I was never a huge Elvis Presley fan. Although linked with Rock and Roll — which I like — his Rhythm and Blues style has never been my favorite kind of music. I’m not likely to download his greatest hits and play them in my car or on my iPhone. But I have much respect for any pioneer who blazes the trails for others to follow, and that’s exactly what the “the King” did.

Elvis was a little before my time. He died shortly before I was born. But my childhood literally ran parallel with a subculture of Elvis fans who cherished him and ensured his music and memories lived on well after his death. Throughout my childhood, this same subculture lived in denial about the mystery of his death, questioned whether he really did die or if he had faked it, and a host of other conspiracy theories.

Elvis was, is, and forever will be a cultural icon. Below is one of my favorite songs of his along with a list of stories remembering him on his 80th birthday.