Elvis Presley was born January 8, 1935 and died August 16, 1977. For an article in the February, 2003 edition of High Times, writer Chris Simunek and his friend Stephen E. Lewis took a road trip to Graceland to find out what it is about Elvis that still makes people go nuts.
How Great Thou Art
I’ll never forget being four years old and watching Elvis’s “Aloha from Hawaii” satellite broadcast back in ’73. My diaper days were behind me, I owned the fastest Big Wheel on the block, and now this: a comic-book man-god dressed in a red-white-and-blue American eagle suit and cape, singing “Dixie” with sweat running from his eyes like tears. It would remain the coolest image of my life until I caught my first glimpse of tit a year later. The future seemed blessed with an infinite amount of fun and adventure, and I never considered the fact that Elvis might not be there with me for the long haul.
People talk about all the drugs Elvis did and what a mess he was at the end. I’ve seen those videos of the guy in ’77, overweight, wearing an Aztec sundial jumpsuit, and singing “My Way” with half the Physician’s Desk Reference swimming through his bloodstream. I mean, if you can’t see for yourself just how cool that is, then I don’t have the time to explain it to you.
Elvis’s death on August 16, 1977, is one of those benchmark dates by which I chart the long journey from my happy childhood to the desperate and confusing present. Elvis provided a living example of this “cool” thing that the Fonz was always talking about, and he made some great records to boot. My decision to make the pilgrimage to Graceland for Elvis Week this year was made …
Author: High Times / High Times