Where were you when Elvis Died?

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End May 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Thursday, January 31, 2008

Elvis Aaron Presley - January 8, 1935 to August 16, 1977



  Born in Tupelo, Mississippi
  Elvis receives his first guitar in 1946 as his parents couldn't afford the bicycle he wanted
  Moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948
  Records his first songs, " My Happiness"  & "That's When Your Heartaches Begin"  at Sun Studio in July 1953
  Signs his first contract with RCA records on November 20, 1955
  " Heartbreak Hotel" is released on January 27, 1956 and becomes Elvis' first gold record single
  " Love Me Tender" is the title of Elvis' first movie
  Elvis buys Graceland Mansion in March 1957
  He performs his first shows outside the USA in Toronto and Ottawa on April 2 & 3, 1957
  Elvis performs his last show outside the USA in Vancouver on August 31, 1957
  Graceland was situated on the outskirts of Memphis until the mid 1960's when urban sprawl surrounded it
  On March 24, 1958 Elvis Presley is inducted into the US Army
  Elvis meets his future wife, Priscilla Beaulieu, while in the Army and stationed in Germany
  Priscilla is 14 years old the first time they meet in November 1959
  Elvis & Priscilla get married on May 1, 1967
  Lisa Marie is born 9 months to the day after the wedding
  Lisa Marie will be 40 years on February 1, 2008
  Elvis' TV debut is first shown on December 3, 1968
  For most of the '60s Elvis is focused on his acting career
  His 31st and last film he starred in is " Change of Habit" and was released in November 1969
  In September 1970 he does a 9 city tour. His first since 1957
  Highway 51 in front of Graceland is renamed " Elvis Presley Boulevard" in January 1972
  October 9, 1973. Elvis' divorce from Priscilla is finalized
  Elvis tours considerably through the '70
  August 16, 1977. Elvis Presley dies of heart failure
  January 8, 2008 they celebrated what would have been Elvis' 73rd birthday.
What is it about Elvis that makes him so popular 30 years after his death? He was in the right place at the right time at the start of his career. He had charisma, charm, talent, and good looks. But why did he create such an impact on a generation, and those that followed? Many books have been written about him and it's not up to me to try and answer those questions. I do remember seeing some of his TV appearances even though I was only a teen during the last couple of years of his life.
For some reason I remember where I was and what I was doing when the announcement came that Elvis had passed away. Maybe that is why I have such an affinity for his music and films. All I really knew about Elvis was the media portrayal after his death. The tour of Graceland enlightened me. There really was something special about him. I always assumed that Graceland would be some monstrous building with 100's of rooms that would reflect Elvis' larger than life persona. But no. Elvis was a simple person. Graceland was purchased when his career started and that is where he stayed. He added a few rooms and buildings as his career took off, as necessities, not extravagances.
Throughout his career he supported numerous charities. He never forgot his roots and those who helped him along the way. I believe the secret to his success was just that. Everything he did was for someone else. Graceland was for his parents. A promise he had made to them when they were poor. He wanted to be a serious actor. But the fans wanted to hear him sing in his movies and so he played these kitschy characters that usually didn't appeal to him but he wanted to   keep his fans happy. It was always about someone else, not him.
Check out this website if you want to read more about the milestones in his life. http://www.elvis.com/elvisology/bio/elvis_overview.asp My photos should cover pretty well all that I did see at Graceland and at the buildings across the street that house the gift shops and other assorted mementoes.
They call a visit to Graceland a pilgrimage. I do believe it is as I think Elvis was a kind of prophet to get a message across using a different medium, music and film.
Where was I when he died? On August 16, 1977 when the announcement came over the radio I was sitting in the travel trailer my parents had bought and was sitting in our driveway. I don't remember all the details but I believe my parents had bought the trailer after we had moved back to Winnipeg after selling their grocery store in the country and before they had decided to open up a hardware store. I don't remember us actually using the trailer that summer. I know it was sold shortly after as my parents wouldn't have time to use it once the hardware store was open. I do know that I had been in the trailer that day with my radio and I had been playing board games or cards with my brother or friends. Maybe I had slept in it the night before as it was summertime. All I remember is the radio that I had at the time and hearing the announcement in mid-afternoon.
Why did Elvis' death impact me? I don't remember what I was doing when John Lennon was shot even though that was 3 years later. With the exception of 9-11, I don't think there are any other significant events that I do remember where I was or what I was doing. Another of life's mysteries.
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