Elvis Presley had become a worldwide sensation insanely fast.
In 1954, Presley began his singing career with the iconic recordings at Sun Records label in Memphis, Tennessee. His contract was sold to RCA Victor. Here he worked alongside Sam Phillips to record songs like “That’s All Right.”
By 1956, Elvis Presley was a name nearly everyone, everywhere suddenly knew. He would soon release hit after hit, change the face of live performances, and even start a film-acting career.
What did “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” do before he was changing the face of music and creating crazed fans?
Elvis Presley Before Fame
According to the Graceland site, Elvis Presley drove a delivery truck for Crown Electric before he became famous. He drove the truck around Memphis, Tennessee. He had a number of small jobs during his life. Presley often worked at a theater as well as at a few hardware or metal stores.
Presley and his family moved to Memphis in 1948. The family was in rooming houses before eventually getting a two-bedroom apartment in a public housing complex. The family had always struggled financially.
He had said in the past that he grew up sharing a bed with his mother, Gladys. The two were extremely close during Elvis’ life. In fact, when he became famous he started to shower his mother with gifts. That included a house, a pink Cadillac, as well as two different mixers for the kitchen.
As a teenager, Presley was sometimes bullied and called a “mama’s boy.”
He was shy and had started to stand out due to his iconic style. He had sideburns nearly to his chin and slicked his hair back with rose oil and Vaseline. Meanwhile, he was always dressed in bright shirts that stood out from the conservative fashion of the ’50s.
Presley at the Prom
According to Mental Floss, Presley attended his high school prom in 1953 as an 18-year-old. He had a date to the dance too. Her name was Regis Wilson, a 14-year-old girl he was interested in at the time. The prom was at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.
Elvis Presley had always had an interest in girls that were significantly younger than him. Priscilla Presley was only 14 when she started seeing Elvis.
Wilson described Presley as a “gentle soul, but all boy — he kind of had this swagger to him.” She got all dressed up in a pink dress and pink shoes. Her dress was only $14.58 at the time. Now dresses for prom are hundreds of dollars.
Wilson would later describe her entire experience of having Elvis as a prom date in the book “Baby, Let’s Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him” by Alanna Nash.
When they got to the dance, Presley told her that he couldn’t dance, so the couple never ventured onto the dance floor. It is an ironic bit of information, seeing as Presley’s gyrating hips and shaking legs would become iconic dance moves in the future.
They went to Leonard’s Barbeque afterward to meet up with some of his friends. However, no one showed up so Presley just brought Wilson home. Wilson quickly moved to Florida shortly after due to financial issues without ever telling Elvis. He once showed up to her house to find it empty.
Elvis Presley kept that prom picture of him in his dark blue suit and suede shoes. It would eventually end up in fan magazines where girls all around the nation wished he could be their prom date.