A look back at Elvis’ birthday, January 8, through the years:
For his 11th birthday in 1946, his mother Gladys bought him his first guitar from Tupelo Hardware. Elvis wasn't very pleased but settled for the gift. Some stories say he wanted a rifle, while others say it was a bicycle. Whichever it was, Gladys thought it was too costly and too dangerous and talked him into taking the guitar.
In 1949, for his 14th birthday, his father Vernon gave him a book of cartoons by George Price. Vernon inscribed the book with "May your birthday
be sprinkled through 'n through with joy and love and good times too. Daddy." Elvis kept the book and even took it to Germany with him when his
army unit was shipped there, but it somehow got left behind when he came home.
In 1961, while filming "Wild In The Country", the cast and crew gave him a birthday party on the set and presented him with a plaque that read, "Happy Birthday, King Karate."
Elvis celebrated his 27th birthday in 1962 at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, cutting a huge cake from Sahara owner Milton Prell.
While Elvis loved Christmas and for many years had great New Year's Eve parties, his birthday celebrations usually were by comparison very quietly observed.
Many years, he celebrated quietly at Graceland and often took in a movie by renting out a local theater for a private screening for himself and his friends. However, in 1974, on his 39th birthday, the mayors of Memphis and Shelby County declared it "Elvis Presley Day" and participated in a parade of cars down Elvis Presley Boulevard to Graceland. The band from Humes, his old alma mater, played “Happy Birthday.” Elvis watched and waved from the front porch. Also, Jimmy
Carter, then Governor of Georgia, proclaimed it "Elvis Presley Day" in his state.
Today, each year on January 8, the Memphis mayor and Shelby County mayor proclaim Elvis Presley Day in a ceremony presented on the Graceland grounds and attended by fans from around the world.