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Elvis Australia : Official Elvis Presley Fan Club


The Death Of Elvis Presley : August 16, 1977


By David Troedson
Source: Elvis Australia
August 16, 2016 - 9:08:23 PM

Elvis Presley Video Metamorphosis of Elvis Presley & Old Friend by Bill Medley (Elvis) (04:38)

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Elvis News Latest Audio (and video) updates : Video courtesy of Elvis Presley Video Elvis Presley Video Central.

The Death Of Elvis Presley : August 16, 1977 Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley died at Graceland on August 16, 1977. He was 42 years old.

Through the early morning of the 16th Elvis took care of last minute tour details and relaxed with family and staff. He was to fly to Portland, Maine that night and do a show there on the 17th, then continue the scheduled tour.

Elvis retired to his master suite at Graceland around 7:00 AM to rest for his evening flight. By late morning, Elvis Presley had died of heart failure.

In a matter of hours the shock registered around the world.

Paramedics were called, but they failed to revive Elvis, and he was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital where further attempts to resuscitate him failed. He was pronounced dead by his physician, Dr. George Nichopolous, who listed the official cause of death as erratic heartbeat, or cardiac arrhythmia.

As the news of Elvis' death spread across the country, radio stations immediately began to play his records. Some stations quickly organized tributes to Elvis while others simply played his music at the request of listeners, many of whom were in a state of shock over his sudden death.

Some people called their favorite radio stations just because they wanted to tell someone their stories about the first time they'd heard Elvis sing or to talk about how much his talent and his music meant to them.

In the same way that many people remember exactly where they were when they heard President John F. Kennedy had been killed, most of Elvis' fans remember where they were the day Elvis died. Mick Fleetwood, of rock group Fleetwood Mac, recalls, 'The news came over like a ton of bricks. I was driving back from the mountains, and I had the radio on. They were playing an Elvis medley, and I thought, 'Great' --- And then they came back with the news'.

The manner in which the major television networks handled the news of Elvis' death illustrated his enormous popularity and the tremendous impact he had on America, something few realized until he was gone.

Data from the television-ratings service Arbitron revealed that on the day Elvis died, there was a huge increase in the number of televisions tuned to evening news programs.

Tony Prince announces Elvis Presley's death on Radio Luxembourg

Two European radio stations also suspended regular programming as soon as Elvis' death was announced. Radio Luxembourg, the continent's most widely listened-to pop station, canceled all its commercials to play Elvis' music nonstop. 'This is the end of rock 'n' roll', said Bob Moore Merlis, an executive with Warner Bros. Records, who compiled an anthology of Elvis' early material several years ago for RCA. 'The void he will leave is impossible to gauge', said Pat Boone, an early rival of Elvis'. Radio Luxembourg was the first radio station in Europe to announce Elvis' death.

Radio Luxembourg, 16th August 1977, 10.41-11.57pm

This recording starts at 10.41pm and you get to hear the last few songs of Mark Wesley doing a chart rundown. The first sign that anything has happened comes at 10.52pm when Wesley tells listeners to stand by for an important announcement. At 11pm Mark Wesley reads the news and announces Elvis' death, and then it's the Tony Prince show. Prince, close to tears at times, devotes his entire show to Elvis, finishing at 3.45am. Unfortunately this recording only captures the first hour. We have edited this for youso it straight to the news announcment (So time, cut to 46min).

Elvis Presley MP3 Audio Tony Prince announces Elvis Presley's death on Radio Luxembourg (46:52) Direct link

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Arleen Miller, of Nebraska, breaks into a sob outside Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion in Memphis
Arleen Miller, of Nebraska, breaks into a sob outside Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion in Memphis.

The staff of television newsrooms considered Elvis' death a late-breaking story. There was not enough time for TV reporters who had been sent to Memphis to file stories for the evening news. Executives had to decide quickly what film footage they could use from their files and where to place the story in relation to the other news of the day. NBC-TV not only rewrote their news lineup to lead off with the story of Elvis' death, but the network also made immediate plans to delay The Tonight Show and put together a late-night news documentary. David Brinkley, a national news anchor for NBC at the time, opened his broadcast with three minutes devoted to Elvis' sudden death. ABC-TV also decided to lead with the Presley story.

The Commercial Appeal August 17 1977.
The Commercial Appeal August 17 1977.

When they learned that NBC would be doing a late-night news special about the significance of Elvis Presley to American music, ABC announced that they would also air a half-hour documentary.

