Fans from all over toast Elvis’s 70th
Hundreds gather in cold, have cake at Graceland
Dreary weather wasn’t enough to keep faithful fans from showing up to celebrate the birthday of a music legend.
More than 700 Elvis fans, most of them from outside the United States, crowded the muddied front lawn of Graceland in 30-degree temperatures to be a part of the Elvis Presley Day ceremony Saturday morning. The event commemorated what would have been the artist’s 70th birthday Saturday.
After officially declaring the day “Elvis Presley Day,” county Mayor A C Wharton cut and passed out birthday cake to an Elvis-clad crowd, including one man who wore shorts to show off Elvis tattoos that covered his arms and legs.
“You can count the number of records he has sold but you just can’t measure the effect Elvis continues to have on people,” Wharton said. “Each year, the passion the people feel seems to get deeper and deeper.”
Elvis’s music has gone from 45 rpm records to digital music stored on devices like iPods, transitioning smoothly to whatever the current format is, said Jon Hornyak, director of the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Inc.
Presley received a special record sales award from the Recording Industry Association of America and Sony BMG/RVA Records.
“Today, five years is a successful career. I don’t think we’ll ever see any like it again,” Hornyak said of Presley.
Tomokazu Funahashi, 28, from Japan, said he listens to Elvis every day on his train ride to work.
“Elvis is cool in every language. I don’t know why, he just is,” Funahashi said.
Being an ageless sex symbol also keeps interest in Elvis high, said Kevin Kane, president of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Elvis isn’t really aging at all. People remember a young, vibrant, hip-gyrating Elvis,” Kane said.
Two Australian women agreed with Kane’s logic.
“He was the sexiest man God ever breathed life into,” Trudy Boyle, 48, said smiling as she prepared to tour Presley’s home. Then she added somberly, “God took him out early.”
It was 57-year-old Heather Anderson’s second trip to Graceland, and she said she was still getting butterflies.
“He just overwhelms you. I cried all the way through his house last year,” Anderson said.
- Andre Cherry: 529-2322
No Comments Yet
You can be the first to comment!