Another Year Without Elvis

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. I have lived in this area for my entire life. This area oozes Elvis. Whenever I meet someone from another area and they find out I am from Memphis almost always their first comment is, “Hey, That is where Elvis was from!” Well, not exactly, but pretty close.

Elvis was actually born and raised in a small town in Mississippi called Tupelo. However, many of Elvis’s musical influences came from right here in Memphis, Tennessee. Elvis used to sneak into the Blues clubs on Beale Street in downtown Memphis because he loved the music. If you have ever listened to some the the great Blues musicians, then you will hear many similarities in Elvis’s music.

Living in Memphis you grow to have a totally different view of Elvis than many other people from around the world. The perspective of a native Memphian on Elvis is very skewed due to the frenzy that still surrounds the icon of Rock and Roll music. Don’t get me wrong, Elvis was an amazing musician and from what I have been told by many that knew him he was a wonderful man. I just don’t understand why people from all over the world come and gather at his home, Graceland, and weep at his grave. Thousands of people make this trip in any given year. Some people come every year. Others still come not once but twice a year, once to celebrate what would have been his birthday on January 8, and then again in August to remember his death. Then there are those who do not think that Elvis is dead.

The rumors of Elvis still being alive and in hiding somewhere have always given me such a laugh. Not only does it sound like something you would only see on some daytime soap opera, but I also know for a fact that it is not possible. As a child my father’s best friend would occasionally tell us stories about Elvis. He had met him several times and told us funny anecdotes about him, and just about how he was a good man. However, this man also had knowledge of Elvis that only a select few have. This man worked at the funeral home that handled Elvis’s funeral. My father’s best friend personally took Elvis’s jewelry off to give to Priscilla Presley before Elvis was buried. This was definitely the most morbid thought to put into the mind of a child. The image was stuck into my mind. This man who I knew so well and was like an uncle to me, taking jewelry off of a deceased musical legend. Morbid yes, but that is something I will never forget.

I was born after Elvis passed away. Therefore I was not fortunate enough to be able to see Elvis in his glory days, or even at his worst. All I know is what I see in documentaries, what I have been told from family, and what I learned in my trips to Graceland. When I was younger I would say that I hated Elvis. Living in this area can definitely tarnish your view of him. It seems as if we aren’t known for anything but Elvis when there is so much else here for people to see. Now that I am an adult and passed my bratty teenage years I can see the talent that he always had and how important it was for music. I see the hope that he gave to so many people. I see the joy in the eyes of visitors to Graceland. I hear the happiness in the hearts of fans when they speak of or hear his music.

Each year we all look back and remember Elvis, he was a musical legend, a husband, a father, and a friend to so many people. Even to those who never actually met him face to face felt as if they knew him, they still show their love and admiration for him by honoring his life each year. Thankfully I live in this area and can see this wonderful event take place.


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