It hardly seems possible that 40 years have passed since the death of Elvis Presley. They say that time speeds up as you get older; it certainly feels like it.
The tabloid press would have us believe that, in his later years, he was grossly overweight and feasting on cheeseburgers; drug addled and incoherent but that is the tabloid press. Footage of the last concerts tell a very different story.
His life story is well known despite the worst efforts of the gutter press (which seems to be all of them these days) So there is no point trying to summarize it here, but a few thoughts: Elvis was one of twins, his brother Jesse was stillborn. It is understandable that his mother would be even more protective of him and more loving than if his sibling had survived. The effect on Elvis of having a stillborn brother cannot be known; after he became famous, he asked people on several occasions to try and find the whereabouts of Jesse's unmarked grave but to no avail since no papers marked the spot.
The family attended a Pentecostal Church which is where a young Elvis found musical inspiration and, undoubtedly, his love of God which was a constant throughout his life. There are many stories of Elvis in concert being confronted by placards proclaiming him to be the King and he would always politely say "Thank you ma'am but there is only one king" and he would point a finger skywards. I have seen film footage of that but can't seem to find anything other than audio on YouTube.
There is also an apocryphal tale about Elvis wearing a Star of David alongside a crucifix. When asked about it he answered "I would hate to miss out on a technicality!" That is in line with his sense of humour but it might be true, who knows. It also illustrates a side of Elvis which is more or less unknown. Both his wife and his daughter have said that he had a very large collection of books on religion and spirituality and he would make endless notes in the margins of those books.
As a further illustration of that side of Elvis, read this about his continual spiritual search. There are two excellent videos embedded.
(The third embedded video is "How great thou art" and I have included below what I think is a better version)
"To say that Elvis Presley loved Gospel music would be an understatement. It was by far his favourite musical genre and the three personal Grammy awards he received during his lifetime were for recordings in this field.
"From the summer of 1956 until the summer of 1977, whenever he stepped on stage, he did so accompanied by at least one Gospel harmony group; that's how highly he valued the Gospel sound."
"An American Trilogy" (embedding disabled) - link: https://youtu.be/vWVgLLnGaWs
- alternative clip: