MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Elvis Presley fans from as far as Japan and Brazil gathered Tuesday in Memphis to sing “Happy Birthday” to the late rock ‘n’ roll icon on the day he would have turned 78.
Hundreds of Elvis devotees watched as 13-year-old Isabella Scott cut a birthday cake on the lawn at Graceland, the singer’s longtime Memphis home. Scott, of Bonifay, Fla., heads an Internet-based Elvis fan club with more than 2,000 members.
The mayors of Memphis and Shelby County also read a proclamation of Elvis Presley Day during the ceremony, which was attended by fans from Brazil, England, France, Japan, Spain and the U.S.
Presley was born in Tupelo, Miss., Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis with his parents at age 13. He was 42 when he died Aug. 16, 1977.
Presley recorded his first song, “That’s All Right,” at Sun Studio in Memphis in 1954 and made the West Tennessee city his primary home until his death.
“Like coffee and cream, grits and gravy, peanut butter and bananas ... Memphis and Elvis is a combination that was just meant to be,” Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. told the crowd.
Fans have been celebrating since Saturday, when the Memphis Symphony Orchestra presented a concert commemorating the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ landmark “Aloha from Hawaii” show.
A new exhibit about Presley’s movies and concerts in Hawaii opened Tuesday at the Graceland tourist attraction, which is across the street from the mansion.