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August 16, 2014

"Before Elvis there was nothing" – 16 Interesting Black and White Photos of Elvis Presley in the 1950s

Elvis Presley (1935-1977) was born to a poor family in East Tupelo, Mississippi. When he was a teenager, the Presleys moved to Memphis, where Elvis graduated from high school and took a job as a truck driver. Through his teen years, though he could not read sheet music, he played guitar and sang country and hillbilly tunes. He loved music but was entirely self-taught.

Elvis began attracting attention with his music in 1954, when he was 19. He infused black rhythm-and-blues songs with his distinctive style, which came to include dance moves that were considered quite sexually suggestive for the time. In 1956, "Heartbreak Hotel" became his first number one hit and Elvis suddenly became a national sensation. Crowds of screaming teenagers packed his shows. At the end of 1957, Elvis received his draft notice, serving as an ordinary G.I. in the US military until 1960.

Here's a collection of 16 interesting vintage photos of Elvis Presley in the 1950s.

Memphis, 1956– Elvis Presley outside Jim’s Barber Shop on South Main Street. Looks like he’s gettin’ a ticket and funnin’ with the cop as only Elvis could.

Memphis, 1956– Elvis Presley outside Jim’s Barber Shop on South Main Street.

Elvis in the front yard of his home at 1034 Audubon Drive in May 1956. When this photo was taken, Elvis had just returned from touring; the band’s instruments were still packed on the roof of his car. His famous pink Cadillac can be seen over his right shoulder.

Elvis Presley posing at CBS studios. Check the pop-over sportshirt, side-belt action, and cool western belt loops. Elvis had it going’ on.

Memphis, 1957– Elvis Presley and one of his prized Cadillacs. Looks like a silk sportcoat he’s sportin’.

Shot of Elvis Presley on his ’56 Harley-Davidson KH motorcycle that was featured on the May, 1956 cover of Harley-Davidson’s “The Enthusiast” magazine.

May 15th, 1956– Elvis Presley performing at the Ellis Auditorium as the headliner for the Memphis Cotton Carnival. The demand to see Elvis was so great that both sides of the auditorium, North and South Halls, were opened to accommodate the overflow. –photo Robert W. Dye / Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.

Elvis Presley in an undated photograph at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, probably 1956-1957. He appears to be wearing the same shoes, socks and ring he wore the night of his May 15, 1956 concert. –photo The Commercial Appeal

1957, New York– Elvis Presley Rehearsing at the Maxine Elliot Theater for the Ed Sullivan Show. –Image by © Michael Ochs Archives /Corbis

1956, Las Vegas– Heart-String Strummers: Ladies’ idols Liberace and Elvis Presley cut loose in a jam session at Las Vegas, where Presley opened at a night club. A Memphis truck driver until a few months ago, Presley has strummed and moaned his way into the hearts of millions of teenagers with his guitar playing and singing. He reportedly earns some $25,000 a week now. Like pianist Liberace, Presley has a big following among the women. –Image by © Bettmann/Corbis

1956, Memphis, Tennessee– Colonel Tom Parker & Elvis Presley. –Image by © Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis

1956– Elvis and the Jordanaires in a Nashville studio –Don Cravens / Time Life Pictures / Getty

1957– Elvis and other recruits wait to be processed at an induction station in Memphis. –photo by Don Cravens / Time Life Pictures / Getty

October 1958, Freiburg im Breisgau, West Germany– Elvis Presley poses for the camera during his military service at a US base in Germany. –Image by © Vittoriano Rastelli/Corbis

Elvis Presley while in the Army– strumming the guitar during some downtime.

Elvis’ future wife Priscilla, just 16 yrs old at the time, joins him upon his release from the military. –photo by James Whitmore / Time Life Pictures / Getty-

(via The Selvedge Yard)


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