Remembering Elvis in Scotland on 40th anniversary of his death

The legendary rock'n'roll singer Elvis Presley, who died 40 years ago today, was famous for many things, including the fact that he never played a concert outside of North America.

Elvis. Picture: AP
Elvis. Picture: AP

The King, as he was known, made only one visit to the United Kingdom in his entire career, although documentaries have since claimed he planned a tour of Europe before his untimely death from a heart attack in 1977.

It was in 1960, when Elvis was returning from his national service, which saw him called up two years earlier despite his already stratospheric fame, that he found himself in South Ayrshire.

He may not have been the only person to wonder ‘where am I?’ (his first words on arrival) upon landing at Prestwick Airport, then the site of a US Air Force base.

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But he was almost certainly the only passenger to alight there who was met by a mob of hundreds of supporters, clamouring for a look at one of the most recognisable faces on the planet.

Elvis, who remains one of the highest-selling artists of all time, was with his colleagues on a military jet that stopped over at the air base to re-fuel on March 3.

Elvis was reportedly relaxed and chatted to fans who had clamoured to meet him, and even held an impromptu mini press conference with the reporters had gathered.

Liet-Col Ed Miller, who was part of the party who officially greeted Elvis, told the Scotsman last year: “I remember it well. I got the job as Sgt. Presley’s escort, probably because I was a professional musician before the war.

“He was an extremely pleasant, sincere young man who took the time and trouble to speak to everyone he met. The lucky few fans who were in the right place at the right time were left with the memory of a lifetime.”