One of the best birthday presents in rock-and-roll history was given on this day in 1946. Elvis Aaron Presley was turning 11 years old and what he actually wanted -- according to some incarnations of the story -- was a bicycle or a rifle. Instead, his over-protective mother took him to a local hardware store and bought him a guitar for $6.95.
The moment Elvis Presley's mother put that guitar in her son's hands would change the course of rock-and-roll history. Clearly, his mother knew exactly what was best for her child -- and for the world -- when she made her choice of gift that day.
Elvis Grew Up Surrounded by Music
The guitar was not the only musical element of Elvis' young life. He was surrounded by music as a youngster, including bluegrass, blues, country, gospel, opera and mainstream pop. Elvis was known for running up to sing and dance with the church choir when he was a toddler. As a child in a poor white family, Presley also grew up on the outskirts of town, where he was always in close contact with the black community and their music.
Other greats of the time, including Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Sam Cooke were also growing up in similar environments with the same kind of musical influence at the time. It was a culture where you didn't merely listen to music, you participated in it. People sang, danced and truly felt and became a part of the music in these areas.
What Kind of Effects Could Your Gifts Have?
We can thank this era for giving birth to a wide variety of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues, rockabilly and Elvis' kingdom, rock-and-roll. The next time you give a birthday present to a young member of your family, think about giving him or her something that could affect the child -- and the lives of the world -- later on down the line.
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