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Saturday, August 16, 2014

The King is Dead: August 16, 1977

 
 
Elvis Aaron Presley
 
We all loved Elvis, except for my father. One day, I asked Daddy if he liked this song as "Love Me Tender" was playing on the radio. Daddy agreed it was pretty good, that guy could sing. Of course, he was disgusted it was Elvis he had complimented.
 
A girl at the college I attended told us she partied with Elvis and asked me if I wanted to go. I knew I would have been in over my head, but said I wanted to go. Of course, she never asked me to go with her.
 
When I was married, we lived just south of Graceland. One day in 1968, while I was working my part-time job at TG&Y, just  mile from Graceland, someone said Elvis was on a horse in his front yard, playing Christmas songs and singing. I almost told the manager I would be back in a little while
 
While we lived in that location, my NY bil came to visit. For all the times I passed Graceland, it was commonplace. The bil just annoyed me to no end as we had to stop at Graceland every time we passed by. I had never, ever stopped in front of the house and certainly would never have gotten out and gawked. This was Elvis' home.
 
When L was five-years-old, she announced earnestly that she was going to marry Elvis when she grew up. She was so convinced that it would happen and wanted me to agree. Finally, I told her that when she grew up that Elvis would be as old as Pepaw, my father. She cried and grieved all night about that fact. The child was so sad for a week that I wished I had left off the last detail. She would have forgotten her desire eventually.
 
When I heard Elvis had died, August 16, 1977, we lived here. I was pulling into the parking lot of the city pool to pick up my children just as the news broke. My best friend arrived at the identical time. As we both emerged from our cars with babies in our arms, I told her Elvis had died. She laughed nervously and said I was teasing. Then, she looked fearful as I told her it was true. Tears came to our eyes. The babies wondered why we were crying. Both my older children cried. L was seven-years-old by then. The boy, J, was nine-years old. My husband was puzzled at all the tears. But, we cried most of the evening. The baby, almost two, cried out of concern and sympathy.
 
My youngest sister living in Memphis took the middle sister's daughter, also seven,  and they stood for six hours at Graceland to view the body. A few years later, we went on the Graceland tour. Somewhere, I have pictures of my children at the graves of Elvis and his mother.
 
I had my sister buy four copies of the Memphis Press Scimitar (or Commercial Appeal) for the three children and me. If I had thought of it sooner, I would have gotten it out and would have taken a picture of it. I always wanted to attend one of his concerts, but that was not to be.
 
No, I don't think any less of the man for his foibles or faults. He only wanted to sing and had many people shoving him in the direction that benefited them instead of him.
 
My son was born in April 1968, and Lisa Marie Presley was born earlier that year, supposedly delivered by someone in the same group of ob/gyns that delivered my son. I just checked that fact. Yes, they were in the same office.
 
Tales of his generosity abound in Memphis. One day, he passed a couple on the side of the road. Apparently, their old car broke down. He took them to a dealership and bought them a new car.
 
I loved Heartbreak Hotel, Love Me Tender, Jailhouse Rock, In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, and so many others.
 
Your turn
 
Did you like Elvis? All his songs are my favorites? What are your favorites? Any special memories? Did you see him in concert?



19 comments:

  1. I was just a kid when he died, but I do remember sadness from a lot of my moms friends. He was one talented man and changed the face of music for generations to come!

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    Replies
    1. I had no idea how old you were. I still love his music.

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  2. I lve Elvis. I love that he was generous with others that had little or nothing.

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    1. Michelle,
      He most often just saw someone to help instead of giving to charities.

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  3. I was living just north of Memphis when he died. My boyfriend (who would become my husband) and I were driving home and couldn't figure out why everyone around us had their headlights on during the middle of the day so we turned on the radio and there was nothing on but Elvis songs. The whole area went into deep mourning; flags were even flown at half-mast at the Millington naval station. Elvis used to regularly invite sailors from the base to Graceland to eat and hang out, so he was well-thought of there. Anyway, it was a strangel, somber time to be there. I wasn't what you would call a "fan" of Elvis, but still love many of his songs.

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    1. Laura,
      I had forgotten about the headlights being on. You are reminding me of things I heard but was not there to witness, so it made less of an impression. Was your husband stationed at Millington?

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    2. Yes, that's where I met him - I was stationed there too for school. He was my instructor for two weeks, and we started dating after that class and the rest, as they say, is history. I didn't stay in the navy very long, but got an honorable discharge and benefits. And a great husband, too!

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    3. Laura,
      Husband AND benefits? That's a good score!

      Delete
  4. I was never a fan...my husband on the other hand thought he was great. I wasn't impressed with Graceland, either...but my husband drove miles out our way to visit...

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    1. Lynda, Not a fan and did not like Graceland? Ouch! Lots of people go to Graceland during Elvis week in Memphis. It is a madhouse there.

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    2. I was into the Beatles, Stones, Doors....Elvis just wasn't my thing.

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    3. Lynda,
      Those are excellent choices, too. My daughter, the little one I had in my arms, thinks the Beatles are the greatest musicians of all times.

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  5. I like him a lot, though he was before my time. Great music is great music!

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  6. Never saw Elvis in concert. I can't think of a song of his that I didn't like. My boyfriend picked me up because we were going somewhere that day. When I opened the car door, he said, Elvis is dead. I couldn't believe it. I would like to see Graceland.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Janie,
      Wow, what a greeting, one to knock you off your feet. Oh, I do hope you get to see Graceland. Ask me for pointers.

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    2. Not likely that I'll get there.

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  7. Did I like Elvis?? I loved Elvis, still do. I have hundreds of his albums. As far as I'm concerned he was the best singer/entertainer of all time. I haven't made it to Graceland yet, but one day I will.

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    Replies
    1. LL Cool Joe,
      We do agree about his stature in the music world. One day, you must travel to Memphis while you are in the US. Ask me for pointers.

      Delete

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