42 years ... gone too soon ... 42 years ... gone too long ... Elvis Presley ... Remembered for eternity ... 1935-1977 | 1977-2019 ...
Elvis: 42 years on ... and the world turns ...
It's hard to believe but here we are, 42 years on from a day carved indelibly in the memory of every Elvis fan old enough to be around when the stunning news of Elvis' death was announced.
42 years gone, but paradoxically, 42 years where he has been with us ever more visible and all encompassingly than when he lived.
Today Elvis is bigger and more entrenched in popular culture and conscience than back in 1977, when his legendary status was acknowledged but barely understood by the world at large. Today Elvis' iconic status and continued relevance is universally acknowledged. It's not just Elvis fans commemorating this 42nd anniversary, not just the native English speaking countries of the world. Today the whole world joins us in remembering Elvis Presley, universally acknowledging him as the King. From the USA, UK, East and Western Europe, South America, to Thailand, Japan and down to Australia, the media coverage is pan global and prolific. Today, the world commemorates and celebrates the living legend that is Elvis Presley.
And yet today's view of Elvis is so different from that of 42 years ago.
Indeed it is so different from even 10 years ago.
And the Elvis world itself has changed too, beyond all recognition in fact. Today, on the 42nd anniversary, it's perhaps a good time to reflect on how things have changed over the last 42 years.
The Commercial Appeal August 17, 1977.
Another time, another place: a personal perspective of history
To understand just how monumental a perception change has taken place we need to go back to how things were in 1977. When Elvis died I was a 14-year-old teenager living in a rurally remote part of the U.K. Getting up to date news of Elvis was limited. We had the bible of Elvis - the Jerry Hopkins biography of the King and more recent information could be got via reading the fan publications 'Elvis Monthly' and 'Elvisly Yours' in WH Smiths (but not purchasing them). It was only once the tabloids (The Sun and The Daily Mirror principally), after years of ignoring Elvis, suddenly found in 1977 that pictures and stories of Elvis sold papers, that the worrying stories of Elvis' health problems started to appear on a regular basis.
Elvis was still hitting the pop charts with regularity. Suspicion and Girl of My Best Friend had been released as singles and had climbed high in the UK pop charts, as had Moody Blue (memorably danced to by Pans People on BBC's Top of the Pops) and Way Down (Way Down shooting to number 1 upon his death). If people had an Elvis album, it tended to be the releases of the budget Camden Record label (these were still austere times compared to now), and if records stores stocked any Elvis album, it was a mere handful. Greatest hits and/or 'best of' albums were a rarity.
Our exposure to Elvis film footage was courtesy of television, principally through the broadcasting of the 68 Comeback Special, That's The Way It Was, and the Aloha Special, and the screenings of many of Elvis' movies in the kiddies morning time slot during the school holidays. The video player was still a new thing, and if Elvis VHS videos cassettes existed, they were not readily available.
Being an Elvis fan back then was not such a great thing amongst our peer groups.
Teenagers like my older sister were dismissive of Elvis, preferring the hard rock of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, and if older music was listened to it was that of the Beatles and Beach Boys and their ilk.
Classmates were more into the current bands and stars.
Vernon Presley Talks to the Media (August 16, 1977) (01:35)
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.
Elvis Presley's songs are unforgettable - they have stood the test of time, especially his singles of the 1950s, a decade in which he had a song at No. 1. for 59 weeks and 4 No. 1 albums ('56-'59). Read More.