Marking 40 years since the announcement of the death of the King of Rock and Roll, Susan Omand picks an appropriate song of the day...
Forty?! Forty years ago and I remember this? Oh heck! Yes, the death of Elvis Aaron Presley on 16th August 1977 at the age of only 42 was the first "celebrity music death" that I remember actually affecting me. I was 8. That shows you the breadth of his appeal because I was a big fan even then. My Dad had a collection of Elvis LPs that I used to get to listen to on the radiogram (basically a teak sideboard with a record player, multiband radio and speakers built in that took up a whole wall) and I watched all the films when they came on Sunday afternoon TV. I loved the gospel songs as well as the rock and roll (Dad's favourite was Suspicious Minds) and the black and white films like Jailhouse Rock as well as the colour films (yes even the Hawaiian ones) and could (even at 8) hold a spirited discussion about whether or not his records were better before or after his stint in the army and why white jumpsuits and sideburns really weren't a good look. So when Mum came in to my room that morning to tell me that the news had said he had gone, she took Coco my pet rabbit (he was white with brown patches over his eyes and nose like a clown) in with her because she knew I would be upset.
And then the conspiracy theories and rumours started. Elvis wasn't dead. He'd been abducted by aliens. Or it was a government cover-up, as he'd been an undercover FBI spy since his army days and he'd been airlifted by a black helicopter to Bermuda. Or he'd faked his own death to go in to witness protection because The Fraternity crime family were after him and wanted him dead. Sightings of him started being reported almost immediately from Buenos Aires to Boise Idaho to his own back garden, as some were convinced he was working as a groundskeeper in Graceland. I never believed any of them (much) but it was good fun to follow the trails and the world still had all of his great music and fun films which kept, and still keep, him alive in the hearts and minds of fans old and new.
So which of his 700 and odd songs am I going to choose for song of the day? To be honest, I'm not. I can't pick a favourite, not even a "just for today" favourite and, anyway, you'll have the fun of going looking to find your own favourites now (do let me know what they are). No, today's song of the day is a bit of fun and a dig at all the conspiracy theorists thanks to the wonderful Kirsty MacColl.
Image - Amazon