Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The King

by Joan Kayse

Ok, so it was between a blog about the Olympics or the anniversary of Elvis’ death which will occur in three days.

Which one, which one?

Well, as you can see The King won.

Oh, sure even as I type those athletes are dazzling the world with great feats of skill, training, prowess and talent.

But have they sold over a billion records? Been immortalized on thimbles, T-shirts, purses, black velvet? Have they gained renown for being the leader of a new era of American music and pop culture?

I watched the 4 man American relay swim team win the gold last night and cheered loud enough to be heard in China…or at least by my next door neighbors. I admired the physical effort, the dedication, (the, uh…swim attire), the determination of that last minute kick by the anchor to beat out a boastful French team by mere seconds. (And yes, I could identify as I aim for my goal of publication). A memorable moment in the 2008 Olympics.

But will this feat be remembered every year? Immortalized, honored and yes, even revered? Will they be known as The Kings?

Now, I’m much, much too young to remember Elvis in his “early” years (Do I hear sniggering?). I was aware that he existed. I remember watching the TV Special “Aloha from Hawaii”. I heard his music played on the radio and could recognize him as he sang “Hound Dog”, “Kentucky Rain” (my fave), “Blue Christmas” and countless others.

I passed many a weekend afternoon enjoying his uncomplicated, fun, predictable movies. I mean who wouldn’t want to imagine themselves as Ann Margaret shimmying on stage to “Viva Las Vegas”? (Nancy? Suz? Cassondra? Oh surely you have Anna?)

I think Elvis had some major talent when it came to acting. It was reined in, trivialized and manipulated by those around him in most of those iconic '60’s films. But watch him in King Creole and in my favorite “Change of Habit”. This was his last film where he played a doctor in a ghetto trying to make a difference who falls in love with a nun questioning her vocation. HINT: It has a HEA. ;-)

I can still remember the shock, the sadness when it was announced on Aug. 16, 1977 that he had been found dead. As details warred with speculation it became pretty apparent that factors such as drug use had contributed to the loss of a true star.

He is remembered by the fans who visit Graceland each year. (1/2 of who are under the age of 35). I’ve never thought I’d want to go there but I thought that about the Book Depository in Dallas too. (An experience that touched me deeply.)

Yes, he’s also remembered by key expressions such as “Elvis has left the building” and it boggles the mind to see how many Elvis “tribute artists” there are. Elvis sightings continue to this day not only in Burger King but also in Finland, Italy, and…I kid you not…Area 51. (There are some, um...INTERESTING websites out there.)

So what about you? Do you remember Elvis? If you’re a youngling like me (:-)) have you heard of him? Do you have a favorite Elvis song? Movie? Have you seen him in the Piggly Wiggly? If you did meet Elvis, what question would you ask him?

100 comments:

p226 said...

I remember my parents watching some of the movies. And my grandmother was a huge fan.

And I remember eminem lyrics. Awesome ones.

Though I'm not the first king of controversy
I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley,
To do Black music so selfishly
And use it to get myself wealthy! (Hey!)

Joan said...

Well Step On My Blue Suede shoes, p226! Ya got the GR back.

Be gentle.

Natalie Hatch said...

Bugga you beat me too him... I'll keep stalking, my girls are missing the GR.

Anna Campbell said...

Nat, always so close, yet always so far (soft snicker!). Yes, and the chook is laughing at you too!

P226, congrats on the rooster. Are you going to put him out on manoeuvres or give him a nice break with a couple of beers and the Olympics on TV?

Joan, great post. I must admit Elvis isn't particularly on my inner landscape. The Beatles certainly are! I think it's interesting the way he's sort of been granted eternal life, though!

flchen1 said...

I'm not a huge Elvis fan but would be curious what he thinks of his immortality at this point--he's still got an enormous fan following!

Congrats on the GR, p226--what's on his agenda for the day?

Keira Soleore said...

Well, well, the puir chook laddie is off for his rough soujourn chez p226.

I am delighted to say that I have not personally run across him at my neighborhood supermarket. That would be surreal. The king deserves his stage, his costumes, and a huge adoring fan base in the audience screaming for every syllable he utters. Yes, I like his music. As a person, he was spoilt rotten.

Joan said...

Inner landscape. I like that phrase, Anna

I don't purport to be a huge fan in that I haven't visited Graceland or anything but I think...if he'd found the RIGHT kind of people to build his career, if he hand't surrounded himself with extraordinary enablers that his star would have take a different course.

I have the sense that he would be saddened by this eternal life he's been granted. I think to him, it would be just more of the facade that hid his true talent.

Maybe I've watched too many of the "Elvis; His Life Story" movies, LOL

Joan said...

Keira,

Do they have Piggly Wiggly's where you live? He'd have to settle for a Kroger store here in KY....Wonder if he has a Kroger Plus card? Hmmmm...could buy a lot of peanut butter and bananas with that!

