Fans brave Memphis cold for Elvis Presley's birthday

Priscilla Ann Presley, the ex-wife of the late singer Elvis Presley, stands in front of Graceland with her daughter Lisa Marie (centre) and her grandson, Ben Keough, during a proclamation of Elvis Presley Day by Memphis and Shelby County officials at
Priscilla Ann Presley, the ex-wife of the late singer Elvis Presley, stands in front of Graceland with her daughter Lisa Marie (centre) and her grandson, Ben Keough, during a proclamation of Elvis Presley Day by Memphis and Shelby County officials at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on Jan 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Seven-year-old Ann Dunn of Bartlett, Tennessee, holds a guitar-shaped placard during a proclamation of Elvis Presley Day by Memphis and Shelby County officials at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on Jan 8, 2015.-- PHOTO: REUTERS
Seven-year-old Ann Dunn of Bartlett, Tennessee, holds a guitar-shaped placard during a proclamation of Elvis Presley Day by Memphis and Shelby County officials at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on Jan 8, 2015.-- PHOTO: REUTERS
Priscilla Ann Presley, the ex-wife of the late singer Elvis Presley, speaks to fans during a proclamation of Elvis Presley Day by Memphis and Shelby County officials at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, on Jan 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Priscilla Ann Presley, the ex-wife of the late singer Elvis Presley, speaks to fans during a proclamation of Elvis Presley Day by Memphis and Shelby County officials at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, on Jan 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A wreath commemorating what would have been Elvis Presley's 80th Birthday sits by the grave of the late singer at his home at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, on Jan 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A wreath commemorating what would have been Elvis Presley's 80th Birthday sits by the grave of the late singer at his home at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, on Jan 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Flowers and birthday wishes from around the world lie beside the grave of Elvis Presley at his home at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on Jan 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Flowers and birthday wishes from around the world lie beside the grave of Elvis Presley at his home at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on Jan 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Several hundred fans braved the freezing cold on Thursday to join Elvis Presley's family in Memphis, Tennessee, on what would have been the King of Rock 'n' Roll's 80th birthday.

Cheers went up as Presley's former wife Priscilla and their only child Lisa Marie sliced an eight-tier cake frozen by the minus 9 deg C temperature.

Fans got a chance to get a bite of the cake at a diner across the street from Graceland, the Presley residence that has become a shrine to his life, work and rich musical legacy.

"My gosh, I'm in total shock. So many of you here!" said Priscilla Presley, 69, adding that Elvis "would have been amazed" to see so many fans come out for his birthday.

"There's really no where else we'd rather be," added Lisa Marie, 46, accompanied by her four children - Riley and Benjamin Keough and twins Harper and Finley Lockwood.

An American pop culture icon like few others, Presley rode high in the rock music charts in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s before his untimely death in August 1977 at the age of 42.

His legacy includes 108 songs on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 pop music chart as well as 129 records in the Billboard 200 album chart - most recently in 2002 with a greatest hits set.

Other birthday events on Thursday included an auction of authenticated Elvis memorabilia including his first driver's license and the jacket he wore in the movie Viva Las Vegas. Also up for grabs is the first recording Presley ever made - an acetate disc from Sun Studios on which he sang the 1940s chestnut My Happiness for his mother. He was 18 at the time.

Fans with deeper pockets can meanwhile bid in a separate auction on Presley's two private jets, which have been on display since the 1980s across the street from Graceland.

Their owners say they are under an April deadline to remove the Lockheed JetStar and Convair 880 after Presley's estate said it would not renew a joint venture agreement to exhibit them.

But on social media, both Priscilla and Lisa Marie have signalled they are unhappy with the sale, which is being handled by a Los Angeles auction house.

"It is the owners who are doing all of this to try and get more money," wrote singer-songwriter Lisa Marie on her Twitter feed, to which she added the hashtag: "#Greed."