MEMPHIS, TN – Today marks the 34th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death!
Silent mourners with heads bowed and yellow-orange candlelight leading the way paid their respects to Elvis Presley at his grave at Graceland, his longtime Memphis home, to remember the 34th anniversary of his sudden death.
Thousands of Elvis devotees, candles in hand, walked in the humid night to the graves of Elvis and his relatives, some wiping away tears as they filed past. Flower arrangements and heart-shaped wreaths decorated the burial site as “If I Can Dream” and other songs played softly in the background.
The vigil was to extend past midnight and into Tuesday morning, marking the anniversary of the King’s death on Aug. 16, 1977. The vigil is the main draw of “Elvis Week,” and some waited hours outside the stately mansion for the procession to start.
Paula Penna came with her family from Campinas, Brazil, for her sixth vigil. Penna, who met her Brazilian husband in an Elvis fan club, cried and hugged him, her sister and aunt after paying her respects.
She said Elvis songs have helped her family though good and bad. All four have Elvis tattoos. “Elvis music keeps the family together,” said Penna, who also was born on Aug. 16 and will celebrate her 27th birthday Tuesday. “I promised to come every year to pay tribute to Elvis because he is very important to the family life.”
Visitors came from Japan, England, Germany and other countries. Some wore full Elvis outfits, others just his trademark sunglasses or sideburns. Patrick Lucas sported sideburns and pompadour going as he walked to the vigil with the rest of the Elvis Presley Fans of Alabama, a club he joined on the Internet. Hunter, 22, came from Ehlange-Mess, Luxembourg, for the vigil.
Here is some Elvis trivia and a fun quiz to help you find out how much you REALLY know about The King:
– His natural hair color wasn’t black. It was a light blondish brown – but he dyed it to copy signer Roy Orbison, who had black hair.
– The name “Elvis” comes from the Norwegian “Alviss,” which means “all wise.”
– At one time, Elvis paid more taxes than any other person in the United States, according to the IRS. He hit the 91 percent tax bracket!
– He won only three Grammys – two for different recordings of “How Great Thou Art” and one for “He Touched Me.”
– His shoe size was 11-D. But he wore size 12 combat boots when he was in the Army.
– Elvis’ favorite reading material: Books on the spiritual and occult.
– Whenever Elvis went on tour, he took more than 250 books packed in two trunks. When he died on August 17, 1977, he was in his bathroom reading The Shroud of Turin.
– Elvis weighed pounds at birth – and more than 255 pounds when he died.
– The King’s last words were in response to his girlfriend Ginger Alden’s warning not to fall asleep in the bathroom. His reply: “OK, I won’t.”
You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog if you can’t answer at least half of these fun questions about Elvis Presley!
To test yourself, simply select one response for each question. Then check out the answer key at the end.
1. Where was Elvis born?
A. Memphis, Tenn.; B. Little Rock, Ark.; C. Tupelo, Miss.
2. What did The King throw to his adoring fans at his concerts?
A. personalized ballpoint pens, B. silk scarves, C. teddy bears
3. What kind of car was Elvis’ favorite?
A. Cadillac, B. Aston Martin, C. Lincoln Continental
4. What is the name of Elvis’ first movie?
A. Love Me Tender, B. Clam Bake, C. Love Story
5. Which one of these groups sang back up for The King?
A. The Supremes, B. The Belmonts, C. The Jordanaires
6. What was Elvis’ favorite sandwich?
A. ham and cheese, B. peanut butter and banana, C. smoked pork
7. How old was he when he died?
A. 39, B. 42, C. 47
8. What was the name of Elvis’ private plane?
A. Moonraker, B. Pretty Priscilla, C. The Lisa Marie
9. What was the title of The King’s first gold record?
A. “That’s All Right (Mama)”, B. “Heartbreak Hotel”, C. “Viva Las Vegas”
10. Where was Elvis stationed as a soldier when he met his young wife Priscilla?
A. France, B. Georgia, C. Germany
ANSWERS: 1. C, 2. B, 3. A, 4. A, 5. C, 6. B, 7. B, 8. C, 9. B, 10. C