HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This Wednesday, August 16th, marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis' death and fans around the world will be paying their respects to the singer - who became known as The King of Rock and Roll. Since Presley's death, devotees of the swivel-hipped, smooth talking performer who was born into poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi, and became an international star, have been flocking to Memphis for Elvis Week, the annual celebration of his life and career.
It coincides with the anniversary of Presley's death in Memphis on August 16, 1977, and it draws visitors from around the world. Most fans will have their first glimpse of a newly built entertainment complex that has replaced and updated old exhibits focused on Presley's cars, movies and memorabilia. An estimated 30,000 people are expected to attend a candlelight vigil that begins Tuesday night and continues into Wednesday morning at Graceland, where Presley is buried.
Presley was born in Tupelo on Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis with his parents at age 13. He began his singing career with the Sun Records label in Memphis in 1954. By 1956 he was an international sensation. He became a leading figure in the fledgling rockabilly scene by covering songs originally performed by African-American artists like Big Mama Thornton ("Hound Dog") and Arthur Crudup ("That's All Right"). His provocative dancing and hit records turned him into one of the 20th century's most recognizable icons. Historians say his music also helped usher in the fall of racial segregation.
Elvis Week runs from August 11th to 19th.