Elvis Presley was may be one of the most famous musicians of all time. He had countless hits like Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock, but there was more to his life than his music. Here are just a few of the interesting facts about Elvis that you probably didn’t know.
1. In his younger years Elvis had crippling shyness.
Most people remember Elvis for his charm, energy, and uncanny attraction to women. However, in grade school Elvis was extremely shy and often bullied by the other kids. He refused to perform in public for many years and usually practiced guitar in the comfort of a neighbor’s home. He missed his first scheduled on-air appearance because he was too shy to follow through.
2. Elvis’ first on-air performance was at the age of 12.
When Elvis was in sixth grade one of his classmates was the younger brother of Mississippi Slim, a well-known hillbilly singer with his own radio show. Elvis would frequently accompany the brother to watch the radio broadcast and learn guitar chords from Slim. Presley, then 12 years old, was eventually scheduled to perform on-air but was so shy he was unable to follow through. However, the following week he gave it another try and succeeded.
3. Elvis was not born with an inherent musical talent.
At 10 years old Elvis entered a singing contest and only came in 5th place after performing a rendition of “Old Shep.” In high school he received a C grade in music class and was told by his teacher that he did not have an aptitude for music. Presley never even learned to read music and instead ended up learning to play by ear.
4. He was part Cherokee.
Though most of Presley’s ancestors were descendants of Western Europe, he had a small amount of Cherokee in his heritage. A great great grandmother of his mother, Gladys Love Presley, was Cherokee.
5. The renowned jet black Elvis hairdo was dyed.
Elvis was actually born with blonde hair that later turned dirty blonde to light brown. He started dying his hair black after his first film, allegedly because he thought it looked better on camera.
6. Elvis might not have composed any of his original songs.
With the exception of a few, almost all of the songs recorded by Elvis were composed by other people. Although that is not uncommon with performers, the few songs that attribute songwriting to Elvis are thought to be a lie. One notable example is Love Me Tender, which is widely disputed at having been written by the King.
7. He was a die-hard fan of Monty Python.
Many friends spoke of Elvis imitating characters’ voices from Monty Python, and reciting jokes or specific lines from Monty Python episodes or movies. Towards the end of his life while locked up in room due to drug-addled paranoia he would reminisce on specific sketch plots, according to one of Presley’s cousins.