Elvis Presley, born in 1935, is a famous American musician who’s sold over 1 billion records worldwide. Yet, while Presley’s fame is often celebrated, his failures are usually overlooked. The family lived in a shotgun house for several years until hard financial times forced them out due to an inability to maintain the payments.
In 1948, at the age of 13-years old, Presley’s family moved to Memphis, Tennessee from their home in Mississippi. They lived in boarding houses, which were temporary rooms that could be rented in a larger home where the common areas were usually maintained, before being able to afford a two-bedroom apartment in a public-housing complex.
In 1953, when he was 18-years old, he walked into Sun Records, where he recorded a demo disc. Nothing came of it. One year later, in 1954, he walked back into Sun Records to record another demo, which he also failed to make any traction with. The same year, he failed an audition to become part of a vocalist quartet called the Songfellows. When asked by his father what had happened, Presley stated, “They told me I couldn’t sing.”
He was so frustrated, that he decided to take up a job as a truck driver. Through a friend named Ronnie Smith, Presley met Eddie Bond, who led Smith’s professional band. Turned out they were looking for a vocalist. They arranged some more recordings, which nothing came of until months later when Presley randomly launched into “That’s All Right,” Arthur Crudup’s 1946 blues number. That got the attention of a professional DJ, and the rest, as they say, is history.