became the only performer to have ever been inducted into all four music halls of fame, he was inducted into the US Army.
Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

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The King of Rock `n' Roll

Elvis Aaron Presley was Rock `n' Roll royalty, a singer who became a cultural icon of his time. His novel versions of existing songs, mixing "black" and "white" sounds, made him popular-and controversial-as did his uninhibited stage and television performances. Elvis was "The King of Rock 'n' Roll."

But before Elvis became the only performer to have ever been inducted into all four music halls of fame, he was inducted into the US Army.

In 1935, Elvis Presley was born in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi. In 1946, for his eleventh birthday, Presley received his first guitar, and the rest is music history.

In 1954, Presley began his music career with rockabilly, an uptempo fusion of country and rhythm and blues with a strong back beat. He recorded rock and roll tracks like "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock."

On January 10, 1956, Presley made his first recordings for RCA in Nashville, Tennessee with "Heartbreak Hotel/I Was The One," released on January 27. By April it had hit number one in the U.S. charts, selling over one million copies.

By the spring of 1956, Presley was becoming so popular that teenagers flocked to his concerts. He'd start out singing, 'You ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog,' and the audience would always react the same way; the would just go wild. It was a phenomenon not seen before in Rock n' Roll.

Then, in December 20, 1957, Presley received his draft notice. He was in the midst of filming his movie King Creole, and Paramount Pictures did not want to suspend or cancel the project, so the Memphis Draft Board granted Presley a deferment to finish it. On March 24, 1958, he was inducted as US Army private #53310761 and completed basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, on September 17, 1958, before being posted to Friedberg, Germany, with the 3rd Armored Division, where his service took place from October 1, 1958 until March 2, 1960.

Fellow soldiers have attested to Presley's wish to be seen as an able, ordinary soldier, despite his fame. Presley's generosity became known, as he donated his Army pay to charity, and purchased all the TV sets for personnel on the Army base. Presley had chosen not to join 'Special Services', which would have allowed him to avoid certain duties and maintain his public profile. Still he continued to receive massive media coverage. The Army also introduced Presley to karate-something he later studied seriously, even including it in his later live performances.

Presley returned to the U.S. on March 2, 1960, and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant on March 5. His popularity remained intact; the train which carried him from New Jersey to Memphis was mobbed the entire way.

His first recording session, on March 20, 1960, yielded some of Presley's best-selling songs including "It's Now or Never," and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" These and other tracks became part of the Elvis is Back!, which was described as "a triumph on every level.

By the 1960s, Presley made the majority of his 33 successful movie musicals. In 1968, he returned to live music in a television special. He also performed across the U.S., notably in Las Vegas.

Elvis proved he had staying power in the Rock n' Roll world where careers faded fast, and Rock stars were more like shooting stars. Rolling Stone magazine declared Presley to be "supernatural," while Variety proclaimed him a "superstar." It was at a press conference after a show where a reporter referred to him as "The King."

Presley's final performance was in Indianapolis at the Market Square Arena, on June 26, 1977. According to many, it was the best show he had given in a long time.

Elvis Presley remains one of the best-selling and most influential artists in the history of popular music yet to this day, few people know that Presley "was an untrained musician who played [guitar and piano] entirely by ear. "I don't read music," Elvis confessed, "but I know what I like." Throughout his career, Elvis Presley set records for concert attendance, television ratings and recordings sales. He is one of the best-selling and most influential artists in the history of music. Health problems, drug dependency and other factors led to his death at age 42.

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