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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 August 2007, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Elvis Week marks 30th anniversary
Elvis Presley in 1957
Presley had more than 80 gold-selling albums in the US

A week of events is due to begin to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of US rock 'n' roll star Elvis Presley.

About 50,000 fans are expected to gather in Memphis on Wednesday, when a candlelight vigil will be held at the singer's Graceland mansion.

Presley's ex-wife Priscilla and members of his former band will appear at sold-out concerts in the US city.

And a competition for Presley sound-alikes is also being organised, with the backing of the star's estate.

"There have been impersonators of all shapes and sizes and nationalities for years, but the estate never recognised them," contest judge Joe Moscheo, who played in Las Vegas with Presley, told the Associated Press.

"They didn't want anything to do with the guys with the wigs with the sideburns. They thought it cheapened the image.

"Now they look at it and say: 'If they're going to be out there, let's control the thing'."

ELVIS PRESLEY FACTS
Born on 8 January 1935
Died on 16 August 1977
Began singing with Sun Records in Memphsis aged 19
Had 81 gold-selling albums
Entered Billboard's Hot 100 pop singles chart 149 times
Made 31 films as an actor
Source: Official Elvis Presley website

Wednesday's vigil at Graceland will be broadcast live by the Elvis Radio channel on Sirius Satellite in the US.

There is also plenty of merchandise to mark Thursday's anniversary of Presley's death.

The Hershey confectionary company has produced the banana-flavoured Peanut Butter Cup chocolate bar.

The product, which marks Presley's love for peanut butter and banana sandwiches, urges customers to "live like The King".

Ex-pop star Marie Osmond is selling a doll which portrays Baby Elvis, who is wearing a jump suit and comes complete with a microphone.

Priscilla Presley
Ex-wife Priscilla performs at the Memphis Cook Convention Center
And a white Knabe baby grand piano which sat in the music room at Graceland from 1957 to 1969 is being auctioned online throughout the week.

It has a starting price of $250,000 (124,000).

However Symbolic Collection, the company which is selling the instrument, told the AFP news agency it hoped to raise $2m (990,000).

"We're gearing up for the best Elvis Week we've ever had," said Todd Morgan, spokesman for Elvis Presley Enterprises, the Memphis-based firm which oversees the late star's estate.

Presley died at Graceland in 1977 at the age of 42, his body ravaged by the drugs and fast food on which he had become reliant.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Elvis performing Viva Las Vegas



SEE ALSO
Presley's drug bottle snapped up
17 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Seized Elvis goods go to auction
31 May 07 |  Lincolnshire
Presley songwriter Weisman dies
23 May 07 |  Entertainment
Graceland seeks 'ultimate Elvis'
18 Nov 06 |  Americas
Elvis's pink Cadillac auctioned
13 Sep 06 |  Derbyshire
Thousands mark Elvis anniversary
17 Aug 06 |  Entertainment

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