Many Fans Don’t Know That Elvis Presley Had A Grandson, And The Two Looked Freakishly Alike

You’d be forgiven for not knowing that Elvis Presley had a grandson, as Benjamin Keough – the individual in question – was seemingly determined to live out his life away from the spotlight. Yet although Benjamin appeared to want to maintain his privacy right up until his tragic passing, his family occasionally shared pictures of him. And one photograph of Elvis’ relative particularly wowed fans across the world, as they couldn’t get over just how much the young man resembled the King.

The story of how Benjamin came into the world is a long and complicated one. As almost every Elvis fan will know, the rocker was married once, to Priscilla Presley. And when the pair first began dating, he was 24 years old, while she was ten years his junior. Apparently, some of the star’s friends raised objections to this sizable age gap, too. But Elvis and Priscilla’s relationship nevertheless flourished, and the iconic musician finally tied the knot with his girlfriend once she reached her early 20s.

Then the couple’s only child, Lisa Marie, came into the world exactly nine months after their wedding on February 1, 1968. Yet Priscilla apparently disliked that she had become pregnant so early. She had even reportedly planned to go on birth control, but it’s said that the young woman had been advised not to by Elvis. Priscilla is rumored to have considered having an abortion, too, but supposedly she eventually decided against it.

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In a 1985 piece for People magazine, Priscilla wrote about how she had discovered that she was pregnant. And during the time she was expecting a child, it seemed as though a major priority had been not losing her husband. She said, “I still kept up with my ballet, rode my motorcycle and my horse Domino right up until the eighth month of pregnancy. Elvis thought I was absolutely incredible to keep up with him in every way. That made me happy. I was pleasing him and still by his side every day.”

But Priscilla’s fears were realized when Elvis suddenly asked for a trial separation. Later, she wrote of this period, “I wanted to die. I was seven months along and could not believe what I was hearing. I don’t think Elvis really intended to leave me. It wasn’t his style. I later realized he had questions about how a baby would affect his life.”

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Priscilla further mused on her then-husband, “Would his public accept him as a father? He wasn’t even sure if his fans had adapted to his becoming a husband. How loyal would they be?” Luckily, though, the decision to split was soon reversed. She went on, “Within a short time, Elvis’ sensitive nature brought him back to his senses. Two days had passed. The idea of a trial separation was never mentioned again. We both acted as if nothing had been said.”

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And once Lisa Marie came into the world, both Elvis and Priscilla were apparently united in their admiration for the new arrival. Priscilla said, “The nurse brought [Lisa Marie] into my room, and I cradled her in my arms. She was so tiny – so beautiful. Elvis came into the room and kissed me, thrilled that we had had a perfectly normal, healthy baby. Then he took us both in his arms and held us.” Unfortunately, though, the happiness didn’t last.

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Priscilla went on to write for People, “As the months passed, I realized that now that I was a mother, Elvis was uncertain how to treat me. He had mentioned before we were married that he had never been able to make love to a woman who’d had a child. But throughout my pregnancy – until the last six weeks – we had made love passionately. He’d been very careful each time, afraid that he might hurt the baby or me. Now months had passed.”

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And, sadly, the couple’s problems continued to grow. Finally, then, amidst the problems of affairs, legal troubles and drug abuse, Elvis and Priscilla officially divorced on October 9, 1973. Both parents would go on to share custody of their young daughter, and the two were seemingly fine with this arrangement. Then, just four years on from the end of the marriage, Elvis tragically died.

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Lisa Marie was just nine years old when her father passed away, in fact. Yet despite the turmoil that racked Elvis’ life, his daughter would always remember him as a good parent. For instance, during a 2007 appearance on Good Morning America, Lisa Marie told Diane Sawyer, “He’d always wake me up to sing in the middle of the night – get on the table and sing. I remember him as my dad, but he was a very exciting dad.”

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Lisa Marie also explained that, after Elvis had passed away, she “couldn’t really process what was happening.” And, apparently, one moment in particular was a real struggle for the young girl: the time when she had had to view her father’s body. Lisa Marie said, “I did a lot of strange things that day because it didn’t really settle in. I rode my golf cart. I ran around and smoked cigarettes at nine, in the guard shack somewhere. I was crazy. I don’t know, I did, like, wacky things.”

