Today, people around the world will mourn the death of a king.
Elvis Aaron Presley died Aug. 16, 1977, and fans have made a tradition of gathering at his Memphis mansion, Graceland, for the past 32 years.
But people also remember the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s Tupelo roots, said Dick Guyton, executive director of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation.
Guyton has overseen the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum since 2002.
“That’s seven years of fun and enjoyment,” he said. “The birthplace is a great place to work.”
Guyton recently spoke with the Journal’s M. Scott Morris about Elvis’ continuing impact on Tupelo.
Q: How does the atmosphere change at the birthplace in the days before and after the anniversary of Elvis’ death?
A:As we approach every August, you can feel and see a change in our visitors. More of the truly Elvis fans begin to stop and visit.
To many of them, this is an annual pilgrimage. They come to pay their respect to his memory. This continues for several weeks after the anniversary.
Q: Does the Elvis mystique still draw famous people to visit his childhood home? Who have you seen in your time as executive director?
A: I have had the pleasure of meeting several famous people.
Prince Albert of Monaco, Mr. (Akio) Toyoda, Martina McBride, Matchbox Twenty, Mark McGrath & Sugar Ray, Aerosmith, Jo Dee Messina. All of these have visited the Birthplace.
Q: What are your five favorite Elvis songs?
A: “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Polk Salad Annie,” “Trilogy,” “Believe in the Man in the Sky” and “How Great Thou Art.”
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal