Elvis Died 35 Years Ago Today

Elvis Presley died on this date in 1977. Or, to put it another way: he’s now been dead almost as long as he was alive and for more than twice as long as he’d been famous.

LA Times (“Elvis Presley celebrated on 35th anniversary of his death“):

Thirty-five years after his death, Elvis still lives.

Elvis Presley fans can check in on the candlelight vigil going on in Memphis, Tenn., to mark the anniversary of the singer’s death on Presley’s official website, www.elvis.com. According to the site, more than 75,000 people have turned out for the vigil at his Graceland mansion to mark his death on Aug. 16, 1977.

His daughter, Lisa Marie, and his ex-wife, Priscilla, will host a 35th anniversary concert at the city’s FedEx Forum tonight starting at 8:10 p.m. Pacific time. The event will blend film footage of Elvis Presley in concert and his recorded vocals backed by live music by the Memphis Symphony as well as many of the musicians who backed him on tour, including guitarist James Burton, pianist Glen D. Hardin, drummer D.J. Fontana and the Sweet Inspirations vocal group.

Elsewhere, among the plethora of events being staged to mark the anniversary of his death at age 42, the American Cinematheque will host a Q&A and book signing at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood by songwriter and publisher Mike Stoller, half of the songwriting-publishing-production team of Leiber & Stoller, who crafted many songs Presley recorded. The session will be followed by a screening of the performer’s 1957 film “Jailhouse Rock,” which featured Stoller in a cameo appearance playing piano for Presley.

Aside from Jesus Christ, I can’t think of another figure whose death sparks this much recognition. Perhaps John Kennedy; but he was murdered on national television.

For that matter, has any ex-wife ever capitalized as much on six years of marriage? She and Elvis divorced four years before his death and she’s still basking in the glow 35 years after the man died.

 

FILED UNDER: Obituaries, Popular Culture, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Nikki says:

    I figured that out when I was looking at the lineup on the Turner Classic Movies channel this morning and all of the movies were starring Elvis.

  2. Nikki says:

    For that matter, has any ex-wife ever capitalized as much on six years of marriage? She and Elvis divorced four years before his death and she’s still basking in the glow 35 years after the man died.

    Heck, if it wasn’t for her, Graceland wouldn’t exist.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Aside from Jesus Christ, I can’t think of another figure whose death sparks this much recognition. Perhaps John Kennedy; but he was murdered on national television.

    If I’m going to waste my time on pop icons who died young, I’m going to waste it on Marilyn Monroe, not Elvis.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    His last words?

    “Corn? When did I eat corn?”

  5. Clanton says:

    @al-Ameda: I remember that very sad day when we learned of Elvis’ untimely and tragic death. The next day, you couldn’t find a newspaper anywhere: people were pulling out 7-10 at a time from the boxes. Luckily, I got one. Elvis was one of the greatest singers and a great American. He had a far reaching impact on our generation and the culture of this country. He has influenced the lives of millions. Very few, if any, are so still missed after 35 years. Long live the KIng!

  6. al-Ameda says:

    @Clanton:

    @al-Ameda: I remember that very sad day when we learned of Elvis’ untimely and tragic death. The next day, you couldn’t find a newspaper anywhere: people were pulling out 7-10 at a time from the boxes. Luckily, I got one. Elvis was one of the greatest singers and a great American. He had a far reaching impact on our generation and the culture of this country. He has influenced the lives of millions. Very few, if any, are so still missed after 35 years. Long live the KIng!

    I was having a little fun – Elvis was, indisputably, an pop icon, I can’t deny that.

    I am a little tired of the media blitzes that accompany so many “anniversaries” – the deaths of Elvis, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Woodstock, Summer of Love, and so much more to come …..