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So there’s no doubt that Lisa Marie’s childhood was far from ordinary. For one, owing to all the money that her famous father had amassed throughout his life, she grew up as the heir to a vast fortune. And after her grandparents Vernon and Minnie passed away, the young woman was therefore worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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But although Lisa Marie’s life began in a rather unconventional manner, her adulthood saw her embark on a common rite of passage: marriage. And in the end, Elvis would have four grandchildren whom he would never know. The first two came from Lisa Marie’s relationship with musician Danny Keough, whom she wed in 1988. These children were Danielle Riley Keough, born in 1989, and Benjamin Storm Keough, who entered the world in 1992.

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Lisa Marie divorced Danny in 1994 when Benjamin was still a toddler – although the former couple remained good friends. In 2003 she told the Star Tribune, “I don’t know how, but we’ve managed to stay close… There’s others that I have pain or betrayal associated with that I won’t have anything to do with. But [Danny] and I had a special thing.”

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Meanwhile, during her 2007 Good Morning America interview, Lisa Marie considered the similarities that Benjamin and Riley – the name she goes under – shared with their famous grandfather. She said, “They both have traits. My son has got this very regal thing about him. He’s just got this dynamic energy that is familiar. And then my daughter, just – the humor, you know. She’s got the intelligence, and she’s smart – although I find her more like my mother than I do [Elvis].”

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After splitting from Danny, however, Lisa Marie went through a chaotic period in her life. A mere 20 days after the divorce went through, for example, she married Michael Jackson – a decision that she would later claim to regret. In a 2007 interview with Marie Claire, when asked what her biggest mistake so far had been, the star would say, “Leaving my first marriage for the person that I left it for.”

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Lisa Marie even reportedly considered having kids with Jackson, although she ultimately decided against it. In 2010 she told Oprah, “I was looking into the future, and I was thinking I don’t ever want to get into a custody battle with [Jackson]… I don’t want to go head to head with him, so I need to make sure that everyone around is good. I know; I’ve had children. I knew bringing children into certain circumstances – you have to make sure everything’s safe and secure and okay.”

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Then in 2002 Lisa Marie married for the third time to actor Nicolas Cage – who is reportedly a massive Elvis fan. The then-13-year-old Riley served as the flower girl, while Benjamin and Cage’s young son Weston were the pageboys. At the time, the media also speculated that Lisa Marie was pregnant with Cage’s baby.

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However, Lisa Marie was not pregnant, while the marriage itself lasted barely any time at all. The pair were wed in August, you see, and in November of the same year Cage filed for divorce. In fact, the divorce proceedings ended up lasting longer than the couple’s union: it was May 2004 when the paperwork finally went through.

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Seemingly undeterred, Lisa Marie married her fourth husband, producer Michael Lockwood, in 2006. The wedding was held in Japan, with Danny Keough as the best man. Then, two years later, the by now 40-year-old Lisa Marie announced that she was pregnant with twins after newspapers had started criticizing her weight gain.

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By the time the two new children were born in October 2008, moreover, Riley was 19 years old and Benjamin 15. And the babies, both girls, were named Harper Vivienne Ann and Finley Aaron Love. In fact, twins are common within the Presley family: Elvis had a stillborn twin brother, and Priscilla had brothers who were twins, too.

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So, Lisa Marie now had a big family of her own. And in 2009 she spoke about her life and her children on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She was still very close to Danny, she revealed, saying, “I knew that no matter what happened, we would always be connected. And I don’t know how I knew that at such a young age, but I instinctively knew that and had those children with him. And we are like best friends: brother and sister.”

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In the interview, Lisa Marie also explained that Danny actually lived on the same property as her. She added, “It’s hard to have that kind of relationship with your ex… but I think it’s very important if you have children with somebody to keep your responsibility. You don’t need to put what you guys went through or what you had with each other on the children.”

