How long was Elvis in the army
When Elvis came to Germany
Elvis Presley fans of course know exactly: On October 1st, 1958, the King of Rock 'n' Roll came to Germany to do his military service. Elvis stayed for a year and a half - a turning point in many ways. And still a strange time.
The King assured him three times how happy he was: finally in Germany. At 8.46 am the troop transport, the "USS General Randall", docked at the Columbuskaje in Bremerhaven. A little later, uniformed Recruit Elvis Presley trudged down the gangway. Schoolgirls, by class, greeted the King. A reporter from Radio Bremen wondered: "What's so good about Elvis?" Answer: "Everything! How he moves, so back and forth", "He just sings it the way young people want it", "That brings you into ecstasy!"
Happy to be here
Elvis looked, waved. And did not sing. "I don't think they want that right now," he muttered to the reporter. Never mind. He was happy to be here. And then it went on by train in the direction of Hesse, destination Friedberg. Someone had painted "Wellcome to Germany, Elvis Presley" on the train. Welcome - embarrassed with two l. Well
Elvis becomes patriotic, humble and well-behaved
Elvis Presley had received his draft notice a year earlier. A catastrophe for the rising star: two years of military service? And the career? His manager Colonel Parker turned down the offer to place his protégé like other entertainers somewhere in a subordinate special unit in the USA. On the contrary: He used his military service to turn the wild man, the spoiled youth Elvis, into a good boy for conservative America - patriotic, humble, well-behaved. Even the great one had to leave.
At this time, rock 'n' roll was close to death, it seemed: The time of turmoil, of new beginnings - over. Chuck Berry was in jail, Little Richard was ordained a priest. Jerry Lee Lewis had been dropped for marrying his underage cousin. Buddy Holly crashed on a plane a year later. And Elvis served in a tank battalion.
Production for the public
But the clever Colonel Parker was already rocking the thing: he fed a hungry public with ever new stories, photos, encounters of the young GI Elvis. Much was embellished and staged. In fact, Elvis lived first in a hotel, then in a villa in Bad Nauheim, together with friends, his father and his grandmother. He hit the wall at the weekend, as the Kessler twins, for example, remembered who danced at the Lido in Paris.
And two more things came into Elvis' life that changed it forever: amphetamines, which he got in the military. And Priscilla, his future wife, who was only 14 years old at the time, and whose stepfather was also stationed in Germany.
Relegation or beginning?
In the spring of 1960, the King returned to the USA - and played in cinemas for years. Meanwhile others were wild. So did it begin to decline 60 years ago? For the girls on the quay in Bremerhaven, everything started just now: Elvis, the King of Rock 'n' Roll. In Germany. Hard to believe. "But you can't really see him from here!" Said the reporter. "Oh, if I only see his right arm, then I'll be happy!"
Elvis Presley - "Hound Dog"
In 1956 Elvis Presley noticed the song "Hound Dog". He takes it into his repertoire, but gives it more flavor than the original. Elvis lands a number one hit. more
Elvis Presley - "Love Me Tender"
"Love Me Tender" celebrates its film premiere at the end of 1956. Elvis Presley plays a leading role and sings the theme song of the same name. The single was sold three million times before that. more
Elvis Presley - "Heartbreak Hotel"
In 1956 "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley was released. The song catapulted Elvis to number one on the American charts for the first time and made the truck driver from Memphis a superstar. more
Elvis Presley - "Wooden Heart"
Probably nobody had suspected that the song "Wooden Heart" with its partly German text passages would be an international success. But Elvis Presley came up with counter-evidence. more
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NDR Info | Culture | 10/01/2018 | 06:55 am
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