Tuesday (Aug. 16) is the 34th anniversary of Elvis Presley‘s death. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was 42 when he died of a drug overdose at Graceland, his Memphis mansion.
As it is every year on the anniversary of his death, Graceland will be full of visitors laying flowers, candles and other items at Elvis’ grave marker. The devotion of his fans (and savvy management of his estate) has kept his legacy alive for longer than just about any rock star that has ever lived and died.
For those of us who didn’t live through the height of Elvis mania in the 1950s and ’60s, it’s hard to imagine anyone — not even, say, Michael Jackson — inspiring that kind of enduring devotion. But the opening of his final TV special, “Elvis in Concert,” gives you a pretty good idea. The special was taped in June 1977, a couple months before his death, and aired on CBS in October of that year.
It’s far from Presley’s best performance — he doesn’t look especially good, and the magnetism he exhibited through most of his career is missing. But “Elvis in Concert” is a pretty fascinating look at the final months of his life and at his fans. Take a look: