The Day Elvis Rocked Into My Life…


It flips me out more than any other event in my life. As I think back on it, it shouldn’t have happened. There was no reason for it to happen. There was nothing to lead up to it to make it occur. But when it hit, it hit hard. It became an obsession. 41 years later I sit back and still shake my head, the event of August 16, 1977.

I’m 15 years old, sitting in my room I shared with my little brother…(AND sister) but that’s another story. I’m minding my own business; I was probably watching TV when my father who had just come home from work comes into my room. “Hi Daddy!” I happily proclaimed. I was always happy to see my dad home. He returned my hello and then asked me a question. Now before I go into that let me back track a bit…

My music taste was rooted in what my mother liked. So back in the early 70’s besides what I heard on TV (The Partridge Family), or on the radio (The Osmonds and Jackson Five were all the rage in Hawaii at the time) I was inundated with Hawaiian music (and my mom doing the hula all around the house…that’s yet another story), Engelbert Humperdinck and Tom Jones. Curiously we had no Tom Jones records but my mom never missed his variety show. Make a sound during that hour he was on and you took your life into your hands.

Now I will mention, we lived in Hawaii when Elvis did his famed “Aloha From Hawaii” concert in 1973.  That was the first I’d ever heard his name.  As I recall a girl who lived across the way from us, we’ll call her Debbie… OK, that was her name. She was absolutely nuts about Elvis.  She talked about him like he sung her to sleep in person every night.  I of course being the 11 year old boy that I was and girls were still kinda icky made fun of her and this Elvis person.  But still the curiosity seed had been planted…

Elvis decided to walk on stage at 12:30am Hawaii time.  So needless to say my parents didn’t allow me to stay up with them and watch the show.  Fortunately or unfortunately the kitchen faced the TV so I could peek over the counter in the darkness.  The unfortunate part was that my mother could sense the presence of people even in another room. She quickly turned her head and as our eyes made contact, I felt this telepathic message, “get back in your room and go to sleep.”  So I quickly and rather disappointedly made my way back to my room.  Sleep however was out of the question.  I needed to know who this Elvis guy was that was causing all of Hawaii to go gaga.  Thinking I would be slick, I put some thick socks on to make sure to silence my footsteps.  I slowly and quietly made my way to the kitchen and peeked over the counter and saw…nothing L.  I saw My dad was about to get up so I quickly zipped out of the kitchen and nearly killed myself as my socks slipped across the linoleum floor trying to get back into my room.  Did he see or hear me, I’ll never know.  But I was determined to risk another try.  I opened my door and heard music, something about a Hound Dog.  Again I slipped into the dark kitchen and peeked over the counter.  Finally, I saw this guy with huge side burns, dressed in a white jump suite with a huge eagle made of rhinestones, and white shoes moving across the stage…and then it happened.  My mom’s spider senses went off.  She whipped her head around, just as she did I tried to duck but misjudged where I was in relation to the counter and, {{{BAM}}} hit my chin on the counter.  Now at this point I would have thought my mother would get all maternal on me and bring me into the living room and let me watch the show with her and she’d comforted her freshly wounded son.  No such luck…I’ll skip the actual language since this is a G rated blog (at least this post is). But let’s just say I was sent back to my room with the threat of bodily harm.  That was the end of my first Elvis experience. Well, not entirely.  A month later the album from the concert came out and it seemed like everyone had a copy…except of course for our house.  Back to Engelbert.

So back to sitting in my room four years later.  My father walks in…let’s stop again.  Here is why it was all so weird an occurrence.  First my dad almost NEVER came into our room.  And second, he was not one to discuss current events with me, least of all something to do with rock music.  He’s a classical music kind of guy.  Other famous people had passed without my dad saying a word.  So why he chose to one, come in our room, and two, tell me about Elvis’ death remains a mystery.  Let me remind you all, Elvis after Hawaii was never mentioned in our house.  His music never played through our speakers.

“Did you hear who died?’  My father asked.  “Who?” I responded.  “Elvis Presley!”  As loudly as the sound of a “snap” like when you’re in the woods and step on a twig, something goes off in my mind as though a light had been turned on.  From that point on, I became infatuated with Elvis.

That night I stayed up and watched the late news for word on Elvis’ death.  It was then I got a real taste of who Elvis was. At that time I didn’t realize how much this man would affect my life.  I recently had a conversation about the occurrence and told my dad it was entirely his fault as I relayed this entire scenario to him.  Had he not come into my room, it never would have happened.  To this day I still wonder, why?!  He was also the one who bought me my first Elvis book and record, one of those infomercial collections.

My mom had a theory…mind you I don’t believe it but it does make you go, hmmmmm.  I was in my room (this time a different house and only sharing a room with my brother), I’m listening to Elvis and out of the blue my mom sits down and starts telling me her theory…Elvis, when he was born was a twin.  His brother was still born.  Years earlier my mom told me when I was born, I was a twin and my brother was still born.  Anyone seeing the connection?  She felt that my infatuation with Elvis is because I was his brother re-incarnated. Do I believe it?  Not really.  Does it make me go, hmmmmm.  Absolutely!

I’ll spare you all the details of how I drove everyone nuts with Elvis’ music as the years went on.  Those of you who knew me lived it.

One thing I absolutely have to mention before I close…Debbie, who lived on Liliha Street in 1973. If you’re out there, I’m sorry about all those nasty things I said about you and Elvis.  I probably became a bigger fan then she ever was!

Thank you, thank you very much.


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1 thought on “The Day Elvis Rocked Into My Life…

  1. I think that many people can recall exactly what they were doing and where they were when they heard that Elvis had died. I did grow up listening to Elvis and I never had the opportunity to see him in concert. My sister and I would sit on her room and play Elvis record after record for hours. Good stuff!

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