At the time of his death in 1977, the American singer, musician, and actor Elvis Presley was worth $20 million (or $5 million, if you don’t factor in inflation). He has more records sold than any other solo musician. An international phenomenon who ushered in a new age, this musical trailblazer was universally credited with the rise of Rock ‘n’ Roll. With a reputation like his, people rarely need to use his full name when referring to him.
Elvis Presley was born in Mississippi to a loving family in 1935. Since he came from a low-income family, he and his brother had to make do with a two-bedroom home that his dad had constructed. He was very close to his parents, and they did everything they could to make his life a good one. His mother, Gladys, was the rock upon which the family relied while Vernon, his father, worked various jobs to make ends meet. While Elvis was just three years old, his father went to prison for forging a company cheque.
Elvis Presley was exposed to music at an early age at church and on the streets, where jazz was performed. Elvis’ academic performance was merely mediocre, but his professors took notice of his musical ability. Elvis had received a guitar for his birthday and had been practicing, but he still had a hard time performing in front of an audience.
Moving to Tennessee at the age of 13 in 1948, Presley maintained his musical education despite failing music class. Elvis Presley could not read music and played solely by ear, but he learned from several talented guitarists. Among them were many future Rockabilly pioneers.
What Was Elvis Presley’s Worth at The Time of His Death?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Elvis Presley had a net worth of about $5 million at the time of his death in 1977. Approximately $24 million in today’s dollars. Graceland costs plus the fact that Presley’s record label, not his family, earned money from his music made it difficult to arrive at this sum. Col. Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager, had a less-than-ideal arrangement with the singer: he took a whopping 50% of the star’s concert and music earnings, which was a lot more than anyone else in the business took.
Sun Records and Early Success
Elvis Presley had already decided to become a musician by the time he graduated from high school. On his trip to Sun Records, he cut two tracks that made quite an impression on label head Sam Phillips. When Phillips was trying to find a way to promote black artists to a white audience, he called on Elvis, who had been working as a truck driver. He saw an opportunity in Presley to achieve his goal.
After a long day of recording, Elvis Presley finally finished his first huge hit, “That’s All Right.” Sam Phillips had heard “the sound” he had been yearning for after a long and fruitless search.
Those same fans were mesmerized by Elvis’ stage presence the first time they saw him play live. Elvis’s leg shaking was initially brought on by stage nervousness, but it soon became a source of hysteria among the female audience.
Elvis Presley was a forerunner of Rockabilly after he debuted in a number of television shows. Ironically, radio DJs often didn’t know how to promote Elvis to a wider audience due to his completely unique sound. Blues stations said he sounded “like a hillbilly,” while country stations thought he sounded “too black.”
Record Deal With RCA
Elvis Presley secured a $40,000 record contract with RCA in 1955. The first album by Elvis Presley, which included the single “Blue Suede Shoes,” was released in 1956. Despite the fact that Elvis had covered a Carl Perkins song for this smash hit, he had given the original a new spin, making it seem more like the Rock n’ Roll that was to come.
Elvis’s on-stage antics at this point in his career were the subject of much scrutiny and controversy. Many people found the musician’s suggestive hip gyrations to be “a new low” for popular music, and powerful people in the media industry deemed him “unfit for family viewing.”
On the other hand, young people all around the United States became obsessed with Elvis, and his concerts were so rowdy that they required the presence of National Guard members. Nearly 1956, Presley’s merchandise sales brought in $22 million (not counting record sales). This was also the year of his debut cinematic role. Elvis continued to record hit singles throughout 1957.
His long-term abuse of prescription medicines had a devastating effect on his health. Following several overdoses and near-misses, Elvis was discovered comatose on a bathroom floor in 1977, signalling the end of an era in popular culture.