CBS did not follow suit, however. The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, featuring the most respected man in broadcasting at that time, had led the news program ratings for more than a decade. CBS executives chose not to open the evening broadcast with the Presley story. Arbitron's records indicate that when millions of viewers realized this they immediately switched the channel to another network.

Baptist Memorial Hospital, fans wait to hear news on Elvis Presley August 16, 1977.
Baptist Memorial Hospital, fans wait to hear news on Elvis Presley August 16, 1977.

TV News

The CBS decision not to lead with Elvis' death gave the CBS Evening News its lowest ratings in years. (For the record, Roger Mudd was substituting for Walter Cronkite that evening.) CBS devoted only 70 seconds to its story on Elvis, placing it after a lengthy segment on the Panama Canal. The producer for that evening's news was vehemently opposed to leading off with Elvis' death, in spite of other members of the CBS programming staff suggesting it repeatedly. Interviewed later, the producer agreed that he was out of sync with the national consciousness. Two days later, CBS tried to save face by putting together a documentary on Elvis.

A crowd pushes toward the gates of Graceland Mansion in Memphis, to view the body of Elvis Presley
A crowd pushes toward the gates of Graceland Mansion in Memphis, to view the body of Elvis Presley.

Even though Elvis never performed in Europe, countries from all over the world sent reporters to Memphis. The press coverage in foreign newspapers and on European television was almost as extensive as the reporting in the United States. Everywhere in the world, people lamented the loss of an irreplaceable entertainer.

Within one hour after Elvis' death, fans began to gather in front of Graceland.

People wait near the emergency entrance of Baptist Memorial Hospital as the hearse carrying the body of Elvis Presley leaves the hospital Aug. 16, 1977
Fans wait near the emergency entrance of Baptist Memorial Hospital as the hearse carrying the body of Elvis Presley leaves the hospital Aug. 16, 1977.

Elvis Presley MP3 Audio Vernon Presley Talks to the Media (August 16, 1977) (01:35)

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By the next day, when the gates were opened for mourners to view Elvis' body, the crowd was estimated at 20,000. When the gates closed at 6:30 p.m., about 80,000 fans had passed by Elvis' coffin. Many had come from different parts of the country; many from different parts of the world. Eventually, so many mourners arrived that it was impossible for them all to be admitted to Graceland, even with extended calling hours. Law enforcement officials were afraid there might be problems with crowd control, but there were none.

The hot Memphis weather and the close crush of the crowd caused many people to pass out. A medic was stationed nearby to assist anyone who fainted, but no one left because of the heat.

Members of the Shelby County emergency squad treat some of the hundreds of fans who became ill while waiting for a chance to get a glimpse of the body of Elvis Presley at the Graceland Mansion in Memphis.
Members of the Shelby County emergency squad treat some of the hundreds of fans who became ill 
while waiting for a chance to get a glimpse of the body of Elvis Presley at the Graceland Mansion in Memphis.

An exhausted volunteer carries a victim of the heat and confusion to a first aid station inside the gates of Graceland Mansion in Memphis, where thousands gathered for a chance to view Elvis Presley's body.
An exhausted volunteer carries a victim of the heat and confusion to a first aid station inside the gates of Graceland Mansion in Memphis, where thousands gathered for a chance to view Elvis Presley's body.

Elvis Presley Video Elvis Presley Funeral Procession August 18, 1977 (10:15)

'Raw' footage of Elvis' Funeral Procession August 17, 1977 - Never before seen.

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However, an unrelated tragic incident occurred: A drunk driver's car careened into three teenagers in the crowd, killing two of them. As the group of mourners grew around the gates of Graceland, a carnival atmosphere developed; people hawking T-shirts and other souvenirs began to work the crowd. The people who were unable to get into Graceland to pay their last respects to Elvis consoled each other by exchanging anecdotes about their idol. When reporters asked them why they were there, people inevitably gave the same reply: They didn't really know, but they felt they wanted to be where he was this one last time.

Photos: Elvis Presley August 16, 1977

'It isn't enough to say that Elvis is king to his parents', wrote jazz musician Eddie Condon. 'That still isn't a free ticket to behave like a sex maniac in public before millions of impressionable kids. According to a scholarly friend of mine, Jackie Gleason, we'll survive Elvis. 'He can't last', said Gleason, 'I tell you flatly, he can't last'.

