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Elvis – The King of Rock’n’Rollby Julie Kempson, Aug 2019
On this day in 1977 (August 16th), the King of Rock’n’Roll Elvis Presley was found on the floor in the upstairs bathroom of his home, Graceland. He was rushed to hospital where he was officially pronounced dead
Born on 8th January 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, he remained the only child of Gladys and Vernon. Sadly is twin brother Jesse was still born. In 1948, when Elvis was thirteen years old, the family relocated to Memphis, where he sang for the first time at Sun Records. Here he recorded two songs “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” as a birthday present for his beloved mum.
In 1955, Elvis signed on with the manager the infamous Colonel Tom Parker who helped to negotiate a major record deal with RCA, and just a few days after his 21st birthday Elvis in 1956 he recorded his debut album, with Heartbreak Hotel earning him his first certified gold records.
His fame continued to grow with him starring in his first film in November 1956, “Love Me Tender”, which was an instant success.
In March 1957, the King of Rock and Roll spent a modest $102,500 on the now iconic estate, Graceland in Memphis where he spent his first night on 26 June with both of his parents and his paternal grandparents.
1958 was a significant year for Elvis when he was drafted in to the US Army and also the year that his mother passed away. Shortly afterwards he met Priscilla whom he married in 1967. Not long after, Lisa Marie – the couple’s only child – was born.
Between 1956 and 1972 he starred in over 30 films, including Jailhouse Rock, GI Blues and Girls! Girls! Girls!. Aside of that, he appeared in 3 TV Concerts – Elvis in 1968, Aloha from Hawaii via Satelite (which made history with over a billion viewers from 40 countries around the world) and Elvis in Concert in 1977. To this day, He remains the best selling solo artist with estimated sales ranging from 600 million to 1 billion.
After a few successful years of touring and residencies in Las Vegas, Elvis was quite clearly in poor health and was admitted to hospital on more than one occasion. During a short break at home between shows, he passed away sometime on the morning of 16th August 1977. His funeral was held at Graceland just two days later, on the 18th August where 80,000 people lined the route to Forest Hill Cemetery where he was buried next to his mum. Following an attempt to steal his body, both Elvis and his mum were reburied in the Meditation Garden at Graceland in October of the same year.
Many conspiracies surround his death even now, 42 years later. It was well known that he had a drug abuse problem. The family insisted on a private autopsy, and the results for that still remained sealed. It is widely recognised that he died of heart disease.
Whatever the circumstances, Elvis was undoubtedly the King of Rock and Roll, and his legacy continues to live on, with current US President Donald Trump, posthumously awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018