’ Death Essay, Research Paper
Most people know that the king of rock n roll was Elvis Presley, but do they know when he died? On August 16, 1977, at 3:30 PM he was pronounced dead, due to a heart attack, according to the Washington Post. He accomplished many things in music, some that people never would have thought of. At the age of 42 he was at the peak of his career, or so he thought. What did the doctor s say? What did his fans say? How big of a surprise was it? All of these questions are asked regarding Elvis death, and the answers are as follows.
First, a little background on his accomplishments as a singer. Through his whole career, he sold more than 500 million records worldwide and made 33 films. He was a millionaire living in his Graceland Mansion behind locked gates. He had more money then anyone could ever dream of having. Elvis appealed mostly to young people living in the 1950 s, and influenced their whole way of life including the way they dressed, the way they behaved, and their attitude.
He was recognized all over the world as the creator of rock n roll by almost everyone. Although, people like Jackie Gleason said, he can t last……. he won t be popular for long. Others like former Beatle John Lennon said that he will live forever and his music will never die. Finally a comment from Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys said, his voice was a total miracle in the music business.
Many people liked Elvis, very few did not.
So, how did Elvis Presley die at the age of 42? According to Dr. Jerry Francisco, an autopsy, done on August 16, showed that he died of cardiac arrhythmia, which he described as a severely irregular heartbeat and just another name for a form of heart attack. The autopsy was three hours long and reportedly uncovered no sign of any other diseases and no sign of drug abuse. Although, there was also a story written by Lawrence Buser that reported Francisco saying that the exact cause of death may never be determined. There were efforts of resuscitation, but obviously none were successful. There were also suggestions of his past health problems, such as hypertension, pneumonia, and an enlarged colon, aiding to his death but they were ruled out also. Today, the cause of death to the King of rock n roll was a heart attack.
What was so surprising about the way Elvis was acting prior to his death, and why was everyone so shocked? It started out with an expensive and lengthy divorce of Priscilla Presley, as she was given custody of their only child. A critic, Peter Graining went on to say many things about Presley that surprised many people. He referred to it as a continuous battle, and Elvis is not winning. Some criticisms included his hair being dyed, his teeth being capped, his waist being girdled, his voice being a husk, and his eyes being filmed over with glassy impersonality. It was said that he would not go out if his hair wasn t right, and if his weight is not down. He also was said to have tantrums on stage. People were beginning to see the old Elvis disappear. More specifically, in 1976, he cancelled several performances in Louisiana because of exhaustion, and cut short a show in Baltimore saying that he was answering the call of nature. The Washington Post article reports, a Baltimore fan waited forty hours for tickets to that show and after hearing of Elvis death she recalled the man Elvis was and not the show she didn t get to see. She said, I just feel so lost, I feel shattered. I feel like I lost a very, very, close, dear friend, part of my own family, in response to his death. Even though his time was supposedly running out and he surprised many fans with his outrageous actions, people still believe he is the King of rock n roll.
How did Elvis fans and other well-known people react to his death? There were many sorrowful reactions as well as those of surprise and shock. Lawrence Buser said that as news of Elvis death began to spread, telegrams and phone calls came into Memphis from mourners and newsmen wishing to express their condolences to Presley s survivors, or to arrange lodging to attend the funeral. Radio stations began playing Elvis music and record stores everywhere reported a run on Elvis records. Flags on all city buildings were flown at half staff until his funeral, under the authority of Mayor Wyeth Chandler. An onlooker of how urgent the emergency call was, describes an ambulance almost running him over and going through the gates of the mansion hitting them open. Even the Commercial Appeal, a local newspaper in Memphis, went as far as adding about 50,000 extra newspapers to its normal circulation as calls came in requesting copies of it. Overall, Elvis death caused sorrow among all in Memphis as well as those all around the world.
The day of August 16, 1977 will always be remembered as the day the king of rock n roll died. It will be known as a sad day all around the world, and people will always refer to Elvis Presley as a hero, and a legend of music. Although this day came as one of surprise people have learned to accept his death, but some still wonder what it would be like if he was around today.