45 Years Gone: Elvis Presley Remembered

45 Years Gone: Elvis Presley Remembered
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Today (August 16th) marks the 45th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Elvis died of a heart attack on August 16th, 1977 at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 42-years-old.

The day after Elvis’ passing, then-President Jimmy Carter said in an official statement:

Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than twenty years ago he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled.

His music and his personality, fusing the styles of White country and Black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense and he was a symbol to people the world over, of the vitality, rebelliousness and good humor of his country.

Fans are currently participating in ongoing “Elvis Week” celebrations in and around “The King’s “Graceland mansion.

Elvis would have turned 87 back on January 8th, and unbelievably, 2020 marked the first year that Elvis Presley has been gone longer than he was alive.

Tragically, on July 13th, 2020 Elvis and Priscilla Presley‘s only grandson, Lisa Maria Presley‘s child, Benjamin Keough. Keough shot himself with a shotgun at his home in Calabasas, California. He was 27-years-old.

The new biopic, Elvis, opened on June 24th to ecstatic reviews. The film was directed by Baz Luhrmann with Austin Butler portraying Elvis and Tom Hanks as the legendary Col. Tom Parker. To date, Elvis has so far earned over $261.5 million at the box office globally.

Released last November 12th was the four-disc set, Elvis: Back In Nashville, featuring a whopping 82 original recordings capturing “The King” and his musicians live-in-the-studio laying down basic tracks. The collection chronicles Elvis Presley’s final Nashville sessions.

In April 2018, the eagerly awaited HBO documentary Elvis Presley: The Searcher premiered on April 14th on HBO, including never-before-seen photos and footage from private collections worldwide. The doc was directed by Bruce Springsteen‘s longtime filmmaker, Thom Zimny and produced by Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau, Priscilla Presley, and original “Memphis Mafia” member Jerry Schilling, who now serves as the president of the Beach Boys‘ Brother Records’ Inc.

In 2010, Elvis’s personal physician Dr. George Nichopoulos — infamously known worldwide as “Dr. Nick” — published his memoirs about his decade over-prescribing drugs to Elvis in the memoir, The King And Dr. Nick. In 1980, Nichopoulos, who died in 2016 — and over the years has been rated no better than a dope dealer by Elvis’ family, friends, and legion of fans — was indicted on 14 counts of over-prescribing drugs to Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as 12 other patients. According to court records, in 1977 — the year Elvis died at age 42 — Nichopoulos had prescribed over 10,000 doses of amphetamines, barbiturates, narcotics, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, laxatives, and hormones for Elvis.

In an interview with The Daily Mail, Nichopoulos revealed that Elvis was suffering from, “arthritis, gout, a fatty liver, an enlarged heart, migraines, constipation, and a colon swollen to twice its normal size.” Elvis was also reportedly battling glaucoma — pressure on the eyeball — as well as hepatitis, an enlarged liver, and Cushing’s Syndrome — a hormonal disease that causes bloating — which was most likely was attributed to the herculean doses of hard dope he took on a daily basis.

“Dr. Nick” went to great lengths over the years to dodge the blame of “The King’s” death by stressing that the majority of Elvis’ drugs were gotten from sources other than him — especially the drugs that were found in his system post-mortem: “My recollection is that there were four drugs found that I had prescribed out of the 12, 13, or 14 that were found in his body. And the others came from who knows where; they may have been from other doctors or other friends.”

Dr. George Nichopoulos’ prescriptions for Elvis Presley during the final 32 months of his life:

1975 — Amphetamines: 1,296; Sedatives: 1,891; Narcotics: 910

1976 — Amphetamines: 2,372; Sedatives: 2,680; Narcotics: 1,059

1977 (through August 16th) — Amphetamines: 1,790; Sedatives: 4,996; Narcotics: 2,019

Robert Plant recalled the night he and Led Zeppelin met Elvis back in 1974: “We talked with Presley for about three hours, it just went on and on and on. And we were talking about the root — where did it come from, and it came from him. And he still got it. He still was into that Delta (music) thing — y’know, ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight, y’know, all that stuff that got him going in the first place. But he also knew — and he had a great sense of humor — and he knew that he was locked in this self-parody.”

Paul McCartney explained that although Elvis’ health problems were no secret by 1977, his death was still heartbreaking for his original fans: “It was. . . it was still a bit of a shock with Elvis — ‘Oh my God — there’s an era ended,’ that sort of thing — ‘Oh, we’ll never see him again, y’know, fat or thin.'”

Just prior to his own untimely death in 1980, John Lennon gave his typically cynical take on the death of his original hero and greatest inspiration: “When Elvis died, people were harassing me in Tokyo for a comment. Well, I’ll give it now: He died when he went in the army (laughs). That’s when they killed him, that’s when they castrated him, so the rest of it was just a living death.”

Pete Townshend says that the enormity of pressures surrounding Elvis are what ultimately led to his death at such a young age: “That’s a terrible tragedy when you think what a decent kind of guy he seemed to be when you read the stuff. Y’know he came to pieces at the end. And it’s easy to blame Vegas, but it wasn’t about Vegas, it was just about the load.”

Keith Richards credits Elvis for making rock a truly colorless art form: “The beautiful thing about Elvis was that, wow, he’s just sort of turned everybody into everybody it doesn’t matter now — ‘Is the guy black or white’ anymore. . . Y’know, and maybe even you can do it!”

Daughter Lisa Marie Presley was asked if since becoming a recording artist in her own right, her bond with her father has gotten stronger: “I think so, in that, I mean, I’ve always had the most, y’know, he’s been, like, untouchable in my eyes in terms of idolized for what he did. But I think me going through — on a much less scale — what he had to go through, I think I have more, I’m more locked into him on that realm.”

Close friend Tony Orlando recalled pleading with Elvis to not let his fame cut him off from the world: “I remember saying to Elvis one day, y’know, I said, ‘You are missing out on life, man. Because I just saw Muhammad Ali in front of the Stage Delicatessen; he was outside doin’ magic tricks for kids and signing autographs for kids and he’s enjoying his fame.’ I said, ‘Elvis, you never get out. You’re stuck in this gold record cell. C’mon, at least I get out!

Elton John caught Elvis Presley in concert at Washington, D.C.’s Capital Centre just over a year before his death and after meeting the man, he walked away traumatized by the state his hero was in: “‘Meet’ would probably be an extravagant word. I shook hands with him backstage at a concert in Washington. My mother was there and it was very sad. And I thought, y’know, maybe even during the performance. . . I thought there might be (laughs). . . It was so, really tragic. I mean, really. . . so heavy — there was no eyes there. And yet he still had the most incredible charisma and magic, even though he was like a zombie before. But to meet him — even to see him was a great honor.”


Coming on December 2nd is the seven-disc Elvis On Tour box set. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley‘s legendary tour the movie was culled from, the Elvis On Tour CD / Blu-ray box set is comprised of the audio from four of the shows — and two rehearsals — that were part of “The King’s” 1972 North American tour.

The original concert film opened on November 1st, 1972 and went on to win the award for Best Documentary Film at the 30th Golden Globe Awards.

The new set features a total of 145 tracks, including 91 tracks that have been previously unreleased, as well as the award-winning concert film on Blu-ray.

Categories: Pulse Music