How Elvis Presley Celebrated His BirthdayPosted by Elvis Presley's Graceland on Jan 7, 2016 | 54 comments
Happy birthday, Elvis!
Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys and Vernon Presley.
That’s just the beginning of Elvis’ legendary life, one full of music, movies and memorable birthdays.
For all of the celebrating Elvis did at Christmas and New Year’s Eve, though, Elvis usually celebrated his birthdays pretty quietly. But there were a few extra special birthdays – complete with special gifts and parties – that meant a lot to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
One of the most special birthdays Elvis ever celebrated was his 11th. He actually didn’t get what he wanted for his birthday, but maybe he got what he needed.
Some say Elvis asked for a rifle or a bicycle that year, but Elvis’ mother, Gladys, instead bought him a guitar. He spent the next year teaching himself how to play the guitar – a skill that would become handy in his career.
In 1949, for his 14th birthday, Elvis received a book of cartoons by George Price from his father. Vernon wrote inside the book, “May your birthday be sprinkled through ‘n’ through with joy and love and good times, too. Daddy.” Elvis loved this book, and even took with with him to Germany when he was there serving in the U.S. Army- but, unfortunately, Elvis lost the book there.
Speaking of Germany, Elvis’ fans celebrated the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s birthday even while he was away serving the country. “American Bandstand,” hosted by Dick Clark, aired a special birthday tribute to Elvis in 1959.
Elvis was filming “Wild in the Country” in 1961, and on his birthday, the cast and crew threw him a birthday party on the set. The festivities included a cake and they gave him a plaque that read, “Happy Birthday, King Karate.”
The next year, Elvis celebrated his 27th birthday at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, cutting a huge cake from Sahara owner Milton Prell.
Many years, Elvis chose to celebrate his birthday quietly at his beloved Graceland. He often rented out a local movie theater so he and his friends could watch the latest movies.
In 1974, the king turned 39, and the mayors of Memphis and Shelby County declared it “Elvis Presley Day.” The day included a parade down Elvis Presley Boulevard to Graceland, and his high school alma mater, Humes, had their band play “Happy Birthday.” Elvis watched the festivities from the front porch and waved to fans. That day was also declared Elvis Presley Day in Georgia by Jimmy Carter, who was, at the time, the Governor of Georgia.
The Memphis and Shelby County Mayors, as well as other special guests and officials, continue the Elvis Birthday Proclamation tradition each year at Graceland.
The Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony is one event in the annual Elvis Birthday Celebration, which also includes The Auction at Graceland, Club Elvis, the Fan Club Presidents’ Event and Official Graceland Insiders Reception.