From his first hit record, “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956, Elvis Aaron Presley has been the undisputed King of Rock and Roll. With 11 albums and 18 singles hitting the Number 1 spot on the charts, and 55 platinum albums, Elvis is also the best selling solo artist in U.S. history. Despite his epic popularity, the one thing Elvis did not have was a Grammy—at least, not for his rock music.
In addition to singing rock and roll, Elvis loved to sing gospel music—in fact, he credited gospel music as his greatest musical influence. As a child, he adored church choirs, and while in Memphis he frequently attended all-night gospel singings. His first gospel record was 1957’s Peace in the Valley, which became the top-selling gospel EP in recording history.
Elvis’s first nomination for a Grammy Award was in 1959, for Record of the Year for “A Fool Such as I,” but he lost to Babby Darin for “Mack the Knife.” He would be nominated nine more times over the next years, but always lost. It wasn’t until 1967 that Elvis finally won his first statue. The award was for Best Sacred Performance, for his recording of “How Great Thou Art.” Although he was nominated a total of 18 times, the only other competitive Grammys he won were in 1972, for Best Inspirational Performance (“He Touched Me”) and in 1974, for Best Inspirational Performance—Non-Classical (“How Great Thou Art”).