Many people know that January 8 is Elvis Presley’s birthday. It’s fun to watch old Elvis movies and listen to his music or see tribute artists perform as the King of Rock and Roll. Some people honor the King’s memory by eating some of his favorite foods or visiting his childhood home in Tupelo, Miss., or his final resting place at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn.
Elvis glamorized rock in a way no one else could. He also brought his own twist to traditional blues music, making popular a genre that many had never thought would see the mainstream.
Elvis died August 16, 1977, a day that also is commemorated with a celebration of his life.
But today also is the birthday of a couple other rock pioneers that are worthy of noting:
• One of my most favorite musicians is David Bowie, whose flair for drama and the unique ability to reinvent himself at will made him an icon that few could forget. He was innovative with his music, too, striking out on his own path despite the trend of the day.
• Even fewer of you will have heard of Bill Graham, since he was not a musician, but he revolutionized the rock world as a major concert promoter, giving up-and-coming bands a leg up in the industry as well as bringing top acts to venues in San Francisco and New York from the 1960s until the early 1990s – when he was killed in a helicopter crash.
Each year on this day I try to spend time to honor some of the brightest stars of rock music – at least in my eyes.
Happy birthday, gentlemen. And thank you for all the gifts you have given us.