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|THOUSANDS SHOW LOVING RESPECT
August 16, 2016 - Various Sources / Elvis Express Radio
Thousands of Elvis Presley fans have made their annual pilgrimage to Graceland for a candlelight vigil marking the 39th anniversary of the singer’s death in Memphis.
Despite the sky's over Memphis crying intermittently, fans from around the world were holding candles and walking slowly through the gravesite of the rock ‘n’ roll icon, who died on
Aug. 16, 1977. Since his death, devotees have come to pay their respects at Presley’s grave, which is located on the grounds of his former home-turned-museum.
Monday night’s vigil caps Elvis Week, the annual celebration of his life and career. Also Monday, officials announced details of a new 200,000 square-foot entertainment complex
being built across the street from the Graceland house.
Police presence was heightened due to a nearby protest by activists supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Elvis was found dead at the age of 42, in his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. His early passing was mourned across the world, with legions of fans flocking to his
mansion to pay their respects.
Few artists have left a legacy as monumental as Elvis has. In his lifetime, he was called “The King of Western Bop,” “The Hillbilly Cat,” “The Memphis Flash,” and “Elvis the Pelvis,”
though only endured to this day: “The King of Rock and Roll.”
As an artist, he managed to bridge the gap between country music and rock and roll like no one before. Although he’s known as the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis’ musical roots stem
from the traditional country that he grew up listening to as a child.
On his 11th birthday, the King asked his mother for a rifle. Thankfully, she gifted him a guitar instead, and in turn, gifted the world one of the greatest musicians of Rock n’ Roll.
At 19, Elvis visited Sam Phillips’ Sun Recording Studio to record a birthday present for his mother. The studio owner liked Elvis’ voice and asked him to record a rendition of the
R&B song, “That’s All Right” for his Sun Records label. The recording topped the local chart, and within a year Elvis’ contract was bought by RCA for a then-record of $40,000.
Elvis dominated the music charts from 1956 to 1958, ushering in the age of rock and roll with hit songs “Heartbreak Hotel” and the double-sided “Hound Dog”/”Don’t Be Cruel.”
After appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, audiences were divided with adoring teenagers and appalled parents. Critics especially took issue with Presley’s sexually
suggestive pelvis gyrations during his performances.
After an 18-month tour in the U.S. Army, serving in West Germany, Presley began changing his music style to feature less rhythm-and-blues, and more romantic ballads. He also
retired from concerts to focus on a film career, all of which featured his musicality. By the end of the 1960s, Presley had few hit songs. “Burning Love” in 1972 was the last top 10
hit for Presley.
PROTEST AT THE VIGIL
Thousands of Elvis Presley fans who flocked to Memphis for the anniversary of the singer's death got some company Monday night from Black Lives Matter activists.
The movement held a protest not far from Graceland, where thousands of fans had made their annual pilgrimage to mark the 39th anniversary of the singer's death.
Memphis police took extra precautions and the city's mayor said while he agrees with the group's message, he wasn't sure that Graceland was the place to say it.
Since the rock icon died on Aug. 16, 1977, fans have come every year to pay their respects to his grave, located on the grounds of his former home, which is now a museum and
Monday's vigil caps Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley's life and music.
Also Monday, officials announced details of a new 200,000 square-foot entertainment complex being built across the street from the Graceland house