Elvis Presley's Achievements

by Brenton Shields

Elvis Aaron Presley was born in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. He moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948, where he began his music career. Elvis released dozens of hit singles throughout his life, and many of these are still heard today. Elvis, who was nicknamed "The King," died on August 16, 1977, but his impact and legacy are undeniably significant.

Early Hit

Elvis signed his first contract with managers Hank Snow and "Colonel" Tom Parker in 1955, who got him his first recording contract with RCA Records. His first single, "Heartbreak Hotel" sold over 1 million copies, and his self-titled album shot to number one on the Billboard charts. He bought his iconic Graceland Mansion in 1957.

Films and Growing Popularity

Elvis's second top-ten hit, "Blue Suede Shoes," was released in 1956. "Hound Dog" quickly became his third top-ten song after that. "Love Me Tender" was Elvis's first movie. It was released on November 16, 1956 in the United States and December 13, 1956 in the United Kingdom. The film was named for Elvis's single, "Love Me Tender." It received lukewarm reviews, but made $9 million on only a $1 million budget -- a testament to Elvis's popularity.

Post Draft

Elvis was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958 and was promoted to sergeant in 1960. He recorded his first post-military album, "Elvis is Back," in March of that year. On November 3, 1960, he became the first singer to have five number one hits in the United Kingdom, his fifth being "It's Now or Never." He had nine number one singles in the U.K. by the end of 1961 and 14 by the end of 1962.

Later Achievements

Elvis was named "One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation" by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1971. A stretch of highway that ran near his original home was renamed "Elvis Presley Boulevard." In 1972, he sold out four consecutive concerts at Madison Square Garden, a first for the entertainment industry. His last number one album released before his death, "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee," was recorded in 1976.

Grammy Awards

Elvis was nominated for 14 Grammy Awards during his lifetime. He won only three, and all three of his wins were for gospel songs. "How Great Art Thou" won Best Sacred Album in 1967, and his Memphis concert recording of the titular song won Best Inspirational Song in 1974. "He Touched Me" won Best Inspirational Song in 1972. In 1971, at the age of 36, Elvis received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Posthumous Honors

Numerous honors were bestowed upon Elvis after his death. He appeared on a limited edition 29-cent stamp from the United States Postal Service in 1992. The Academy of Country Music awarded Elvis their inaugural Golden Hat Award for Elvis's influence on country music in 1984. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001.