Elvis Presley History Timeline 1977
Here’s a handy database of dates and events in Elvis Presley’s life during 1977, up until his tragic, controversial, and ultimately untimely death in August of 1977.
- January 8: Elvis celebrates his 42nd birthday in Palm Springs with girlfriend Ginger Alden and her sister, Rosemary.
- January 11: Presley convinces his dentist Max Shapiro to fly down to Palm Springs along with his fiancee and get married, with Larry Geller performing the ceremony. Elvis then says, “Ginger, I haven’t asked you before, but I would like us to get married, and I want Larry to do it the same way he married Dr. Max and Susan, so what do you think, do you want to?”
- January 21: Elvis arrives a day late for his next recording session in Nashville after arguing with Ginger about joining him there (he eventually shows up without her). Despondent and complaining of a sore throat, he remains in his hotel room for the duration of his stay, never making it to the studio.
- January 26: Apparently deciding that the formal proposal will solve everything, Elvis presents Ginger with a quickly-assembled engagement ring made from a diamond on one of his rings. She accepts in the King’s bathroom at Graceland.
- January 28: The newspaper The Nashville Banner mentions Elvis’ doomed recording session in its entertainment column, speculating that Colonel Tom Parker is furious at the King and hinting that the much-younger Ginger is the cause of his exhaustion.
- February 1: Elvis and Ginger fly to Los Angeles to celebrate Lisa Marie’s ninth birthday.
- February 12: At Elvis’ insistence, Ginger joins him on the tour beginning tonight in Hollywood, FL.
- February 20: Having flown Ginger’s family in to join him on the tour in order to make her stay on, Elvis calls Ginger’s embarrassed sister Terry up on stage during tonight’s show to play some classical piano. The same night, Elvis unplugs keyboardist David Briggs’ instrument on stage and fires him from the tour after learning that he’s been carrying on an affair with Ginger.
- March 3: After some prodding by his father, Vernon, Elvis signs his will, leaving control of everything to his father, then heads off for a vacation in Hawaii.
- March 12: Elvis cuts his vacation short, complaining of sand in his eye, and returns to Graceland to “recuperate” before his next tour begins.
- March 22: A despondent Elvis, pining for Ginger, is barely able to make it to his tour plane. Dr. Nick puts him on an IV.
- March 26: Producer Felton Jarvis, desperate for new material to fulfill Elvis’ contract, begins recording selected songs from the tour on a rented eight-track machine, suggesting songs to Elvis he’s never performed before.
- March 30: At tonight’s show in Alexandria, LA, Elvis sings the first verse of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” as “Wise men know when it’s time to go.”
- March 31: Elvis cancels his second date in Baton Rouge during intermission, then flies home and cancels the last three days of the tour as well. An upset Colonel moves the canceled dates to the end of his next tour.
- April 1: Elvis checks into Memphis’ Baptist Hospital for “exhaustion.”
- April 5: Elvis returns to Graceland, with a concerned Priscilla and Lisa Marie flying in to visit.
- April 13: The singer vacations in Vegas with a twenty-year-old bank teller he’s just met, Alicia Kerwin. While there, he complains of labored breathing, and his Vegas doctor is flown in. Kerwin soon leaves the King after finding his mental state “too depressing.”
- April 26: The National Enquirer ups the ante by publishing new photos of Elvis and claiming he’s had a recent facelift.
- April 29: The Nashville Banner breaks the news that the Colonel looking to sell his management contract with Elvis to pay off his mounting gambling debts. If there is any such deal, the Colonel soon breaks it off due to public pressure. The same day, Elvis signs the deed of Graceland over to Priscilla for payment of her outstanding divorce settlement.
- May 6: A distraught Elvis fires a gun out of his bedroom window, shattering it.
- May 22: Elvis leaves the stage during tonight’s show in Landover, MD, claiming he has to attend to “nature’s call.”
- May 29: Elvis leaves his show in Baltimore, MD for a full half-hour, angering and bewildering fans.
- May 31: The as-yet-unpublished tell-all book from Sonny and Red West, Elvis: What Happened? begins to leak out, one chapter at a time, to newspapers in England and Australia.
- June 1: Plans for the upcoming CBS-TV special Elvis In Concert are announced.
- June 14: US President Jimmy Carter returns the call Elvis had placed to the White House the day before, but finding him incoherent, Carter hangs up.
- June 19: Tonight’s concert in Omaha, NE, is filmed, the first of two to be recorded for Elvis In Concert. It is a disaster, one of the legendary last shows that records just how low the King has fallen. The shocking performance of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” from This Is Elvis is taken from this show.
- June 24: En route to his hotel while on tour in Madison, WI, Elvis spots an altercation between two young men and a gas station attendant and immediately gets out of his limo, striking a karate pose, to take the two assailants on. When all three get a glimpse of their intruder, however, they immediately forget the fight and ask for pictures and photographs.
- June 26: Elvis plays what will end up being his last concert. The concert was in Indianapolis, IN for a crowd of 18,000 people.
August: The Month of Elvis Presley’s Death
- August 4: The book Elvis: What Happened? is published, sparking new rumors in America about the King’s drug use.
- August 10: Elvis watches The Spy Who Loved Me, among other new films, during a special viewing at the General Cinema in Whitehaven, TN.
- August 15: Elvis visits his dentist at 10:30 at night — not an unusual occurrence — to get a cleaning and two fillings.
- August 16: Elvis Presley dies.