40 years ago today, death of the King.

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by HanauMan, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. HanauMan

    HanauMan Practically Family

    Inverness, Scotland
    I cannot believe that it has been 40 years today since the death of the King of Rock n' Roll, Elvis Presley.
    I was a thirteen year old kid living in a town in northern Bavaria at that time. My friends and I were on our summer vacation. We had just finished 6th grade and were looking forwards to going to junior high school after summer. I always listened to our local American radio station, AFN Wurzburg. I was just getting into music and AFN had some good radio broadcasts. One day, that summer, they announced that the King had died. AFN then proceeded to play his entire playlist that day and the next. I recall that my parents were saddened by the news and the entire base was subdued. A musical legend had died. Thru Presley, as I grew older, I began to appreciate the musical heritage that formed the foundations of his music, going back to the country music of his youth and even further back. I'm sure that some of us here may wish to remember the King today.
    Edward likes this.
  2. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    New York City
    I remember the day well - it really felt like a national event that was bigger than the death of a musician. It effected even the generation that wasn't his fan base - for example, my Dad and his friends.

    My other memory was a few days later walking into a record store and seeing that they had a huge display of Presley records set up right in the front of the store. My first thought was "how cool," but then it dawned on me they just wanted to profit on it - fair but dispiriting.
    Frunobulax likes this.
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I remember that Groucho Marx died three days later, and I was very annoyed that he got far less mention than he should have because of the continuing Elvis coverage.
    tonyb, vitanola, Edward and 2 others like this.
  4. Frunobulax


    Funkytown, USA
    I was working at a record store when John Lennon was killed. The next day, the owner had us pull all the Beatles records, bring them up front, and raise the prices.

    Sent directly from my mind to yours.
    Fading Fast, Edward and tonyb like this.
  5. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    My dad died on the 10th anniversary of Groucho's death. Even then Elvis was getting more press. o_O
    tonyb and vitanola like this.
  6. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom One Too Many

    Vienna, Austria
    I was in basic training at Fort Lost in the Woods, Missouri. I had midnight guard duty and remember pacing the hall and thinking about the news.
  7. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    London, UK
    I don't recall Elvis dying in 77 - my parents weren't fans, particularly; I was one month off turning three. My brother would have been three months old at the time, too - so I guess they had their hands full. I do remember John Lennon dying. I was six years old, and all you heard anywhere was someone who had been "A Beatle" (whatever that was....) had been shot. I remember there being an unusual amount of buzz about it, for a shooting (not exactly uncommon news in our part of Ireland in 1980), and the whiff of glamour that it had happened in New York (the US still being a fairytale land in those days, where people who had done well for themselves might spend a 'once in a lifetime' holiday....).

    The strongest memory I have of Elvis' death must have been the tenth anniversary, in 1987. I would have been twelve at the time, and I remember my dad making a big thing of having us watch the news when they showed amateur footage of his final concert, and he was clearly not in a good way. Then they showed young Elvis clips, to a soundtrack (in our house) of my Dad's sermonising "You see the talent that man had, that voice? You see what drugs did to it?"

    Not surprising your then boss smelled profit in it: I remember reading the reports that when Kurt Cobain died, record stores in the entire Seattle area completely sold out of Nirvana product within twenty-four hours.

    I remember others, of course - Phil Lynott, Freddy Mercury in particular but the first 'rock star' death that affected me emotionally, having been a fan at the time, was Kurt Cobain. Somehow all the more shocking because it was a suicide, and so young - though the age thing is something I notice much more in retrospect; back then he was an Elder Statesman, of a different generation than I was; I'd not long gone to university for the first time at that point. The harder ones later on were Joey Ramone, Joe Strummer (probably the only man I'd ever have considered following into battle), Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Ramone; Tommy Ramone's death was particularly poignant as the last of the original lineup...

    In recent years, while I was only a casual fan and don't as of yet own either of her albums, I mused a lot on the death of Amy Winehouse. I'd considered her an amazing talent (and also very important in that she paved the way for a number of other acts I really love to break mainstream with a "retro" sound), and it was such a tragic waste to see what happened her, especially when she had, I think, so much more to give.

    Back to Elvis, though - Hail to the King. Nobody quite like him before, since, nor ever will be. Times like this I enjoy his more reflective work, especially the gospel stuff. Requiescat in pace, Bubba. And leave those cats alone.
    Zombie_61 and Fading Fast like this.
  8. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

    My mother's basement
    I was living in a kind-of sort-of quasi-communal (is that enough qualifiers?) dogpatch in Seattle the day Elvis croaked. I recall it because one of our fellow residents had set up a recording studio there and was in the midst of assembling the recording he hoped would get him the recognition he alone was convinced he so plainly deserved. We teased him by saying there was an open throne in the rock 'n' roll pantheon just awaiting his arrival now that the King was dead.

    As to Cobain ... His offing himself was a BFD in Seattle, especially among those a couple of decades my junior. In those days you couldn't swing a cat on Seattle's Capitol Hill without hitting half a dozen grunge stars. I was mostly oblivious to it. Indeed, I had to be told on more than one occasion that the guy on the adjacent barstool at the Comet Tavern was a celebrity. A next door neighbor was a bassist much in demand for session work. He never got rich or famous, which is often the lot of those whose contributions to popular music go under-appreciated.
    Edward likes this.
  9. KTLA TV, Los Angeles

  10. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    The Swamp
    I was working at a radio station in Lafayette, LA that year. It so happened I was off that day, and was driving back from the university stadium, where I worked out, and tuned to a buddy of mine who was on the air that evening. He announced, "More from the late Elvis Presley after the news from Mutual." I was startled, and thought he'd made a mistake -- surely he meant Jim Reeves (KXKW was a country station) or someone like that?

    Nope. Mutual News had it as their lead story, and when he came back out of the newsbreak, my friend dug right in to the Elvis playlist in tribute.

    That October I did the same, working at a local station in Ville Platte, LA, when we got the news about Bing Crosby passing. We didn't have many of his records, it turned out . . . but we did have "White Christmas," and that I did play.

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