Just one more day, and he would have been touring again. But as it happened, Elvis Presley’s lifestyle caught up with sooner than that. Over the preceding few years, he had become seriously overweight, and also addicted to drugs. By the time of his death, Presley was sick enough that he was having difficulty staying upright throughout his concerts. His friends and crew were doing their best to conceal his difficulties, but things had been slipping for some time.
Elvis was buried in Memphis, next to his mother’s grave, two days after his death – although even today, decades later, sightings of the King of Rock and Roll continue (it’s just barely plausible that a man born in 1935 might be alive today, although in Elvis’ case it would seem to be less the years than the mileage).
It may seem unbelievable today, but there was a time when he wasn’t ‘the King’. In fact, there was a time when he was barely even Elvis Presley. In the period from the start of 1967 through to May of 1968, he released 8 singles – only 2 of which made the top 40, and none of which reached higher than number 28. That all changed with his “Comeback Special” in June 1968, the first time he had performed live since 1961. Broadcast on tv, it made him a household name once more, and from that point on, there would be no looking back.
Presley parlayed the success of the special into a residency at the newly opened International Hotel, in Las Vegas. On the day of his first concert there, July 31, 1969, Elvis was asked by a journalist how it felt to be the King of Rock’n’Roll. Elvis pointed at Fats Domino, who was also present: “No,” he said, “that’s the real king of rock and roll.”
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Aaron Presley, was born to Vernon Elvis and Gladys Love Presley in a two room house built by Vernon. He was preceded into the world by his stillborn brother, Jesse Garon Presley, some 35 minutes earlier.
Presley is one of the best known and most popular rock stars of all time, achieving a level of fame and success in his 42 years that remains the yardstick by which all celebrities must still be measured, and if you don’t already know who he was… well, you were probably born after 1977.
Also, although Guinness doesn’t keep records on it, he is also probably the most-frequently impersonated human being of all time.