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The Lasting Legacy of the King

Program Description

Although Elvis Presley died in 1977, his influence can still be felt today. His records and CDs continue to sell, his face has appeared on a stamp, and you can find Elvis memorabilia everywhere-even in Montana! A million fans make an annual pilgrimage to his Memphis home, Graceland. He has sold over one billion records. Elvis was "it" in the 1950s and 1960s. More than any other single person, Elvis was responsible for the new, indigenous American art form: rock and roll music. Between 1970 and 1977, Elvis performed more than a thousand times in "sold-out" arenas and was watched by more than 6.5 million people. In addition, hundreds of millions more saw him on television and film. Use this program at significant Elvis times (anniversary of his death-August 16, 1977 and his birthday January 8, 1935) or if you need a rock and roll theme, or see topics below.


  • Fascinating insights into Elvis' musical roots.
  • Tips on finding, understanding, and appreciating Elvis' music.
  • Quotes and anecdotes from Elvis.
  • Valuable advice on touring Graceland.
  • Books, fan clubs, discography, and more.
  • Elvis' philanthropic efforts.
  • Elvis was one of the first 10 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Talk about history of rock and roll.
  • By embodying rock-a musical and social revolution-Elvis was perceived as a threat to mainstream America, and became by far the most controversial entertainer of his time. Tie into book banning and library issues.
  • Elvis was a twin-his identical twin brother was stillborn. Investigate the phenomenon behind identical twins and how this might have shaped Elvis' life.


  • Music teachers from local school/college
  • Area musicians
  • Elvis fans
  • Radio DJs
  • Local film critic


  • Length - two to three 1-hour sessions.
  • Auditorium-style seating--informal.
  • Preparation time - 2 hours, plus 30 minutes for each session.

Learn More About It

  • Elvis Presley's Graceland: http://www.elvis.com/. The official authorized site of Elvis Presley and Graceland.
  • The Unofficial Elvis Home Page: http://www.ibiblio.org/elvis/elvishom.html.
  • Frank Coffey. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Elvis. New York: Alpha Books, 1997.
  • Peter Guralnick. Last Train to Memphis: The Rise and Fall of Elvis Presley. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994.
  • Elvis: Walk a Mile in my Shoes. The Essential 70's Masters. RCA, 1995 (5 compact discs).

Make It Special

  • Elvis snacks (for example, peanut butter/banana sandwiches) as refreshments
  • Play Elvis's music
  • Show an Elvis movie
  • Have an Elvis impersonator
  • Have an Elvis coloring contest
  • Invite attendees to come dressed as Elvis

Market It

Distribute flyers and information to schools, universities, bars, restaurants. Get radio and TV stations to do a PSA. Put up flyers everywhere in town-you never know where you're going to find an Elvis fan!

  • Montana State Library
  • P.O. Box 201800, 1515 East 6th Avenue
  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov