The undisputed “King of Rock and Roll” Elvis Aaron Presley reigned supreme over the American rock ‘n’ roll scene with his gyrating hips and smooth voice. Through his tumultuous career, Elvis kick-started rockabilly, stirred up much controversy, and became adored by rabid fans across the world.
Here are some tidbits you might not have known about the man, the legend, the king.
32. Imitation is the Greatest Form of Development!
As a child, Elvis would bound off his mother’s lap to stand next to the church choir imitating their every action.
31. Ain’t Nothing but a Living Room
The King’s living space was fit for an actual king. Elvis had a massive room in his house for entertaining guests. The space was decked out with all the latest tech: a color television, jukebox, pool table, and a fully stocked bar.
30. Swept Up!
As much as Elvis Presley’s music swept people off their feet, Elvis was almost swept away in a tornado when he was 15 months old. An F-5 tornado ravaged his hometown, Tupelo, taking the lives of 233 people, but sparing the life of the future king.
29. Women had a Pair of Elvis Presley’s
Quite cheeky in the day, Elvis Presley was known to sign his fans’ breasts. Elvis for the left and Presley for the right.
28. The Other Member
Turns out naming body parts wasn’t done exclusively to women. Elvis referred to his own member as “Little Elvis.”
27. Larger than Life
Elvis stood at six feet tall with size 11 shoes. Perhaps he needed to eat all those calories to fuel his naturally large frame.
26. No Mortal Shall Step Foot in this Sacred Room Except for Nicolas Cage
Besides Nicolas Cage, no one outside of the Presley family has ever stepped foot into Elvis Presley’s Graceland bedroom. Is this a sign that Nicolas Cage is no mere mortal?
25. Something Fishy
Presley famously disliked fish because the smell of it reminded him of childhood poverty, so he did not allow anyone to eat it in his home.
24. Like Taking Candy from a Girl Working the Concession Stand
Elvis Presley worked at Loew’s State Movie Theater as a teenager, where he used his charm to get free candy from the concession stand girl. And he would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for the darned usher ratting him out.
23. An Idol’s idol
Elvis Presley’s movie idol was Tony Curtis who had black hair. Elvis had naturally brown hair, but would dye his hair black. Coincidence?
22. Brown. Black. It’s All the Same.
Although Elvis Presley dyed his hair black, the make-up department at Paramount used “mink brown” dye to make it look black on-screen.
21. The Imitation Game
It seemed Elvis never lost his knack for imitation. He replaced his childhood choir imitation and replaced it with one of fellow musician, Johnny Cash. The dynamic pair would often imitate each other’s styles.
20. Acute Sense of Smell
Perhaps Elvis Presley’s olfactory system is on a completely different level than a mere mortal, because not only does he not want fish to be anywhere near his home, but he once broke up with Natalie Wood, because he did not like the way she smelled.
19. Big Delicate Flower
Elvis Presley was a huge fan of “The Tonight Show,” starring Johnny Carson until one night Carson joked that Elvis was fat and 40. One insult might have been okay, but two was tipping the scale!
18. Elvis’ Ark
Elvis was quite the animal lover. He owned a pet turkey named Bow-Tie. He also owned two Great Danes, horses, donkeys, peacocks, hens, ducks, chickens, a chimpanzee, a monkey, and a Basset Hound.
17. Uncalculated Sexiness
In a 1956 TV guide interview, Elvis explained that his dance moves come from the enjoyment of music. All that 1950s swag? That just seems to come naturally.
16. Elvis Lives On
Today it’s estimated that there are over 100,000 Elvis impersonators.
15. You’re Under Arrest for Being too Sexy
In the 50s, Elvis Presley’s dance moves were so scandalous that the Los Angeles Vice Squad once came and filmed his entire concert to ensure that he kept his hips in check. Perhaps they just wanted to watch a free concert.