I think the excesses of his life and the wealth and fame and again the toxic groups who held onto his shirt tails made him appear spoiled. I think inside he was a very talented, lonely guy who was never QUITE taken seriously.

Kind of like some of the American Idol finalists of today.

Joan said...

Natalie,

In the words of another 60's icon, Maxwell Smart you "Missed it by THAT much"

Joan said...

flchen,

I don't have the figures but my understanding is his "empire" is raking in more money than any dead man can spend.

Imagine selling books for years, decades after you're gone?

Not to mention souviner spoons :-)

Donna MacMeans said...

I can't say that I'm a huge fan either, but I do remember Elvis. I remember the controversy of his swivling hips on American Bandstand - a "must see" after school show in my time. I remember the broken hearts when he got married - the constant rivalry over who was bigger, Elvis or the Beatles - and, of course, the movies. He certainly left his mark. But for now ---

Donna has left the building *g*

Carol said...

Hi,
I love Elvis, the man, his music, his sense of humor... boy could he be sexy...especially in his 68 comeback video!
His life was ruined by syncopants who saw him as their mealticket and were not honest with him or to him!
Yes he became spoiled in a similar way to President's or popes or many rock stars or silly rich girls ...who have people fauning over them telling them they are invincible...they all need a damn good ethicist!

Yes there is lots of money in Graceland etc, thanks to the business acumen of Priscilla Presley(or whatever her married name is)
I think he would have loved his music to carry on forever...we love the music of strauss and beethoven, and music does not belong to any race of people or culture, it belongs to us all, and whoever has the joy of listening to it!
There are some fantastic clips on utube... especially My Way - choose an early version - it's wonderful.
I found it really sad that even Elvis P. doctor was so unethical to give him the cocktails of drugs that led to his death...recently a similar thing happened to Heath Ledger!

Yes indeed Elvis has left the building, but never from the hearts of fans!

Cheers Carol

Ps..p226...hand that bird a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

My mother and my grandmother were both huge Elvis fans. Any time one of his movies came on TV they watched it. As for his rather scandalous gyrations, I remember my grandmother saying, "I don't care what they say, that boy loved his mama!"

I have been to Graceland, and I think the thing that impressed me most was all the certificates and letters of thanks from the many, many charities Elvis gave to so generously. I remember the tour guide mentioning one particular children's charity there in Memphis and every year at Christmas Elvis would give them a large sum (I think $50k) which he never took as a tax deduction because, "Then it wouldn't be a Christmas present."

As for my favorite Elvis song: "Return to Sender." When we were little, my brother thought Elvis was singing, "Return Loucinda" so of course that was MY SONG! To this day my brother will tease me by singing, "Return Loucinda, address unknown."

AC
now humming

Natalie Hatch said...

Donna I thought you said American Bastard, I had to take a second look, think I might need glasses.
Hey Loucinda, where'd you go, if you have to be returned...

Christine Wells said...

Hi Joanie T! Did Elvis every play a Roman? Imagine those hips in a toga;)

Ah, sorry, I'm a bit punch-drunk what with being in the cave and all. Great post! I never really got to know Elvis but I do like Heartbreak Hotel. My FIL is a huge fan. For his birthday, he got an Elvis dashboard ornament. It jiggles its hips as you drive.

Congrats on the rooster, P226! It's a while since he had some training. He's probably also due for a debrief.

Helen said...

Well done p226 I agree with Anna a couple of beers while watching the olympics

Loved the post Joan and I love Elvis's music I have a few CDs of his one which is called Country Elvis and he sings Old Shep makes me cry everytime I hear it and I love Jailhouse Rock and In The Ghetto. I have seen all of his movies a few times great Saturday afternoon TV but I must say I never thought he was a great actor but yes I love his songs.

A question I would ask him how impressed is he with Lisa Marie and her marriages.

Have Fun
Helen

Tiffany Kenzie said...

My dad loves Elvis, especially at xmas (grew up hearing it blared at 5am xmas morn so we got up for prezzies)...

I don't mind me some Elvis every now and again if I hear it somewhere. But then I'm a huge fan of some of the older singers (Edith Piaf)

I'd ask him how long it took for him to get his hair like that *g*

Anna Lucia said...

*sigh* Elvis, and even The Beatles, leave me cold... actually, that's not completely true. I like some of their music, but I find the hype intensely irritating.

It boils down to this: they weren't a huge influence on my life, and I don't have to worship them because they were a huge influence on someone else's... I do hate being TOLD to admire something! ;-)

Great blog, Joan!

Deb Marlowe said...

Ah, Elvis. My mom was a huge fan. I grew up listening to him. I think I know the lyrics to every song.

I was pretty young when he died, but I remember my family and friends being stunned.

Such a sad story. Personally I love all the conspiracy theories! I like to imagine him sitting back, letting the world go on without him, doing his own thing...but I always thought that Lisa Marie marrying Michael Jackson would have brought him right out of hiding!