Photos: Elvis Presley August 16, 1977

Elvis' fans sent a tremendous array of flowers, which were set out along the bank in front of the house. Every blossom in Memphis had been sold by the afternoon of August 17, and additional flowers were shipped in from other parts of the country. It was the biggest day in the history of FTD, a florists' delivery service. FTD employees claim that more than 2,150 arrangements were delivered. The arrangements were shaped like lightning bolts, guitars, hound dogs, and stars, as well as more traditional wreaths and bouquets. Many of the arrangements were sent immediately to Forest Hill Cemetery, the site of the burial.

After the funeral, Vernon Presley allowed the fans to take away the flowers as mementos.

Numerous celebrities attended Elvis' funeral

Numerous celebrities attended Elvis' funeral, including Caroline Kennedy, country music guitarist Chet Atkins, performers Ann-Margret and George Hamilton, and television evangelist Rex Humbard, who was one of the speakers during the service. Comedian Jackie Kahane, who had opened many of Elvis' concert performances, delivered his eulogy, and a local minister also spoke. Gospel performers sang, including Jake Hess, J.D. Sumner, James Blackwood, and their vocal groups, as well as singer Kathy Westmoreland. The casket was carried to Forest Hill Cemetery in a long motor cortege of all-white automobiles.

Later, when someone threatened to steal Elvis' remains, his casket was moved to the Meditation Garden behind Graceland. Elvis' mother, Gladys' body was also moved to the Meditation Garden in 1977; Vernon Presley died and was buried there in 1979; and Minnie Mae Presley was laid to rest beside the rest of her family in 1980.

Elvis Presley Video November 1977, first time the public were allowed to view Elvis' grave (02:09)

November 1977 - The very first time the public were allowed to view Elvis' grave.

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Elvis News Latest Audio (and video) updates : Video courtesy of Elvis Presley Video Elvis Presley Video Central.

June 26, 1977Indianapolis, Indiana Market Square Arena - Elvis' very last concert performance.

Elvis in Concert June 26, 1977, his last concert
Elvis in Concert June 26, 1977, his last concert

Ticket for Elvis in Concert June 26, 1977, his last concert 
Ticket for Elvis in Concert June 26, 1977, his last concert  

'We'll meet you again, God bless, adios' ......... Elvis Presley

Rock Idol Elvis Presley Dies at 42

Articles about Elvis Presley Elvis Presley and the Events Of 1977
Articles about Elvis Presley Elvis Presley Phenomenon Becomes History : Forest Hill Cemetery on Aug. 18, 1977

Articles about Elvis Presley  A Broken Heart... Hastened Death
Articles about Elvis Presley World's At Standstill For Elvis' Fiancee
Articles about Elvis Presley Firemen's Call To Graceland Was Anything But Routine
Interviews with or about Elvis Presley Interview with Vernon Presley

Elvis Presley, who revolutionized American popular music with his earthy singing style and became a hero to two generations of rock 'n' roll fans, died yesterday in Memphis, Tenn. He was 42.

Shelby County Medical Examiner Dr. Jerry Francisco said last night an autopsy indicated Elvis Presley died of 'cardiac arrhythmia', which he described as a 'severely irregular heartbeat' and 'just another name for a form of heart attack'. He said the three-hour autopsy uncovered no sign of any other diseases -- though Elvis had in recent years been treated at Baptist Memorial Hospital for hypertension, pneumonia and an enlarged colon -- and there was no sign of any drug abuse.

Elvis Presley's body was discovered at 2:30 p.m. Memphis time by his road manager, Joe Esposito, in a bathroom in the singer's multimillion-dollar Graceland Mansion. He was rushed to the Baptist Memorial, where he was met by his personal physician, Dr. George C. Nichopoulos, and pronounced dead.

Photos: Elvis Presley August 16, 1977

Dr. Willis Madrey, a specialist in liver disease at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, said yesterday that two years ago Elvis' doctors sent him a sample of Elvis' liver for analysis. 'It showed no significant abnormalities'. Madrey said, 'nothing of any help at all in evaluation'.

'I had understood he was having some gastrointestinal problems his doctors were trying to evaluate', Madrey said. But 'well over a year ago', Madrey added, he saw one of Elvis' doctors and was told 'he seemed fine' and 'the only problem he had medically was obesity'.

Photos: Elvis Presley August 16, 1977

Ginger Alden reportedly Elvis' fiancee and members of his staff were all at the mansion yesterday at the time the singer was found unconscious, Nichopoulos said.