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Then, when Oprah asked Lisa Marie, “What do you think you’re best at as a mother?” she answered, “Just overwhelming [my children] with affection and love. They need to push me off of them… And then having that versus being their friend – trying really hard to be their friend as well as be a mother. That’s the fence you walk, which is important because you can’t go too much on one side or the other.”

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And Oprah also asked, “How do you instill in [your children] what’s important as a human being? As a citizen of the world, your community, when you’ve got everything?” Lisa Marie replied, however, “You have to be an example. I’m not somebody who sits around. I’m not happy unless I’m helping other people. And they watch me, and they see that.”

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That same year, there were rumors that Benjamin was going to try and make it in the music industry – just like his grandfather. In October 2009 U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail reported, “The slicked-back hair, full lips and rock star swagger are all present and correct. All [Benjamin] needs now is a pair of blue suede shoes.”

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The Daily Mail quoted Benjamin as saying, however, that his “music will be nothing like Elvis – nothing like him at all.” Meanwhile, an unnamed spokesman was reported to have said of the young man, “He’s a typical 17-year-old. He doesn’t get up before midday and then grunts at you.” It was reported, too, that Benjamin’s record deal was worth a whopping $5 million.

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Yet that turned out in the end to be a false story. That same month, U.K. newspaper the Daily Mirror reported that Peter LoFrumento, the executive vice-president of the company Universal Music, had told the media, “This story is totally untrue.” And indeed no music by Benjamin – Elvis-like or not – has ever been released.

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Then in 2012 Lisa Marie released a music video for the track “I Love You Because” that featured footage of her parents and all of her children. And Benjamin – who was 19 at the time – particularly caught people’s eyes. In October of that year, TV network CMT asked Lisa Marie of her son, “He looks so much like Elvis. Does he get that reaction a lot?”

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Lisa Marie answered, with a laugh, “He does! He was at the [Grand Ole] Opry and was the quiet storm behind the stage! Everybody turned around and looked when he was over there. Everybody was grabbing him for a photo because it is just uncanny. Sometimes I am overwhelmed when I look at him.”

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And several years later, the family resemblance became all the clearer. In June 2019 Lisa Marie posted an Instagram picture of herself and all four of her children, captioned “Mama Lion with cubs.” What’s more, people were seemingly awestruck at how much like Elvis Benjamin appeared. One commenter wrote, for example, “Your son is almost a twin to your dad! Thanks for sharing this pic!”

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Newsweek magazine wrote of the snap, meanwhile, “Following a family picture posted Thursday by Elvis Presley’s daughter, Lisa Presley, Twitter users had to do a double-take after seeing her son, Benjamin” and declared that the young man “looks to be a spitting image of his famous grandfather.” Benjamin himself, however, said nothing about the viral pic.

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In fact, despite his family’s fame, Benjamin kept a very low profile. He seemingly had no social media, for instance, and gave no interviews. Over the years, he only really popped up on his mother’s Instagram and on a 2005 documentary called Elvis by the Presleys. And the only snippets about his life that people knew were mostly revealed by his mother or older sister.

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In a 2013 interview with HuffPost, Lisa Marie revealed that, like many kids, her own children didn’t always have time for their mother. Apparently, Benjamin loved touring. Lisa Marie said of her son, “It’s on his time frame. Always. Then when he’s ready to see me, he’ll come.” Both Benjamin and Riley, she continued, often had “something pressing going on at that age.”

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Riley has made a name for herself, in any case, as an actress, having appeared in movies such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Logan Lucky and Magic Mike. And in interviews about her ever more successful career, the rising star has occasionally shared some tidbits about what life was like for her and Benjamin growing up.

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In 2017 Riley told U.K. newspaper The Guardian, “I grew up very privileged with my mother, but my dad didn’t live like that. And I think experiencing both sides has been helpful. My father had mattresses on the floor of his apartments. He lived in cabins and trailer parks. He just didn’t have much money.” It’s probably safe to say, then, that Benjamin experienced the same.

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Furthermore, Lisa Marie made sure that her kids knew who their grandfather was. In 2014, when Benjamin and Riley were adults and the twins were five, she appeared on the show Oprah: Where Are They Now and said, “They kind of know, because they heard music and stuff, and they’ve gotten the idea.”

