On the 46th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death
“God gave me a voice. If I ever turned my back on Him I would be finished ,”Elvis Presley
Forty-six years ago, on Tuesday, August 16, 1977, the singer died at his Graceland estate in Memphis. He left on the eve of another tour.
As doctors at Baptist Hospital battled to save the 42-year-old singer’s life, members of his band were on their way to Portland, where the 12-day, sold-out tour was set to begin on August 17. The tour’s final performances were scheduled to take place on August 27 and 28 at the Mid South Coliseum in their hometown of Memphis.
After its completion, Elvis reportedly intended to take a good rest and make big changes in his life. ” In early 1977 (the last year of his life) Elvis finally realized many things he had let slip through the years and realized that his life was in a state of balance,” explained to me during our conversation Larry Geller, a personal hairdresser , Presley’s trusted friend and confidante. “ He made a decision he only shared with his father, Charlie Hodge, and me. He decided to dismiss most of his entourage and keep only three or four people with him. He wanted a new manager. He was willing but finally ready to let the Colonel go.
He also decided that the four of us would go to Hawaii (in September, author’s note) and spend about a year there to ‘recharge the batteries’. He was determined to get healthy again and then return to Hollywood to get into real movies.
He wanted to start a new chapter in his life with his new manager by his side. He also had many other plans .”
Unfortunately, he has not been able to complete them.
Elvis died at the age of forty-two. Despite such a young age, he managed to do so many important and groundbreaking things for American culture that years later, the statement ” before anyone did anything, Elvis already did it ” does not sound like an exaggeration.
It was Presley, who recorded “That’s All Right (Mama)” in July 1954, that started a revolution in music on an unprecedented scale. It was at his concerts that hysterical attacks among the teenage audience first occurred. It was the albums and singles with his hits that set further absolute and hard-to-beat sales records. Just to mention the title ballad from his first film, “Love Me Tender”, which was ordered by over a MILLION PEOPLE before RCA Victor could release it as a single!
An equally impressive number of orders, over a MILLION, were received by RCA for Elvis’ first single released after his return from the army. And that’s before revealing the titles of the songs that will be on it.
“(Elvis, author’s note) changed the world we live in ,” said Sam Thompson, the singer’s friend and bodyguard, at the end of our interview. ” Not just the music, but also the way we thought, the clothes we bought and the things we thought about .”
Elvis instantly became the object of adoration from the young and increased adult attacks at the same time.
He was the first American entertainer whose appearance on a television show was censored.
In January 1957, due to his indecent hip movements, cameramen working on the hugely popular show “The Ed Sullivan Show” were ordered to film him only from the waist up.
At the same time, each of his television appearances – “The Steve Allen Show”, “The Milton Berle Show” or “The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show”, attracted a record number of viewers in front of television sets.
Not only in the fifties
Shown in December 1968 on NBC, ELVIS, now known as the NBC TV Comeback Special, had the highest viewership of 1968.
In turn, the satellite concert “Aloha From Hawaii”, realized five years later – the first in the history of television at that time, was watched by over one and a half billion people around the world.
Despite these numerous successes and continuous life on the so-called candlestick, Elvis spent the rest of his life trying to be a normal, kind man who remembered his humble beginnings. “ He was a good friend of mine ,” Ed Hill of the Stamps quartet told me in 2014. “ I worked with him as a friend – not as an artist. I can’t imagine how much impact he has on people around the world, and which is bigger every day. I will always remember my time with Elvis onstage, recording and what a normal guy he was. This is what I hold especially dear… HE WAS A GREAT ARTIST .”
Thousands of people took part in Elvis’ farewell (it is estimated that about eighty thousand people came to Memphis). “ I was standing at the gate of Forest Hill Cemetery, Mid-Town Facility. I was an observer ,” recalled James Hailey, a Funeral Home worker at Forest Hill Cemetery who attended the August events, during our conversation. “ I was telling the police officers who could gain access to the cemetery. The street was already full of people, shoulder to shoulder, as far as I could see. Up and down Elvis Presley Boulevard .
Later, I helped unload 100 Vans filled with lots of flowers from Graceland to the Forest Hill Cemetery Mausoleum. There must have been about three thousand bouquets for Elvis. These accolades extended far, far beyond the grounds of the Mausoleum. We also helped prepare the hearse when it arrived with forty white limousines. There is a scene in several movies about Elvis’ life that shows Jerry Johnson and I closing the door to an empty hearse and talking quietly .
P.S. On the occasion of today’s anniversary of Elvis’ death, I encourage you to read the text by Krzysztof Nepelski posted on the RMF24.PL website
“’68 Comeback Special” – 55th anniversary of the great return to the stage of Elvis Presley https://www.rmf24.pl/kultura/news-68-comeback-special-55-rocznica-wielkiego-powrotu-na-scene-e,nId,6965005#crp_state=1
Information provided by EP Promised Land (Poland) Marius Ogieglo http://www.elvispromisedland.pl/
If you want to visit more articles about the life of Elvis Presley, enter the following Elvis Radio 24h link: https://elvisradio24h.com/tag/articles
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