Sunday, January 8, 2017, would have been Elvis Presley’s 82nd birthday.  And in August, we will mark the 40th anniversary of his passing.

The future King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.A. in 1935.  He grew up there and in Memphis, Tennessee.

Elvis had a remarkable rags-to-riches story.  He grew up poor, and as a youngster, he encountered those who didn’t recognize his extraordinary talent.  As a young adult, he sometimes dealt with stage fright.  But he persisted in following his dreams, and he became a rock ‘n’ roll megastar in the mid-1950s.

“Presley is one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century,” notes his Wikipediaentry.  “Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, with estimated record sales of around 600 million units worldwide.”

Like many superstars, Elvis had his ups and downs.  He was famously generous and goodhearted, and he also struggled with prescription drug abuse.  He died young—at 42—in 1977.

Elvis continues to be a global pop-cultural icon.  He’s one of the top-earning deceased celebrities in America, and millions enjoy his music around the world.  Today we celebrate him in calendars, on postage stamps, and through various forms of memorabilia.

Graceland, Elvis’s fabled estate in Memphis, attracts more visitors than any other house in the United States—except for the White House.

On Sirius XM, there’s Elvis Radio, the 24-hour satellite radio channel dedicated to the King.  Elvis Radio broadcasts from a studio at Graceland.

Meanwhile, Elvis impersonators continue to be popular, both in the United States and abroad.  There are reportedly 80,000 Elvis tribute acts.

For Elvis fans, his songs evoke happy times and cherished memories.  Many fans grew up with his music and movies.  Others were born after his passing.

Looking to the future, Elvis will be an important part of our culture for years to come.  His birthday represents a good time to remember him and celebrate his impressive legacy!