Memories of that black day in August 1977
I'm interested in what you all remember about August 16, 1977. Your personal memories upon hearing that awful news. Your memories (and photos?) of media coverage. Your memories of how everybody around you responded to the news of Elvis' passing.
Here are my memories.
In the Netherlands in 1977, Elvis was not a household name anymore. There was some sparse media coverage, mostly in magazines, that was either inaccurate (1) or focused on the negative things that were beginning to surface about Elvis (2).
The inaccurate coverage described him as he was in the 1972/1973 period. Some quotes say "Although Presley has gained some weight since his early days, the King of Rock and Roll is still handsome and energetically moves around the stage like a whirlwind while reprising his hits, old and new." :blink:
I think we can all say that the Elvis of 1977 was not a "whirlwind" on stage anymore :hmm:
The negative coverage was about Elvis' mood swings, unpredictable behavior on stage, huge overweight and his "not being able to cope with middle age and seeking refuge in drug use". :nono:
By July of 1977 magazines were beginning to print excerpts of "Elvis, What Happened?". They were actually finished with those ONE WEEK before Elvis died!
Every now and then an old Elvis movie would be shown on TV or a repeat of the Aloha concert, but that was about it. In all, the atmosphere created with regard to Elvis in the media was one of mockery, head shaking and the suggestion that this was a star on his way down :(
Then: August 16 happened. Everybody on the street and everybody in the media was shocked about what happened and tumbled over one another to come to terms with it. Suddenly the most recent photos of Elvis made it into the media and, obviously, shocked everybody. I still remember my sis looking at a concert photo of him in 1977 with disbelief and saying "Nah, that's not him! He doesn't look like that!"
I remember, I don't know if it was on the day itself or shortly thereafter, that a news show on TV had footage of Graceland, I think even INSIDE Graceland. I remember Charley Hodge shaking his head and crying in front of the camera. I remember Joe Esposito looking grim and dazed while answering the press.
I remember thinking how odd it was that the press was allowed in to film during such hectic and sad times.
I remember on the radio that some reporter who'd travelled to Memphis for other reasons before Elvis died, already mentioned that the devotion that was shown reminded him of a religious event.
And I remember that all of a sudden everybody, be it the people on the street or the media, seemed to almost feel guilty about having said and printed negative or mocking things about Elvis. People all of a sudden remembered all the good things about Elvis, his significance for music history, cultural history etc.
I think nobody before had realized just how serious Elvis' situation was, or that in some way he would never die and could live through any criticizm. When suddenly he was gone and at such a young age still, some universal guilt seemed to emerge and that was very interesting to witness.
That's my account for now. I may remember more later ;)
Curious about everybody's memories of the blackest day in music history :hmm: