On this day in 1954, 19 year old Elvis Presley signed a recording contract with Sun Records. He also gave in his notice for his day job at The Crown Electric Company where he was a truck driver. He actually had two jobs – he was also working in the evening as a movie theater usher. How cool would that be? The King of Rock & Roll showing you to your seat, (apart from the fact that he wasn’t the King of Rock & Roll just yet).
Anyway, this got me thinking about all those menial jobs our future stars were forced to do, to make a living before they became rich and famous. How else could they afford to buy that gleaming new Fender Telecaster or pay for studio time to record those first demos?
And to us normal folk, we would be oblivious to the fact that Madonna might have served us a Whopper with fries at Burger King or that leading world peacemaker Bono worked as a petrol pump attendant, filling up your Dad’s car when he was visiting long-lost relatives in Southern Ireland. And maybe Kurt Cobain taught you or your children how to swim, whilst working as a swimming instructor at the Y.M.C.A. Or maybe Sting taught you when he was working as a schoolteacher in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Some budding superstars had totally inappropriate employment before they became famous. Can you imagine waking up from an appendectomy to find your goodself being pushed through the hospital wards by David Lee Roth? (Mick Jagger also worked as a hospital porter). Or maybe you just spotted Mark Stoermer, the future bass guitarist with The Killers, who once worked as an organ/blood/body part delivery boy.
Some future stars would do anything to pay the rent. Guns ‘n’ Roses singer Axl Rose was paid to smoke cigarettes as part of a science experiment, while Elton John worked as a tea boy at Mills Music publishers. Before forming Blondie, Debbie Harry worked as a Playboy bunny. Surprisingly Irish singer Sinead O’Connor once worked as a French maid kissogram and not so surprising is the news that Courtney Love worked as stripper while traveling from city to city in America.
The last word goes to super cool White Stripes guitarist Jack White, who once ran a one-man business of his own, called Third Man Upholstery. His slogan was: “Your Furniture’s Not Dead.”
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