Wed, Jan 05, 2005 - Page 7 News List

Elvis fans gather to commemorate his 70th birthday


Fans of Elvis Presley will celebrate what would have been his 70th birthday on Saturday with a roster of activities at his Graceland home, a string of movie reruns on cable television and shows by Elvis impersonators in nightclubs around the country.

Presley, whose trademark quiff was recently voted the most famous haircut in history, died suddenly at 42 in 1977. Although some of his diehard fans still believe that his death was an elaborate hoax by rock'n'roll revolutionary to allow him to escape the glare of constant public attention, most Elvis followers have long accepted his death.

Hundreds, if not thousands, were expected to turn up at the gates of Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, for a candlelit vigil paying homage to the star.

Other events planned around Memphis included a cake cutting and Elvis Day proclamation by local officials; tours of the Elvis Automobile Museum; a memorial hockey game and distribution of limited-edition Elvis Presley Commemorative Hockey Pucks and a birthday dance at a local hotel.

Talk is likely to center on the recent sale of the Elvis estate by the daughter of "The King," Lisa Marie Presley, to sports entrepreneur F.X. Sillerman for US$100 million.

Sillerman said he believes that despite the string of posthumous hits, Elvis' brand is dramatically underused and he plans an aggressive strategy to yield even more international hits from Presley's library of music.

Fans will also wonder what Elvis would have been like had he lived. A Memphis paper asked its readers what Elvis would be doing were he alive and got some surprising answers. Some said he would be appearing in Viagra or Cadillac commercials. Others believed he would still be pulling in the crowds with a long stint in Las Vegas or acting as an ageing tough guy in a Quentin Tarantino movie.

"Just imagine -- Elvis at 70," wrote the TV columnist in Newsday. "White suede shoes. Heartbreak hospital. A little more conversation, a little less action."

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