Nostalgia

Elvis Presley Cleans Up And Trades In His Guitar For The Army In 1958

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

In 1958, Elvis Presley’s career was still just getting started. After his television premiere caused a stir in 1956, many parents were afraid he set a bad example for their young kids. Not only was he strumming his guitar to the new, chaotic sound of rock ‘n’ roll, but he was swinging his hips and sending teens into a frenzy.

Of course, by today’s standards, it was all perfectly innocent, but at the time it was totally shocking.

After the success of his film Jailhouse Rock, he was in the middle of filming his next blockbuster when the King was forced to put everything on hold for good old Uncle Sam. Though he had the option to join as a Special Services member and spend his time performing for the troops, Presley decided to serve as a soldier like every other young man joining with him. His long, black locks were trimmed short in military style and he was shipped out to West Germany for the next two years.

While stationed there, he had the good fortune to meet the young lady who would become his wife, Priscilla. However, he was also riddled with homesickness, something that only got worse when his beloved mother passed away from a heart attack that same year. The tragic loss would haunt Presley the rest of his life, but while he feared his career wouldn’t bounce back after his tour of service, he was happily proven wrong. In fact, his years in military uniform helped the rocker finally win over those parents who detested him at first.

Take a look at the clip below to see his first few moments living the Army life.

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