THE DAY ROCK LOST ITS FIRST SU­PER­STAR

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

ELVIS Presley, Amer­i­can icon and King of rock ‘n’ roll, trans­formed pop­u­lar cul­ture, sold over a bil­lion records and is idolised as ever on the 40th an­niver­sary of his tragic death.

His Grace­land man­sion here in Ten­nessee — the sec­ond most fa­mous home in the United States af­ter the White House — ex­pects more than 50,000 peo­ple for the big­gest ever an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of his life 40 years af­ter his death aged 42 on Aug 16, 1977.

Presley is con­sid­ered the best-sell­ing artiste of all time, shift­ing an es­ti­mated bil­lion records. Last year, ranked him fourth high­est-earn­ing dead celebrity at US$27 mil­lion (RM116 mil­lion), still mov­ing a mil­lion al­bums.

“He is the only per­son of mod­ern times who is in­stantly recog­nis­able through­out the world by his first name,” said Bri­tish au­thor and artist Ted Har­ri­son, who has writ­ten two books about Presley.

“Say ‘Elvis’ in Bei­jing, Nicaragua, Es­to­nia or Fiji and you get an im­me­di­ate recog­ni­tion across lan­guage and cul­ture.”

His unique voice and style blended R&B, blues, coun­try, gospel and black mu­sic, chal­leng­ing so­cial and racial bar­ri­ers at the time, and earn­ing him the nick­name “Elvis the Pelvis” for his gy­rat­ing moves.

Ooz­ing style, charisma and sex ap­peal, he was the fan­tasy of mil­lions of women and in­spired ev­ery­one who came af­ter him, from The Bea­tles to The Rolling Stones to to­day’s chart-top­per Bruno Mars.

“Hear­ing him for the first time was like bust­ing out of jail,” Bob Dy­lan has said.

In the late 1960s, com­poser and con­duc­tor Leonard Bern­stein called him “the great­est cul­tural force in the 20th cen­tury”.

Hits such as

and are in­stantly recog­nis­able. His mu­sic has been reis­sued and repack­aged count­less times since his death.

More than 20 mil­lion peo­ple have vis­ited Grace­land, his home for 20 years, af­ter Priscilla, his ex-wife and mother of his only child, Lisa Marie, opened it to the pub­lic in 1982.

The es­tate says it pulls in 600,000 vis­i­tors a year and con­trib­utes around US$150 mil­lion a year to the Mem­phis econ­omy.

“He’s the celebrity of all celebri­ties,” said Lisa Bseiso, 36, who set up The Of­fi­cial Elvis Presley Fan Club of Qatar, where she was born and raised.

“Forty years af­ter his death, he’s still a phe­nom­e­non. He’s still as pow­er­ful,

as lov­ing.” AFP

AFP PIC AFP PIC

Grace­land man­sion in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee.

Forbes

Heart­break Ho­tel, Hound Dog, Jail­house Rock Are You Lone­some Tonight Elvis trib­ute artistes at the Images of the King con­test in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, on Satur­day.

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