Elvis’ birthday was always a special day – not only to him, but to all of us. But his last birthday, January 8, 1977, was uniquely memorable and meaningful.
We were at Elvis’ house in Palm Springs, having a wonderful, carefree time, looking forward to the year ahead. The day before, Al Strada and a couple of the other guys had come up to me asking for a list of books that Elvis would like as a gift.
As always, Elvis and I were talking while I was doing his hair before everyone got together to celebrate his 42nd birthday. He had an air of optimism, even excitement, as he spoke about the coming new year and the many changes he planned to make in his life, both personal and professional. It was great to see him this way, and to feel his energy and enthusiasm for life.
After I finished doing his hair he put on his black suit – he looked fantastic. He turned to me with a glint in his eye and said, “This is my day, Lawrence, my birthday, and I get to do whatever I want. C’mon man, watch this!” He had a big smile on his face as he picked up the book The Prophet and a stack of money, motioning for me to follow him to the living room, where everyone was waiting.
“Will all you guys please leave me and the ladies alone; I want to talk to them for a while.” We all left, leaving our wives or girlfriends with Elvis. For the next forty-five minutes, he read to them several passages from The Prophet. Then he gleefully said, “This is my birthday, and what I want most is to give you all a gift.” As he handed each one a new hundred-dollar bill, he admonished, “Now you have to promise to spend this on yourselves, and I’m havin’ Robinson’s keep their store open late tonight just for you. No one’s gonna bother you; I’m sending security with you. So you all go and have fun for me on my birthday.”
So what does the man who has everything want for his birthday? If he’s Elvis…just the joy of giving to others.
Happy Birthday, Elvis!