In 1956 Elvis Presley made a concerted effort to connect with his fans. At 21-years-old he wrote a lengthy article in the magazine Elvis Answers Back Magazine. During the piece, he answered some questions about himself, including one about his sideburns.
Although Elvis is one of the greatest singers of all time, he was also extremely well known for his signature look.
This included his coiffed black hair, flared trousers, white jumpsuits, guitars, and – of course – his Southern-styled sideburns.
Elvis was no doubt inspired by his Mississippi roots and country music before he became the ultimate Rock And Roll star.
The King told his dedicated fans in the magazine article: “I’ve heard so many stories about why I grew my sideburns that I just can’t help from laughing sometimes.”
Elvis said one magazine stated he “started wearing sideburns at 15 because they made him feel mature and important. He still wears them for the same reason”. The King wasn’t too happy with this seemingly false representation of him. He went on: “Man, that magazine made me laugh because there wasn’t a lick of truth to the things they said. Heck, I couldn’t have grown sideburns when I was 15 if I’d wanted to! I wasn’t hardly even shaving by then! I was 17 when I first started growing ‘em. And I sure didn’t feel ‘mature and important’ when the sideburns started coming in.” Elvis then went on to reveal why he grew the sideburns in the first place.
Elvis explained he grew his iconic facial hair for “one reason only” – he had “always admired them”.
He went on: “I never thought they make you look older, and certainly never thought they made me look important. Nope. I just like them, that’s all. That’s why I wear ‘em.
“A lot of people ask me why I don’t cut them off now. You know what I tell them? I tell them that I got started off wearing sideburns and I’m like those folks who don’t like to change horses in the middle of the stream.”
Elvis added that all his friends “liked him with sideburns” and therefore didn’t see any reason for cutting them off.
He added: “And, oh yes, there’s one other thing, too. I still admire them very much, just like I did when I was a little kid.”
Taking one more shot at those who commented on his appearance, Elvis said: “They ask me why I wear the clothes I do. What can I say? I just like nice clothes, that’s all. I like colour and such. Is there something wrong with that?”
Later in the article, Elvis mused over the notion that he had “changed” since he had become somewhat famous.