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Random quirks of the King of Rock and Roll which mostly went unnoticed

Darcy Rafter June 22, 2022
Rock and roll musician Elvis Presley performing
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Elvis Presley is deemed The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and after reaching a new height of fame, many devoted fans felt like they knew him well. Though he was largely in the public eye, these random quirks about Presley often went unnoticed…

The impact of Elvis remains significant today, many are still fascinated by Presley and in awe of his legacy. A new Elvis biopic directed by Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby) has just hit cinemas. The film tells the tale of the Jailhouse Rock singer in his younger years starring Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Helen Thomson, David Wenham, and more.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Elvis Couldn’t Tour Outside The U.S.

Whilst Presley may have toured over 240 cities, these were all in the United States and he never toured internationally. Aside from a couple of shows in Canada in 1957 when you could travel freely between the U.S. and Canada without a passport.

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This is because Elvis’ manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks in the biopic) had entered the country illegally and believed that if he ever left the U.S., border authorities would not let him back in. He worked on a ship to reach an American port and jumped off it to enter the country. He did everything he could to become a citizen including enlisting in the U.S. Army, calling himself “the colonel”, and changing his name from Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk to a more American-sounding name.

Parker controlled Elvis’ career for the next two decades, taking a large commission and keeping a tight control on not letting him tour internationally. Although Elvis never toured in the UK, he did touch down at Prestwick Airport, Scotland in 1960 on the return journey from his posting in Germany to the US.

Elvis dyed his hair black with shoe polish

Another thing not many know about Presley is that he is a natural blonde, according to Express. As he got older it became more of a light brown but his iconic jet black hair was not natural. Before he had the money to buy hair dye, Presley reportedly used black shoe polish to dye his locks.

Photo by RB/Redferns

He was a massive germaphobe

An interesting fact about Elvis is that he was a germaphobe as his former wife, Priscilla Presley, revealed on The Jonathan Ross Show in 2015. Presley hated eating outside his home because he didn’t know where the host’s cutlery had been. Priscilla Presley also explained, “he didn’t like drinking out of cups that other people had drunk out of, even restaurants or other homes. So when he drank, he would drink where the handle was, knowing that no one would ever drink at that side.”

Presley had a twin brother

On January 8, 1935, Elvis Aron Presley was born at his parent’s house which had just two rooms in East Tupelo, Mississippi. 35 minutes after Elvis was born his identical twin brother was announced stillborn.

Elvis spoke of his twin throughout his life whilst growing up an only child in a poor home. In 1948, the Presleys moved from Tupelo to Memphis where Elvis went to Humes High School. Ironically he failed his music class but still manage to graduate in 1953, before launching his music career with the July 1954 recording of “That’s All Right.”

Elvis was an eighth-degree black belt

Elvis developed a passion for Karate and thrived in martial arts. He earned his first-degree black belt in 1960 and after training in a Memphis dojo under Master Kang Rhee, he received his seventh-degree black belt in March 1973, then his eighth in September 1974. Elvis went on to open his own centre, the Tennessee Karate Institute in 1974.

Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Hound Dog was not originally by Elvis

Hound Dog may be deemed as one of Elvis’ most recognised songs, but it was actually Big Mama Thornton, who originally recorded it in 1953. Thornton profited from the tune a lot less than Elvis’ 1956 rendition which as CBS News reports was an instant hit. The song stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 11 weeks. Hilariously, Elvis bumped off the charts with another one of his songs, “Love Me Tender.”

Photo by Ronald C. Modra/ Getty Images
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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.