Friday, January 09, 2009

Long Live the King

by Lisa Curry

Yesterday, January 8, 2009, was Elvis Presley’s birthday. He would have been 74, had he not self-destructed in 1977. I was not quite 14 then, and he was a sweaty old fat man in a polyester jumpsuit.

Last evening, while watching a bit of Elvis by the Presleys on TV, I learned with a shock that the sweaty old fat man was three years younger than I am now when he died.

At his worst, he still had a great face. When I was young, my mother had the Blue Hawaii album, and looking at the cover, even at age 7, I thought Elvis was the most beautiful man God ever created. I still think that might be true.

Next week I have to make another trip to Memphis for business. Maybe this time, I’ll actually work in that visit to Graceland I’ve never quite managed to make time for.

Happy birthday one day late, Elvis, and long may you reign.

My favorite Elvis song is “Burning Love.” What’s yours?


Joyce said...

Back in 1977, I was a clerk at a Carnegie Library branch in the West End of Pittsburgh. One of the patrons was a mentally impaired man who LOVED Elvis. Some days, that's all he would talk about. He was absolutely devastated when Elvis died. That's one of the few things I remember about that job.

I was never an Elvis fan. I still don't see what the big deal was.

Jennie Bentley said...

A few years ago, I had a friend (and boss) who sang backup on "Suspicious Minds" and "In the Ghetto". She and her husband knew Elvis quite well, from as far back as when he was in the military in Texas. Her husband was best friends with Buddy Holly, although that's another story. But she knew the guy, and told me that he was just as gorgeous in person. The most beautiful man she'd ever seen, with skin as soft as a baby's butt. She said he was prettier than she was, and she wasn't a bad-looking woman by any means. I can imagine that at 17 or 18, she must have been quite a knockout. Of course, looks aren't everything, and from everything I've heard, Elvis was also a genuinely nice, very caring person.

And he could sing like nobody else. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes, isn't it? I'm not sure I could pick a favorite song, but a few I like are "Love Me Tender," "In the Ghetto," and "How Great Though Art."

Anonymous said...

I like Love Me Tender, too, Jennie. Did you know that its melody is taken from an old folk song called Aura Lee? S'true.

I liked Elvis, and thought he was amazingly gifted, but I don't get the cult following, or the people who think he's still alive.

Karen in Ohio

Dana King said...

I've been to Graceland. It's a surreal experience, and not in the good way. It's like going to the redneck Sistine Chapel.

Gina said...

I was never much of an Elvis fan, although one of my older cousins was. I remember going to her house when I was a little kid and she had his picture on her wall. I do think he was under-utilized as an actor though, because in the few films in which he actually got a chance to act he wasn't bad. I'm not sure what my favorite song of his is - maybe Jailhouse Rock, just because it's so weird.

Joyce said...

I was watching Antiques Roadshow the other night and a woman had Elvis memorabilia that she'd been collecting since 1969. She'd gone to about 75 of his shows and collected something at each one. Her collection was worth about $15,000.

Anonymous said...

I was never much of a fan. I can remember going to see his movies with friends and forcing myself to scream like everybody else. I can't even say that any of his songs were ever a favorite. Frankly, I always felt sorry for him, he looked so disjointed and clumsy on stage. Remember, at the time all sorts of wiggling was called dancing.

Anonymous said...

A Little Less Conversation (A Little More Action.)

Or Stuck On You

Or maybe Return To Sender.

Or, wait, how about---oh, nevermind. He's still The King to me!