Does anybody object to this marriage?

Elvis in the back of the church: Hell, yeah!

Hee hee.

Gillian Layne said...

I thought it was cute that my daughter's first exposure to "The King" was watching the cartoon movie "Lilo and Stitch" on Disney.

Buffie said...

Congrats on the GR, p226.

Personally, I'm not a huge Elvis fan. Don't get me wrong, I like some of his music and some of his movies, but I'm not a die hard like my mother-in-law. She has everything Elvis. She loves the man.

Anna -- I do totally love the Beatles, though my earliest memory of them is of John's death. But I really enjoy their music. Funny you should mention them. See my brother works at an exclusive resort in Sedona, Arizona. He's the sommelier (I'm sure I totally butchered the spelling of that word!) and Sunday he had the priviledge to select and serve why for Sir Paul himself! Yep, I let out a squeel when I read his email.

p226 said...

It's water survival training for the GR today. For those who were curious.

Caren Crane said...

P226, be kind to our golden chook!

Joan, I only remember the Vegas Elvis from when I was young (I was 12 when he died). I thought he was fat and, frankly, gaudy and unattractive. Until, that is, I got a bit older and saw movies of him when he was a hottie. Then it just made Vegas Elvis sad.

I have always thought it a shame he didn't have better guidance in his life and career. He could have left a legacy more astonishing and brilliant than the one he did.

If I met Elvis at the Piggly Wiggly, I would want to ask him, "Have you EVER eaten healthy food? Even once?"

His tastes in cuisine reflected his upbringing, I'm afraid.

Joan said...

Donna! Don't leave! Come back, Donna!

No wait. That should be "Come back Shane"??

I have a vague impression of broken hearts too when he and Priscilla wed. Maybe from my teenage cousins at the time.

Buffie said...

I'm such a dork!!!

In my previous post, it should read -- "select and serve WINE" not WHY!!! Why won't my finger cooperate this morning! Maybe, just maybe I'm a little bit jittery from reading Jo Davis' Trail by Fire. That villian is very, very creepy! But I'm totally lovin' Six Pack!

Joan said...

Carol,

What a heart felt tribute. I think E would have liked that a lot.

Sadly, the whole "MD approved" drug addictions are alive and well. But I think in that time period of the '60's it was the way a lot of stars functioned. Either that and/or alcohol.

I'm still heartsick over Heath.

Joan said...

I would NEVER return you to sender, AC!

You know some of the websites I surfed spoke about his generosity to charities. (Much more than the occasional cadillac)

I saw an interview last night with Priscilla about a large foundation in his name (using monies generated by his estate) that funds a center/group focusing on helping homeless children). From what I could glean there a many, many organizations who benefit thanks to the generosity of his legacy.

Joan said...

LOL, Christine. Nope, Elvis never played a Roman....not enough pomade for his hair in those days.

Your father in law is big fan? And how fun that he has a dashboard Elvis. I have a sudden vision of him making a sudden stop and the figure gyrating furiously.

Joan said...

Hi, Helen!

I'm like you, I don't really get caught up in the hype but enjoy the bits and pieces like some of his music.

If any of ya'll haven't heard "In the Ghetto" listen to it. The words and the inflection he brings to them are soul touching.

terrio said...

I was starting kindergarten when Elvis died but I remember one of my friends telling me about it and even at the age of 5, I was stunned.

I love his music and enjoy the movies sometimes, but I don't collect souvenirs or anything. My ex-husband loved him. And funny you should mention that "come back Shane" as my ex was named for that movie and whenever I wanted to irritate him (which was often...hehehe) I would yell that at him.

My daughter has taken up the banner from her father and she loves Elvis. I actually went to Graceland back in 2003 and the real surprise is that it's just a house. It's not really a *mansion*. And what's worse, it's like stepping back in time to the most tacky, gaudy decade ever. Truly dreadful!

But I doubt we'll ever find another voice like his. Sort of like Patsy Cline or Judy Garland.

terrio said...

Oh, congrats on the GR, p226. If he's doing the water stuff, don't forget his water wings! (Get it? Wings? Ah, nevermind....)

Joan said...

LOL, Tiffany.

I think Elvis coiffed his hair in like 1952 and using the right pomade....it stayed like that for 10 years

:-)

But it's a hairstyle you immediately recognize and makes you take a second look when you see someone with it squeezing the melons at the Piggly Wiggly

Joan said...

Anna,

As we say in the Southern US, "Bless their hearts".

I'm not into the hype either but like you, enjoy some aspects of their talent. For their devoted fans though,it makes them happy and in today's world I'm all for that.

This devotion has it's moments. I had a friend whose mother was dying several years ago. She was a hard core Elvis fan who'd even named her two dogs "Elvis" and "Prissy".

When she was drawing clost to the end, my friend bought her a small, Elvis purse. Made her Mom so happy even though less than 2 months later she was gone.

