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The History of Elvis: 1962

A timeline of important Elvis Presley events

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The History of Elvis: 1962

Publicity still from the movie Girls! Girls! Girls!

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Here's a short look at what Elvis Presley's life and career were like in 1962. You can also find out what else Elvis was up to in 1962 and in all the years of his life.

Contrary to popular opinion, Elvis Presley was still making good music in 1962 -- in fact, he'd recorded a very solid album of material. Unfortunately, in order to get to that material, you had to wade through an equal amount of silliness: "Song Of The Shrimp" to get to "Suspicion," "Thanks To The Rolling Sea" to get to "Return To Sender," "Take Me To The Fair" to make it to "One Broken Heart For Sale." By 1962, Elvis and his handlers had neatly reversed the equation, recasting the King of Rock and Roll as a movie star who just also happened to sing. 1962 was not a leap year, so it contained 365 days. Elvis recorded for only seven of them. (And played live -- on stage or in the TV studio -- for none of them.)

This wasn't such a bad move, in one respect. Rock and Roll was only supposed to be a fad; "mature" family-friendly entertainers were the ones with long-term careers, and Elvis had to be as surprised as the record industry that kids were still buying this stuff. However, Presley was in denial if he considered himself an old-fashioned star, able to act, sing, dance and joke around whenever the occasion presented itself. No, Elvis wanted to be a singer more than a mere entertainer, and his talent in interpreting the vast musical catalog of his native country (and sometimes other countries) far, far outstripped his ability or desire to be the new James Dean or Monty Clift. It was this imbalance that had begun to nag him in 1962, but he'd come further than anyone with his background had any right to expect, even in America, and so he wouldn't dare upset the apple cart. Not yet.

Personal turmoil was also a part of Elvis' life this year; the Girl He Left Behind turned out to mean even more to him than he realized, and yet he was always on the move somewhere she was not, presented with an endless sea of new faces (and bodies) that must have seemed equally exciting, and therefore terribly confusing. Then there was the girl back home to be thought of, the first woman to stick by him under all the pressure. He was, incredibly, already nearing the end of what the times would have regarded as his youth, and yet Elvis Presley, the man who had made all his dreams come true and then some, was still not sure who he wanted to be when he grew up.

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