By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Today is one of those days when people recall where they were when they got the news – like the JFK assassination or Pearl Harbor attack or the Challenger explosion.
It’s the day the music died, with apologies to Don McLean.
Thankfully, for Elvis Presley’s fans, the music didn’t.
Where better than his birthplace, Tupelo, to celebrate his contributions to the world’s music. It’s a year-round affair.
We also appreciate the thousands of eternal fans who come here to remember, too.
Thirty-five years ago, I wrote a column basically blaming a fanatical, perfection-seeking public for Elvis’ death.
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was found on a bathroom floor in Graceland, and the coroner’s report stated his death came from an irregular heartbeat and an overdose of prescription drugs.
As the world mourned, I opined that Elvis’ embrace of uppers, downers and diet pills came at the insistence by fans that he stay young while the rest of us could not.
People made jokes about the Fat Elvis, didn’t they?
Why couldn’t we allow him to age like Frank Sinatra? I asked.
Ole Blue Eyes doubtless had his chemical attachments but they weren’t so much about appearance as Elvis’.
So, I wondered, why all the pressure?
When I look at a list of Elvis’ music-era peers, I realize that few of them even came close to the unvarnished sex appeal he exuded.
Singer Tom Jones comes to mind as one of the few Elvis contemporaries in the same universe.
Interestingly, Jones is credited with convincing Elvis that he could come back and make an impact as a solo artist in the midst of the British Invasion, so dominant with Boy Bands.
These days, Jones’ famous swiveling hips may take a while to warm up during a show, but he still has one terrific, powerful voice.
I suspect Elvis could be doing the same, under better circumstances.
But today is that day on the calendar that erases such an idea. Somehow, it seems longer ago when I look back on my own personal experience.
Now, with a longer view, blame is replaced by a more realistic appreciation for all the good times and good memories associated with Elvis’ career.
It’s good to see the new statue in Fairpark, a historic location waiting a long time to show its proper due.
The expansion at the Elvis Birthplace is fantastic and deserves the accolades and support from us all.
We’ve got a lot to offer for swarming visitors with eclectic interests, but Elvis is the honey for the bees.
So, welcome to Tupelo, all you traveling fans. We’re proud – even move-ins like me – to roll out our hospitality and offer you a piece of the place where southern boy Elvis was bred and birthed.
For us, it’s a 365-day a year party, so come back any time.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.