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.
I think you either “get” Elvis, or you don’t.
Call me old fasioned, but I like talented people who write and perform their own songs.
But he was an exceptional performer of the songs that were given to him.
A bit like Gareth Gates today 🙂
Here’s a headline for you: Man Fifty Years Behind the Times Declares: Elvis Pretty Good!
Let me know when you finally stumble across “Abbey Road” – I’ve personally heard good things about it, but it’s just too fresh for me to purchase without getting some other opinions on the matter.
Natalie has just drawn my attention to your update.
I was about to tell you what a useless bag of shite the guy was and then I noticed that I have only just discovered John Wayne.
So I’ll shut up.
Now John Wayne, there really was a talentless guy if ever I saw one! He brought wooden acting to the world.
You’re getting old John…
Does your new-found admiration for Elvis mean that you’ll be popping across to Las Vegas to get hitched by the man himself in the Little Chapel of Lurvve…..?
I went to the US five years ago. I saw Graceland, Tupelo and the house where Elvis was born, Beale Street, the place where Martin Luther King was shot and a lot more.
At the time, I wasn’t a big Elvis fan or anything. I was expecting it to be tacky and crass (typical of those Yanks) but what I was surprised to find that in places the whole Elvis experience was quite moving. The Graceland tour ends at the swimming pool with his grave (and his parents buried either side of him) and I actually felt myself blink back a tear.
If you do like Elvis, I’d highly recommend you go to Memphis. You can get an Elvis package where you stay opposite Graceland and they bus you about to Tupelo and things for about £400-£600 depending on the time of year.