Daily Express dated August 17th 1977
Born 1935 in Tupelo in rural Mississippi. Died in Memphis Tennessee in 1977.
In 1954 he recorded for the small Sun label in Memphis in a style that was a mixture of Country and Blues, sometimes called Rockabilly and sometimes Rock’n’Roll. His early live performances outraged Country fans and parents alike. His fame spread and a move from Sun to the prodigious RCA record label set him on track to becoming just about the most famous music star in the western World.
His career can be neatly divided in to pre-Army and post-Army periods. The pre-Army Rock’n’Roll rebel and the post-Army middle-of-the-road showbiz star, when he lost many of his early young fans and gained many older fans.
When I say that despite appearing in 30 feature films (excluding concert films) he, arguably, made only 3 decent movies – Loving You, Jailhouse Rock and King Creole – and that his best recordings were for Sun and the first few RCA releases, you can guess which period I prefer.
He died at his home, Graceland, while reading a book on the toilet, whether of a heart attack brought on by badly congested arteries, or from an overdose of prescription drugs has never been really established. He was overweight, had an appalling diet and a doctor that prescribed (according to an article in the Observer) more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines and narcotics.
David Berkowitz aka The Son of Sam went on a year long killing spree between July 1976 and July 1977. He was caught and found guilty of 8 killings. He received a 365 year jail sentence and is still in prison at the time of writing.
Note the words at the end of this ad – You've got to be in it to win it – so that’s where the Lottery got their catch phrase. Another Lottery connection – in 1996 Bill Maynard won £55000.