Elvis Presley's 79th Birthday Celebrated at a Chilly Graceland

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Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 11:43 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Some 200 people ignored chilly temperatures to join celebrities and Memphis city officials Wednesday to celebrate the 79th birthday of Elvis Presley in Graceland, Tennessee.

The event, which was streamed online and presented by Elvis Presley Enterprises, kicked off several days of programs and celebrations near Elvis' home, including concerts, symposiums and screenings, according to Commercial Appeal.

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Wednesday's event also opened the Memphis Convention and Visitor's Bureau 60th anniversary celebration of the "birth" of rock and roll. The bureau said the date coincides with Presley's recording of "That's Alright Mama" in July 1954.

Memphis mayor A.C. Wharton and Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell issued their annual joint declaration of Jan. 8 as Elvis Presley Day during Wednesday's program.

"No matter how far his career took him, or how high his fame carried him, Elvis remained steadfastly devoted to Memphis, the city that he loved, the city that inspired him and the city he called home," Luttrell read from the decree.

Knox Phillips, son of Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, said he recalled his father bringing home Presley's music for the first time and how much how much felt his music would change the business.

Presley had 80 top 40 hits on Billboard's Hot 100 charts and 129 sons on the Billboard 200 charts albums, the highest total in the chart's 56-year history.

Presley's immense popularity spread over numerous genres. He was inducted into four different music hall of fames, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2007.

Presley's 108 records that reached Billboard's Hot 100 list is third highest of all time, only behind the "Glee" cast that has 207 songs and rapper Lil Wayne's 120 records. Billboard notes that Presley's career predates the Hot 100 chart, which began 1958. 

Presley charted more than 30 songs on various other musical surveys that followed the sales and airplay of popular music before Billboard.

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