Elvis Presley left his building, Graceland mansion, in the back of an ambulance heading for Baptist Hospital the afternoon of August 16, 1977.
The paramedics who attended him before departure, and his personal physician who pounded, pleaded and coaxed, knew what we all would learn shortly. An era had ended. Presley had travel plans to head for Portland, Maine to kick off a concert tour that very night, but those dates would be tragically unfulfilled.
In 1965, Memphis bands made their mark on the Billboard charts, with top 5 spots attained by Sam The Sham and the Pharaohs and the Gentrys. Elvis Presley just missed out on the top 10 with “I’m Yours” and “Puppet On A String.” Wilson Pickett came to town and teamed with the folks at Stax for “In The Midnight Hour.”
Southern man-of-letters Robert Penn Warren is probably most famous for his novel All The King’s Men. That book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1947. But in 1964, Warren embarked on a very different project—he traveled the country with an old reel-to-reel tape recorder and spoke with dozens of men and women involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Warren published excerpts of those interviews in a book called Who Speaks For The Negro?