'There's only one "King" – that's Jesus': the Christian faith of Elvis Presley

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the death of rock'n'roll icon Elvis Presley. The star defined his era, and continues to be adored by many today – but some forget that the colourful character was also a born-again Christian.

'Until we meet again, may God bless you as he has blessed me.' – Elvis Presley.Wikimedia Commons

Soon established in his time as the 'The King' of Rock'n'Roll, Elvis didn't actually appreciate the title. 'There's only one king', he said, 'and that's Jesus Christ.'

Raised in the charismatic Assemblies of God denomination, Presley went on to have a complex relationship to faith. He did identify as a Christian, and described Gospel music as 'the purest thing there is on this earth'.

However, he also lived the wild life of addicted hedonism often associated with mega-stardom. He reportedly confessed to one pastor of his struggle to live the moral life he was really meant to. Despite the immense fame, riches and popularity he gained, Presley also described a life of immense misery, depression and loneliness.

Some suggest Elvis was more of a general spiritual seeker than committed Christian, with an interest in many different world religions.

But a glimpse of a Christian faith, or just an interest in God, remained right up to his tragic death. Presley died reading a book on the famed Christian relic the Shroud of Turin – his dead body was found in a toilet with the book lying next to him.

As the mysterious star continues to be remembered, here are seven of his quotes on faith and life.

1. All I want is to know the truth, to know and experience God. I'm a searcher, that's what I'm all about.

2. Music is like religion – when you experience them both it should move you.

3. Whatever I will become will be what God has chosen for me.

4. We do two shows a night for five weeks. A lotta times we'll go upstairs and sing until daylight – gospel songs. We grew up with it...It more or less puts your mind at ease. It does mine.

5. I believe in the Bible. I believe that all good things come from God. I don't believe I'd sing the way I do if God hadn't wanted me to.

6. Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away.

7. The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep next year.

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