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Long Live the King

Remembering the life of a musical legend



 



It was an overcast August day in Oklahoma City, warm and humid, as occasional light rain fell from the low-hanging clouds. Patricia Goodpasture was waiting on customers at her store when she heard the news.
 

“Someone walked in and said ‘Elvis Presley just died,’” she says. “It was one of those things you will always remember, like where you were when President Kennedy was shot.”

Presley died at his home in Memphis 40 years ago this summer, on August 16, 1977. His death stunned fans around the world, including Oklahoma. Goodpasture was 27 years old at the time and had come of age listening to Presley’s music.

“Of course, his early hits in the ’50s were influential in the development of rock and roll,” Goodpasture says, “and I loved those songs as a kid. But as I entered my teenage years in the ’60s, that’s when I really became a fan. He was still making records, but he was also making movies like Blue Hawaii and Viva Las Vegas, and I saw them all!”

Those were good years, she said, and while Presley may be gone, the memories and his music are very much alive.

“I remember walking home after school with my best friend Judy,” Goodpasture says. “We would get her little portable record player out and dance to the Mamas and the Papas, Nancy Sinatra, the Supremes – all the great groups that were popular then. But our favorite was Elvis. Judy’s mom was an Elvis fan in the ’50s, and sometimes she would even dance with us. She did a great jitterbug, and it was a hoot! Today I still love his music, and I listen to the Elvis channel on Sirius a lot. After all these years, his music never gets old.”

When word got out that Elvis had died, radio stations everywhere began playing Presley’s music non-stop. Longtime Oklahoma City air personality Jack Elliott remembers the day well.

“It was a couple of years before I moved to Oklahoma City,” Elliott recalls, “and I was working the afternoon drive shift at KRIZ radio in Phoenix. The station was a very ‘Top-40’ format.

Needless to say, when he died, we brought out all the Elvis we could find and did a tribute broadcast.”

Presley was instrumental in breaking new ground, Elliott said, bringing to light a style of music previously unknown to many people.

“There were numerous black artists who created similar sounds, but due to white radio programmers keeping things white in the 1950s, those black artists weren’t heard on mainstream radio,” Elliott says. “Elvis had a very soulful sound. He wasn’t a songwriter, as the Beatles were, but he could take most songs and make them his own.”

One of the first times Presley performed in Oklahoma City was in 1955, at the Municipal Auditorium, now the Civic Center. Through the years, he always came back to perform for sell-out crowds, with fans camping out and standing in line for hours, sometimes overnight.

Four decades after his death, Elliott said it will take a continued historical review of Elvis’ life to allow new generations to learn of his rise to fame.

“After 40 years, the music of Elvis Presley is still well received,” Elliott says. “Movies, television ads and other productions feature his music. Radio stations with oldies and classic country formats still fire up the Elvis from time to time. As long as there are fans who were alive during his reign, the legacy will remain strong. No telling how his legacy will carry on a hundred years from now … I have a hunch he will still be known as ‘The King.’”

 

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October 2017

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
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View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

ROCK OF AGES is a high-energy rock musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s. This worldwide hit musical takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

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Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

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Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
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View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
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Cost: $35

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Telephone: 405.702.7755
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ROCK OF AGES is a high-energy rock musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s. This worldwide hit musical takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
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Cost: $15 (free for kids 6 and under)

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

ROCK OF AGES is a high-energy rock musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s. This worldwide hit musical takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

ROCK OF AGES is a high-energy rock musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s. This worldwide hit musical takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

Tired of the same old Halloween parties?  Come Haunt the River and enjoy the decorated boat, haunted tunes, light snacks and cash bar. This is an adults-only cruise and boards at 7:45...

Cost: $35

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
SW, over the bridge from Farmer's Market
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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