In 1956, when Elvis came crackling out of every radio and speaker in the land, young Americans notions about independence -- from parents, from religion, from the values of the time -- were forming. Elvis became 'The King' of rock 'n' roll', but also of the emerging youth culture. He was a young, hip-thrusting, white singing music that was essentially black. Part of his attraction was that the '50s teenagers viewed him as epitomizing everything they thought their parents feared they would become.

Their hunches of their parents' fears were well confirmed after Elvis' appearance on a 1956 Ed Sullivan show. While millions of teenagers screamed in unison across the land, a Catholic priest in New York scorned Sullivan for this 'moral injury' and condemned Elvis for his 'voodoo of defiance and frustration'.

Overall, he sold more than 1 million records worldwide and made 33 movies. He was a millionaire many times over and lived in a style that reflected it: ensconced in his Graceland Mansion behind locked gates.

No American performer had so broad an impact on culture around the world. In 1958, Communists blamed the influence of Elvis for a riot in East Berlin as youths threatened to kill a border guard. In 1964, Elvis received a write-in vote for President. A Memphis businessman who got in a fistfight with the singer had to close his shop because fans picketed the place.

His career began its ascent at virtually the same time of James Dean, another young star with a tough image, and Elvis felt a sense of kinship with Dean.

Elvis 'knew I was a friend of Jimmy's', said Nicholas Ray, director of Dean's second film, 'Rebel Without a Cause', so he got down on his knees before me and began to recite whole pages from the script. Elvis must have seen 'Rebel' a dozen times by then and remembered every one of Jimmy's lines.

Elvis' songs, particularly the early ones, expressed succinctly the rising rebellion of young people beginning to break from the Cold War doldrums of the Eisenhower era: 'Have you heard the news/There's good rockin' tonight:' 'You can do what you want/but lay off my blue suede shoes', 'Everybody in the whole cell block/Dancin' to the jail house rock:' 'Don't be cruel/To a heart that's true', 'Baby, let's play house'.

Born in Tupelo, Miss., on Jan. 8, 1935 -- his twin brother, Jesse Garon, died at birth -- Elvis Presley was 18 when he walked into a Memphis studio and paid $4 to record 'My Happiness' and 'That's When Your Heartaches Begin' as a present for his mother.

Raised in a religious atmosphere, Elvis had begun his singing career by performing hymns and gospel tunes with his parents, Vernon and Gladys, at concerts and state fairs. His parents bought him his first guitar at age 11, and he remained close to them even after acquiring a rebellious image -- his feelings for his mother, who died at age 46 of a heart attack were known to be especially strong.

Sam Phillips, owner of the studio, intrigued by the rough, soulful quality of the young truck driver's voice, invited him back to practice with some local musicians. A few months later Phillips' Sun Records released Elvis' version of the blues tune 'That's All Right', backed by the country song 'Blue Moon of Kentucky', and the singer's career was launched. The synthesis of black blues and white country music made Elvis a unique artist from the start and Memphis was quick to appreciate that. Elvis' recording went to the top of the local charts almost immediately, eventually selling 20,000 copies, and Elvis was invited to appear on the Louisiana Hayride country show and at the Grand Ole Opry.

At the Opry, however, the first of the many controversies that were to engulf Elvis almost caused him to give up his career. Told by the talent booker there that he was no good, Elvis broke into tears and left his performing costume in a filling station.

A string of white Cadillacs follow the hearse carrying the body of rock 'n' roll musician Elvis Presley along Elvis Presley Boulevard on the way to Forest Hills Cemetery in Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 19, 1977.
A string of white Cadillacs follow the hearse carrying the body of rock 'n' roll musician Elvis Presley along Elvis Presley Boulevard on the way to Forest Hills Cemetery in Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 19, 1977.

He recovered quickly, though, and went on to record a whole string of hits for Sun Records, which sold his contract for $40,000 -- then a record -- to RCA in 1955. His first record for RCA was 'Heartbreak Hotel', which early in 1956 made him a nationwide sensation.

Months earlier, in November 1955, Col. Tom Parker, an established country music agent, had concluded a management agreement with Elvis. Parker was instrumental in arranging Elvis' switch from Sun to RCA and was to remain Elvis Presley's manager to the end, shrewdly guiding his client's career, limiting or encouraging public exposure in such a way that Elvis was almost always able to command top dollar on the competitive concert and recording circuit.

Above, People wait near the emergency entrance of Baptist Memorial Hospital as the hearse carrying the body of Elvis Presley leaves the hospital Aug. 16, 1977. Fans began gathering when news of Presley's death was made public at about 4 p.m. 

