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Elvis's Childhood

Understanding The Political Climate, Early Musical Influences: Hillbilly, Gospel, And The Blues, The Birthday Present

Elvis was born and raised in East Tupelo, Mississippi. It was a poor neighborhood in a poor farming community. Elvis's mother, born Gladys Love Smith, had met Vernon Elvis Presley at the First Assembly of God Church in East Tupelo. Vernon Elvis Presley was not even seventeen years old when he met Gladys, but Vernon and Gladys eloped and were married less than eight weeks after they met. Vernon lied on the marriage certificate, saying he was twenty-two, and Gladys took two years off her age, saying she was nineteen, although she was twenty-one at the time (four years older than Vernon).

After one year of marriage, Vernon and Gladys welcomed a son into the family. Elvis was born on January 8, 1935. He was born in the two-room shack that Vernon had built with his brother Vester. It was a difficult labor; Gladys was carrying twins. The first twin, named Jessie Garon, was stillborn, meaning he was born dead. The second twin, born thirty-five minutes later, was named Elvis Aron. Elvis visited Jessie's grave often as a child, and he frequently mentioned his brother throughout his life.

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Musician BiographiesElvis Presley