40 Rockin’ Facts About Elvis Presley That Even The King’s Biggest Fans May Not Know

Elvis Presley was the King of Rock ’n’ Roll and is still beloved over 40 years after his death. And while he was best-known for his catchy music and dashing good looks, the star lived a fascinating life behind the scenes, too. Here, we can reveal some interesting facts about the musical icon that even his biggest fans may have never heard before.

40. He had a twin

It’s often said that there will never be another like Presley. But, in fact, there was. When the singer was born in January 1935, he actually had an identical twin brother. The little boy, who would have been named Jesse, was stillborn and buried in an unmarked grave in Presley’s hometown of Tupelo in Mississippi. Apparently, the star was always troubled by the death of his brother.

39. He joined the Army when he was a huge star

Once Presley hit the big time, he did something most other celebrities wouldn’t dream of: joining the Army. The King was drafted during the Cold War and he took his duty seriously. From 1958 to 1960, he left behind his fame and $400,000 fortune to serve in Germany, earning just $78 every month.

38. He dyed his hair – using a bizarre method

Presley may be known for his slick jet-black locks, but they weren’t natural. He was, in fact, born blond but decided to transform his look – and actually used shoe polish to achieve it. Eventually, the megastar switched to regular hair dye.

37. He even dyed his eyelashes

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Presley didn’t just spend time dyeing his hair to perfection. As he got older, the star was desperate to maintain his good looks however possible and started coloring his eyelashes as well. However, this is thought to have eventually caused some medical problems for the singer.

36. He was rejected

Presley became the highest-selling solo musical artist in history. But his enormous star potential wasn’t recognized right away. When he was around 19, the singer auditioned for a gospel group called the Songfellows. Somehow, though, he didn’t get the gig.

35. He didn’t write his own music

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In the span of Presley’s career, he recorded a whopping 600 songs in total. However, he can’t take exactly all the credit for their success. It may come as a surprise to some, but the star didn’t write a single one of his own songs – he just performed them.

34. He never performed overseas

Presley was loved by fans across the globe. However, he only ever played five concerts overseas. The King of Rock ’n’ Roll, in fact, never traveled to Europe and his only shows outside of America were during a three-day stint in Canada.

33. His manager may have been in the U.S. illegally

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Why was it that Presley didn’t ever put on a concert for his adoring admirers in Europe? Well, there has been speculation that it was because of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Originally from Holland, Parker, allegedly could have been living in America illegally, and therefore didn’t want to risk trying to get a passport to travel abroad. Worse, he might not be able to get back into America on their return.

32. He purchased Graceland aged 22

Presley’s home was Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, and the mansion is still regularly visited by fans of the singer. But what some people may not know is that he bought the property when he was only 22 years old for a little over $100,000. Legend has it that it was named Graceland after the daughter of a previous owner.

31. He had an affair while in the Army

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Presley’s womanizing ways were no secret and, eventually, his marriage broke down. And while he was always known for his love of women, there was one tryst that was particularly scandalous. During his time in Germany while he was dating Priscilla, the star hired Elisabeth Stefaniak to deal with his fan mail and they reportedly ended up having an affair.

30. He was skilled in karate

When Presley wasn’t performing, he had some interesting hobbies. The King, in fact, studied karate while serving his country, learning chitō-ryū from Hank Slomansky. He was so talented at the craft that he had earned a black belt by 1960 and the star often incorporated the moves into his performances.

29. He had a pet chimpanzee

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Presley was the owner of several pets in his lifetime. But the one that really stands out is a chimpanzee named Scatter who was adopted by the singer. And much like the legend himself, the primate was known for being mischievous, sporting a colorful shirt and getting friendly with the ladies that came to Graceland.

28. He had a phobia of germs

One of the more surprising details about Presley is that he hated germs. According to Priscilla, he would, in fact, bring his own silverware to other people’s homes and drink from cups at the handle. “He just didn’t like being around things that people handled a lot,” she told television presenter Jonathan Ross in 2015. “He was that way when he was a young boy.”