Once, after Elvis had been made an honorary narcotics agent by President Nixon, a White House staffer contacted Parker to request a musical performance. Parker told the staffer that Elvis would be honored, and that his fee for the occasion would be $25,000. That ended that.

Six months after the record 'Heartbreak Hotel' had rippled heartthrobs through teenage America, Ed Sullivan promised to bring 'The King' into the nation's living rooms: for $50,000 for three performances.

When the first show hit the airwaves on Sept. 9, 1956, the response was predictable. Sullivan showed him only from the waist up, rocking around on the tube. Record sales soared, and the critics had new ammunition.

New York Times critic Jack Gould observed: 'Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability. His specialty is rhythm songs which he renders in an undistinguished whine: his phrasing, if it can be called that, consists of stereotyped variations that go with a beginner's aria in a bathtub. For the ear he is an unutterable bore, not nearly so talented as Frank Sinatra back in the latter's rather hysterical days at the Paramount Theater.

'From watching Mr. Presley it is wholly evident that his skill lies in another direction. He is a rock-and-roll version of one of the most standard acts in show business: the virtuoso of the hootchy-kootchy. His one specialty is an accentuated movement of the body that heretofore has been previously identified with the repertoire of the blonde bombshells of the burlesque runway'.

And at the Washington Post, Richard Coe, reviewing an early Elvis movie, spoke of the singer's popularity as a manifestation of an 'adulation of youth, youth that is raw, untrained, and undisciplined, youth which worships the most primitive urges and physical appeal, youth which has no truck with its elders.

'...This youth lives in a crowd and insists that it is lonely and misunderstood, appears to have no education, respect for customs or elders and no manners whatsoever'.

Other performers, on shows with Elvis Presley, were puzzled by the strong reaction the young singer got from audiences. Jerry Lee Lewis took to closing his shows by standing on the piano in an attempt to upstage Elvis. But it did no good. Elvis was even able to take others' material -- like Carl Perkins' 'Blue Suede Shoes' -- and make it a hit of even greater magnitude.

'Elvis had the looks on me', Perkins once told an interviewer. 'The girls were going for him for more reasons than music. Elvis was hittin' 'em with sideburns, flashy clothes and no ring on that finger. I had three kids. There was no way of keeping Elvis from being the man in that music'.

A month after the first Sullivan appearance, 20th Century Fox was readying Elvis' first film for Thanksgiving release. Originally titled 'The Reno Brothers', it was changed to 'Love Me Tender' to capitalize on the song Elvis had introduced on the Sullivan show.

The studio made 575 prints of the film for its first run -- the largest in Fox's history.

A year later Elvis was drafted into the U.S. Army. Boarding a troop ship for an 18-month tour of duty in Europe as a Jeep driver, he told a reporter: 'The first place I want go is Paris and look up Brigitte Bardot'.

Elvis was just another cog in the military machine, stationed in Frieberg, West Germany. But Col. Parker had ensured that Elvis would not be forgotten during the two years he was away by having him record a stack of songs before leaving for Europe. During his period of military service, Elvis made no public appearances and completed only one recording session. Of the five singles released during Elvis' absence from the U.S. rock 'n' roll scene, all eventually became million sellers.

When Elvis was discharged a sergeant early in 1960, he was still 'The King', though stars such as Ricky Nelson had come along in the interim.

Elvis returned from the Army to find that rock 'n' roll tastes had changed dramatically in his absence. Elvis himself underwent a drastic change of style, eschewing his trademark sideburns and hip-shaking music in favor of romantic, dramatic ballads, such as 'It's Now or Never' and 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?'

These records proved to be as popular as his hard-rocking numbers, but Elvis by this time was more interested in making movies than anything else. After an appearance on a Frank Sinatra TV special, in which he alarmed old fans by performing in tails, Elvis retired from concerts and television for nearly a decade.

His movies during this period included such potboilers as 'Fun in Acapulco' and 'Girls! Girls! Girls!' disillusioning some fans even further. In 1968, a change of direction, and Elvis who had seemed to many to be old fashioned after the emergence of the Beatles in 1964, once again became the hottest thing in pop music.

'It was a staggering moment', writes Greil Marcus in his book 'Mystery Train'. 'In the months preceding, Elvis had begun to turn away from the seamless boredom of the movies and the hackneyed music of the soundtrack albums, staking out a style on a few half-successful singles, presenting the new persona of a man whose natural roughness was tempered by experience. The records had been careful, respectable efforts, but now he was putting everything on the line, risking his comforts and his case for his chance to start over'.

