I’d never paid much attention to Elvis Presley until I was flying back from New Zealand. I’d watched all the films I wanted to watch so I started flicking through the CDs (Singapore Airlines have an interactive system on board that lets you do that sort of thing) and I came across the Elvis compilation album 2nd To None. I put it on and started to listen.
Up until that point my only contact with Elvis’s music was hearing a thousand bad Elvis impersonators wearing white cat suits, sequins, big hair, big shades, hairy chests, medallions and singing “uh huh huh”. I’d also seen True Romance with frequent references to him. But I had never sat down and listened to his music – until I was on that plane. And I’ll tell you what, I was amazed.
My first thought as I flicked through the tracks was that this boy could sing! As I went from Blue Suede Shoes to Love Me I couldn’t believe they were sung by the same person – the range in his voice, not to mention how smooth his voice was – puts most modern singers to shame. Of course what I never realised is that Elvis impersonators tend to be caricatures and have nothing like the talent of the man himself. So I decided when I got back to learn a little more about the man and get some of his music and become an Elvis fan – albeit a mere 27 years after his apparent death. Better late than never.
All I can say is that I’ve been missing out all these years. He could act convincingly, he was a top live performer, he served his country like a man (no draft dodging for Elvis) and he must have blown people away when he appeared on the scene in the 50’s with his dashing good looks and completely different brand of music. What a guy. No wonder he’s managed to stay popular into the 21st century. Anyway, I must go, I’ve got more Presley lyrics to learn…
Update: Well if I’d known it was 50 years since Elvis recorded his first record, I’d have put more effort into this article. Ah well, too late for maybe’s and what-if’s.