the pompadour be grey? Would arthritis have stilled the swivelling
hips? Would the lip now curl above false teeth?
he were still alive, Elvis Presley would have turned 70 today.
But old age and the unfortunate problem of being dead haven't
slowed down the King.
no age to him," said Jerry Engelby, one of 800 or so fans
gathered on Graceland's front lawn for a cake cutting and
Happy Birthday sing-along. "He's just Elvis."
the faithful, with Good Rockin' Tonight blasting from a pair
of speakers, Elvis was as hot (or as cool) as ever. That he
was born in 1935 and died in 1977 did little to tarnish the
fans' memories of a rock 'n' roll rebel or bespangled superstar.
"In the movies we're watching, he's still just Elvis. The
songs we're hearing, he's still just Elvis," said Engelby,
62, of Jefferson City, Missouri, who wears pink and black
to Graceland because Presley favoured those colours early
in his career.
career, which began in 1954, is still strong, too, with Presley's
run as a star lasting longer after death than in life. And
now, at 70, Elvis may be on the cusp of a whole new phase
in his career. Advertisement AdvertisementElvis Presley Enterprises,
the business arm of the estate, brought in $US45 million ($A59.23
million) last year, making Elvis one of the top earning dead
entertainers in the world.
his death, the estate, including the rights to his name and
image, have been solely owned by his only heir, daughter Lisa
Marie Presley. But now, Robert FX Sillerman, the founder of
music and sports promoter SFX Entertainment, is in the process
of buying 85 per cent of the estate's assets. He plans to
take the business public and look for new markets for Elvis
ventures - perhaps shops, museums or other attractions elsewhere
in the United States or abroad.
Marie Presley will keep title to Graceland itself and the
house will generally remain unchanged. While Graceland draws
600,000 visitors a year, thousands of them from other countries,
the estate has focused most of its business in the United
"The demand for Elvis is already in place and strong in all
kinds of places all over the world: Australia, Japan, Asia,
Europe," said Jack Soden, Graceland's top executive. "This
gives us more resources to do more things, bigger things and
to do them sooner."
in the birthday crowd at Graceland were from abroad, including
several hundred in a tour group from Great Britain. Ester
Blajer, 59, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, said she believed
Presley would have turned more to gospel music had he not
died young. As a teenager, Blajer wrote to a celebrity magazine's
pen pal page and began corresponding with other Elvis fans
around the world. "One pen pal, we have been writing for 42
years," Blajer said.
just spent Christmas and New Year with her in Madison, Wisconsin."
After singing Happy Birthday, the fans packed in around an
outdoor stage to cheer the cutting of a white and yellow birthday
cake with Presley's image outlined in icing. Most also paid
visits to Presley's grave in a small garden beside Graceland,
many leaving flowers, teddy bears or other small tributes.
birthday dance, featuring a band playing Elvis music, was
scheduled tonight at a hotel near Graceland and The Official
Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain planned a Sunday brunch
and disco party. Word that new owners were taking over Graceland's
business affairs and would control how Presley was marketed
has some fans apprehensive. They want Elvis presented to the
world the way they still remember him.
good if it's done in a positive way, the way that Elvis would
have wanted it," said fan Engelby.
have to always think of what would Elvis want. He would want
us to love each other, bond together as a family and be kind
and giving. We're Elvis family, not just fans."
Article, Source: Associated Press)