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December 1, 2020

75 years since The King’s birth

To pay homage to Elvis Presley on the occasion of what would have been his 75th birthday on January 8, several events will occur in various locations in the US and elsewhere throughout the year for thousands of fans to celebrate his legacy on this landmark occasion. For all things Elvis, there are museum exhibits, concert tours, books, CDs and dolls, radio shows, movie marathons, and, of course, a Facebook page. Elvis’s former wife Priscilla Presley and their daughter, Lisa Marie, will gather for a cake-cutting birthday ceremony to kick-off a four-day schedule of tours and events, January 7-10; the “Elvis Presley Fashion King” exhibition of the singer’s costumes opens March 1; the annual Elvis Week happens August 10-16 at Elvis’s former home, over a week with a lineup of concerts and social events dedicated to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Elvis at 21 is a Smithsonian traveling exhibition of photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer’s photos of Elvis from 1956, the pivotal year of his meteoric success. The show debuts January 8 through March 28. The entertainment extravaganza, Cirque du Soleil, presents the stage show Viva ELVIS – a musical tribute to the life and sounds of Elvis Presley through dance, acrobatics and music. The portrayal of Elvis through the news media will be exhibited at this museum, opening March 12. The show includes rare objects from the Graceland vaults, personal and professional mementos, scrapbooks and letters. It demonstrates the impact the icon had on pop culture, pushing the boundaries of mainstream taste, free expression and generational shifts during the 1950s and 1960s.

On the 75th anniversary of his birth Friday, Presley remains a monumental and monumentally perplexing figure. Finding his voice and vocation at Sun Studios in Memphis in 1954, he became one of the key figures in rock ‘n’ roll, and the type of celebrity icon that comes along only a few times a century. No artist of the last 60 years covered a wider range of music, from gospel to raw blues and bluegrass. Presley died at age 42 in 1977, but left behind a trove of music that is continually recycled, refurbished, repackaged and resold to a public that apparently can’t get enough of him.

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