34 Years After Elvis Presley’s Death, His Music Lives On

FIRST PERSON | It’s hard to believe that “The King” has been gone for 34 years. Most of us who are old enough remember what we were doing when the news of his death was broadcast over television and radio.

I was just 11 years old. We were returning from a vacation cabin in the mountains and heard the announcement while driving home. That year, I had insisted on bringing my pet hamster, cage and all, and she surprised all of us by delivering 13 tiny pink babies while we were away. I was clutching onto the cage as the sad news was relayed.

My parents had stacks of Presley albums, and our whole family loved to listen to his songs, especially “All Shook Up” and “Jailhouse Rock.” I remember all of us kids singing and dancing to his music; those memories were some of the best of my childhood.

No matter what kind of music I was into, and I went from pop to heavy metal and punk to country and back again, I have always loved Elvis. After I had my children, they caught the Elvis bug too. He seems to transcend any generation gap and appeal to people of all types.

When my youngest daughter was 2 years old, her babysitter had a house full of Elvis memorabilia. Her telephone was an actual Elvis Presley statue and its ringer played one of his songs. Her living room clock was an Elvis with hips that swung back and forth to “Rock Around the Clock.”

At 2, my daughter would return from her babysitter singing these songs. After a hard day at work, it was a great stress reliever, as I couldn’t help but join in. Almost grown now, she listens to alternative rock, but she still loves to hear an Elvis song now and again.

This year also commemorates another special event in the history of Elvis Presley music. It’s been 55 years since the release of his first albums. In 1956, Elvis sold 10 million singles and 800,000 albums, according to Billboard.

Has it really been that long? Cliche, I know, but time does fly way too quickly. Listening to one of Elvis’ songs can bring us back to the past, making it easy to bring back special memories, and almost make us feel as if we were in that time again.

I’m grateful Elvis shared his soul through his songs. Though he is missed by many, he continues to live on through his music and will for many generations to come.

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