When it comes to this legendary singer I believe lots of us can remember where we were when we heard the news of his death. Elvis Presley was only 42 years old when he died and left every fan all over the world with tears and an aching heart. I was in Canada visiting friends when I heard the news. My friend in New York City had a ticket for his next scheduled concert and she kept that ticket as a special souvenir. It was also the time I completed my Elvis record collection and spent days just listening to him singing.
There has been so much written about Elvis. Therefore I will just state some facts. His mom gave birth to twin boys. One twin Jesse died but the other Elvis survived. His birthday was on January 8, 1935. He arrived in this world in Tupelo, Mississippi in the cold of winter but died in the summertime and I would have thought that perhaps it should have been the other way around. Summer is a happy time for birth and the winter leaves you cold just like the news of Elvis’ passing. His first recorded song was a rhythm and blues song “That’s All Right Mama”. It was released on Sun Records when Elvis was just 19.
After Elvis’ career was launched he moved to the RCA Record label with the hit “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956. Next came two hit songs on a record back to back “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel”. He became famous nationwide after his appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in September of 1956.
Elvis also starred in movies all featuring his great singing like “Love Me Tender”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Loving You”, “Clambake” and “King Creole”. One of my favorites was “Clambake”.
It wasn’t all sunny and rock and roll in Elvis’ world and he got drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958 serving 18-month in West Germany. His fans were ready and waiting when he was discharged and he offered them such wonderful love ballads as “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
In the 1960s he made 27 musical movies among them “Blue Hawaii” and “Viva Las Vegas”. Both places Elvis enjoyed especially beautiful Hawaii. While he was still in the army love had found him and in 1967 he married Priscilla Beaulieu and their daughter Lisa Marie was born in 1968. I know he dearly loved his little girl but wouldn’t it have been exciting if Elvis had also had a son – a miniature version of his famous daddy. He would be all grown-up now and perhaps carried on the Elvis legend.
By the end of the 1960s, Elvis was no longer rolling out the hits as quickly. In 1968 he tried for a comeback special and in 1972 he came out with the hit “Burning Love”.
He also came out with other songs which didn’t really have as great an impact as his early hits however one of them has always been a special favorite of mine “Moody Blue”.
It was in the 1970s that fans saw Elvis had declined physically. He divorced Priscilla in 1973 and spiraled down into a world of prescription drugs. The enormous amount of weight he gained during this time made him live almost like a recluse. His refuge from the world was his home Graceland.
At least the last day of his life was spent with his daughter Lisa Marie. Then suddenly later that night he was found unconscious in his Graceland mansion. Nothing could be done to save him and the world heard that the King of Rock and Roll was gone. It was August 16, 1977. I like to think of Elvis having joined that rock and roll band up there in the sky.