King

Oh What a Day

      I am old enough to remember vividly where I was, what I was doing, and who delivered the news to me that Elvis Presley had died. Miss Addie stood in the front door of her little house talking to Mom and me with her screen door open. Mom and I were sitting outside in the driveway in our VW Beetle talking to her when she turned her head back to her living room. I don’t remember her television being on or whether it was her radio, but turned back in a nonchalant way and delivered the news that would rock Mom’s world and change me forever.

        “Huh,” she said. “Elvis Presley just died.”

      I was eleven when he died. I will have to say, growing up on the tail end of his life was unremarkable. Mom was a fan so we had the usual collection of movie albums, 45 rpm records, and eight track tapes (cassette was just around the corner, but not yet). I liked him well enough, but I couldn’t count myself a fan at least not yet. That would take time to develop but once it did there could be no bigger fan than I.

      You see, while growing up at the tail end of his life was unremarkable, growing up as I did in the mist of the madness that Elvis Presley the industry became was extraordinary. It hit its stride by the time I was in high school and was at its peak as I hit my early thirties. His songs were packaged and re-packaged into new albums and collectors sets. People couldn’t get their hands on them fast enough. When cassette tapes dominated, the songs were cobbled together again and resold. People ate them like they were food. Sometime during the eighties, it was announced that Elvis Presley the entertainer had surpassed one billion in record sales and that was before the VCR, DVD, and CD phase of music. Once again, re-packaged and rolled out like they were new songs, people attacked them like ravaged wolves.

      There was – is – something about Elvis. People just can’t get enough. From the avid belief that he was still alive and all the shows, books, and television specials that generated to the lurid details of his sex life and self-abusive personality, people just have to know about Elvis. His music was legendary and his command of the audience was unmatched, yet somehow the man’s very life became bigger than the music. If you google Elvis, you can read thousands of articles, watch endless video clips of interviews with people who knew him, women who dated him, even people who just met him and you do all this without once touching on the music itself. To this day, Graceland is the second most visited house in the United States, behind only the White House. I have been to Graceland

and his birthplace in Tupelo for that matter. I haven’t been to the White House. I probably will go back to Graceland before I visit the White House.

     Whether it’s the man who once delivered a woman a wheel chair after seeing her need for one while watching the news or the man who belittled and berated his friends and buying them more cars than they could possibly need while managing to shoot the screen out of a television or two along the way, people just have to know all they can know about Elvis Presley.

      Oh yeah and the music is pretty good, too.

     Anyway, it all ended in the early afternoon of August 16th, 1977.

     Except for those of us who were raised in the mania of Elvis the Industry, it had just begun.

Tim

August 16th, 2016

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About timkeen40

When I was seven, I opened one of those little Golden Books (Lassie) and started copying the words down on paper and it set my soul on fire. I have been writing ever since. I don't know where this is going but I invite you along on the journey.
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24 Responses to King

  1. energywriter says:

    I remember when I heard the news. I was dressing for work and dressing unconsciously. Upon arriving at work I realized that all of the women had unknowingly worn black clothes. sd

    • timkeen40 says:

      For most people it is one of those moments, right? I remember what I was doing when Reagan was shot, when both space shuttles blew up and, of course, the saddest of all, the day the towers fell. His death had that kind of an impact on millions.

      Thanks for responding.

      Tim

  2. I was never a huge fan of Elvis but I liked some of his music.
    When he shot the television he was in my hometown.
    My mama and sister had tickets to see him but he died before he came to town.
    Drugs….so bad…so many lives lost to them 😦

    • timkeen40 says:

      It is easy to equate money and fame with happiness. Such is not always the case. Unhappiness, depression, sadness do not care how much money you have or how famous you are.

      It’s very interesting to know he was in your hometown when he shot the television and I am curious if the tickets to the unseen concert are in a picture frame somewhere. One of things I learned was that concert promoters didn’t know what to do when so many people refused to return their unused tickets for refund.

      Thanks for stopping by.
      I am a fan of your writing, by the way.

      Tim

  3. Jim says:

    and rock and roll hasn’t been the same since Elvis died.

    • timkeen40 says:

      Jim,
      I agree. For me there is Elvis and everybody else and everybody else, with the exception of Bob Seger, is a long, long way back.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Tim

  4. prenin says:

    I never knew him, never met him and only ever heard his music on the radio, but I Know This: Elvis was and will always be ‘The King’…

    Prenin.

  5. nrhatch says:

    I enjoyed watching the movies he made when he was young . . . the more he aged, the sadder he seemed.

  6. Vanessence says:

    Goodness, I remember it vividly, too. It was so insane afterward. I was surprised that there was no “anniversary” mention in the news yesterday, and I wondered if the world had moved on. Maybe next year, on the “milestone” anniversary.

  7. Eugenia says:

    I remember the day he died, as well. It was quite a shock. I grew up with his music and really didn’t appreciate him until I got older. I was more of a British Invasion fan. There will never be another Elvis, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and a few others that were so talented and unique. I miss them all.

  8. sheldonk2014 says:

    Elvis was a force to be reckoned with
    And his impact can still be felt if you have a soul
    Great read and thanks for visiting
    See you on the other side of creativity
    The Sheldon Perspective

  9. Vinny Idol says:

    I cant imagine the hysteria or mystery around elvis, but the closest comparison I can think of, is Michael Jackson. I dont think Ill ever get over his death; probably the same way youll never forget Elvis.

  10. Joanne Sisco says:

    I never caught the Elvis mania at any stage of his impressive career. No question he was a complicated guy. Recently we watched the movie Elvis and Nixon on HBO and really enjoyed. We had no idea what to expect from it, except that I am a Kevin Spacey fan and he played Nixon (very well, I thought)

    It is interesting how some people seem to capture the imaginations of the public in a way others just can’t. Even now, people who weren’t even born until after he died are embracing Elvis mania.

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