August 16, 1977: The Day The Music Died
It was 38 years ago that the King of Rock-n-Roll passed away. Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42. While his death shocked the world, the cause of Presley’s death has been debated for years. Some say it was due to excessive drug use, others claim he had an enlarged heart. Many believe it was likely a combination of both issues.
It’s no secret that the King was not in great shape at the time of his death. He had gained a significant amount of weight and also suffered from glaucoma, high blood pressure and liver damage. Some speculate his health problems may have been related to his drug usage. His personal doctor had overprescribed sedatives, amphetamines and narcotics to Elvis. That doctor’s license was suspended after Presley’s death and permanently revoked years later.
As a youngster, I remember watching the news the day Presley died. The newscaster mentioned his death and I ran into the kitchen to tell my mother. I’ll never forget the stunned look on her face. Then she sat at the kitchen table and just cried for several minutes. I knew Elvis was important to the history of rock-n-roll, but it wasn’t until I saw my mother cry that I realized the impact his death must have had on a personal level to millions of fans around the world.
Shortly after his death, Elvis was bigger than ever. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing his face on a magazine cover, watching his movies on TV or hearing his old songs again on the radio. If nothing else, an entire new generation became re-introduced to the legend that was Elvis Presley.
The popularity of the King is still evident nearly four decades after his death. In 2014, his estate still earned $55 million from licensing and merchandise, a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas and earnings from Graceland admissions. He may be gone, but Elvis will never be forgotten. Long live the King!