14. Protective Mother Knows Best
On Elvis Presley’s 11th birthday, Elvis’ extremely protective mother purchased this future rock ’n’ roll star his first guitar instead of what he really wanted: a bike or rifle.
13. The Italian Marilyn Monroe Meets The King
On a Paramount film lot, a young Sophia Loren, who had never met Elvis in person before walked up to a surprised Elvis, sat down on his lap and started kissing him to the shock of everyone around. Sophia Loren then exclaimed “I love him!” and messed up his majestic locks.
12. Look at Me, I’m Healthy!
Known to love unhealthy foods like biscuits, gravy, and potato cheese soup, Elvis did also love to bite into a juicy beefsteak tomato.
11. A Place and a Time for Karate
Elvis practiced karate at a high level, earning himself a black belt. Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys also knew of this fact and decided to karate chop Elvis playfully. Elvis told Brian to stop, but later when the conversation died down, Brian decided to go for one last chop. Elvis backed up in his chair, said, “I’m a little worried about you, Duke,” and then signaled to his boys that they were leaving.”
10. Motherly Love
Even when Presley was an adult, he shared a secret language with his mother. Ice cream was called “iddytream” and milk was called “butch.” She died of hepatitis in 1958, and 23-year-old Presley was so distraught that he tried to throw himself into the grave after her.
9. Elvis had a Brother
Elvis grew up an only child because 35 minutes before his birth, his identical twin brother, Jesse Garon, was stillborn.
8. Trump’s Worst Nightmare
Elvis Presley’s manager immigrated to America illegally. Born in the Netherlands, Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk would reinvent himself as Tom Parker. After discovering Elvis, he successfully negotiated Elvis’ contract with small-time Sun Records to big-time RCA.
7. Only in America!
Even though Elvis is an international star, besides a few concerts he performed in Canada in 1957, Elvis never performed outside of the USA. Oh Canada!
6. The Sandwich to End All Sandwiches
Not light on the calories, Elvis’ favorite sandwich would satiate just about anyone’s appetite. Often referred to as an Elvis sandwich or simply The Elvis, this sandwich contains toasted bread, peanut butter, banana, and bacon. Not enough? Sometimes honey is added into this recipe for those wishing a trip to the hospital.
5. Martial Arts Fashion
Elvis Presley’s iconic jumpsuit fashion has its roots in his Karate background. Elvis hired Bill Belew to design modifications of karateka’s gis for him. These articles of clothing would later become his stage uniforms.
4. Age Is Just a Number… Until it Comes to…
His future wife, Priscilla Beaulieu, was just 14 – ten years his junior – when they met in September 1959. Strangely, the media portrayed their relationship as a sweet and innocent triumph of love across the age divide.
3. Death of The King
Contrary to the popular belief that it was drug-induced arrhythmia, Elvis’ long-time friend and physician, Dr. George “Nick” Nichopoulos revealed that The King’s death was caused by his chronic constipation.
“We didn’t realize until the autopsy that his constipation was as bad – we knew it was bad because it was hard for us to treat, but we didn’t realize what it had done.”
According to Dr. Nick, the autopsy revealed that his colon was 5 to 6 inches in diameter (normal width is 2 to 3 inches) and instead of being the standard 4 to 5 feet long, his colon was 8 to 9 feet in length.
Dr. Nick also believes the condition was hereditary and that it was likely the primary cause of his weight gain later in his career.
2. Feeling at Home on the Ranges
Although Elvis Presley has an impressive vocal range often cited at around two and a quarter octaves, it’s his emotional range that really captures the hearts of many. Elvis is breath-taking at quiet whispers and electrifying with his shouts and grunts.
1. A Pompadour for the Century
Larry Gellar, hair stylist for such icons as Marlon Brando, Rock Hudson, and Steve McQueen, also had his hand in Elvis Presley’s hair. What was Gellar’s secret recipe? A benign base shampoo, vitamin capsules, 99 percent pure aloe vera and a Colonel Sanders type mixture of secret herbs, no spices.