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Lisa Marie went on, “I just say [that Elvis] was a very special person who sang, and he touched a lot of people in the world, [and] people loved him and they’re going to love you because of him. And they kind of understand that.” There’s no doubt, though, that that’s a very big legacy to try and live up to.

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In the same Oprah interview, meanwhile, Lisa Marie talked about how she parented and continued to parent her children. She announced, “I’m very, very protective, number one. Also, [I] want to be their friend and protect them but also get them to learn how to live in the world that we’re living in.”

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So if Benjamin had decided to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a music star, it seems that he would have had a good support system in place. Sadly, though, he never got the chance. On July 12, 2020, Elvis’ lookalike grandson – who had always kept a low profile – passed away as  a result of suicide. According to Lisa Marie’s manager, Roger Widynowski, the mother is “heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated.”

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This tragic news came almost 43 years after fans lost Elvis forever. The King of Rock and Roll performed his final live concert on June 26, 1977. Less than two months after this show, he would be dead. But few who’d attended Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena that day that could possibly have known that they had been witnessing a major piece of history.

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As you would expect from the days long before camera phones, footage of the show remains relatively scarce. Yet the details that have emerged suggest that the music icon did his live farewell in style. And, perhaps, that he appeared to sense that he might not ever return to the stage, either.

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The historic show was certainly an emotional one. As well as delivering strong renditions of his biggest chart hits and several well-chosen covers, the musical pioneer also welcomed a whole host of pivotal figures in his life to share the spotlight. So, here’s a closer look at that momentous concert.

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It’s fair to say that Elvis Presley wasn’t in a very good place at the beginning of 1977. What’s more, various members of the press appeared to take great delight in his downfall. In a particularly scathing piece, writer Tony Scherman described the star as a “grotesque caricature of his sleek, energetic former self.”

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To be fair, though, Elvis did give journalists lots of ammunition. He lasted barely an hour during a show in Alexandria, Louisiana, for instance. Meanwhile, a show in Baton Rouge had to be pulled when he couldn’t summon the energy to crawl out of bed. And three other dates also had to be canceled owing to the faded star’s erratic behavior.

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Presley himself either wasn’t aware of or didn’t particularly care about the outside world’s opinion of him, mind you. He spent his spare time reading spiritual books or staying in his room, sometimes inviting his cousin to discuss his favorite sketches from Monty Python. But he also regularly fell into a state of paranoia – inevitably thereby drawing comparisons with famed recluse Howard Hughes.

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Presley released what would be his final single, “Way Down,” in the first week of June that year. And shortly afterwards, he recorded two live shows for CBS’ Elvis in Concert special. One of the writers present at the first gig, Peter Guralnick, said that the singer was “a small, childlike instrument in which he talks more than sings most of the songs, casts about uncertainly for the melody in others and is virtually unable to articulate or project.”

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That said, the same writer was a little more impressed by Presley’s second performance in South Dakota’s Rapid City two days later. Guralnick in fact noted that the star both “looked healthier” and “sounded better.” And yet the critic also said that the King’s face was “framed in a helmet of blue-black hair from which sweat sheets down over pale, swollen cheeks.”

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But despite the less-than-stellar response to his shows and his worrying general wellbeing, Presley returned to the stage just days later. Yes, on June 26, 1976, the rock-and-roll legend hit the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis for what would be a historic show. And almost 18,000 fans showed up to see him in action.

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And doubtless some of those attendees had only booked last-minute tickets for the event thanks to The Indianapolis Star’s cheeky article about the show. The local newspaper read, “If you admire Elvis Presley’s back, you still can buy $15 seats behind the stage for his concert at the Market Square Arena tomorrow night.” This price tag, for the record, would amount to roughly $60 in today’s money.

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Concertgoers were then treated to various opening acts – ranging from a brass band to a stand-up comedian – before the King took to the stage at 10:00 p.m. The set opened with a version of Richard Strauss’ late-19th-century tone poem “Also Spake Zarathustra.” And Elvis then performed 12-bar-blues classic “See See Rider.”

