It is forty years since the death of The King, Elvis Presley, at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, and thousands of fans gathered for a candlelit vigil to commemmorate the moment.
Open to the public for the last 34 years, since when more than 20 million visitors have passed through its gates, Elvis was just 22 when he bought Graceland., in 1957. Surviving family members led the celebration.
An entire week of honouring the King of Rock ‘n Roll climaxes on the ninteenth of August, but in fact the family estate appears to be sailing in a dying wind.
A 2016 poll in the UK found that a third of young adults had never heard an Elvis song, and in this digital age Elvis may get nearly 400 million listens on one streaming site, both Bowie and Michael Jackson top 600 million, while the Beatles, who stopped making music six years before Elvis died, are north of 1.3 billion.
Auction houses have noticed the difference, too. Prized memorabilia that was once fought over for lavish sums have lost value, and the bidding only picks up for the rarest pieces nowadays, with a dwindling band of ageing bidders to support the market.
AFP news agency (@AFP) August 13, 2017
Elvis was also denied the chance to re-invent himself in the post-punk rock reformation by dying young, missing out on a new wave of producers. His career at that point was at a low ebb, and the circumstances and manner of his death did little to add to the lustre.
And while the voice is eternal and transcends generations, Elvis the man does not traduce especially well to contemporary multicultural America beyond his southern heartland.