Wednesday saw the 40th anniversary of the death of the King of Rock n’ Roll.
Elvis Presley was found dead in his home on Aug. 16, 1977. The legendary performer suffered a heart attack, widely blamed on years of prescription drug abuse.
But the grim details of Presley’s death took a backseat Wednesday to a celebration of his life and music, centered around his Graceland estate in Memphis, Tenn.
“It truly is amazing how music is a universal language. And Elvis Presley was part of that universal language around the world with his music,” said Memphis Convention and Visitor’s Bureau spokesman Kevin Kern.
Kern said Elvis continues to be a fascination for people — even those too young to have been around during his performing career.
“35 per cent of the visitors to Graceland are 40 years old or younger…he’s just a part of pop-culture history,” Kern said.
Saskatoon’s Tom Blackwell made the trip to Memphis to honour Presley’s memory.
The 73-year-old retired opthamologist said he was hooked the first time he heard Presley on the radio.
“His music was really quite different in the early ’50s from what had existed before. So, for a person 12, 13 years of age —that really is a time when music becomes quite important,” he said.
While he still loves the tunes, Blackwell said he mostly confines his appreciation to listening, rather than trying his hand at impersonating
“I never had a good voice for singing. So I did all my singing in the shower or in my bedroom, that was about it,” he said.