Do you remember what you were doing on that Tuesday, exactly 35-years ago today at 4:00 in the afternoon? Do you recall where you were when you heard the new? I do, and very vividly.
The news that was on every television station the entire first evening and several days that followed. The news that left an eleven year old girl sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, glued to the TV and bawling her eyes out. The dreaded news that shook my world that day and I imagine the worlds of people across the globe!
“The King is dead; Elvis Presley died in his Memphis, TN home earlier today, he was 42.”
I was still sobbing when my parents returned home; upon entering the living room dad saw me and was instantly by my side thinking I was hurt or in pain and asking what was the matter. I can remember feeling my hair sticking to my tear soaked face, tasking the salty tears as they ran down my face and dripping off my chin, my nose was stuffy, and I’m sure my eyes were red and swollen from crying. I could not verbally tell dad what was wrong so I just pointed to the television; it was then when he, a man who was a musician who lived, breathed, and loved music learned the reason behind his daughter’s state of affliction.
Silly? No, not really.
By now, you are probably thinking…geez, she was only an eleven-year-old little girl, and how could she possibly be so upset? Well you see, my four siblings and I were raised in a home that was filled with music from our parent’s era. Music by the likes of Buddy Holly, Patti Page, The Everly Bothers, Fats Domino, Paul Anka, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Rosemary Clooney, and most definitely…Elvis Presley.
I listened to his music all the time and really was taken by his style, his voice, his good looks, and I’d be amiss if I failed to mention…his good looks. 😉 Back then, that 1970’s star-struck little girl had a huge crush on that tall, handsome, black-haired stallion (of course this is my “adult” description of him), and back then, Elvis’ passing was my first real experience regarding death and its finality.
Over the years, I have watched his 1968 Comeback Special every time it aired and would have to be peeled away from the television set when one of his movies was showing. Although I haven’t listened to his music since Christmas, some of my favorite Elvis songs are: I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You, Kentucky Rain, Don’t Cry Daddy, Jailhouse Rock, Little Sister, and Are You Lonesome Tonight. He was such a talented musician who could sing anything from religious ballads to Hound Dog and It’s Now or Never.
(I’m totally diggin’ technology)
Celine Dion is another favorite artist of mine and I was thrilled when in 2004 a remastered video of Celine and Elvis singing “If I Can Dream” together on the same stage (or so it appeared) was aired on American Idol. Check out the video.
So, as I reflect back to that world crashing, hot August day in 1977 when Rock-n-Roll died, I cannot do so without imagining how differently our world would be if “The King” were alive today at the age of 77? That my friends is something we shall never know.
Below is a depiction of how some believe Elvis would look at the age of 72 (although he would be five years older today).
“Elvis has left the building.”
- Elvis Week: musicians remember (kfwbam.com)
- Can’t Help Falling in Love with Elvis, 35 Years Later (aarp.org)
- August 16 1977 Elvis Presley dies (craighill.net)
- Thousands of Elvis fans flock to Graceland vigil (newsobserver.com)
- 35 years after his death Elvis Presley’s legacy is still felt around the world (scotsman.com)
- Musical friends friends hail the King on 35th anniversary of Elvis’ death (kansascity.com)
- Photos: Vigil in Graceland marks 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death (photos.denverpost.com)