This Day in Rock History: Elvis Presley – The King Is Gone


August 16, 1977

(New York Times)

“Elvis Presley, the first and greatest American rock-and-roll star, died yesterday at the age of 42. Mr. Presley, whose throaty baritone and blatant sexuality redefined popular music, was found unconscious in the bedroom of his home, called Graceland, in Memphis yesterday at 2:30 P.M.

He was pronounced dead an hour later at Baptist Memorial Hospital, after doctors failed to revive him.

Dr. Jerry Francisco, the Shelby County coroner, who conducted a two-hour examination of the body, said “preliminary autopsy findings” indicated that the cause of death was “cardiac arrhythmia,” which a hospital spokesman defined as “an irregular and ineffective heart beat.” The coroner was not immediately able to determine the cause of the “cardiac arrhythmia.”

When I was about six or seven I recall watching an Elvis Presley movie, I think it was “Jail House Rock”. I remember thinking that I wanted to be just like him. The way he moved. The way he talked. After the movie was over, I asked my mother if Elvis would be making any more movies. She looked at me and said “Elvis died years ago”. I just recall being very sad, knowing he would never make any more music or star in movies. I learned about life and death at that moment. My childhood version of having a pet die.

“The King is dead, Long live the King”

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Exiled New Englander now living in Canada. I dream in Spanish but can't speak it. I wish I'd grown up as an old black man playin' the blues just like my father.

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