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The Vanity of Wealth and Success Apart From God: Elvis Presley's Journey to Fame and Fortune

Updated on February 25, 2008



Who are the truly happy people ?

Are they the rich ones ? Who dwell in palatial mansions? Who drive flashy cars and possess millions in their savings account?

Without God, everything these people possess will turn out to be in vain. Here is a story of one man's journey to success, fame and wealth and upon reaching the zenith of his success, life became miserable for him. Here is a story of Elvis Presley who is called the "King of Rock n' Roll ."

The death of Elvis Presley in August of 1977 at the age of forty-two came as a hard blow to millions of his fans who called him ‘the king.' Many believed that Elvis had been killed by an overdose of fame.

During the latter part of his life, Elvis hated to leave Graceland - the marvelous and luxuriant 20-roomed mansion in Memphis. He had other homes in Bel-Air, Hollywood, Palm Springs, California and a 163-acre ranch in Mississippi. He also had a jet aircraft convertible to suit his personal needs, a fleet of cars and dozens of trucks.

Elvis Presley was born in a two-roomed shack in Tupelo, Mississippi on the eighth day of January, 1935. He was the only surviving twin son of share cropper Vernon Presley and his wife Gladys. When the boy turned thirteen, his family moved to Memphis where his impoverished father hoped to find a job. While still at high school, Elvis shew a fondness for singing and displayed a distinguishing talent for music. To encourage him, his mother Gladys saved enough money to buy her son a 12-dollar guitar. He gave his first performance at home or at the First Assembly of God Church which he attended with his parents.

When Elvis turned eighteen, he got a job as truck driver. For the first time he had money to buy his mother a birthday present. He decided to make her mother a record. He went to a small studio in Memphis run by a man named Sam Phillips. For four dollar Elvis made a disc recording of a song entitled "My Happiness."

Phillips called Elvis back to the studio and out of the next few sessions they recorded together, came "That's All Right Mama which was a big hit locally. Guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black were hired to work with him. For nearly two years, the three of them were on tours together. Elvis confidence increased with every concert.

The impact of Elvis Presley's music was still confined to the southern states of America. Then he was introduced to Colonel Tom Parker at the end of 1955. Parker an experienced and shrewed entrepreneur booked Elvis for his first big tour: Hank Snow All Star Jamboree.From the moment Elvis came on stage, the show lit up. Girls in the audience shrieked, cried and moaned as ‘rock n' roll ‘ was delivered in a way they had never known before. Before the year was over, Parker had become Presley's manager. This marked the beginning of Presley's climb to wealth, fame and fortune.

The Elvis Presley presented to the world was a very handsome young man, immaculately dressed with a lick of black hair falling over a pair of sleepy, sexy eyes.On stage he was a threat to the virtue of every man's daughter. While offstage he was a shy, polite boy from Memphis who was extremely devoted to his mother.

By skillfull handling, Elvis was released from his contract with the man who had discovered him Sam Phillips. Elvis signed up with the giant RCA-VICTOR record label.The sum involved was said to be the highest ever paid for a contract release in the field of music. In the winter of 1956, Elvis made "Heartbreak Hotel," the record which was generally considered to have sent him into superstardom.

In the same year the Heartbreak Hotel was released, Elvis made his first film "Love Me Tender" to be followed by 30 more. Money came pouring in as Parker manipulated Elvis and his career. He was rushed from concert to concert in luxury high speed cars, stopped from giving press interviews, locked behind hotel doors and surrounded by a watchful band of record executives and moneymen.

In August, 1958 Elvis world fell apart when his mother Gladys died. She had always been the most important person in his life. With his first money, he had bought her a cadllac. The following year, still suffering from the emotional blow of his mother's death Elvis was sent to Germany by the United States Draft. There he met and began dating fourteen-year old Priscilla, daughter of his career air force officer.

According to most sources, Elvis took full advantage of the women who offered himself to him. He once boasted that he had been to bed with a thousand women. Priscilla was still a schoolgirl when he went to live with Elvis at Graceland.On the Christmas day of 1966, Elvis proposed to Priscilla and they were married the following April. Elvis worrying that marriage would spoil his image , kept his wife so far in the background that his fans soon forgot about her. On February 1, 1968, his daughter to Priscilla was born named Lisa Marie. It made him more determined to keep his family in a gilded cage. He would buy them everything in the world. and loved them in his own way but he never gave them anything of himself.

