45 years ago today, the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley died.

Photo: Wikimedia Public Domain

Tuesday, August 16 marks the 45th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Forty-five years after his death, he still holds his status as the King and one of the greatest icons of American pop culture.

The King of Rock was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in Tupelo, US, on January 8, 1935. He grew up as an only child as his twin brother was stillborn. In 1948 his parents moved to Memphis where he graduated from Humes High School in 1953.

Polish city commemorated Elvis Presley

The “King of Rock’n’Roll” was granted a star at the Avenue of Stars in Kraków, southern Poland.

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Elvis’ first major musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, and gospel music he heard as a teenager in church as well as the black R&B he listened to on the historic Beale Street. He got his first guitar in Tupelo on his 11th birthday.

He began his singing career in 1954 with the Sun Records label in Memphis recording his first five singles. In 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor and by 1956, he was an international sensation.

Throughout his life, the King of Rock and Roll sold over a billion records worldwide. He produced over 150 albums and singles certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum. He also received 14 Grammy nominations and won three times.

A man of many talents

Elvis Presley was not only a musician, he also starred in 33 films, and made several television appearances and specials.

He also served in the US army from 1958 to 1960 as a regular soldier, despite being given the option to join the Special Services branch, responsible for entertaining the military.

Elvis died unexpectedly at the age of 42 due to heart failure, while staying at his Memphis home in Graceland Graceland, on August 16, 1977. He is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth-century popular culture.