Presley was drafted into the United States Army in December 1957; on March 24, 1958, he entered the Army at the Memphis draft board. Presley was filmed as he was given an Army haircut and fitted for his uniform.
Serving as a member of the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32nd Armor Regiment, Presley was stationed in Germany from Oct. 1, 1958, to March 2, 1960. He was released from active duty on March 5 and honorably discharged from the Army Reserve four years later.
Presley resumed his musical career in 1960, but he found a rock n’ roll scene that had been transformed by the British Invasion.
“Presley returned from the Army to find that rock ‘n’ roll tastes had changed dramatically in his absence,” wrote Larry Rohter and Tom Zito in The Washington Post. “Presley himself underwent a drastic change of style, eschewing his trademark sideburns and hip-shaking music in favor of romantic, dramatic ballads.”
His career began in 1954 after arecording session at the Sun Studio in Memphis. Under the tutelage of Sun Records producer Sam Phillips, he released “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” creating “the blueprint for rock and roll,” says the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Presley’s musical career declined after his release from the Army, as he began devoting most of his time to making movies, including “Fun in Acapulco” and “Girls! Girls! Girls!” He stopped performing concerts and his popularity slowly waned.
He made a singing comeback in 1968 and toured the country throughout the 1970s, but he struggled with the demands of his taxing concert schedule. “By the beginning of 1977, when he turned 42, Elvis Presley had become a grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self. Hugely overweight, his mind dulled by the pharmacopoeia he daily ingested, he was barely able to pull himself through his abbreviated concerts,” writes Tony Scherman in American Heritage.
Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, of a heart attack. He is regarded asone of the greatest musicians of all-time. U2 frontman Bono, writing for Rolling Stone, says, “In Elvis, you have the blueprint for rock & roll: The highness—the gospel highs. The mud—the Delta mud, the blues. Sexual liberation. Controversy. Changing the way people feel about the world. It's all there with Elvis.”