Photos: Elvis Presley August 16, 1977

The vehicle of Elvis' comeback was a Christmastime TV special, broadcast by NBC. The response to that show encouraged Elvis to get together with guitarist James Burton and pianist Glen D. Hardin; two of rock's top recording session musicians and go out on the road again. His audience on that concert tour -- and on his subsequent tours, which brought him to the Washington area three times in recent years -- was more mature than that of a decade earlier, reflecting perhaps the fact that Elvis himself was settling down.

On May 1, 1967, Elvis had married Priscilla Beaulieu, the daughter of a U.S. Army colonel. On Feb. 1, 1968, a daughter, Lisa Marie, was born to the couple.

The marriage ended, after lengthy and expensive divorce proceedings, in October 1973.

After the divorce, Priscilla Presley, who the singer had begun dating while in the Army, was given custody of the child. Elvis never married again, but it was recently reported that he was about to marry 20-year-old Ginger Alden. She was reportedly spotted wearing a $50,000 diamond engagement ring from Elvis.

Reports of Elvis' declining health and increasing weight first date from the time of his divorce. By 1976, in the authoritative 'Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock 'n' Roll', critic Peter Graining was moved to say, 'It seems to be a continuing battle ... and Elvis is not winning. His hair is dyed, his teeth are capped, his middle is girdled, his voice is a husk, and his eyes film over with glassy impersonality.

He is no longer, it seems, used to the air and, because he cannot endure the scorn of strangers, will not go out if his hair isn't right, if his weight -- which fluctuates wildly -- is not down. He has tantrums onstage and, like some aging politician, is reduced to the ranks of grotesque'.

Photos: Elvis Presley August 16, 1977

Earlier this year, Elvis canceled several performances in Louisiana and returned to Memphis for what his physicians said was exhaustion. And in Baltimore, he cut short a show and disappeared form the stage for several minutes, only to return claiming he had merely been answering 'the call of nature'. But after hearing of Elvis' death, Baltimore fan Beverly Hochstedt, who sat patiently outside the Baltimore Civic Center for 40 hours when tickets for his show there last March first went on sale, recalled not the erratic show, but the man.

'Oh, God, what can I say', sobbed the 31-year-old fan. 'I just feel so lost, I feel shattered. I feel like I lost a very, very, close, very, dear friend, part of my own family'.

Reaction among fans, performers and music industry executives elsewhere was also emotional. In Santiago, Chile, newspapers stopped the presses and radio stations changed their evening programming to recount the life of 'El Rey de Rock 'n' Roll'. In Memphis, the telephone system was reported unable to handle the volume of calls coming into the city from around the country.

Hundreds of weeping fans gathered outside Baptist Memorial and Graceland Mansion last night.

Two European radio stations also suspended regular programming as soon as Elvis' death was announced. Radio Luxembourg, the continent's most widely listened-to pop station, canceled all its commercials to play Elvis' music nonstop. 'This is the end of rock 'n' roll', said Bob Moore Merlis, an executive with Warner Bros. Records, who compiled an anthology of Elvis' early material several years ago for RCA. 'The void he will leave is impossible to gauge', said Pat Boone, an early rival of Elvis'.

Forest Hills Cemetery in Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 19, 1977.

Vernon Presley, Elvis Presley's father, places a rose on his son's grave Nov. 24, 1977, as newspeople were permitted inside the grounds at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., for the first time since Elvis' funeral.
Vernon Presley, Elvis Presley's father, places a rose on his son's grave Nov. 24, 1977, as newspeople were permitted inside the grounds at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., for the first time since Elvis' funeral.

'The King is dead', said former Beatle John Lennon last night. 'But rock 'n' roll will never die. Long live the King'.

'His music was the only thing exclusively ours', said Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys. 'His wasn't my and mom and dad's music. His voice was a total miracle in the music business'.

The White House said last night that President Carter will 'probably issue a statement on Elvis Presley today'.

Statement by the President on the Death of Elvis Presley

President Carter : 'Elvis Presley's death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than 20 years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country'. (August 17, 1977).

No arrangements have been announced yet for Elvis' funeral.

1977 The Washington Post Co.

By Larry Rohter and Tom Zito
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, August 17, 1977
(1977 The Washington Post Co.)

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Read what we wrote for the 30th Anniversary;

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Articles about Elvis Presley For a more (very) detailed history of Elvis Presley see our pages; starting at Elvis Presley 1935-1953


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