Though he ended up becoming one of the most famous musicians of all time, Elvis Presley came from humble beginnings. He was raised in a modest two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, by working-class parents who struggled to make ends meet. He also grew up as an only child, despite the fact that he was born with a sibling. Here’s the tragic story of Elvis Presley’s twin brother.
Elvis Presley Had A Twin Brother
Elvis Presley’s mother, Gladys, was expecting twins when she gave birth in the Presley family home on January 8th, 1935. According to History.com, Gladys first gave birth to a boy named Jesse Garon, who was stillborn. Thirty-five minutes later she delivered Elvis, who was healthy.
The devastated family buried Jesse the following day in Princeville Cemetery in East Tupelo. Jesse was reportedly buried in a shoe box because the Presleys could not afford to purchase a coffin.
After the heartbreaking passing of his twin, Elvis was raised as an only child. The Presley family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, when Elvis was a young teenager, and it was there that he began to discover his love for music. According to Biography.com, Elvis’ mother bought him a guitar for his 11th birthday, but he never received any formal musical training because his parents could not afford it. Instead, he spent time with local musicians and learned to sing and play guitar by ear.
Eventually, Elvis saved up enough money to record a number of demo singles. He mostly covered old bluegrass and blues songs, including “That’s All Right,” which became his first single. He began performing live shows and developed a small local following. His big break came in 1956 when he scored a record deal with RCA and released the single, “Heartbreak Hotel.” The song quickly became a number-one hit and catapulted him into fame.
Elvis Was Haunted By His Twin’s Death His Entire Life
No matter how famous Elvis got, he never forgot about Jesse. According to many biographers of the rock-and-roll legend, Presley was deeply affected by the loss of his brother.
Clinical psychologist Peter Whitmer, author of the book The Inner Elvis, says that the singer frequently visited his late twin’s grave when he was in Mississippi. And according to Vernon Chadwick, author of the book In Search of Elvis, the fact that Presley grew up without his twin likely had a major influence on his personality and informed his drive to be a performer.
“We do know that twins who lose their partner often suffer many problems and disorders in later life,” Chadwick writes. “The subject of Elvis’ twin can help us understand both the great power that Elvis had to connect with an audience as if he were reaching out to connect with his absent brother, as well as the emptiness of the so-called ‘black hole’ which single twins often experience.”
Chadwick also posits that Elvis’s problems later in life, including his drug addiction, may have been a result of unresolved feelings about his late twin. “Relatives and friends of Elvis in Tupelo have stated that Elvis felt guilty about the death of his twin brother,” says Chadwick. “It’s very likely this guilt played a role in Elvis’ later dysfunctional behavior.”