• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Elvis Presley fans celebrate icon's birthday at Graceland

January 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Elvis Presley fans and some familiar faces gathered in Graceland on Wednesday to celebrate the late icon's 79th birthday.

TV personality Wink Martindale told fans that he remembered the day nearly 60 years ago when Presley's first single, "That's All Right," played for the first time on the radio.

In 1954, Martindale was working as a disc jockey in Memphis when legendary producer Sam Phillips brought in an acetate copy of the song Presley cut at Phillips' Sun Records.

The song was played on the influential "Red, Hot and Blue" radio show, and rock n' roll history was made.

"It was almost like an out-of-body experience," Martindale said. "That was the beginning of Presley-mania."

Martindale and Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, attended the annual birthday party at Presley's longtime Memphis home. The event featured a cake cutting and the singing of "Happy Birthday" by 16-year-old Canadian David Thibault.

Bush Hager, a correspondent for the "Today" show, was at Graceland to tour the home and tape a segment with Thibault, who gained fame after his singing of "Blue Christmas" garnered millions of views on YouTube.

Martindale was a longtime friend of Presley, who dated Martindale's wife Sandy before they married. After his days in Memphis, Martindale went on to TV fame as host of Teenage Dance Party and the game shows Gambit and Tic Tac Dough.

Presley was born in Tupelo, Miss., on Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis with his parents at age 13. He was 42 when he died Aug. 16, 1977.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Load Comments