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Singing and playing guitar, he opened with "Till I Waltz Again with You", a recent hit for Teresa Brewer. when I came onstage I heard people kind of rumbling and whispering and so forth, 'cause nobody knew I even sang.

Presley recalled that the performance did much for his reputation: "I wasn't popular in school ... It was amazing how popular I became after that." Presley, who received no formal music training and could not read music, studied and played by ear.

In November 1956, Presley made his film debut in Love Me Tender. He resumed his recording career two years later, producing some of his most commercially successful work before devoting much of the 1960s to making Hollywood films and their accompanying soundtrack albums, most of which were critically derided.

In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed televised comeback special Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours.

A classmate later recalled that the teacher "agreed that Elvis was right when he said that she didn't appreciate his kind of singing." In 1950, he regularly began practicing guitar under the tutelage of Jesse Lee Denson, a neighbor two-and-a-half years his senior.

They and three other boys—including two future rockabilly pioneers, brothers Dorsey and Johnny Burnette—formed a loose musical collective that played frequently around the Courts.

The family often relied on help from neighbors and government food assistance.

The Presleys survived the F5 tornado in the 1936 Tupelo–Gainesville tornado outbreak.

Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel", was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit in the United States.In 1938, they lost their home after Vernon was found guilty of kiting a check written by the landowner, Orville S.Bean, the dairy farmer and cattle-and-hog broker for whom he then worked.During his junior year, Presley began to stand out more among his classmates, largely because of his appearance: he grew out his sideburns and styled his hair with rose oil and Vaseline.In his free time, he would head down to Beale Street, the heart of Memphis's thriving blues scene, and gaze longingly at the wild, flashy clothes in the windows of Lansky Brothers. Overcoming his reticence about performing outside the Lauderdale Courts, he competed in Humes's Annual "Minstrel" show in April 1953.

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