The last living links to Elvis Presley (by Jeff Schrembs)

The Rolling Stones had a, justifiably so, hit song entitled “Time is on my side”. With each passing year we have learned that this is not so. Time will go on long after we physically leave this world.

On August 16, 1977 at the age of 42 Elvis Aron Presley died. His health (mentally, physically and emotionally) had been deteriorating since 1973. The greatest entertainer in history had died and the world was in mourning.

At the time of his death the various family members, and friends, rallied around Colonel Parker and Vernon Presley (who was inconsolable and in shock as well as having his own severe health issues) in a constant state of chaos having not only lost a friend – a loved one – but also (in many cases) their employer.

In the days immediately after they had no time to grieve as the swells, and the media coverage, filled the infamous Graceland gates with hundreds of thousands of fans. Flower shops for miles were sold out. Elvis last album, Moody Blue, sold 1 million copies within a week.

Elvis fans suffered in the heat and at night sweated as candles were held up and personal stories recalled.

I will never forget that day nor will I forget the legacy, and the ups and downs of being a fan, of Elvis Presley. Our generation is truly the last living links to Elvis Presley as sadly other generations can only read about him, learn about him, watch tapes of him, but never can comprehend the musical scene in which Elvis triumphed – went into the Army – did his first comeback – went into the movies for 9 years – did the 68 Special – started touring and performing live in Vegas – toured from 1970-1977 – and created a great body of songs that still resonate these (4) four decades later.

With each passing year (sadly) we have lost loved ones, friends, relatives, etc. of Elvis Presley, Recently we lost Lamar Fike and Myrna Smith. My prayers continue to go out to their family and loved ones.

As of this writing (June 2013) there remains essential players in the “Elvis Presley story” being; Marty Lacker, Sonny West, Red West, Billy Smith, Jerry Schilling, Joe Esposito, Sandi Pichon and even Priscilla. Lisa Marie stands alone and I applaud her for excelling as a Mother having lost, at such a young age, her beloved Father…Elvis.

Though Elvis fans will form their own opinions, 99.9% on opinions not put into context or taking into consideration the fact that Elvis loved each of these individuals over a period of decades, I have always supported each of these individuals endeavors and I have respect for them. They remain “living breathing witnesses” to greatness. They were loved and trusted by Elvis. They shared in his success. His failures. His depression. His deteriorating health. And most of all in his life. I encourage everyone to seek out these individuals and support their endeavors for time holds no guarantees.

Outside of these few are those who have given of their time – their expertise – and of their passion by writing books, in context, about Elvis. Such is the case with Alanna Nash. I have read her books about Elvis knowing as much about Elvis as anyone outside of the Memphis Mafia, Priscilla and/or Lisa Marie. Alanna Nash writes about all aspects of Elvis, the good and the not so good, and provides a context. I applaud her for doing so and I thank her.

It is my hope that those of my generation never take for granted those who are actual links to Elvis. For Elvis himself often questioned, his friends and of God, “will they remember me when I am gone”? We have never forgotten him and I hope that the answer to this questions continues to be a resounding….YES.

Elvis was more than an image. More than a persona. He was a man who achieved greatness, in every avenue he pursued, while having his own self doubts and temperament. He was, of course, imperfect but he was unique and he used the talents he was blessed with and he shared it with the world. His story would be incomplete had it not of been for the inclusiveness of these individuals whom I have specified herein. I hope that they never stop sharing their memories. Sharing their time. And sharing their talents. For we lost enough on August 16, 1977.

Take care and may God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

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  1. The last living links to Elvis Presley (by Jeff Schrembs) | Elvis Collector Worldwide

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