27. He was granted a strange request by President Nixon

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As Presley became involved in drugs, he started to fall from grace. But ironically, he was given a narcotics agent badge by President Richard Nixon. The King made the bizarre request when he met the President at the White House in 1970. And even more strangely, Nixon agreed!

26. He was a big fan of guns

Presley was the owner of a collection of guns and often brought them with him wherever he went. In fact, the star is said to have carried a pistol in both boots on stage in case of an assassination attempt. And his girlfriend, Ginger Alden, remembered that he wasn’t afraid of using them, either. In fact, he had previously fired bullets at the television and the headboard of their bed.

25. He liked to dress up as a police officer

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Some of Presley’s behavior probably wouldn’t be acceptable today – including a particularly strange pastime of his. Indeed, the star enjoyed pretending to be a police officer during the 1970s and pulling drivers over. Then, he would present them with his autograph rather than a fine.

24. He’s been accused of faking his own death

Presley’s heart-attack induced death at just 42 years old left fans in shock. But not everyone believes that the King really did pass away on August 16, 1977. Although toxicology reports showed that he had taken several different types of drug, conspiracy theories have argued that he was tired of the spotlight and faked his death to get away.

23. He was a big movie fan

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Even the biggest stars in the world have movies they love. Although Presley appeared in more than 30 films himself, he loved Patton and, apparently, knew all the lines by heart. He was also a fan of The Pink Panther, Rebel Without A Cause, Dr. Strangelove, The French Connection, The Ten Commandments and the Dirty Harry movies.

22. He used to be shy

It’s hard to believe that someone as confident as Presley could get stage fright. But as a child, he was painfully shy. In fact, at the age of 12, the future King of Rock ’n’ Roll pulled out of the chance to sing on a radio show because he was too frightened to go through with it.

21. The story behind Elvis the Pelvis

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Along with Presley’s catchy tunes, the star was also known for his lively performances. His raunchy dancing, in fact, quickly earned him the nickname Elvis the Pelvis. But the singer’s signature gyration was actually a last-minute addition to a televised performance of “Hound Dog.” TV Host Milton Berle asked him not to perform with his guitar, telling the star, “Let ’em see you, son.” As a result, he rocked out with his body instead of his instrument.

20. He inspired this major musician

Presley certainly influenced several future artists, but there’s one story in particular that stands out. A prison inmate serving a sentence of 120 days for nabbing car tires heard him singing “It’s Now Or Never.” As a result, the man made the decision to try and make it in music himself. That person turned out to be none other than Barry White.

19. He had some A-list friends

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As a huge celebrity, Presley, of course, mingled with other major names during his lifetime. Notably, he had a close friendship with Johnny Cash and at times, they would even imitate each other. The pair were also part of the Million Dollar Quartet, making a spur-of-the-moment recording with Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis in 1956.

18. He was a sleepwalker

From childhood, Presley had trouble with sleepwalking. He also struggled with nightmares and disturbed sleep and his problems didn’t entirely subside as he got older. “On the road, he was so afraid that he wouldn’t get enough sleep to do a good show the next night that he would end up asking you for an extra pill or two,” the star’s former doctor, George Nichopoulos told The Observer in 2002. “So [that] extra pill or two would be placebos.”

17. He was determined to get to heaven

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Before the star passed away, it seems that he believed in an afterlife. Indeed, Presley wanted to make sure he got there and started wearing a Hebrew Chai, a cross and a Star of David on his neck. Evidently, the singer explained this made him unable to “miss out on heaven due to a technicality.”

16. He didn’t want to learn guitar

Life, it seems, could have turned out very differently for Presley. Some reports state that he wanted a rifle the year he turned 11, while others say it was a bicycle. Nevertheless, the young Presley was given a guitar instead – and the rest is history.

15. His musical instruments are worth a fortune

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So. just how much would a guitar once owned by Presley be worth these days? Well, fans found out in 2016, when one of the musical instruments that the star’s dad gave him in 1969 was put up for auction. It sold for a whopping $334,000.

