On this date in 1958, Elvis Presley was drafted into the United States Army as a private at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas. He went through basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, near Waco. On October 1, 1958, after training, he joined the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany. He donated his Army pay to charity, purchased television sets for the base, and bought an extra set of fatigues for everyone in his outfit.
Presley had been convinced by his manager that he should serve his country as a regular soldier rather than in Special Services, where he would have been able to give musical performances. RCA and Hill & Range had prepared for Presley’s two-year Army stint and kept up a steady stream of successful releases which resulted in ten Top 40 hits, Presley standards such as “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck”, “Hard Headed Woman”, “One Night” “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I,” and “A Big Hunk o’ Love” which hit #1 in 1959.
Although I now have a complete discography of Elvis Presley in my music collection, I actually did not become familiar with him until August 1969; I was too into The Beatles in my formative years. August 1969 was when “Suspicious Minds” was released, and I quickly spent my weekly allowance to buy the 45 single at the Kingsville Drug Store
(smile if you ever bought a 45 single at a drug store;
laugh if you had a weekly allowance;
cry if your weekly allowance was less than 50¢ a week).
“Suspicious Minds” rocketed up the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #1. It spent one week at the top position, and was Presley’s seventeenth, and last, #1 record. In December 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Suspicious Minds” #91 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
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