This month marks the 38th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. So let’s go back and remember his last song. The date was June 26, 1977. The place was Indianapolis, Indiana. The arena was Market Square. The concert was sold out. Elvis had been in failing health for years, often cancelling his shows or under so much medication that his speech was slurred and his movements minimal. At 42, the greatest entertainer in American history was an old and dying man. As his final concert neared its end, Elvis sang what would be his final song, as he never appeared on stage again, and died just two months later.
His last song was eerie. He sang the 1960 hit song that went gold, Are You Lonesome Tonight? Seconds before the song, he said to the audience, “Are you lonesome tonight? I know I am.” He forgot some of the words as he stumbled his way through it. He never performed again. Two months later, he was found dead on his Graceland bathroom floor in Memphis. Presley’s abuse of prescription drugs had brought on two comas, damaged his liver, and now ended his life.
Elvis was the most amazing entertainer we had ever seen. From the day he first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956 until his last days, Elvis was an icon without equal. It was no wonder 80,000 fans lined the processional route to Forest Hill Cemetery. President Carter mourned with America, offering his own words of eulogy. Inducted into more music halls of fame than any other performer, Elvis’ memory still lives. Every year, on the date of his death, thousands gather at his home in Memphis to celebrate his life all over again.
But let’s return to that night in Indianapolis 38 years ago. The most beloved singer in American history, adored by millions worldwide, took the stage for the last time. Of the dozens of #1 hits he could have ended with, he chose Are You Lonesome Tonight? His final spoken words on stage still echo through time. “Are you lonesome tonight? I know I am.” Elvis Presley had everything this world can possibly offer. But he didn’t have peace.
Are you lonesome tonight? Think of the lyrics as if they were written from God to you. He would ask, “Are you lonesome tonight? Do you miss me tonight? Are you sorry we drifted apart?” Elvis was lonesome. But he treated his emptiness with the wrong drug. Blaise Pascal had it right when he said, “There is in the heart of every man a God-shaped emptiness that only God can fill.” If you are among the billions of hurting, lonely people in the world today, there is hope. You will not find peace until you find it in God. He offers you that peace through his son, Jesus Christ. There is no reason for you to go to bed lonesome tonight.