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January 2015

Visit https://www.census.gov/history every month for the latest Census History Home Page!

U.S. Census Bureau History: Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley
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Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in
Tupelo, MS. His first single with RCA Victor, "Heartbreak
Hotel" was recorded on January 10, 1956.
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

January 8, 2015, marks the anniversary of the birth of the "King of Rock and Roll"—Elvis Aaron Presley. Born in Tupelo, MS, Presley was enumerated in Lee County, MS, during the 1940 Census, and lived with his parents Vernon Elvis and Gladys Love Presley. At age 13, he moved to Memphis, TN with his parents, where his career in music began with Sam Phillips' Sun Records in July 1954, recording That's All Right and I Forgot To Remember To Forget, his first "Number 1" record on the Country Music charts. After successful appearances touring with singers Hank Snow and Roy Orbison, Elvis's Sun Records contract was sold to RCA Victor, November 21, 1955.

Elvis began recording music with RCA in Nashville on January 10, 1956, with the first session producing the single Heartbreak Hotel, released January 27. The next day, Presley made his first television appearance on CBS's Stage Show hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. Elvis stayed in New York City to record at RCA's nearby studios, recording Carl Perkin's rockabilly song, Blue Suede Shoes.

Presley's fame would snowball in 1956 following appearances on the Milton Berle and Steve Allen shows. His first of three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show drew approximately 60 million viewers—83 percent of the nation's television audience! On January 14, 1973, Presley proved he could still draw millions of viewers when Aloha from Hawaii became the first concert shown globally via satellite broadcast.

Today, Elvis is still considered one of the world's most significant contributors to music, finding commercial success singing pop, blues, and gospel. Elvis has sold more than 600 million records worldwide, earned the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2007. Nearly four decades since his death on August 16, 1977, thousands of fans continue to celebrate Presley's achievements in music and film by visiting his Graceland home and burial site, purchasing his music, and according to Forbes Magazine, earning his estate approximately $55 million in 2013.

  • Elvis Presley's career coincided with remarkable growth in the nation's radio broadcasting industry. When he was born in 1935, there were 623 standard broadcast (AM) radio stations in the United States. When he moved to Memphis, TN, in 1948, there were 2,034 AM and 1,066 FM stations. In 1957, when his singles All Shook Up, Teddy Bear, and Jailhouse Rock topped the Billboard Pop chart, the nation had 3,079 AM and 665 FM stations.
  • On January 28, 1956, Elvis made his first television appearance on CBS's Stage Show. At the time, approximately 34.9 million American homes owned a television set. Seventeen years later, when his January 14, 1973, Aloha from Hawaii concert was transmitted by satellite to a global television audience, more than 63 million American homes had black and white and 27 million had color television sets.
  • Elvis recorded Blue Suede Shoes at the RCA Studios in New York City, on January 30, 1956. That year (excluding athletic shoes), U.S. manufacturers produced 106.9 million pairs of men's shoes and 273.4 million pairs of women's shoes. Regrettably, the number constructed of blue suede is unknown.
  • When Fun In Acupulco, starring Elvis Presley, began filming on January 21, 1963, Americans spent $4.5 billion on radios, televisions, and records and $904 million at movie theaters. In 2008, Americans spent $8.77 billion on records, compact discs, and digital downloads and $11.45 billion at the movies.
  • The population of Las Vegas, NV, numbered 125,787 when Elvis began his month-long concert engagement at the city's International Hotel on January 26, 1970. Today, an estimated 641,903 people live in the city. "¡Viva Las Vegas!"


Elvis Presley moved into Graceland, in Memphis, TN, in 1957. At the time, the state was home to a population of 3,423,000.
The home was Presley's primary residence for 20 of his 22-year career, and although he owned several other properties,
Graceland is the site most associated with his life and achievements. When Elvis died in 1977, the state's population had
grown to 4,292,000. Today, approximately 6,910,840 people call Tennessee home.

According to the National Historic Landmarks Program, Graceland is one of the most visited historic house museums
in the nation, with annual visitation rivaling Hearst Castle, Biltmore Estate, Monticello, and Mount Vernon. Anniversaries
of Presley's birth and death are commemorated at Graceland, where Elvis, his parents, and paternal grandmother are
buried in the property's Meditation Garden.

Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Francis Amasa Walker

This Month in Census History

On January 5, 1897, Francis Amasa Walker, Superintendant of the 1870 and 1880 Censuses, died at his home in Boston, MA, of "apoplexy" and was buried near his childhood home in North Brookfield, MA.

In addition to overseeing the census, Walker served with distinction during the Civil War; was Indian Affairs Superintendent; President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Fellow and President of the American Statistical Association; inaugural president of the American Economic Association; lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, and Amherst College; and earned numerous honory degrees from universities around the world, including Yale, Columbia, Edinburgh, and Harvard.

U.S. Coast Guard Seal

On This Day in History

January 28, 2015, marks 100 years since Woodrow Wilson signed legislation merging the Revenue Cutter and United States Life Saving Services to create the U.S. Coast Guard. One of the Cutters commissioned by the Coast Guard—the USS Electra—would become Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential yacht. In January 1964, Elvis Presley purchased the Electra (renamed the USS Potomac by Roosevelt) and donated it to the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Did You Know?

In 1950, 166,000 people identified as "musicians" or "music teachers." In 2010, there were 182,000 musicians, singers, and related workers in the United States—31.9 percent were female, 13.9 percent were Black, 8.7 percent were Hispanic, and 2.1 percent were Asian.

Visit https://www.census.gov/history every month for the latest Census History Home Page!

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: June 14, 2022