Joan said...

Ok, I must need glasses like Natalie (wait. I DO have glasses) but Buffie I thought you said your brother served wine to ST. Paul!

Sheesh, I better wake up!

Joan said...

LOL, Deb,

When Lisa Marie married Jacko I had the SAME thought!

That poor girl has been hounded by her father's legacy too. Over all....despite some questionable choices...I think Priscilla did a fair job shielding her especially after he died.

But isn't she the spitting image? That was another thing that sparked this post. The frustration she expressed when...beginning to show her pregnancy...the tabloids were trying to compare her to her father and his "bad years".

Leave the girl alone, yanno?

Louisa Cornell said...

Nice acquisition of the Great Golden Bird, p226 ! Water survival training, huh? Better him than me, as I can't swim!

I was getting ready to go off to college when Elvis died. I remember my Mom was very upset. She is a huge Elvis fan. Her pugs were named Elvis and Priscilla. Elvis has passed away (the pug,) but Priscilla is still alive and kicking (also the pug.)

To come from that background and do what he did is a testament to something many popular singers don't have and have no hope of having - TALENT. As a musician that is something I recognize and respect in any musical genre - real TALENT. I am offended by the large number of popular singers today who are prepackaged and electronically enhanced to basically all sound the same. There is very little originality and not much talent either. Yes, I am a musical snob. But, Elvis had talent and I will always respect him for that. The pity is indeed that he was surrounded by people who used, abused, and mislead him. And I cannot understand why these doctors are not charged as accessories to murder or maybe accessories to suicide. Then again, people like Elvis and poor Heath were adults. Everything in life is a choice and sometimes people just make really bad choices.

I have never tried drugs or alcohol, ever. And it is not a moral decision at all. I have friends who drink sensibly and when I invite them over I always ask what they want to drink. I am a fairly good bar tender actually. But I know enough about my family background and about my own personality as a hedonistic artistic type to know that drugs and alcohol are NOT things I need to try. CHOCOLATE is addiction enough for me. That, music and writing and reading romance will keep me off the streets I think.

Joan said...

Gillian,

I LOVED Lilo and Stitch! And it was so cute that this little alien connected with this world by imitating an icon.

Joan said...

p226

The chook may surprise you. At least three times while in SF, I caught him swimming the bay.

Not for the faint hearted, I assure you.

I was down there enjoying the view when this lithe, ripped swimmer strode out of the water. My mouth fell open, my writer's imagination soared...until he took off his swim cap to reveal the HEAD of an eighty year old man!

Ack!

Joan said...

Alas, Caren,

I don't think they HAD healthy food in the '60's. Certainly not among the poor South.

Only recently have I developed a taste for Kashi TLC bars. LOVE them!

Wonder if you can deep fry them? Hmmmm...

Joan said...

Creepy villian buffie?

Ok, must move Jo's book up to the top of the TBR pile. It arrived yesterday from SF.

Joan said...

If he's doing the water stuff, don't forget his water wings! (Get it? Wings? Ah, nevermind....)

LMAO...I get it, Terrio!

Too funny.

Yeah, the 60's were a bit gaudy which is why the recent surge in those same hideious colors and patterns makes my stomach clench.

As to the mansion not being a mansion....in the 60's it was. NOTHING like the estates I saw on my Monteray/Carmel tour in CA.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Joanie! I love me some Elvis! I'll admit, his music has never done it for me, but I adore his cheesy-ass movies! I was only 5 when he died, so maybe it's because I was too young to have experienced the Elvis Phenomenon at its peak.

To me, he's always been a symbol of how money corrupts. I think of it as the Britney effect--how having ridiculous amounts of money & power & adulation throws an unforgiving spotlight on your character flaws until you're snorting your paycheck up your nose, getting ill-advised tattoos & "forgetting" your panties when you step out of the limo while the paparazzi snaps photos & celebrity magazines speculate on the exact date of your overdose.

It's not like Elvis was more flawed than the rest of us, though. But we regular folks can't afford to indulge our flaws so lavishly. It's a cautionary tale, I guess. Every generation has one.

Poor Elvis.

Joan said...

Louisa,

Nicely said.

It makes me sad to see the hype and the urban legend, the conspiracy theories etc. obliterating his musical talent. It was bastardized once he got famous.

But every now and then...like in those two movies and those select songs...it manages to find its way through.

Now, pass the chocolate....

Joan said...

Susan,

Good point about his flaws being no worse than anyone elses but the power of money, fame fed them to the point of destruction.

So, when you're a multi=pubbed author, the Banditas will be there to help you stay grounded...or at least avoid that "ill advised" tattoo.

:-)

Kirsten said...

Can we start talking now about fried food? :-) Didn't Elvis like his peanut butter sandwiches fried in butter? Ah, poor guy, even if the drugs didn't take him, I bet his heart wouldn't have lasted long!

