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Elvis Presley (1935-1977) was born to a poor family in East Tupelo, Mississippi. When he was a teenager, the Presleys moved to Memphis, where Elvis graduated from high school and took a job as a truck driver. Through his teen years, though he could not read sheet music, he played guitar and sang country and hillbilly tunes. He loved music but was entirely self-taught.

Elvis began attracting attention with his music in 1954, when he was 19. He infused black rhythm-and-blues songs with his distinctive style, which came to include dance moves that were considered quite sexually suggestive for the time. In 1956, "Heartbreak Hotel" became his first number one hit and Elvis suddenly became a national sensation. Crowds of screaming teenagers packed his shows. At the end of 1957, Elvis received his draft notice, serving as an ordinary G.I. in the US military until 1960.

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