32 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Elvis

Eighty-two years ago today, Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll entered our lives. In celebration of his life and the musical mark he left on the world, here’s 32 fun facts you probably didn’t know about the King.

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  1. When Elvis was just 15 months old, Presley almost died in a Tupelo, Mississippi tornado.
  2. Following his first television performance in 1956, Jackie Gleason said, “The kid has no right behaving like a sex maniac on a national show.”
  3. Presley reportedly recorded anywhere from 600 to 1,200 songs during his career.
  4. Sometimes, when signing autographs, Presley would sign fans’ breasts – “Elvis” on the left breast and “Presley” on the right.
  5. Germans called Elvis the “rock-and-roll matador.”
  6. At a 2009 auction in Chicago, a lock of Elvis’ hair from Elvis fanatic Gary Pepper’s personal collection sold for $18,300. While the hair itself wasn’t DNA tested, the clippings were deemed authentic by a celebrity hair “expert.”
  7. One of his biggest disappointments while traveling overseas was that he never got the chance to meet Brigitte Bardot.
  8. Presley is rumored to have been partly Scottish, Irish, German, Welsh, Cherokee Indian, and French.
  9. The first time he recorded, it was for his mother. Presley reportedly paid $4 to press two songs – “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” and “My Happiness” – as a gift for her.
  10. His parents bought him a guitar at age 11, but some say what he really wanted was a bicycle.
  11. He had a grocery list of items that were to be stocked at Graceland at all times. Some of the items included: pickles, cigarettes, one case of Pepsi, lean bacon, six cans of biscuits, and sauerkraut.
  12. He loved biscuits and gravy, potato cheese soup and meatloaf with mushroom gravy.
  13. He also hated fish and forbid Priscilla to eat it at Graceland.
  14. Members of the Memphis Mafia referred to Presley as “crazy.”
  15. He had a pet turkey named “Bowtie.”
  16. He also had a basset hound, two Great Danes, a Chow Chow, a Pomeranian, several horses, a few donkeys, some peacocks, guinea hens, ducks, chickens, a chimpanzee, a monkey, and a mynah bird.
  17. He had a black belt in Karate.
  18. He was good friends with Johnny Cash. In fact, the two used to impersonate one another.
  19. It’s rumored Presley was prescribed around 10,000 pills the year he died.
  20. Presley’s last words were, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.”
  21. His favorite sandwich was peanut butter, bacon, banana, and honey.
  22. He recorded 15 songs with the word “blue” in the title.
  23. Before he made it big, Elvis auditioned for an amateur gospel quartet called the Songfellows – they turned him down.
  24. Elvis always wore a cross, the Hebrew letter “chai,” and a Star of David around his neck. “I don’t want to miss out on heaven due to a technicality,” he said.
  25. His movie idol was Tony Curtis.
  26. Elvis reportedly eyed his eyelashes.
  27. Between filming Love Me Tender and Loving You, Presley had his nose done, teeth capped, and his acne treated.
  28. Presley had a slight stutter.
  29. In his later years, he weighed around 250 pounds.
  30. Presley reportedly loved “The Tonight Show,” up until Johnny Carson joked him about being “fat and 40.”
  31. When Presley met President Richard Nixon, the two had the following conversation: “You dress kind of strange, don’t you?” Nixon said, to which Presley responded, “Well, Mr. President, you got your show, and I got mine.”
  32. In 1975, he threw a guitar out into the crowd saying, “Whoever got the guitar can keep the damn thing. I don’t need it, anyway.”

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[Featured Image by Keystone/Getty Images]