August 16, 1977.
To some this date is just another day and year long gone.
To others this date is significant because on this day the Greatest Entertainer who ever lived…died. His name was Elvis Aron Presley.
Besides being a phenomenal singer he also was a Father, a Son, a Friend, an employer, a deeply spiritual/religious man, and someone who cared for others near…and afar.
To Elvis Fans around the World, including those who have left this World, Elvis’ music – life – appearances – and “style” touched millions and his Fans “commitment” to him was/is/forever will be…unyielding. Simply put Elvis shared his love/caring with his Fans, and poured his heart out onstage, and they have never stopped voicing their love for him in every possible way (i.e. buying his music, visiting Graceland, supporting EPE, etc.).
During Elvis’ life he “knew” what it was like to be…poor. He understood what it was like to be “different”. He knew firsthand the strength of family and the human spirit. He learned what it is/was like to lose his Mother (note: Gladys Love Presley passed away on August 14, 1958 at the age of 46 years old but many, including Elvis, believed she was 42 when she died) who was his biggest “Fan” and his life long supporter. He knew what it was like to fall in love and have his heart broken. He learned that even the Worlds Biggest Star (as he was in 1958 when he was drafted) was not immune from the Draft and Elvis served his Country honorably and was discharged in 1960. He learned that loving someone was not “enough” when his marriage to Priscilla, the love of his life, ended in Divorce on October 9, 1973 (after six years of marriage). He knew the trials of being a single parent, sharing custody of his only daughter Lisa Marie Presley with Priscilla (note: Elvis lived in Memphis Tennessee and Priscilla resided in California), and the joys of holding/caring/loving one’s child and teaching them life’s lessons. He also learned about life excesses all the while sharing his wealth with those close to him along with perfect strangers. Elvis knew the feeling of being healthy, fit, and in complete control over one’s body and he also knew the frustrations of growing older – battles with weight – and dealing with (legitimate) medical issues. He knew life’s joys and mans’ shortcomings and the “sting” of betrayal by those closest to him. If Elvis considered you a friend then you were one for life. If you crossed Elvis, or those he loved, unless you made heart-felt/immediate amends you would not get a second chance. He was in many ways a “loner”, and subject to mood swings including depression, yet he never stopped “lighting up any room he entered”. He could MASTER an audience of tens of thousands yet have reservations of “opening up’ to those he loved/knew the majority of his life. He was a “fashion maverick”, and obtained the best materials/items money could buy, but what brought him consistent pleasure (excluding his family which he loved passionately) was taking time to sign autographs along with (many times an ominously) helping individuals/organizations in need. Elvis would leave a stage exhausted yet would recoup and then stay up all hours of the night singing Gospel songs with friends/performing artists. Elvis traveled around the United States in cars/planes that Kings would envy yet one of his prized possessions, which he always carried with him, was the Bible (which he read and many times underlined passages and left handwritten messages/responses in the indexes and unprinted areas of each page). Elvis moved like a panther (i.e. gracefully) onstage, in Concert, and in his movies yet at parties/celebrations it was rare for him to dance unless it was a slow song. Elvis was the greatest recording artist in history yet when listening to songs on the radio many times he would be moved to tears by the lyrics or the performing artist’s rendition. Elvis did not read music yet he had a “photographic memory” (i.e. he could memorize his movies lines as well as those of his fellow actors) and he could instinctively play the chords on the guitar and/or piano. Elvis only had a “high school diploma” but his intelligence was nothing short of “mensa material” (i.e. his photographic memory, his ability to capture songs, his ability to produce/arrange songs her performed, his instincts when it came to dealing with people, his unquenchable desire to read anything/everything that interested him, his interests in religions/spiritual pathways, his well rounded appreciation for fellow artists/performers/writers/etc., his life long endeavors to help others with grace and compassion, etc.). Lastly, Elvis understood that God had blessed him and his honesty and humbleness always stayed with him as he questioned “why me”?
Elvis gave us decades of music, movies, and memories and even after these 32 years since his passing he still is loved by the American (and International) public. The reasons for “being an Elvis Fan” vary yet they remain decades after the World first heard the passion of “That’s All Right Little Mamma” from a vinyl disc formed at Sun Records in Memphis Tennessee.
Having been an Elvis Fan, for the vast majority of my life, I am constantly finding “new” reasons to appreciate Elvis as a performer…and a person. His life lessons, including those in which he made mistakes, should be embraced honestly by everyone. His efforts, failures, and successes should be put in context (fairly) and by doing so we honor his name and ensure that he is afforded the recognition/appreciation that he so truly deserves.
With each passing year it becomes more and more apparent that no one will ever “equal” Elvis’ musical accomplishments…ever. Here are just a few:
- Elvis obtained “gold records” during a time when the population of the United States was LESS than 60 million (compared with 350 million now).
Elvis obtained “gold records” during a time when an artist had to sell ONE MILLION records versus 500,000 now.
Elvis starred in 33 motion pictures and every one of them made money. No other actor before, during, or after Elvis can equal this.
Elvis had the HIGHEST RATED Live Concert, with OVER 1 Billion people watching Live, in 1973 entitled “Aloha from Hawaii” (note: this was also the first “via satellite broadcast” as well).
Elvis had the HIGHEST RATED TV appearance when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan program which captured OVER 80% of the viewing audience in America (note: In comparison American Idol captures less than 5 %).
Elvis sold more records/albums than the next “five” performing artists combined (note: A valid point of contention is that many of Elvis’ record sales have never been released thereby reducing his total validated record sales).
Elvis toured, from 1969 through 1977, on average 188 days per year. EVERY Concert was SOLD OUT and many, in Las Vegas, consisted of “two shows per day” which is UNHEARD OF today. Worth noting is that Elvis performed in the LARGEST Venues in America making his “sold out appearances” even more impressive.
At this time I would like to say THANK YOU to Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, Jack Soden, Joe Esposito, Al Strada, EPE, Joe Esposito, Kathy Westmoreland, James Burton, Members of the Memphis Mafia, Jerry Schilling, Paul Litcher, and Russ Howe. Each of you deserve “sincere thanks” for your contributions to the life/legacy/memory of Elvis as well as your commitment to his Fans. I wish you all nothing but success in each of your personal, and professional, endeavors. I look forward to your future contributions pertaining to Elvis and I also say “thank you” to your families because spending time/energy/efforts away from them, to share your memories/etc. about Elvis, is truly a sacrifice.
To Elvis Fans Worldwide I say THANK YOU for being Elvis Fans and for keeping his name, life, legacy, and works viable and relevant now…and always.
May God always be with Elvis, Gladys, Dodger, Vernon, Jesse Garron, Charlie Hodge, and many others who contributed to Elvis’ music/concerts/films/TV appearances/etc.
* Mr. Jeff Schrembs is a highly respected Elvis Presley expert. Mr. Jeff Schrembs has one of the largest (private) Elvis Presley Collections in the world. Mr. Jeff Schrembs regularly contributes to “anything/everything Elvis” (of quality) about Elvis online with brutal honesty- facts – while being a diehard/lifelong “Elvis advocate”. Mr. Jeff Schrembs holds a black belt in the Martial Arts. Mr. Jeff Schrembs is also a Special Needs Children, Disabled Persons, and Child Abuse (prevention, reporting, and treatment) Advocate. ElvisCollectorWorldwide, and www.ElvisCollector.info, regularly feature Mr. Jeff Schrembs as well.