Speaking of Heath and Elvis, how about little Amy Winehouse carted off to the drug house? I think it's tragic that TALENT (as Louisa says) is paired so often with pain, drug addiction, and depression.

That's how I know that I'm not really a true ARTIST (thank goodness!). Not enough angst. I'm happy to write my paperback novels and leave the depression and suicide to Hemmingway, Woolf, and Plath. *g*

Oh, and Elvis, did you really pioneer the use of Spanx?

terrio said...

Joanie - It's the 70s. The house stopped aging in the 70s. *shiver*

And that kitchen isn't that much bigger than the one I grew up with. I think I just expected the house to be HUGE, ya know?

I've seen footage of a very young Elvis singing with Frank Sinatra and that's one of my favorites clips.

PJ said...

P226..congrats on nabbing that GR!

Louisa, very well said. I've never been one of the rabid Elvis fans but I loved his voice and was a big fan of his movies. I was in high school in the late 60s which made me the perfect age to appreciate all his spring break/race car driver/Hawaiian tour director, etc. movies. I still watch them today whenever I catch one on TV.

My favorite Elvis songs are "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "In the Ghetto".

Buffie said...

Joan, yes it was SIR PAUL. I can't imagine what I would have done -- probably spilled wine all over the poor man!

Yes, you really do need to move Jo's book to the top of that TBR pile. It is one fabulous, heart stopping, smokin' hot book.

PJ said...

Joanie T, definitely move Jo Davis's TRIAL BY FIRE up that tbr list. I started reading the book at the hair salon yesterday and finished it last night. It gripped me from the very start and never let go. The dogs didn't get their evening walk. I tossed tennis balls down the hallway while sitting on the couch with my nose buried in the book. I didn't even eat dinner!

Terry Odell said...

Don't shoot me, but I could never stand Elvis. The only song of his I liked (and still do)is "Can't Help Falling in Love" -- at least I think that's the title.

Joan said...

Oh, and Elvis, did you really pioneer the use of Spanx?

That ALONE would have made him a millionaire, LOL

What do you think he wore under those suits? Boxers or briefs?

:0

PJ said...

Buffie, that is so awesome! I remember the first time the Beatles performed on US television, on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was Feb. 9, 1964 and I was 12 years old. I sat on the floor of our living room, totally mesmerized, and lost my tender young heart to an adorable, floppy-haired Paul McCartney. Sigh...

Joan said...

Terrio,

You probably had the perception of his house based on his HUGE iconic presense.

Kind of brings to mind that he was a much simpler man, with huge talent.

Joan said...

PJ,

I love his Hawaii based movies too. If I ever get to Hawaii I'll see if the sky is realy that blue, the sun that bright, the sand that fine...

Joan said...

Wow, buffie and pj....so Six Pack might rival Elvis in his day?

It MUST be good, PJ if you had to find an alternative to your pups routine.

Hmmmm...I'm going to get my tires rotated (Doesn't that sound like fun?) Maybe I'll take Jo's fella with me.

Joan said...

It's ok Terry...I just won't enter you in the drawing for a bobble head Elvis :-)

(um, there IS no bobble head...sorry)

But even though you can't stand him, there is that ONE song you DO like....

"It's Now or Never"

MsHellion said...

I was 2 when he died, so I don't remember him...but I did think he was a country singer because we never listened to FM stations when I grew up and whenever I heard him, he was on a country station.

His ballads always choke me up; and his boogie songs always make me dance...

I'm glad you picked him to blog about! :)

p226 said...

Heheh.

As a fan of rock music, and a pseudo musician, a clinical analysis of the history of rock really takes a turning point with Elvis.

I mean, if you look at the music of the time, there was no real convergence with blues. I mean, the jazz guys were doing some stuff, but jazz folks are always musically out in left field, far from the mainstream.

Then comes Elvis. World changing. It's a sharp right turn in pop music. There were others after Elvis. As a guitar player, there's an evolution of rock/metal guitar that I've followed, and Elvis is part of that.


Elvis. He changed everything about Rock and pop/rock music.

Beatles. They showed up and changed everything again.

Hendrix. Jimi walked on stage at woodstock and melted the acid laden minds of 200,000 hippies, and forever changed the public's perception of how a guitar should be played at a rock concert.

Judas Priest. As far as skill and musical talent? Totally insignificant. But they did something unique. The fused blues riffs and melodies with classical scales and leads. Huge turning point in rock guitar.

Iron Maiden. They radically expanded on the injection of classical scales and melodies into blues-based rythms.

Randy Rhoads (ozzy). Masterfully infused classical into blues/rock. And like Elvis and Hendrix, left this world too young, with so much musical development left incomplete.

Steve Vai. Vai changed the guitar world. His mixing of blues, jazz, and classical into anything he played set a new bar. Vai's now considered by many to be a bona-fide virtuoso. And with reason.

