Elvis Presley remembered on his 43rd death anniversary
Elvis the aspiring singer in Loving You, released in blazing color (1957)
Photos taken from the book
Elvis Presley remembered on his 43rd death anniversary
Leah C. Salterio (The Philippine Star) - August 6, 2020 - 12:00am

Did you know that the King of Rock n’ Roll had a twin brother? Yes, Elvis Aaron Presley was born in a small shack in East Tupelo, Mississippi with his twin, christened Jesse Garon Presley, on Jan. 8, 1935. However, the latter died at birth and was buried in an unmarked grave in the local cemetery.

At that time, the burial was understandable for Elvis’ parents, Vernon and Gladys Presley, since they never had enough money. Yet, love, support and encouragement were never lacking from the parents. From the time Elvis was only two years old, he was always egged on by his parents to sing with the church choir.

Apparently, it was destined that there could only be one King of Rock n’ Roll. He lived for 42 years, died in 1977 and on Aug. 16, it would have also been 43 years since Elvis left for the Great Beyond.

In the 2017 release, Elvis, The Legend: Authorized Book from the Graceland Archives, by Gillian Gaar, the King of Rock n’ Roll was immortalized in a heavily illustrated biography released on his 40th death anniversary.

The book is amusingly littered with never-before-seen Elvis photographs, from the time he was born with his parents, when he turned 11 and received his first guitar as a birthday gift from his churchmates, a teenager playing with his first toy gun, his first venture into recording with Sun Records, that laid the foundation for the rest of his career.

Interestingly, even Elvis’ old recording contracts, his first concert tickets, posters, hotel receipts (one even from Paris), authorization letters from the guys who represented him and his parents, music sheets, album covers, check payments, credit cards and his normal notes in scratch papers were all documented and preserved.

Sure, everybody knows who Elvis Presley is. His music undoubtedly lives on even through the younger generation. In the ongoing The Voice Teens on ABS-CBN, 15-year-old contestant Josh Nubla rendered Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling in Love in the Blind Auditions and landed in Team Apl.de.Ap.

Elvis was only 21 when the “wild ride” started in 1956 and Presleymania was felt all over the US. That was the year Hound Dog was released and Elvis popularized his signature, bump-and-grind routine. The song became his best-selling single, with Don’t Be Cruel on the flip side, another massive hit.

Elvis also made his big screen debut that year with director Robert Webb’s civil war era drama, Love Me Tender. Meanwhile, Hal Kanter’s Loving You, was released in blazing color in 1957. The film was loosely based on Elvis’ rise to fame – from being a truck driver to becoming a singing star. One of the film’s highlights was when Elvis crooned Teddy Bear, wearing a gorgeous red and white suit.

His first Christmas album was also memorable because it featured Santa Claus not in his traditional sleigh, but driving a shiny, big black Cadillac. He recorded his versions of traditional Christmas carols like Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem and the poignant I’ll Be Home for Christmas, as well as religious pieces like Take My Hand, Precious Lord and I Believe.

The book, Elvis, The Legend, released in 2017 on his 40th death anniversary

Elvis didn’t escape army training. On Sept. 22, 1958, after undergoing basic training in Texas, he spent his life as a “soldier boy” in Frankfurt, Germany, where he became a member of the 32nd Tank Battalion in the Third Armored Division for 18 months.

After his active duty in the army, Elvis’ comeback to the live performance scene was much heralded. He lost no time to get back to the grind, recording, performing and acting on the big screen again.

Following his much-publicized proposal to Priscilla Beaulieu whom he met in Germany, came the wedding on May 1, 1967. Exactly a year later, the couple’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, was born.

At the time Elvis married Priscilla, he had already acquired Graceland, his 13-acre Memphis property with his mansion. It was originally part of a 500-acre expanse called Graceland Farms, built by original owner, S.E. Toof, who named the farm after his daughter Grace. Elvis bought the property for only $102,500 back in March 1957, while he was filming Loving You.

Elvis was originally interred in a mausoleum at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis when he died on Aug. 16, 1977. However, after only less than two months, due to security reasons, he and his mother were transferred to the Meditation Garden inside Graceland.

All year round, Elvis fans and tourists from all over the world pay their pilgrimage to Graceland to remember the King of Rock n’ Roll. Flowers and messages constantly flood the Meditation Garden and millions wrote heartfelt notes, loving remarks and memorable comments on the fieldstone around Elvis’ home.

Some maintained Elvis’ name is actually an anagram for “lives.” No wonder, he continues to live in every memory, song, film or any simple memento that his fans remember him by.

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