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Thread: Memories of that black day in August 1977

  1. #1
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    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."
    I think we can all say that the Elvis of 1977 was not a "whirlwind" on stage anymore
    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".
    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

  2. #2
    Cadillac King Paulie1971's Avatar
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    I was born in 1971 (I bet you didn't know that ), so I was 6 when Elvis died. Strangely enough I don't remember a thing about it. Heard my parents talk about it years later, but at the time ... nope ..... it is a blank .

    Guess I had other things to occupy my mind!

  3. #3
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    i wasnt born

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    Backstage Pass Elvis42's Avatar
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    I was 14 years old when Elvis passed away. As I said before my mother is a huge Elvis fan she saw him twice in the seventies and my aunt saw him at the famous New Years Eve concert in Pittsburgh, so Elvis was an everyday part of my life (He still is) I remember the media blitz after he died, but I believe there wasn't much said about him except for the Elvis What Happened book coming out and all the negative media that accompanied that. My mother, her husband and my younger sister all traveled to Memphis to try and get it to see Elvis' funeral, but like many others couldn't get any closer than the gates of graceland. I don't think it really hit me until years later what a tragic and great lose we all suffered when Elvis died. I must admit that even now there are many a times that I am listening to his music and feeling so sad that we can't just buy a ticket and go see him live and in concert. As I read somewhere when it comes to being an Elvis fan..."If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand"
    JCB

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    TCB Mafia buttonhead's Avatar
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    i wasnt born.. yet

  6. #6
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    Memories of August 1977

    I remember that day very well. I was thirteen years old and my mother told me the news when she heard. I remember it was like someone had knocked the wind out of me, it seemed so unreal. I couldn't believe the news. As the days of his passing and funeral went on I sat glued to the television set. I could not understand how this wonderful man, who I had seen six years earlier have so much life and so much to give be gone and why?? I cried till my eyes swelled and really felt a sense of loss, the loss of someone I treasured having in my life. Then I realized that I was hurting because of my loss and that Elvis was finally at peace, the peace he had longed for for so very long. He was no longer what other people wanted, but finally his spirit was set free and that in some way comforted me. I wish more then anything it hadn't have been true, but on that August day the world dimmed alittle bit.

    kakeli
    them ain't tactics honey, it's just the beast in me !!

  7. #7
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    i was 13 years old. and my older brother had gotten tickets to see him at the nassau colisuem in long island n.y. i was playing baseball and it came on the radio. i was devasted, it felt like losing a family member. i had the good fortune to see elvis at the colisuem in 1975. and at the garden when i was 10 years old. my father suprised me with tickets and we went. it was amazing. it left me with an empty feeling when we lost him. ironically, my father passed away 18 years ago this month on aug 13th. so august will always be a very sad month for me. take care... mike

  8. #8
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    Thanks to all who have responded so far. I'm sure there's more of youse out there who have memories to share. Don't be shy

    Does anyone have any memories of the media coverage, especially in the US?

    I told you what I remember about the immediate aftermath on TV during the days following his passing. I also remember practically ALL magazines and newspapers doing booklets on his life. I got them out and saved them and it is funny to see how inaccurate most of those were

    Did anyone on this board save any newspaper or magazine articles of those days in August '77?

  9. #9
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    bump

  10. #10
    Walking In Memphis Sonny's Avatar
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    Did you already check out the pics I've posted in the "Graceland" section, Cherokee?

    Sonny

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    Hey Sonny

    Graceland section? Where's that, the gallery?

  12. #12
    International Level JDD's Avatar
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    I remember it clearly I was ten, close to 11 and my folks were working. I was there with my brother, pretty much had free run of the neighborood back then. Neighbor girl was there mainly to watch my brother , and she was in watching TV, I had a gang of guys playing football in the back yard. She ran out and said "Elvis just died". A kid at the house said "Who cares" and I said I did and went in the house Game over.
    I listened to the report on WROK radio in Rockford IL, and then Spent the night listening to the 2 or 3 33rpm albums the folks had and the first album I ever owned of my own which was Promised land.

    As the weeks went on I went from Liking Elvis to becoming obsessed, cutting out the news paper clipings of his death, buying the tribute magazines that Photoplay magazine (remember those?) and others would put out. With in a week or two the chicago channels like WGN began running Elvis movies and I'd stay up late and watch them, and sometimes get caught and get in trouble for it since by late I'm talking midnight on a school night for a ten year old.

    Why He became what he did to me , I'm not sure, but I knew he was great even before he died, but after I knew something special had left the building .