But none of this happens on its own. Vai doesn't write "speed-metal-symphony" without the building blocks laid down in the past. And those blocks don't start with Elvis. They start in with the delta blues. Guitar players like Robert Johnson. But Elvis, like the others I mentioned, took it in a new and wonderful direction.

I'm not a fan of his music. I'm not a fan of his lifestyle. I'm not a fan of Elvis the man. But I [i]have[/i] to recognize his fundamental contribution to all of the music I love today.

peggy said...

yes i remember favorite song
jail house rock .
i would ask him what he thought
about his dauthers music

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, my the controversy rages in the Lair today! :> Good one, Joanie T.

P226, watch out that the chook doesn't slip past you in underwater manuvers. He was practicing flip moves in our bathtub at National. Took us hours to get him dry. Then he wanted Keira to peel his grapes for him. (eyes rolling)

Have to say I don't remember a lot about Elvis, but I love, love, love some of his gospel CDs. In the Garden comes to mind, and Amazing Grace. As Louisa said, the man had TALENT like crazy. His pitch was perfect and his range was really impressive. He also knew how to pick songs in his range, and made the most of his rich tones.

I'm kind of in Louisa's boat in being a snob about music. Some of the cookie-cutter bands and flippy chippies make me insane. When In Sync was popular, I just shook my head and thought, "if people want harmony and great blend, try Take 6 or Boys II Men!" And someone mentioned Patsy Cline...oh. What a voice. I'm also very partial to a humorous, determinedly not-going-big bar band called Eddie From Ohio. Mentioning Patsy reminded me, they do this song called Old Dominion. They were in line to have it chosen as the VA State Song, but wouldn't change their name from EFOhio. Of course, they're all from Virginia. :> Go figure.

This isn't a really good clip, but its still fun:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NUVzDkLAPk&feature=related

Or their official site: www.eddiefromohio.com Click on the Music tab and listen to I Don't Think I Know Me and Gravity. :> it ain't Elvis, but you'll laugh out loud.

Cassondra said...

Joanie said:

Do they have Piggly Wiggly's where you live? He'd have to settle for a Kroger store here in KY..

Ha! So you say!

I shop at Piggly Wiggly. There's one in the small town not too far from where I live. They have the best deals on whole chickens!

I have not seen Elvis there, and I have more to say about Elvis later. This is a great subject Joanie.

I just found out I have to work tomorrow, so I'm off to submit my partial to an agent. Back later.

terrio said...

p226 - no mention of Zeppelin? And I was lucky enough to catch a Vai solo live MANY years ago. By far, one of the best guitar solos I've ever seen.

Jeanne - I live in VA and I've never heard of them. Off to check out the links. Thanks.

Joan said...

Ahhhh mshellion, so you can visualize yourself as Ann rocking to "Viva Las Vegas".

While the song is no "Spiderpig, spiderpig..." it IS energizing.

{ducking from Suz}

Joan said...

Ahhh, p226. I knew I could count on you to give a thoughtful analysis of the evolution of that which was Elvis as far as musicality goes.

I experience any and all singers/bands etc. viscerally. I can't analyze riffs, chords etc. because I'm not a musician (thanks to a mean nun music instructor in
4th grade my guitar playing career never got started).

But the beauty of a melody, the heart wrenching or heart warming lyrics of a song or the plain fun of a tune speaks to me. (Mamma Mia not withstanding).

Some of Elvis' songs were goofy, some were silly, some were fun and some where soul stirring. (Amazing Grace, Kentucky Rain, In the Ghetto).

I grew up more with country influences, with pop i.e. Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy (I know, I know...not classic but I liked them), Bread, BeeGees and my only semi tribute to rock Three Dog Night.

Thanks for the insights.

Joan said...

Peggy,

Great question for The King.

From what I can tell, he loved his little girl immensely and I think he would be very proud of her.

Joan said...

Jeanne,

Did you get a pic of Keira...and the GR..and the GRAPES?

Hmmmmm....

LOVED that link! (Wish the person recording it hadn't been clapping). Great vocals, touch of bluegrass, touch of gospel.

I could be a fan.

You also mentioned Patsy Cline. Lord, that woman could sing. LeeAnn Rimes...especially when she first started out...reminded me SO much of her. The pure sweetness of her voice could make angels sigh.

Joan said...

They have the best deals on whole chickens!

Thunk!

"Wake up, GR! Wake up!" (Joanie T lifts his tiny feather head to her lap)"You know Cassondra loves you! She was just excited about getting her partial out. Today."

(GR opens his beak and says with a rasp) "I've been waiting so long to hear that, she really knows how to write, yanno? Where's Keira? I need a grape."

Pat Cochran said...

Mother was a great fan of Elvis and
yes, she did make the trek to visit
Graceland one year. She loved it
as a true fan would! Still enjoy
his movies and most of his work,
beginning with Sun Records. Favorite
songs: his gospel works, In the Ghetto, Can't Help Falling In Love
With You, a lot of his country work.

Sad man, sad life, sad ending!

