Celebrities at Elvis Funeral 1977

Every year in August thousands of fans visit Elvis Gravesite. Elvis Presley’s crypt has been pulled from an auction in Los Angeles. Just one day before bidding was set to open on Elvis’ tomb. Julien’s Auctions bowed to fans’ complaints that the site should become a memorial.

Elvis Crypt Forest Hills Memphis

Auctioneer Darren Julien is selling Elvis Presley’s original crypt to the highest bidder on June 23. The tomb is located inside the granite and marble mausoleum at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis Elvis was interred there alongside his mother, Gladys, after he died Aug. 16, 1977. Two months later, they were re-buried at his Graceland home. The original crypt has remained empty ever since.

Elvis Funeral White Cadillac Every year on 16 August during “ELVIS WEEK” vigil has become the most watched online event via the Graceland cam.  In death as in life Elvis will remain and remembered by his millions of fans around the world. Many around the world make the Graceland pilgrimage. Other say a prayer at the Graceland Chapel, others pop in a DVD and remember Elvis in concert, but mostly Elvis will remain in our hearts forever

Lisa Marie at Elvis Presley Funeral

August 16, 1977 was a day that, much like the day that President Kennedy was assassinated, everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news – “Elvis is Dead” Elvis Presley’s funeral two days later became a media circus. With thousands of fans arriving in Memphis to pay their respects to the King at Elvis’ Graceland.

August 17, 1977 At 3pm the doors of the Graceland mansion were opened for the public viewing of Elvis Presley. The mourners ranged from pre-teens to middle-aged and older men and women. The crowd outside the Graceland Gates was estimated to be hundred thousand despite the stifling heat. The line of mourners file past Elvis’ coffin until 6.30pm when it was decided the heat and humidity would take its toll on Elvis’ body.

August 18, 1977 Elvis funeral service at Graceland was followed by a  ceremony and burial. A motorcade of 14 white Cadillacs with Elvis hearse driven by Trent Webb lined the streets from Graceland to Forrest Hill Cemetery.

Vernon Presley 1977At the funeral service the officiating minister was Rev Bradley. Those attending the funeral included, Priscilla, Lisa Marie, Vernon and Minnie Mae Presley, Chet Atkins, Caroline Kennedy (who represented Rolling Stone Magazine) Ann-Margret  with her husband Roger Smith, Col Tom Parker, James Brown, Charlie Hodges George Hamilton, Ginger Alden, Linda Thompson, Sammy Davis Jr. 

Elvis Crypt Funeral 1977 Jackie Kahane gave the eulogy . Jake Hess and the Statesmen sang “Known Only to Him” James Blackwood and the Stamps sang, “How Great Thou Art” and gave a melodious rendition of “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” an “His Hand in Mine” Bill Baise of the Stamps sang “When It’s My Turn” and Kathy Westmoreland sang a tearful  “Heavenly Father”.

The pallbearers at Elvis’ funeral were, Jerry Schilling  Joe Esposito, George Klein, Lamar Fike  Billy Smith,  Gene Smith, Dr. Nichopoulous, “Son, Daddy will be with you soon. Daddy will be with you soon,” cried Vernon Presley. Two years later 26 June 1979 Vernon Presley died of a broken heart.

Elvis Presley Funeral Cortege Memphis 1977

Elvis was laid to rest in a mausoleum alongside his mother Gladys. Under heavy guard, a simple reverent ceremony was conducted. At the time of his death Graceland was valued at $500.000. President Jimmy Carter’s message to the nation was; “With Elvis Presley a part of our country died as well.” Others said that the American Dream died with Elvis. There is no doubt that with Elvis’ death rock n roll music died and the world would never be the same again.

Just after 2pm Tuesday, August 16, 1977 Ginger Alden found Elvis, face down, unconscious, on the floor in the bathroom at Graceland. Clad only in blue top and yellow pyjama bottom. Elvis was crouched over.His face dark and bloated. By 3.30pm Elvis had been pronounced dead after frantic ambulance ride to Baptist Memorial Hospital where an unprecedented number of specialists battled to save his life. The official verdict was death by heart failure. The hospital called Vernon Presley to tell him that his son was dead. Joe Esposito was going to announce the death, but was to  overcome with grief. Half an hour later, on the steps of Graceland a grief stricken Vernon announced to the world: “My son, Elvis is dead…”

Within minutes the press headlines announced:  

The Memphis Press Scimitar announced: LONELY LIFE ENDS ON ELVIS PRESLEY BOULEVARD The French headlines read: L’ADIEU A ELVIS! The British FrontPage said: KING ELVIS DEAD AT 42 AND ALONE. The Soviet newspaper PRAVDA ran a full-page; ELVIS IS DEAD. THE USA HAS GIVEN US THREE CULTURAL  PHENOMENON: MICKEY MOUSE, COKE A COLA AND ELVIS PRESLEY The Australian Herald – ONE HOUR BATTLE FAILS. KING ELVIS DIES

Richard Nixon asked Americans fly their flags at half-mast. In Tupelo Elvis’ birthplace the mayor declared, August 16 an official day of mourning. RCA sold 400 million Elvis Presley records to distraught fans  Story Behind the Coffin Picture

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