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Meanwhile, the crowd left waiting in anticipation was reportedly a mixed one. Indianapolis News reporter Zach Dunkin wrote, “The conservative audience was vintage 35-ish, sprinkled with several curious teenyboppers. There were foxy ladies dressed to impress and would-be Presleys in jumpsuits. A few tots had to be carried through the turnstiles because mom and pop couldn’t find a babysitter. Make room for a second generation of Presley fans.”

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In any case, over the next 80 minutes those fans got to hear various uplifting Elvis classics performed live – including “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “Little Sister.” He also sometimes slowed things down with more melancholic tracks such as “Hurt” and “I Really Don’t Want to Know.” And in addition, he coupled “Don’t Be Cruel” with “Teddy Boy.”

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During the show, Presley covered several songs that had been made famous by other artists, too. These included Simon and Garfunkel’s signature hit “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny Be Goode.” And the set list also comprised a few solo performances from various members of Presley’s highly gifted backing band.

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Presley wasn’t alone on the stage, after all. With support provided by the Joe Guercio Orchestra, the King had also assembled a group of accomplished musicians to accompany his famous dulcet tones. These artists included pianist Tony Brown, keyboardist Bobby Ogdin, guitarists John Wilkinson and James Burton, bassist Jerry Scheff and drummer Larrie Londin.

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Presley introduced each and every musician on stage, as well as several other key names in his life, to the sell-out crowd. And it’s worth noting that this was an unusual practice by the King, too. Indeed, it led some to believe that Presley had had an inkling that he was nearing his end, and perhaps he even wanted to pay tribute to those who had supported him while he still could.

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However, there’s another theory as to why the star appeared to be in such a reflective mood. A revealing biography penned by his ex-bodyguards Red and Sonny West was due to be published shortly after the gig. And the chapters about Presley’s substance-abuse issues had reportedly left him fearful about the damage that they could do to his career.

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Meanwhile, those who were given shout-outs by Presley while he was on stage included his father and his girlfriend, Ginger Alden, and her family. The King had first started stepping out with the model the year before, and he had later presented her with a diamond-encrusted engagement ring. Tragically, moreover, Alden was to be the first person to discover Presley’s body on the day that he passed away.

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Presley then brought the show to a close with an affecting rendition of his popular ballad “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” And before leaving the stage for what would sadly prove to be the last time, the star bade farewell to his captivated audience with the following words: “We’ll meet you again. God bless. Adios.”

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Presley’s final performance certainly appeared to satisfy most of the nearly 18,000 fans who had visited the Market Square Arena. But it was a different story when it came to the critics. The most scathing response came courtesy of Zach Dunkin; and the writer for the Indianapolis News definitely wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.

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First, Dunkin questioned why the King had put on the show in the first place. The writer said, “[Presley] obviously doesn’t need the money. He apparently doesn’t care about the way his concerts are packaged either.” Yes, the critic also took umbrage with the entertainment that had been lined up ahead of Presley’s arrival on stage.

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“It’s like waiting through the sword-swallower and the fire-eater before seeing the REAL attraction in the back room,” Dunkin wrote about the support acts. And the reviewer also wasn’t a fan of the techniques that had been deployed by the merchandise sellers. You see, fans reportedly had to listen to several P.A. announcements imploring them to buy souvenirs.

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Perhaps inevitably, however, it was the King who incurred the wrath of Dunkin the most. In fairness, the writer did concede that he’d admired the renditions of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Hurt.” But he was left unimpressed by the fact that Presley had had to perform those songs while looking at their lyrics on a sheet.

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Dunkin ended his review with the kicker, “It’s time ardent Presley fans quit protecting their idol and start demanding more. They know ‘the King’ can do better.” And yet the critic’s suggestion had the opposite effect. You see, Presley’s supporters sent Dunkin a wave of hate mail in response to his takedown of their beloved idol.

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Speaking to John Krull, Dunkin recalled how many fans had told him that he was simply jealous of Presley’s talents. Others, meanwhile, made more personal attacks. And yet the critic claimed that not every fan was so hostile. In one letter, for example, an admirer of the King agreed with Dunkin, saying that the star “should’ve stayed home.”