  13. #13
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    August 16th 1977 - UK

    I was nine-years old at the time and at approximately 9:25pm on that Tuesday evening I was sat on the floor doing some doodling on a piece of paper with a pencil. The TV was tuned into the Nine O'Clock news on BBC1 and suddenly the newscaster announced the heartbreaking news...I think a photo of Elvis wearing a red shirt circa '67 was shown - the one on the cover of the "Flaming Star" Camden LP release...I think...

    I don't remember much more about the newscast, but I remember my Mother coming home from a belated birthday drink from the local pub across the road, it is her birthday on the 15th, and I told her the news and she was really shocked. The next day I remember looking at a couple of the more trashy tabloids - The Sun and The Daily Mirror. Typically, the UK press jumped on the bandwagon and serialised the EWH Book, so the majority of the articles centred around Elvis' final years and the negative aspects concerning his lifestyle and his death.

    At the time, I was on the 6-week school holiday and they started to screen some of Elvis' films on the BBC and the ones I vaguely remember watching were "Loving You", "Change Of Habit", "Stay Away, Joe", "It Happened At The World's Fair", and "Kissin' Cousins".

    I vaguely remember "Way Down" hitting the top spot and becoming Elvis' 17th UK No. 1 hit single and then David 'Hutch' Soul knocking him off the top with "Silver Lady"...I think...

    So, these are the kind of memoirs I have as a nine-year-old in the UK in late 1977. The impact of Elvis' death around the world appeared to affect everybody young and old and it certainly made me realise just how great this man was to generate all this media coverage as well as steal the hearts of millions of people.

    NEA.
    Last edited by NEA; 04-24-2006 at 05:44 PM.
    "I oughta break you in half!"...

    "If you do, you'll have two very short friends!"

  14. #14
    Elvis Presley Blvd Unchained Melody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buttonhead
    i wasnt born.. yet
    I wasn't either
    "How do I get placed in situations like this? Ah hell, I guess it's all part of showbusiness "~ Elvis in his limo on his way to perform in Omaha, NE on June 19th 1977


  15. #15
    TCB Mafia Joe Car's Avatar
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    I was 18 years old at the time and was at a billiard hall at the time when somebody came in and said that "Elvis had died". To say that I was stunned was an understatement. I do remember running out to buy albums and how everything was sold out. They could not keep up with the massive sales generated by his passing. The hysteria was unbelievable and it's a day I'll never forget. The greatest and coolest entertainer and man in the world, died.

  16. #16
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    I was 12 years old when Elvis died and I remember it like it was yesterday.My sister called home from her job when she heard a breaking news report.I had been a fan since I was 7 and she knew I would be upset.Right away my mom tirned the tv on and there was tons of media coverage here in the states.We watched all the news programs we could that day.Some stations had special half programs about him that night after the local news.
    Jak

  17. #17
    Walking In Memphis Sonny's Avatar
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    Hi Cherokee!

    Yep, it's in the gallery!

    Bye,
    Sonny

  18. #18
    International Level ComeBackChick's Avatar
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    Cannot remember, was 8, probably something on the radio. We didnt have TV back than, and also wasnt familiar with Elvis at that age... That all changed a few years later, first movie I saw was Follow that Dream at the neighbours house. And that sealed the deal!

    (PS: Cherokee, had no idea you are from the Lowlands!)

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    TCB Mafia Princess franny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherokee
    Does anyone have any memories of the media coverage, especially in the US?

    I told you what I remember about the immediate aftermath on TV during the days following his passing. I also remember practically ALL magazines and newspapers doing booklets on his life. I got them out and saved them and it is funny to see how inaccurate most of those were

    Did anyone on this board save any newspaper or magazine articles of those days in August '77?
    This is a clip from the Action News 5 (WMC-TV Memphis, NBC) when it was anounced that Elvis Presley had died. Dick Hawley goes to Mason Granger live at Baptist Hospital downtown with details of whether or not he had drugs in his system....

    franny

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slqXtBZulEs
    Last edited by franny; 07-03-2006 at 06:20 PM.

  20. #20
    PeacockLady Diane's Avatar
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    I was 29 and heard it announced on the television at home. I couldn't tell you what I saw I just froze up and everything was a blur. My husband came home from work and he had heard it on the car radio. Neither of us could believe it. Like everyone else we felt Elvis would live forever. We saw several scenes on television off and on for several days but I still wasn't with it enough to register anything but that he was gone. My husband has no better recollections.

    I do remember hearing about Elvis' drug addiction prior to his death and I was in complete denial. I still feel that although I now believe he did indulge much too much that the media has put it way out of proportion. With all the kneeling he did on the end of the stage greeting his fans, pulling children up on the stage with him, not once was he known to lose his balance. If he was in that bad of a shape how could he do that??? Am I that ignorant of what drugs can do? I would appreciate an explanation from someone if they would be so kind and thanks.

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