Thursday, August 14, 2008

Favourite Things Thursday ~ Elvis Presley

It’s that time again! Time for you to learn a little more something about Wilma so you have some ideas when you’re shopping for prezzies for her {nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, say no more}.

My fav thing this week is bitter-sweet. 31 years ago this Saturday the world lost a very dynamic, unique, irreplaceable talent. Elvis Presley passed away amid rumor, speculation, & stories of toilets & vomit & drug abuse.

I lurve my Elvis. I always have. As a child, I would put on his records {33 1/3 LPs, for you youngin’s out there} & dance around the living room with his album cover, the one with the close-up photo of his face. I may have even kissed that face a time or two.

I was standing in the kitchen when my mother told me he had died. I had just come in from playing, & I remember tears streaming down my face & asking “Why?” in that amazingly whiney, fingernails-on-a-chalkboard pitched voice that only a 6 year old girl can manage. It was the first real trauma in my life, the first real loss I experienced that actually touched me in a profound way {other than various sundry pets, of course}.

I own a few albums…

A few 45s…

A couple CDs…

& My fav behind-the-scenes look at Elvis, a documentary featuring recreations of key events in his life, made with the consent & co-operation of those closest to him…

I quote George R. Willeman’s comments from “It is a fascinating portrait of a man thrust into overwhelming fame and fabulous wealth and how it eventually destroys him. The "recreations" are very well done and the film as a whole is very balanced in its view of Elvis' life. It neither canonizes nor trashes him, but shows him as an ordinary guy dealing with extraordinary fame.”

In this movie, there is footage of him singing in a recording studio an absolutely haunting version of “You Were Always on My Mind” that sends shivers down my spine & always makes me cry. Always.

Of all the videos of him performing, The ’68 Comeback Special, IMHO, showcases as close to his true personality as I’ve come to believe it was {not a proper sentence ~ live with it!}. He performs for a small audience in an intimate setting, playing with longtime band members in a comfortable jam session. Elvis looks fit & tanned, calm & at ease, & like he’s having a helluva good time.

I know he was a man with flaws. I’m aware he cheated on his wife & had an issue with prescription drugs. I’ve never canonized him. But his enduring appeal hasn’t waned much, in my estimation, in the 31 years since he’s been gone.

He remembered his friends, the Good Ol’ Boys from back home. He travelled with an entourage that would rival MC Hammer. His Vegas stage show featured more participants than a CFL game. He was generous with family & friends alike. He was loyal to a fault, relying on the Colonel for a lot longer than was prudent. He treated his Mama like a princess.

You may disparage him. You may not like his style. You may not like his voice. But you can’t deny the enormous impact he had on the music world.

He was an original. He was a trend-setter. He was a pioneer. He was Elvis.

1 comment:

Kyanite said...

I with you 100%.
I remember when her died too, had just come in from an evening out with a friend & we heard in on the news - total shock.
And, his song 'It's now or ever' is a fav. as the sound track to my first love affair - I was twenty one & on holiday on the Isle of Man.

Excellent favourite Wilma