Elvis Presley, the legendary King of Rock and Roll, continues to captivate hearts and minds even years after his demise. During Elvis Week in August 2011, Overstock.com, through their representative Mark Bore, reached out to me on elvis-history-blog.com with an intriguing proposition. They shared an eye-catching infographic filled with fun facts about Elvis, which they believed would interest my readers. Naturally, I couldn’t resist diving into this visual feast of knowledge.
The Alluring Elvis Infographic
Let’s begin by admiring the artistic appeal of Overstock.com’s Elvis infographic. As an avid Elvis fan, I appreciate any positive recognition that commemorates the anniversary of his passing. But beyond the captivating visuals lies a treasure trove of Elvis trivia.
Overstock.com compiled their trivia from multiple sources, including Elvis.com, Scotty Moore’s website, Factoidz.com, Imdb.com, Oldies.about.com, and Wikipedia.org. However, they also drew heavily from an article titled “Elvis: 30 Weird and Wonderful Facts” on the Belfast Telegraph’s UK website, authored by Ed Ceaser. Now, here’s where things get tricky. Ceaser didn’t provide any sources to support his claims, which highlights a persistent issue with Elvis and the internet—dubious information attains unwarranted credibility when adopted by reputable websites like Overstock.com.
To their credit, Overstock.com acknowledged the potential inaccuracies in their infographic with a disclaimer:
“Did you know that this week is Elvis Week? It has been 34 years since Elvis left the building for good. Fry up a peanut butter and banana sandwich and celebrate Elvis Week with these interesting facts (and urban legends—many Elvis experts say that Liberace is not responsible for Elvis’ jumpsuits) about The King of Rock and Roll.”
Let’s now dive into some of the Elvis trivia featured in Overstock.com’s infographic and try to separate fact from fiction.
Elvis Trivia Unveiled
Elvis starred in 31 major movies and 2 music documentaries: This claim holds true, though it’s worth noting that the two music documentaries were also considered “major” movies. Maybe specifying that Elvis “starred in 31 theatrical movies and 2 music documentaries” would have been a more accurate statement.
He recorded more than 600 songs but didn’t write any of them: It’s no secret that Elvis didn’t write most of his songs. However, there is one exception. Elvis is recognized as a co-writer of at least one of the 600+ songs he recorded—his collaboration with close friends Red West and Charlie Hodge on “You’ll Be Gone.” Released as a single in 1962, it unfortunately didn’t make Billboard’s “Hot 100.”
Elvis added an extra “A” to his middle name, making it biblical: Long-time Elvis associate Marty Lacker revealed that, in 1966, he asked Elvis why his middle name was spelled with only one “A” when the Bible spells it with two. Elvis humorously responded, “Back when I was growing up, a lot of people around Tupelo didn’t spell right.” He then turned to his father and declared, “From now on, I want my name written with two ‘A’s,’ especially on legal documents.” While his birth certificate reads “Aron,” his gravestone at Graceland displays “Aaron.”
Liberace influenced Elvis’s flashy costumes and jumpsuits: Overstock.com skeptically challenged this claim, and rightly so. There is no evidence suggesting that Liberace played a role in Elvis’s jumpsuit fashion. However, it’s possible that Elvis drew inspiration from the gold suit Liberace wore during their 1956 encounter in Las Vegas when Elvis was still in his early days of fame.
10 consecutive Elvis songs hit #1 on the music charts—Elvis tops the charts with 21 #1 singles: This claim requires clarification. It’s unclear which “music charts” Overstock.com refers to. In major American charts like Billboard and Cashbox, Elvis achieved the most consecutive #1 singles with five and had a total of 14 #1 hits on Billboard’s singles chart.
Until his late teens, Elvis was blond: According to Elvis’s cousin, Billy Smith, his natural hair ranged from blond to brown. However, for his 1957 film Loving You, Elvis dyed his hair black, marking the end of his blond phase.
“Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, Via Satellite” was seen by more Americans than man’s first walk on the Moon: This statement is absurd and falls flat. When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon on July 20, 1969, all three national TV networks in the US exclusively broadcasted the event. Every American watching television that day witnessed the moon walk. In contrast, Elvis’s 1973 “Aloha From Hawaii” special aired on a single network, and Nielsen ratings show that at least 140 million Americans were engaged in activities other than watching his special. It’s important not to propagate such outlandish claims, as they divert attention from Elvis’s truly remarkable achievements in the entertainment industry.
Despite a few minor inaccuracies, I commend Overstock.com for their initiative in creating and sharing this Elvis infographic during Elvis Week 2011. It’s heartwarming to see that even 34 years after his passing, Elvis Presley continues to receive the respect he deserves in American popular culture.
Now, if you want to discover more fascinating stories and facts about the one and only Elvis Presley, head over to All about Elvis. Explore a world dedicated to the legacy of the King of Rock and Roll!
— Alan Hanson | © August 2011
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