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A more sympathetic review of the gig came from The Indianapolis Star’s Rita Rose. She wrote, “As the lights in the Arena [were] turned down after intermission, you could feel a silent plea rippling through the audience: please, Elvis, don’t be fat. At 42, Elvis is still carrying around some excess baggage on his midsection. But it doesn’t stop him from giving a performance in true Presley style.”

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And while Rose may have started off her piece in skeptical mode, she soon changed her tune. She praised Presley’s performances of “This Time You Gave Me a Mountain” and “It’s Now or Never” in particular. Plus, the critic noted how excited the sell-out crowd had been to see their idol in action.

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Rose wrote, “Elvis has limited his karate movements. But the stances he takes with his guitar generated screams and shrieks from delighted fans.” Many female audience members also jostled to catch one of the various scarves dangled by the King from the stage. In fact, Zach Dunkin claimed that the King threw no less than 46 different scarves during the set.

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And in 2018 fan Todd Slaughter discussed how thunderstruck he had been by seeing his hero on stage in Indianapolis. He told The Big Issue, “It was a special show. He sang his heart out. Having only seen Elvis on stage in Las Vegas in previous years in front of an audience of 2,000 people, the atmosphere was equally electrifying [at this show]. And the whole audience erupted when he announced that in the audience there were 250 Brits.”

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Slaughter, for his part, himself holds a special place in the history of the King of Rock and Roll. Indeed, the Brit – who has presided over a U.K. fan club for more than half a century – later met his idol at the airport in Indianapolis. And the footage of this event is reportedly the last ever to have been captured of Presley before his death.

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There has never been an official release of the concert’s recording. However, grainy footage of the show can be viewed on YouTube. And years later an unofficial bootleg of the gig was made available by A.J. Records under the title of The Last Farewell before being re-released as Adios: The Final Performance.

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Presley had made his last ever official recording at the end of October the year before. Yes, the star had entered the Jungle Room studio at his Graceland home to record a vocal overdub on a track called “He’ll Have to Go.” And the song appeared on Moody Blue, Presley’s 24th LP, which hit stores just a month before his passing.

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Yet the last number that Presley ever sang wasn’t actually at Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena. In fact, it was a piano-led version of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” performed just hours prior to him passing away at his Graceland home. The song had been a hit for country legend Willie Nelson two years previously.

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Presley was in fact due to head out of his Memphis hometown that same day to kickstart another wave of live shows. But the King never stepped foot outside his Graceland home again. You see, early that afternoon Presley’s girlfriend, Ginger Alden, found him lying completely unresponsive on the floor of one of his many bathrooms.

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Alden’s eyewitness account read, “Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position while [he was] using the commode and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position, directly in front of it. It was clear that, from the time whatever [had] hit him to the moment he had landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved.”

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Presley’s death was officially confirmed at the Baptist Memorial Hospital at 3:30 p.m. later that same day. Around 80,000 fans subsequently thronged the processional route from his Graceland home to Forest Hill Cemetery following his funeral on August 18. And the King was buried alongside his mother, Gladys Presley, who had died in 1958.

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Sadly, the venue of Elvis’ historic final gig is no longer standing. After its demolition in 2001, the space once occupied by the Market Square Arena would serve as a parking lot. However, a memorial marker was placed there to celebrate and commemorate such an important piece of rock-and-roll history.

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This plaque was later moved along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail before being displaced during the building of the distribution headquarters of engine manufacturer Cummins. Then in 2018 it was moved to 320 E. Market St., just outside a Whole Foods store. And a time capsule featuring a recording of the gig was also sealed during the ceremony to celebrate the plaque’s new home.

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Taking Care of Presley Memorial Benefit Committee co-founder Kay Lipps helped to organize the memorial. And interestingly, Lipps was also one of those lucky 18,000 fans who had crammed into the Market Square Arena on that historic day in June 1977. She was in the very front row, in fact.

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Lipps told the Indianapolis Star that she had enjoyed Presley’s rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in particular. And the fan added, “It was one of his better late shows. I was happy to see him. He was in a good mood, and he was Elvis. His vocals, of course, were amazing.”

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