On this day, August 16, in 1977, the world lost a king – the king of rock! He was only forty-two.
I missed the height of Elvis’ popularity, though I had a cousin who was a bit older and in the midst of Elvis-mania. We loved to ramble through her room and see the Elvis album covers lining the walls.
Elvis movies still offer a fun mix of comedy and music. And it’s easy to see how he would have captured the hearts and imaginations of a generation.
My first hand ‘Elvis’ memories involve the Post Office and our drive to release the famous Elvis postage stamp. We polled our customers as to which version of him they preferred – young, thin Elvis or older, heavier, face covered in side burns Elvis.
No surprise – they chose the younger version and we printed and reprinted sheets and sheets of the Elvis stamps.
I pre-ordered several sheets of the stamps and had them framed as gifts for those I knew loved Elvis. I think I still have one or two sheets of them around here somewhere.
My husband attended one of his last concerts but I never saw the king in person.
I did stand outside of Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee once, but didn’t feel compelled to go inside. It didn’t look like I imagined. I suppose I heard so much about his larger than life existence that I expected a matching mansion. Perhaps to his credit, he lived in a place that felt ‘real’ to him. But the line of people waiting to pay homage was long – maybe the reason I skipped it.
What I love most about Elvis though, is the spirit with which he sought his passionate dream of making music that spoke to him. He blazed his own trail and left his mark on the world. It couldn’t have been easy starting out. We’ve all heard the stories of the Ed Sullivan Show debacle where the cameras weren’t allowed to show his gyrating hips. What on earth would they think today? What would Elvis think?
It’s been thirty-four years since Elvis died. He still earns money and we still talk about him. Some people claim he is alive, although I haven’t heard rumors of sightings in many years. I think his larger-than-life personality made it hard for many to accept his death.
But on this day, I can’t help thinking of him myself.
Were you an Elvis fan? Have you seen Graceland? What are you thinking today about the king of rock and roll?
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