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News 8 Throwback: Elvis Presley rocks San Diego in the 50s and 70s

It's been 45 years since the world said goodbye to the king of rock and roll.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Tuesday, August 16, 2022, marks 45 years since the world said goodbye to Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis died of a heart attack at just 42 years old. Fans are flocking to Graceland to celebrate the singer's life.

On Monday, the Graceland estate held a candlelight vigil. Elvis' ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, was there as well and thanked the crowd for their devotion to the music icon.

The CBS 8 archives have footage from his visits to San Diego in the 50s and 70s.

Elvis Presley visits San Diego in 1956

On the tenth anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death in 1987, reporter Liz Pursell met a woman -- Julie Campbell -- who was the opening act when he performed in San Diego in 1956. Julie Garrett was a local singer. She wasn’t too thrilled about it because she saw Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show and wasn’t all that impressed. She explained that since everything was censored back then, the performance was a lot tamer than his live performance. After she sang “Rock around the Clock,” she stuck around to see what all the fuss was about. “He had that charisma that only a superstar has.” (Note: It was June 6, 1956 -- not 1957. The original film was retrieved for this story.)

Elvis Presley at San Diego International Sports Arena 1970

On November 16, 1970, the sounds of “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Heartbreak Hotel” brought down the house last night as famed rock ‘n’ roll singer Elvis Presley became the first entertainer to perform before a sellout crowd at the International Sports Arena. Unfortunately the film has no sound, so a little rockabilly tune has been added.

San Diegans react to death of Elvis Presley in 1977

The death of Elvis Presley in 1977 sent shockwaves around the world. He was only 42 years old and his contributions to the music world were immense. It’s clear the San Diegans Gene Gleeson interviewed were sad and stunned. A Tower Records employee said, “Elvis can’t die…it’s not something that can happen, he’s too big…it’s like Frank Sinatra dying or the Beatles dying.” Tower was selling 10 or 12 albums a week before he died -- 50 were sold in just a few hours right after his death.

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