Pat Cochran

Joan said...

Pat,

Your Mom sounds like a lot of the folks who make the trek each year though as I said in the post that Graceland visitor surveys show that over 1/2 are those under age 35. These "kids" never knew Elvis except through his music.

Jane said...

Congrats, P226.

My parents know more about Elvis than I do. He was a little before my time. I do like Jail House Rock and Always on My Mind. I always thought Elvis and Ann-Margaret had the best chemistry that also translated off screen. That's all I know about Elvis.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

GR and the grapes, yep, got a pic! - with Keira's camera! Grins.

As to LeAnn and Patsy...ahhh, sweet music.

Of course, I'm a Taylor, Browne, Fogleburg gal, since I sing in their range! Heehee.

Another good one is Bonnie Raitt...great combo of bluesey guitar, fab voice and great lyrics. Oh, and KebMo...love him.

All the Down from the Mountain stuff makes me jump up and dance too. Can't dance like a dashboard Elvis though. That's got to be a sight to behold.

Joan said...

Jeanne said: Can't dance like a dashboard Elvis though.

That's not what the GR said

:-0

limecello said...

Heh - I know some Elvis songs, but I think I'm too young for all of the hype. I was sad that I didn't see a single Elvis impersonator the time I went to Vegas, however. :P And I enjoyed all the movies about him.

Joan said...

The King speaks to all generations, limecello.

From my viewpoint the major hype did not occur until AFTER his death. That's when all the sightings came, the conspiracy theories, the "inside stories" touted by the insiders who had to find SOME WAY to stay in the spotlight.

If you don't want to rent one of his movies, rend Lilo and Stitch
:-)

Joan said...

p226

We haven't heard from you or our chook. (Fortunately, we haven't heard any gurgling as in drowning sounds either)

What's up with our boy?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Wow Joanie...Elvis over half naked swimmers? Girl do you have a fever?

Okay, I confess.......I loved Elvis. The young sexy, deep throated, sexy...er I said that...Elvis! Still get shivers when I hear Blue Christmas or his rendition of Amazing Grace. And I watched all his movies as a kid! Loved Joe Kidd.

Drugs take such a toll on our heroes don't they?

Keira Soleore said...

We have a higher-end version of Kroger here called QFC. But there's always Safeway, but a Piggly Wiggly sounds more delish. A Kroger Plus card would buy a lot of Nutella natch.

The Beatles had their fame, the King not so much. Pity that. He had the tunes, he had the moves, and by the gods, he had the voice.

Keira Soleore said...

Imagine selling books for years, decades after you're gone? Not to mention souviner spoons.

*cough* Jane Austen *cough*

Keira Soleore said...

Jeanne wrote, "GR and the grapes, yep, got a pic! - with Keira's camera!"

And here's the picture of him making out with a Bandita.

Joan said...

Suz, I prefer to keep the half naked boys with me....in my imagination... :-)


{Joanie with megaphone} "Stroke, Stroke, stroke.."

Oh, wait. That's rowing isn't it?

:-)

Joan said...

You didn't!

Ack! You did!

Caught Rhode Island red handed!

Red being the key word.

I always BLUSH when I flirt (and the feathers tickle :-)

Thank goodness you didn't follow when we left...you didn't, right?

Keira?

Hello???

p226 said...

We haven't heard from you or our chook. (Fortunately, we haven't heard any gurgling as in drowning sounds either)

What's up with our boy?


SQWS-1.

He's a fish-chook.

Now the swim quals are over, I have him doing what everyone does during downtime. Cleaning weapons.

Keira Soleore said...

The Chook's a mighty swimmer, no doubt, but that Phelps (wowowow, ahem) guy sure had him beat. Perhaps he's a better weapons technician (sounds better than cleaner) than he's a swimmer.

Aha, Joanie. You wouldn't be worried about my super sekret stash (SSS) of photos now, would you?

Keira-cackles-off-into-the-sunset

Joan said...

p226,

I'm watching synchronized diving right now. Maybe you and GR could pair up?

:-)

Joan said...

Ah, no {nervous laugh} no of course not....

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, I feel the same way about the "manufactured bands". EXCEPT, I have a serious idiot-girl reaction and have to sing IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORE when I hear the Backstreet Boys' "That Way". It is SO embarrassing. Especially when you're 43 and your teenagers are trying to hide behind displays...

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, I've seen Eddie From Ohio in concert. Can't remember who I was really there to see. Maybe Great Big Sea. Maybe Guster. But EFO was great fun and they had a group of fans from the west coast who had congregated in (God-awful hot) Vienna, VA to see them. I was impressed by the fandom!

One of my favorite Guster songs:
Amsterdam

One of my favorite Great Big Sea songs: The Night Pat Murphy Died. Plus, Sean is a cutie. Those dudes are from Newfoundland.

Cassondra said...

