Happy Birthday to the King. January 8 is Elvis’ birthday and the highpoint of what we refer to as Live Elvis Week in Memphis. That’s the somewhat neglected little sister of Dead Elvis Week in August which commemorates Elvis’ passing.
Very little goes on for Live Elvis Week. According to Mike, the source of knowledge for all things Memphis and music, the problem is that El had the misfortune to be born in January. It just doesn’t draw the multi-thousands who flock to the city in the summer. The weather is at least cold and frequently rainy, snowy and sleety. Grumpy, Sneezy and Doc couldn’t make it. I wrote several posts about Dead Elvis Week (see Celebrities), but I’ll just manage to squeeze this one out.
The festivities started on Saturday with an El-themed concert by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and featuring the original TCB (Taking Care of Business) Band. As you’ve read here previously, guitar god James Burton was Elvis’ lead guitar player and performed with Mike’s band on New Year’s Eve.
Sunday was the “Elvis Insiders” reception at Graceland Plaza across the street from Graceland. That’s where the museum is along with his plane, The Lisa Marie, restaurants, jump suits and so forth. There was also a special evening tour of Graceland in its “holiday splendor.” I get a little chill, or maybe it was a tremor, imagining the splendor.
Monday was the invitation-only event at the U/Mem conference center for EP fan club presidents, and Tuesday morning calls for the big birthday shindig at Graceland. For the first time it will be hosted by Priscilla Presley, who is almost never referred to as the woman who divorced the King. She’ll cut a ginormous cake and then invite the press to the back of the mansion, according to a press release, to introduce the “newest member of the EP family.” Mike said that Elvis used to keep horses out back, but we doubt that he rides them much any more.
On Tuesday night the Grizzlies will have an Elvis half-time show, and local satellite radio will feature an all-Elvis day. James Burton has made several appearances around town and will play Tuesday night on Beale Street at a club that used to be Elvis’.
So hum a few bars of Hound Dog, put a candle in a cupcake and send a birthday wish to the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis would be turning 73. Long live the King.