14. He had a funny nickname for his private parts

It’s widely known that Presley had a way with the ladies and was seen as something of a Lothario. But what some people may not know is the nickname that the musician gave to his genitals. Apparently, the star used to refer to his private parts as “Little Elvis.”

13. He was a perfectionist

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When Presley was in the studio, he wanted to make sure that everything was perfect. And that was never more evident than when he recorded “Hound Dog.” It took 31 tries before the singer was happy with the track, which was released in 1956.

12. The surprising inspiration for “Heartbreak Hotel”

It was the track “Heartbreak Hotel” that started Presley on his path to stardom. But, believe it or not, the catchy song has a surprising story behind it. In truth, the lyrics were inspired by a story in the newspaper about a man who committed suicide by jumping out of his hotel window. After its release, the song spent several weeks at the top of the charts.

11. He paid $4 to make his first record

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At 18 years old, Presley spent $4 to make his first-ever record at Memphis’ Sun Studio. Called “My Happiness,” it was supposedly a gift for his mother. She, though, did not have a record player and, in fact, was never able to listen to it. Up for auction in 2015, it sold for a cool $300,000.

10. He spent a lot of money on Franklin Roosevelt’s yacht

Believ it or not, Presley had another connection to the White House. In 1964, he spent $55,000 on the Potomac, which was Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential yacht from 1936 to 1945. But it wasn’t long before the singer gave it to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, who sold it to benefit their medical facility.

9. This is how much that famous suit cost

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Presley had several outlandish outfits that will be well-remembered, from the gold lamé of his early days to the becaped affairs he favored later. But perhaps most memorable of all is the white one-piece featuring a bejeweled American eagle. The suit, which the star wore for his Aloha from Hawaii broadcast in 1973, cost a not-insignificant $65,000 to make.

8. He wasn’t always gifted

Presley learned to play the guitar after he was given the instrument as a gift. But he wasn’t necessarily musically talented in his younger years. In fact, the future megastar only managed a C in his music class during eighth grade. Meanwhile, he came in fifth place after singing in a local talent competition in 1945.

7. He was an usher

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Before Presley made it as a musician, he worked as a movie theater usher at Loew’s State Theatre in Memphis. Of course, he also went on to become a successful actor. And when Jailhouse Rock was released in 1957, it premiered at that very same theater.

6. Priscilla was extremely young when they met

Although Presley was known for being a womanizer, there was one woman he loved above them all. He was married to Priscilla Presley from 1967 to 1973 and they shared a daughter, Lisa Marie. Priscilla, the daughter of a U.S. Navy pilot, was 21 when they got married. However, she was only 14 years old when she met the singer for the first time.

5. He could have been in this major movie

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Presley starred in dozens of movies, including King Creole, Viva Las Vegas and Blue Hawaii. But he could have been the leading man in one of the world’s most famous musicals, West Side Story. The singer was hand-picked by Robert Wise, the director, to play Tony in the film adaptation, but his manager turned down the part and it went to Richard Beymer instead.

4. His last words

On the night that Presley died, he couldn’t sleep, so he told his fiancée Ginger Alden, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.” She told him not to fall asleep in the bathroom. He then responded, “Okay, I won’t.” They ended up being the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s final words.

3. His lost endorsement

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Presley was encouraged by Colonel Parker not to do advertisements because he was too good for them. But before he hired the taskmaster of a manager, the singer did do one endorsement. He recorded a jingle for Southern Maid Doughnuts in 1954 that has since disappeared and can no longer be heard today.

2. He had a celebrity crush

Everyone knows about Presley’s love for Priscilla. However, he also had a crush on actor Elizabeth Montgomery, star of the show Bewitched. The 2012 biography, Twitch Upon A Star, that was written about her claims Presley fell for Montgomery – but the timing was never right. As a result, they never got together.

1. This famous song was a tribute to him

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In 1979, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury decided to pen a tribute to Presley. So within just ten minutes, he wrote “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” The song went on to become the band’s first-ever Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper and it stayed there for four weeks.

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