17 Aug 1977: Elvis Presley Passes Away in his Memphis Home
On this day in in 1977, the world mourned the loss of the original King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley
The King was found unconscious in his home by his road manager, who rang for an ambulance after failing to wake him. The ambulance officers struggled to resuscitate Elvis as he was rushed to Memphis Baptist hospital but was pronounced dead by his personal physician soon after his arrival. Presley had reportedly been struggling with weight and addiction issues throughout the last years of his life, and a heart attack caused by a mix of prescription drugs had finally caused his death. Thus ended the 23 year career of the American rock hero who recorded over 400 songs and sold over 260 million records, making one of the highest selling solo acts of all time.
Elvis was famed for his adoption and appropriation of black musical styles like R&B and Blues, thus making them accessible to a wider audience. This made him a controversial performer, as well as his swinging dance moves which were considered overly sexual. However, Elvis managed to connect with the youthful generations of the time and achieve huge successes, eventually becoming more family friendly as he in turn became more commercially oriented. The rest is history, as his personal brand exploded into albums, films, concerts, promotions and various business deals. His estate is currently worth somewhere around $400 million, despite his net worth only being around $10 million at the time of his death.
Elvis Presley is remembered today as an instantly recognisable icon of not only American Rock & Roll, but for the genre in its entirety. He remains a household name and his legacy and reputation has continued to pass between generations. He is commonly memorialised and there a permanent tributes to him in his hometown of Memphis, as well as in various locations around the world, including Australia.