It’s the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis. You aren’t at work, are you? Of course you aren’t. You’re at home, wearing a sequined jumpsuit and reflecting on where you were 30 years ago today.
I know where I was.
I remember not because I loved Elvis, but because our neighbor Selma* loved, loved, loved Elvis. When Selma learned that Elvis went to the Great Hereafter she stood in the road and sobbed. She didn’t just cry, she wailed. Like a banshee.
Then there were the candles. Eventually there was a neighborhood caravan up to Graceland, which I was not part of. At least in my memory there was a caravan. I don’t really remember if they actually went, my overwrought Elvis-loving neighbors, or if there was just a lot of talk and beer consumption by the light of Selma’s shrine. It was a lovely shrine, under the palm trees in her front yard.
I was very young, so it’s kind of a blur.
There was live coverage blaring from the crappy AM radio Selma usually took to the beach. The grownups drank lots of beer and talked about Our Great National Tragedy.
They didn’t know about the toilet yet, not that it would have mattered. He was, after all, the King.
Yankees get drunk and plot roadtrips to Florida. Floridians get drunk and plot roadtrips to Graceland. It’s the Cycle of Life.
At any rate, if you’re reading this you’re probably not at Graceland today. That means (I hope) that you’re at home, watching the TCM Elvis movie marathon and making dinner from recipes in Are You Hungry Tonight?
The hagiography at the Graceland site not enough Elvis info-tainment for you? Too lazy to search google? Here’s some suggestions for you:
You can visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Elvis Induction Page.
You can read the remarkable list of hundreds of songs about Elvis and/or Nixon. (sadly, with no links or mp3s, but the novelty wears off prettty fast, anyway).
You can groove to the sounds of Jesus Presley.
You can visit the First Church of Jesus Christ, Elvis (who I would swear used to have a better website, but maybe that was a different Elvis Church).
You can go to Vegas and get married at the Elvis Chapel.
You can catch up on the Girls Guide to Elvis.
You can read about the saga of the Elvis statue in Memphis and the efforts to have it restored to it’s former glory:
The statue was popular with tourists. It was so popular tourists climbed onto the base of the statue and managed to pry loose the metal fringe on the jump suit. They also treated it like the front wall at Graceland until the statue was tattooed with well wishes and not-so-well wishes. “I touched Elvis’ butt,” seemed particularly egregious.
That probably would have continued had locals not begun complaining about the condition of the statue around 1994. The question of who was responsible for the upkeep and, more important, who would pay for the needed cleaning and renovation of the statue hit a web of City Hall red tape.
Enter Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges, local eccentric and self-professed visitor from another planet. Mongo claimed the statue as his own since no one from the city would take specific responsibility.
He announced he would remove the statue, take it in for repairs, pay for the repairs, gold plate it and then install it as part of his former Front Street nightspot Prince Mongo’s Planet. When he showed up at the plaza one morning and a large crane followed, Memphis police were ready. The move was put off when police told Mongo the crane couldn’t park there. Mongo pledged to come back the next day. But his interest waned. Shortly thereafter, the statue was repaired by others.
[read the whole article]
Last, but not least, don’t forget the Elvis Lives fanclub.
*not her real name.