At Graceland, Elvis has no privacy. He was always surrounded by aides, and managers and hangers on. He would stay awake all night, listening to records, playing cards, talking over the good times they had on the road. He had to take pep pills to keep him awake and more pills to get a few hours of sleep.

By the late 1960s, Elvis had become a compulsive spender. He bought and sold hundreds of Cadillacs and Lincoln Continentals over the years usually at the rate of two a month.

The Convair 880 jet aircraft in which he traveled to concerts was fitted with a double bed and other luxuries that cost almost as much as the plain itself. Because he was shortsighted, he bought himself 300 pairs of expensive prescription sunglasses and when he took up karate he paid $2000 per piece for the jumpsuit he used for practice.

A conservative estimate of his record earnings on 3000 million world sales was thirty million dollars. But deep down inside of him. Elvis had fears whether his wealth could last, whether he could always be ‘king'.

By Christmas 1971, Presley's marriage to Priscilla was on the brink of being broken. He was devoting himself more and more to performing live, only returning home to give his wife unwanted gifts, But Priscilla no longer desired the lavish presents, she wanted Elvis love. Since Elvis didn't have time to be a loving husband to Priscilla, she finally turned to someone else for affection. Priscilla intended to leave him for another man. Karate expert Mike Stone who was a pauper in comparison to Elvis Presley had become the new man in her life. Elvis cried pathetically to everyone and never got over the shock of realizing he had lost Priscilla . She had wanted him, his time and he never gave it to her because he was busy creating a legend out of himself.

Elvis was sunk into a deep depression. By the day of the divorce, in October, 1973 , he had managed himself greeted his wife affectionately and bid her goodbye with a gentle kiss. Just six days after the divorce Elvis was admitted to the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis. Elvis became a sick man - with a twisted colon, brathing difficulties with a blood clot in his legs. His family and friends pleaded him to take a break from his heavy schedule. But for Elvis that was impossiblr for singing was his life.

In 1974, he was on the road for six months . and did a rotal of 70 shows excluding his regular Las Vegas dates. In 1975 again he was touring for four months doing a total of 50 shows. And in 1976 his peak year, he was performing somewhere every month for ten months.

As years pass by. Elvis was becoming increasingly isolated from reality. At Graceland he was surrounded by the group of aides, managers and ‘yes' men that became known as the "Memphis Mafia." His routine on tour was usually the same. Private plane to private limousine , into the back entrance of a hotel to a specially cleared elevator, to a penthouse suit. After a while he would enter to the concert through a back exit , in to the stage, back to the hotel, then the airport .

He was finding it impossible to control his weight. From morning till night he used drugs as ‘medical aides' There were drugs to make him go to sleep, drugs to control his weight,and drugs to control his physical ailments. At anytime medication was withdrawn, Elvis could become violent.

By 1977, he was displaying signs of imbalance. Sometimes he would fire a gun into the walls or furniture.Sometimes he imagined he saw the ghost of his mother haunting Graceland.

On June 26, 1977 Elvis performed his last concert at Indianapolis. He gave a great performance although sweating heavily. His fans went wild with little hint that they would never see him perform live on stage again.

On the night of August, 1977, Elvis could not sleep and he got up to read. He played a strenous game of racquetball which had exhausted him. In the early hours of the morning he was found in his blue silk pajamas slumped unconscious on his face on the bathroom floor. An ambulance attended him and he was rushed to the Baptist Memorial Hospital.

Attempts were made to revive him but Elvis died without regaining consciousness. It was the end for the 42-year old ‘king of rock n' roll.' He died a lonely man.

If only Elvis Presley had given up his career in order to be with Priscilla and lived as a simple man, he could have been happier, healthier and probably lived longer.

Without God and apart from his will,everything people possess will turn out to be in vain. A person . living only a simple life, having only the basic things of life,yet living in the center of God's will , trusting Him and hoping upon God each day will be much happier than the rich who had millions but had lived apart from the will of God.

For God alone brings true happiness to a person, The presence of God in a person's life brings happiness that canot be matched by any great treasure in the world. The fellowship of God is the true source of joy and inspiration in living. The best thing in this life is to be simple, modest and dwell in the presence of God.


By Margaret Nicholas


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    • profile image

      annmare louise white 

      6 years ago

      elvis Aaron presley what get married to annmarie louise white becourse leave in graceland thought now husband and wife kiss your bride for very more and now mr.mrs presley in the would all time and i like at

    • cristina327 profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 

      10 years ago from Manila

      Thank you Sirdent for appreciating this hub.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Good hub showing that happiness doesn't come from fame and fortune. One cannot be truly happy until they give their life to God.


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