Elvis is probably Tennessee’s most famous export. He’s known around the world as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “The King.” For people of Tennessee, he really is the local kid who made it big. His success is impressive: countless No 1 singles and albums, films and TV specials and, of course, sold-out concerts across the globe. Elvis won three Grammy awards and also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Elvis in Memphis
Although born out of state in 1935, Elvis Presley grew up from the age of 13 in Memphis, Tennessee. His first single “Heartbreak Hotel” was released in 1956 and became an instant No 1 hit. His performances were so magical and, for the time, very controversial as they featured those now famous gyrating hips and a little hint of sexiness. Elvis’ popularity sky rocketed and, later in the same year, he starred in his first movie “Love me Tender.” The cycle of hit songs and movies continued throughout his life.
Elvis was a trail-blazer. Not only was his 1973 “Aloha from Hawaii” concert the most expensive entertainment show at the time, costing €2.5 million but it was the first global concert broadcast live via satellite with an audience of over 1 billion people. Unfortunately, success was not always easy for Elvis to cope with and he struggled with prescription drug abuse. He died at the age of just 42 in 1977.
Our colleagues at MANN+HUMMEL’s corporate office in Ludwigsburg are collecting objects from around the world that capture the spirit and essence of the places where they have factories. MANN+HUMMEL in Dunlap, Tennessee, chose an Elvis figurine as their contribution to the 75th Anniversary time capsule.
Tennessee is full of music history. Dunlap is just a few hours’ drive from Nashville, the home of country music. In Memphis, you can visit Elvis’ mansion, Graceland, where he lived for most of his adult life. The figurine not only represents Elvis’ success and his significance in music culture world-wide but also a sense of rebelliousness and adventure, something that I think my colleagues in Dunlap can relate to!
An added bonus in choosing Elvis as our essential was his German connection. One of the more famous parts of Elvis’ life was his service in the United States Army from 1958 to 1960. After basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, he served 18 months in Germany at the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, just north of Frankfurt am Main. Already a successful recording artist, Elvis donated his army pay to charity. It was in Germany that Elvis met Priscilla Beaulieu – who later became his wife.
Something for Everybody
Elvis is still a big part of life today and his music lives on. You can even listen to a radio station that just plays Elvis songs – 24/7. Wherever in the world you live, I am sure you have a favorite Elvis song. There are so many to choose from: Blue Suede Shoes, Love me Tender, Jailhouse Rock, Are you Lonesome Tonight?, Wooden Heart – what’s yours?