In the annals of Elvis Presley history, there are more than a few days of the musician’s exceptional life that could be considered significant. Yet, the date of June 26th marks a number of important milestones in his life and in the lives of others close to the King of Rock & Roll, not the least of which was his last-ever live performance on that date in 1977. That final performance took place just seven weeks before his death at age 42 sent shockwaves throughout the world and silenced one of the most popular entertainers of all time.
But 68 years before “Elvis has left the building” was uttered for the final time in Presley’s lifetime, signaling his exit from Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, June 26th marked the entry into the world of the man who would grow up to guide the careers of Elvis, as well as country legends Hank Snow and Eddy Arnold. On that day in 1909, Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk was born in the
On Saturday, June 26th, 1954, a year before Presley and Parker would first meet, Elvis was summoned to Sam Phillips’ Sun Records office in Memphis, where he earning a dollar an hour working as a truck driver for Crown Electric Company. The previous summer, the young man had paid $4 to record “My Happiness” on a personal disc for his mother and had made an indelible impression on Phillips’ assistant, Marion Keisker. Phillips and Presley, accompanying himself on guitar, worked for several hours on a song called “Without You,” that Phillips had heard on a record by an African-American group called the Prisonaires. In the same session, Elvis performed several other songs as Phillips watched from the control room. He would be signed as a Sun Records artist just two weeks later.
Presley left Sun for RCA Records by the end of 1955, and would soon be at the center of a music revolution, as his hits peppered the pop, country and R&B charts. Just after wrapping filming on his third movie, Jailhouse Rock – before his second, Loving You, had even been released – Elvis purchased his Graceland mansion in Memphis, sleeping overnight there for the first time on June 26th, 1957.
Twenty years to the day he took up residence at
In one of his most beloved songs, “My Way,” Presley sang “…and so I face the final curtain.” His death on