When Elvis' death was announced US flags on official buildings in Memphis were flown at half mast the following day, and many fans travelled to Graceland to see him in his casket. Two days after his death a hearse drove his embalmed body through the city and thousands lined the streets.
Elvis was laid to rest at the Meditation Garden at Graceland, located at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee. The site is now a pilgrimage point for fans.
In a recent biography of Elvis by Life magazine, LIFE Remembering Elvis Presley: The King Lives On, they note of the two Elvis’ that people remember, “The mid 1950s [Elvis], in all his marvelous, hip-swiveling virility, belting out ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ or ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ or another in the sudden outpouring of hit songs that reframed popular music then and forever.”
And the other Elvis from the 1970s, “bloated by all he had consumed, in that studded white jumpsuit, singing ‘Suspicious Minds’, perhaps, or Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’, sweat descending in rivulets down his changed familiar face, eyes closed, and still with that voice, deep and melancholy and free of constraint.”
But concluding that “Elvis at the start and Elvis to the end” was “Beautiful, brilliant, and true.”
Check out Elvis performing “Bridge Over Trouble Water” below.