It was 37 years ago (August 16, 1977) that legendary performer Elvis Presley died. Elvis’ influence on popular culture in the mid 20th century is hard to overstate, and he left a broad range of recorded music that endures. Like millions of his fans, I remember precisely where I was when I heard the news of Elvis’ death (Geyser basin, Yellowstone National Park). Elvis’ music has been a blessing in my life; I never grow tired of listening, and it always seems fresh and new.
I’ve twice visited Elvis’ Memphis home, Graceland. The first visit was just a few years after it opened to the public and the second decades later. I was surprised to see how Elvis’ fame had not diminished over the years. Many other entertainers popularity wanes after death, but not so with Elvis. The place was packed and attendance at Graceland increases yearly. Elvis’ recordings still sell millions of copies annually and now there is a whole generation of fans who never knew what the world was like when Elvis lived in it.
One of my favorite places in Graceland was the “Hall of Gold” in Elvis’ Trophy Room. It’s a long hall the displays most of those gold and platinum record awards Elvis received while he was alive (his racquetball court is jammed with awards issued after his death). It’s a truly impressive display, even to the most jaded cynic. I was thrilled to be standing in a hall I knew Elvis was so very proud of and in which he had likely stood many times himself.