Elvis died 35 Years Ago Today
Posted in the Elizabethton Forum
#1 Aug 16, 2012
(AP) MEMPHIS, Tenn.- Elvis Presley's ex-wife Priscilla and their only daughter Lisa Marie stunned a crowd of thousands Wednesday night when they unexpectedly greeted fans who had flocked to Graceland for a candlelight vigil marking the 35th anniversary of the singer's death.
The vigil began Wednesday night after Priscilla Presley and her daughter made the unscheduled and impromptu appearance on a stage set up just inside the walls of Graceland, Elvis' Memphis mansion. Together they briefly thanked the crowd for their undying admiration of the rock `n' roll icon.
It was the first time both women had appeared together at the annual gathering, which became an official event in 1980.
Photos: Elvis Presley - From Tupelo to Memphis
Priscilla said the sight of thousands of fans holding up candles in tribute to Elvis was amazing.
"This is something that Elvis would never, ever have believed could have taken place here," said the actress and businesswoman, who was divorced from Elvis Presley in 1973.
Priscilla Presley, left, and Lisa Marie Presley speak to fans gathered at a candlelight vigil at Graceland
Priscilla Presley, left, and Lisa Marie Presley speak to fans gathered at a candlelight vigil at Graceland, Aug. 15, 2012.
Lisa Marie Presley, on the stage alongside her mother, told the fans she loved them for their devotion to her father. She also acknowledged she had shied away from making public appearances at past anniversary vigils.
"I've always avoided this because I felt that it would be too emotional, but I really felt it was important to come down here tonight," the singer's daughter, herself a singer-songwriter, told the crowd. "I love you very, very, very much."
Elvis admirers from around the United States and the globe have flocked each anniversary to Graceland, where the singer, a native of Tupelo, Miss., is buried. Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, from a heart attack after battling prescription drug abuse. His abrupt death at 42 shocked legions of fans still mesmerized today by his singing, sex appeal and on-stage charisma.
The vigil, which runs through Thursday morning, marked the high point of Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley's life and career. Organizers said about 75,000 people were expected by authorities to take part in the vigil.
Those who participated in the procession moved up the tree-lined driveway to the right of the mansion, where the gravesite is located near a swimming pool. Heart-shaped wreaths made of red and white flowers lined the entrance to the site.
Mourners walked slowly through the tomb area, the candlelight casting shadowy figures against a stone wall.
Some teary-eyed mourners laid flowers on the gravesite, where Presley's father Vernon, mother Gladys, and grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley also are buried.
Outside, some fans used chalk to draw pictures of Elvis's face on the street, where groups of fans set up folding chairs to wait for the line to die down.
Sergio Galleguillo, of Santa Cruz, Argentina, said he became emotional when he walked past the graves.
"I felt the spirit of Elvis there, as if he was alive," said Galleguillo, who was making his first visit to the United States. "It really was a beautiful experience."
The somber atmosphere of the vigil was in contrast to some lighter moments beforehand.
As the line of people waiting to get into Graceland grew longer Wednesday evening, a group from a Brazilian fan club waved that nation's flag, danced and sang Presley's early-70s hit "Burning Love" in the street in front of the entrance.
Steps away, an Elvis impersonator, complete with a white-sequined jumpsuit and red sash, sat alone in the street in front of the entrance, lip synching "In the Ghetto."
"© 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
#2 Aug 16, 2012
I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the day it was announced over the radio he had died. I heard it on our local radio station WJHL. I was in my kitchen cooking lunch.
Funny how things like that stand out in your memory!!
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