Prestwick Airport and Elvis Presley’s other ties to Scotland

January 8 marks what would have been Elvis' 81st birthday. Picture: AP
January 8 marks what would have been Elvis' 81st birthday. Picture: AP
Have your say

TO celebrate what would have been The King’s 81st birthday, we examine five ways in which Elvis Presley is connected to Scotland

His only stop on UK soil was in South Ayrshire

Despite never playing a show outside North America, Elvis fans in Scotland were treated to one fleeting appearance on March 3, 1960. Following the end of his national service in West Germany, Presley flew back to the US with a brief stop-off at Prestwick Airport for two hours in order to refuel. When Elvis descended the stairs of the plane, he was met by a crowd of two thousand fans who rushed to meet him as he wandered through the terminal building, signing autographs and hugging shrieking fans. A plaque was placed in the airport to commemorate the event in 2006.

The Presley family line descends from Aberdeenshire

There have been many countries that have claimed to have connections to the King of Rock n’ Roll (Elvis’ heritage has often been described as German, Ulster-Scots and even Native American), but Scottish author Alan Morrison believed the Presley family tree had its roots in Scotland. Morrison claimed that the first Presley in America was an Andrew Presley, who is recorded as living in South Carolina in 1745. Records show that his father (also named Andrew) was married in the town of Lonmay, Aberdeenshire in 1713.

Scotland has the world’s greatest Elvis impersonator

Although many will make the claim to be the greatest, Johnny Lee Memphis has the accolades to back it up. Lee Memphis (real name Jon Fleming) is the current World Cup and European Champion Elvis impersonator and originally hails from the village of Coalsnaughton in Clackmannanshire. Fleming was named European champion in a contest in Birmingham in 2014 and was named the World Cup winner in Cardiff in 2010, beating competition from both an Irish and Maltese Elvis.

There is an official ‘Presley of Memphis’ tartan

An Elvis-specific tartan, named Presley of Memphis, was created in 2004 by designer Brian Wilton and is an officially registered tartan. The tartan was specially made for an Elvis impersonator with the register entry stating: “This adaptation retains the colours of the US flag and discretely introduces Elvis Presley’s favourite colour pink, plus a gold band to represent his legendary number of Gold Discs.”

The tartan features a white thread count of 42, to mark the age at which Presley died.

A man from East Lothian made an Elvis song using a strand of his hair

Although you may picture Elvis’ last performance taking place in a sparkly jumpsuit in Hawaii, a Scottish scientist managed to create a lullaby based on a strand of The King’s DNA through a computer in Scotland.

Stuart Mitchell from Musselburgh used the DNA pattern from a lock of Elvis’ signature quiff to create a musical melody. Mitchell was given the opportunity by Rolling Stone magazine’s South American edition and a documentary of the process was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.