Fans stage anniversary vigil for Elvis

Elvis Presley fans from around the world flocked to Graceland for the annual late night procession past the king of rock’n’roll’s grave.

Elvis Presley fans from around the world flocked to Graceland for the annual late night procession past the king of rock’n’roll’s grave.

Presley died at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee on August 16, 1977.

The procession is the highlight of a week-long series of fan-club meetings, film showings and Elvis-impersonator contests.

Elvis purchased the 13-acre Graceland property in 1957 for a song – just a bit more than $100,000.

The procession usually attracts several thousand fans and runs into the morning hours.

Fans usually leave flowers, teddy bears and other items at the grave site, which also is the resting place of Presley’s father Vernon, his mother Gladys and grandmother Minnie Mae.

Before the procession, fans from as far as Japan and the UK browsed Graceland’s sprawling souvenir shopping centre and gathered under a large tent across the street from the mansion to listen to performers belt out Elvis tunes.

Shelley Somerville flew from Australia with her husband for their honeymoon. Hours before the procession, she held an umbrella to shield herself from the sun. It was the third candlelight vigil for Somerville, who said she likes Elvis’ gospel music the most.

“Elvis has touched a lot of hearts, and there’s something spiritual about him,” said Somerville, a 31-year-old administrative assistant. “There’s a calming feeling around him.”

The week’s festivities included conversations with writers, photographers and close friends of Elvis, including Joe Esposito, part of the Elvis entourage nicknamed the Memphis mafia.

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