The King would have turned 80 today, and the world is celebrating the legacy he left behind. On Thursday, thousands of people are expected to flock to Elvis Presley's Memphis, Tennessee, home, Graceland, for a birthday ceremony. Others will attend a similar party in Hollywood Thursday night.
Elvis was born Jan. 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Miss., and after he moved to Nashville, Tenn., as a teenager his career took off. Until his death at age 42, Elvis created rock 'n' roll music, movies and dance moves that broke social constraints wherever he performed. “It changed all of our lives, even those of us who weren’t born yet," Peter Cooper, editor for Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, told the Globe and Mail referring to the Elvis phenomenon. "It changed the way we dress and the way we wear our hair and the way we talk. It was a reset button for the United States of America.”
In honor of what would have been the King's 80th birthday, Sony launched elvisthemusic.com, a digital archive of his music; Legacy recordings released "The Complete '60s Albums Collection Vol. 1"; and Spotify invited users to vote for their favorite songs for #Elvis80: The Fan Favorites Playlist, Rolling Stone reported. Extreme fans can participate in a 67-lot auction that includes a job application Elvis filled out, his Army first-aid kit, a gold scarf he wore in 1972 and his first driver's license.
But whether you celebrate Elvis' 80th by eating a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich or buying a lock of his hair, you can't ignore his music. "It has to do with that unique talent for communication Elvis had from the very beginning, and that people recognized long before they ever saw him or had an image of him," biographer Peter Guralnick told CNN. "It was something in his voice that proclaimed it's different."
Here are a few of Elvis' best performances:
"Blue Suede Shoes"
"That's All Right"
"Don't Be Cruel"