Friday, January 8, 2010

Thank you. Thank you, very much, Elvis

I will forever be indebted to Elvis Presley for a number of things, but foremost are my patented combination lip curl and pelvic thrust. Elvis was a star when I was just a toddler, so my recollections of him were as some sort of throwback to an earlier era when I was growing up in the Sixties. Yet, despite his lack of importance in music at that time (compared to his absolute domination in the late Fifties), everyone respected Elvis Presley as the guy who came around at the right time. He was the fresh faced Southern boy who not only could sing rhythm and blues music, but could make it accessible to other white music buyers at a time when "race" music was starting to be broadcast over mainstream radio. I still find it incredible to hear that Pat Boone's version of "Blueberry Hill" outsold Fats Domino's at one time. But that was the way the music industry was run back then. I should know because my mom and uncle ran a very successful record store at that time. My collection of Elvis albums and Elvis books all died during the flooding after Hurricane Katrina, so I now have to rely on a few greatest hits CD collections to muddle me through. There are a number of fans, women mostly I guess, who still think of Elvis as "the king," and I won't ever denigrate then for that. He was a spectacular iconic figure who inspired millions of fans both young and old alike by changing the face of popular music. He will forever be remembered for his legacy of song, although not as many people feel his work in film was as noteworthy. Frankly, I always had a more than grudging admiration for Elvis the star performer. Anyone who could star against Ann-Margret, Shelley Fabares, Juliet Prowse, Nancy Sinatra and Mary Tyler Moore had to be able to hold his own as an actor, although many of the latter scripts were pretty simplistic and left one wondering where the production values had been left in the process of making these films. In any event Elvis is dead, but he's never been bigger. He's 75 and bringing in tons of cash each year, now managed by his estate, at Graceland and through continuing sales and leasing of his images and songs. Happy Birthday, Elvis! If you ask me, when it comes to "the King," cash is definitely king!

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