Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Where were you when Elvis died?

"Young Elvis." Painting by Sharon Furrate

Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 39 years ago. I'd just started a new job at Twentieth Century Fox Studios the day before. I was sitting in my cubicle in the old Administration Building, across from Stage 9 ("M*A*S*H" Stage). I was working in the International Accounting Department as a secretary. One of the managers came out of his office and told us the news about Elvis' death. Jerry couldn't believe what he'd heard. The secretary next to me, Jeanne, started crying. The news traveled quickly through the building. Everyone was turning on radios to hear the details.
While I realized Elvis' importance to the history of rock and roll, I wasn't one of his super-fans. By the time I was REALLY interested in popular music, it was all Beach Boys, Beatles and Rolling Stones for me. Elvis was considered passe'.  
In the mid-70's some of my girlfriends were traveling to Las Vegas regularly to catch his shows. I was invited, but decided that this was not a hip thing for me to do. I, of course, only wanted to be the hippest of the cool. I regret that I never saw Elvis perform live. Even toward the end of his career, he was still a very powerful presence on stage. Sigh.

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At 1:40 PM PDT, Blogger janeray1940 said...

I was... twelve and living in my mom's house in Seattle, lazing around trying to make the last few days of summer vacation last forever. My mom was a HUGE Elvis fan (my tastes at the time were more in line with yours, plus the Kinks) and she was in another room and just started wailing - totally devastated. I've come to appreciate Elvis much more as I've gotten older, but you know how it is - when you're a kid, it's just NOT cool to like what your parent likes! :)

At 2:04 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

EXACTLY, Marielle! Yes! The Kinks, the Seeds, the Animals, Thee Midnighters! All of those bands were preferable to Elvis for me. I, too, learned to appreciate Elvis more as the rockabilly craze grew in the 80's and 90's. Such talent!

At 3:49 PM PDT, Blogger Strickmuse said...

I was twenty, a young bride (5 days), standing in my mom's dining room, where the radio was on all day, when we heard the news on the AFN station. We lived in Tehran/Iran at that time and we could not believe it. Both my mom and I were big fans of Elvis. I always think that he went too early,but maybe it was better this way, because who would have wanted to see a 70 year old (or older) Elvis perform in Vegas.

At 3:53 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Thanks for your comment, Susanne N. If only Elvis could have gotten his life together and kicked his prescription drug habit, it would have been great to see him at 70 in Las Vegas. Many people pay big money to see other popular 70+ year-olds, like Paul McCartney, Elton John, Tom Jones, Don Henley, Mick Jagger, to name a few!

At 5:17 PM PDT, Blogger Brenda said...

I remember thinking that 42 sounded pretty old---now I'm 54. I love Elvis---not gold lame-wearing lounge lizard'ish Elvis, but young, sexy Elvis that sang such beautiful gospel.

At 12:07 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 10 years old. Had just come inside from an afternoon at the pool to eat dinner. The tv was on as we all ate, and the news broke in to the show we were watching to tell us he'd died. We only lived 4 hours from Memphis and some of my family went there to watch the funeral procession.


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