Although Elvis Presley died more than four decades ago now, he’s nevertheless still a huge star. In fact, the King of Rock and Roll has remained one of the most popular and influential figures in music ever since he left the building for good in 1977. Here’s a look at how his daughter helped to extend his legacy even further with a poignant tribute.
Born in the Mississippi town of Tupelo in 1935, Elvis took to music in his late teens with recording sessions at the legendary Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. There, he helped to pioneer a sound known as rockabilly – a high-tempo blend of R&B and country music. However, Elvis’ career truly took off after he signed with manager Colonel Tom Parker.
Then, a year later, the man who would eventually be known as the King topped the charts for the first time with his debut single, “Heartbreak Hotel.” He quickly became the face of the burgeoning rock and roll movement, too, thanks to his high-energy material and a hip-swiveling performance style many considered provocative. But that wasn’t all: Elvis would also become a star of the big screen, with his first acting appearance in 1956’s Love Me Tender.
And although a two-year stint in the military briefly derailed Elvis’ thriving career, he nevertheless picked up where he left off on his return in 1960 with a string of number one hits. However, under the advice of his manager, the star rarely performed live for much of the decade, choosing instead to concentrate on his Hollywood career.
Eventually, though, Elvis made a triumphant stage comeback in 1968 with an iconic TV special. A successful residency in Las Vegas followed, as did Aloha from Hawaii – a live show beamed to millions across the world. By this point, Elvis was by far and away one of the most successful solo artists in recording history.
And Elvis’ career sales total of an estimated one billion shows just how astonishingly popular he was and remains. The legendary musician also currently holds the records for the highest number of Billboard 200 entries, cumulative weeks at the top of the U.S. Hot 100 and British chart-topping singles. He also has three Grammys to his name – and that’s not even to mention the Lifetime Achievement Award he was given at the age of just 36.
Sadly, the Elvis story came to a tragic end when he passed away in 1977 aged 42; the King was found dead in his bathroom in his Graceland home by his girlfriend, Ginger Alden. An autopsy revealed that the star, who had battled a prescription drug addiction for years, had 14 different substances in his system at the time of his death.
And Elvis was survived by his one and only child, Lisa Marie. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968, the daughter of the King and actress Priscilla Presley saw her parents divorce when she was only five years old. She subsequently grew up with her mother and later became the sole inheritor of her father’s $100 million estate.
And in 1994 Lisa Marie made headlines herself when she unexpectedly married the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. That union wasn’t to last, though, as two years later, she filed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Lisa Marie had previously spent six years married to musician Danny Keough – the father of her son Benjamin.
Seemingly undeterred, Lisa Marie walked down the aisle again when she wed Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage in 2002. But her third marriage was even shorter than her second, with Cage filing for divorce after just 108 days. Then, four years later, Lisa Marie made music producer Michael Lockwood her fourth husband. The pair had twins Harper and Finley in 2008 before splitting in acrimonious circumstances in 2016.
Meanwhile, Lisa Marie followed in the footsteps of her father in 2003 when she launched her own music career. Her first studio effort, To Whom It May Concern, peaked at number five in the U.S. and spawned a Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 chart hit in the shape of “Lights Out.” Featuring a guest appearance from Pink, Lisa Marie’s 2005 sophomore album, Now What, also reached the top ten.
And Lisa Marie went on to release a third LP, Storm & Grace, in 2012. After that, though, her musical career seemed to be in stasis. Then, in 2018, it was announced that Lisa Marie had recorded a posthumous duet with her father. Title track “Where No One Stands Alone” appears on an album featuring newly reworked versions of Elvis’ best-loved gospel hits.
Elvis’ vocals for the record were largely taken from his LPs How Great Thou Art and He Touched Me – released in 1967 and 1972, respectively. Tracks on Where No One Stands Alone, meanwhile, include “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “Crying in the Chapel,” “Amazing Grace” and “He Touched Me.” And the new album peaked at number 22 on the Billboard 200 after its first week on sale.
The 93rd official compilation to be released since the King’s death also featured contributions from Cissy Houston and Darlene Love – both of whom had performed with Elvis in the late 1960s. Several members of Elvis’ regular backing band, The Stamps, guested on the record, too. And, of course, Lisa Marie’s appearance on the record attracted some attention.
In the album notes, Lisa Marie revealed how honored she was to be a part of the project. She said, “It was a very powerful and moving experience to sing with my father. The lyrics speak to me and touch my soul. I’m certain that the lyrics spoke to my father in much the same way.”
Lisa Marie also claimed that her father would have approved of the compilation’s gospel theme. She said, “This was his favorite genre – no question about it. He seemed to be at his most passionate and at peace while singing gospel. He would truly come alive – whether he was singing just for himself and me at home, or on stage in front of thousands of fans.”
And one particular interview with the man himself appears to back up Lisa Marie’s claims. “Since I was two years old, all I knew was gospel music,” Elvis reportedly once said. “It became such a part of my life, it was as natural as dancing. [Gospel was] a way to escape my problems and my way of release.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Lisa Marie has appeared on record with her father. In 1997, for example, she commemorated the 20th anniversary of Elvis’ death by recording a posthumous duet for a tribute concert. However, this new version of Elvis’ 1969 top ten hit, “Don’t Cry Daddy,” wasn’t available commercially.
But the posthumous duet Lisa Marie recorded to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death did receive a release. “In the Ghetto” was accompanied by a video filmed in New Orleans, and Lisa Marie later performed the track alongside the Harlem Gospel Choir and classic footage of the King on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Meanwhile, during a British TV interview to promote Where No One Stands Alone, Lisa Marie spoke about feeling Elvis’ presence. She explained, “I can sort of pull out of the files whatever memories I have and stuff like that. And occasionally ask for help – which was the case with this record.” She added, “I just felt like a hand [came] down to me; it felt like that a little bit.”