Friday, August 16, 2013

Elvis Has Been Sighted! Another Year Since We Lost the King

I wasn't personally affected by the King's death, because I was never a true fan, but I remember the enormous coverage and emotional outpouring. It was at the time, the first full-blown media frenzy around a male pop culture icon death since Rudolph Valentino.

What I also remember is that for years, it was a joke of sorts that Elvis had been seen--at a gas station, leaving the back entrance of a hotel, on a New York street. This theme cropped up in a lot of late seventies, early eighties tv shows, and in the late night monologues for years. Last year I finally learned the source of this odd post mortem in wikipedia:

Two main reasons are given in support of the belief that Presley faked his death:

On his grave, his middle name Aron is misspelled as Aaron. Presley's parents went to great lengths to remove the double 'A' on his official birth certificate after his twin brother Jesse Garon was stillborn and fans don't believe the family would allow such a typo if Elvis was really in the grave.

This is countered by others who say that Elvis legally had his middle name changed from Aron to Aaron right before he died."

Hours after Presley's death was announced, a man by the name of Jon Burrows (Presley's traveling alias) purchased a one way ticket with cash to Buenos Aires.

For you crossword puzzlers, it is finally an explanation why it is always the 4-letter "Aron" as an answer when 'Elvis middle name' pops up as a clue, when we have all seen the gravestone with "Aaron."

At some point, the sightings myth died out, at least in the mainstream of monologues and tv shows. I'm
sure some American Studies phd candidate is working on pinpointing the precise moment right now.

Of course Elvis's memory lives on in the yearly vigil and viewing at Graceland, and in great pieces like this from  Edward Copeland for the 30th anniversary of his death and many great pieces from uber-fan Sheila O'Malley.

The Cosmos Speaks

August 16, like July 6, is a very important day in music history: the King of Rock 'n' Roll died and The Queen of Pop was born.  Not the same year, but it's still eerie.