News » Flyer Flashback

Looking Back at the Flyer’s Elvis Coverage

To celebrate the Flyer's 25th year, we're looking back at stories we've covered in the past.



Elvis Presley is alive, and he works at the Memphis Flyer.  

The King has been one of the hardest-working, most-productive characters in the pages of the Memphis Flyer since its beginning.

Google "Elvis" and "Memphis Flyer" and you can feel the internet slow down, sucking bandwidth from Vegas to Tupelo as it thinks of all the times the King has appeared here. 

The Flyer was launched in 1989. Presley died in 1977. So our coverage of the man didn't begin until a full


12 years after his death. But that barely matters. 

If we could get an accurate count of the names most mentioned in the paper and digital pages of the Flyer, Presley's would either be high on the list or at the top. No politician — no matter how powerful or impactful or colorful or corrupt or wonderful — has been able to draw the ink in Memphis like Elvis.    

And no one at the Flyer loves Elvis (or Elvis stories, at least) more than Chris Davis, our own Fly on the Wall columnist. Elvis stories fall from the sky across the globe and our Pesky Fly catches them and pools them together in an infinite well of words tagged "Neverending Elvis" 

Here's a taste of his collection from Britain's Daily Mail: "A party of friends have admitted they were all shook up when the King's face appeared in the ashes of a garden fire." 

Also, the King allows for amazing headline writing: "Elvis is Alive and Living With Tupac and Bruce Lee," "Elvis vs. Guns," and "Happy Chinese Elvis, Memphis."

One of the most-viewed, most-shared Flyer stories is Presley's fictional obituary written by Chris Herrington and Greg Akers in 2007, the 30th anniversary of his death. Presley didn't die in 1977, the story said. No, he "died Monday, August 6th [2007], of cardiac arrest, at his Horn Lake, Mississippi, home. He was 72 years old."

Presley barely survived his near-fatal overdose of drugs in 1977, according to the obit. He fired his longtime manager, "Colonel" Tom Parker and bought a ranch in Horn Lake. He opened and closed a fast food chain called Gladys' Kitchen. He turned Graceland into a Cadillac dealership. He bought the company that made Mountain Valley Spring Water. He recorded duets with Dolly Parton and Tina Turner, and he reunited the Million Dollar Quartet. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, landed an NFL team in Memphis, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and returned to music and the movies. Only after that and more, as our obituary read, did Presley die.

Presley's spirit has survived in Memphis thanks in large part to his home, Graceland. His real story has been preserved and told there to hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the home each year. They come to Memphis just to walk through the gates of Graceland, to play Elvis Bingo, hear lectures, or hold a candle in the annual graveside vigil that officially closes out Elvis Week. 

Leaders of Elvis Presley Enterprises hope that a $76 million planned facelift and upgrade of the amenities and facilities around Graceland will keep Elvis tourists coming back to Memphis for years to come.

Keeping that flame alive will hopefully keep Elvis taking care of business right here in the pages of the Memphis Flyer.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.

Add a comment