Posh T said:

If I met Elvis at the Piggly Wiggly, I would want to ask him, "Have you EVER eaten healthy food? Even once?"

Posh! You have Piggly Wiggly?

OMG! Soul Sister!

You would have to ask my husband the same question if you met him in the Piggly Wiggly. Alas, given the choice between something green and something deep fried, there will never be a contest. He'll go for the heart attack on a stick. :0( It's his upbringing. :0/

Cassondra said...

P226, that's a phenomenal rundown of the people who've changed the face of music in the second half of the 20th century. You left out some, but not many.

And BEFORE that, the changes were fewer and even more profound.

Nice summary. VERY nice.

Applause from Kentucky.

Also to you and to Louisa, for recognizing the value of a musical contribution, even if it's not something you particularly enjoy.

Cassondra said...

Caren (Posh) said:

I have a serious idiot-girl reaction and have to sing IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORE when I hear the Backstreet Boys' "That Way"

Me too! Do you suppose we've been drugged or something?

IIIII Waaaant it THAAAATAWAAAAY!

Ear candy. Pure and simple. It's the production and the harmonies. Ear candy.

Cultural snobs will poo poo it, but so what. It works. And it's an art form all its own. Much like the contemporary genre novel! I'm ducking the flying fruit, but I speak the truth.

I AM sorry--truly--that your kids are forced to witness it. :0/

Virginia said...

Do I remember Elvis. He was my idol in my early teens. I didn't think anyone could beat his singing. I love all of his songs and still listen to him today sometimes. Are You Lonesome Tonight, Love Me Tender, Hound Dog, Jail House Rock, just to name a few.

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

"if people want harmony and great blend, try Take 6 or Boys II Men!"

Amen and take it further! Ha! Try the Temptations!

Oh yeah. There were a whole bunch of what we would now call "boy bands" WAY before those boys you mentioned were ever born. STuff goes in cycles I guess.

What I hate about the last two decades is that everybody sounds the same. Part of that is the labels wanting to capitalize on something that's hot--same as publishers putting out way too many of a given type of book and flooding the market(vamps and weres anyone?) but all during the past five to six years especially they are all just whiney brats whining to three boring chords. No melody, no well-crafted lyrics (I'm a lyric snob) and honestly, there's only so much a producer can do with three chords and a bunch of whining about how bad stuff is and life is getting you down. *sigh*

Sorry. I grew up and was trained in the "three chords and the truth" mentality. If it's gonna be musically simple, it damn well better be lyrically powerful.

Otherwise, ya got nuthin.

Going back to the original subject, I think Elvis was the cultural phenomenon he was because he did what HE did--he didn't copy anybody. Like any truly gifted artist, he drew from what came before him, and he then took the brush and painted his own style of picture. Like the Beatles before him, and like the country artists in the apex of the 80's country surge (Early Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Trisha Yearwood) there was true talent and their own sound. Not something rehashed and spit out.

That made the phenomenon. But like a lot of major artists, he fell to fame and the trappings that come with it. It's very sad really, but it takes a truly strong, confident, centered person to not fall to this. When you're surrounded by yes-men, and nobody you know cares about you for YOU rather than what YOU can do for THEM, how do you remember where the right path is? :0(

It's always sad to lose a powerful talent young.

Louisa Cornell said...

Ah, now Patsy Cline. I made a lot of money singing Patsy Cline songs in dive bars with the band behind the wire cage. Do NOT tell my voice teachers - the one Stateside or the Austrian. I would be in SERIOUS trouble if they knew! I do a mean Patsy Cline imitation and hey, it paid the bills, okay??

The Pixie Chicks are already planning on coercing me into singing in DC. They are trying to decide between opera and bawdy drinking songs at this point. I told them I needed time to rehearse!

Cassondra said...

Louisa, go for the bawdy drinking songs, interspersed with some Patsy Cline and some Judy Garland.

We'll throw money!

You could pay for your conference that way!

p226 said...

Cassondra,

My rundown is from a guitar players point of view.

Terrio mentioned Zeppelin. Oh yeah, absolutely. They changed things. As did the Doors. But they were less influential on future rock guitarists than the ones I mentioned. They altered the shape of rock music as a whole, no question. And, I have to credit Paige with some level of influence on future guitar players, but in my opinion, his influence would never be as far reaching and oft mimicked as someone like Randy Rhoads or Jimi Hendrix.

p226 said...

And I was lucky enough to catch a Vai solo live MANY years ago. By far, one of the best guitar solos I've ever seen.

Mark my words. You got to see the Paganini of the 20th century. Vai's work will be played 100 years from now.

The scene at Juliard, year 2108.

"And Hans... Vat peez are vee vorking on zis veek?"

"Teacher, I am working on a guitar trio by Steven Vai."

"My my Hanz... Vai eh? Zat eez indeed ambitious, ya?"

Louisa Cornell said...

p226, I agree whole heartedly with your assessment of the incomparable Steve Vai. I was fortunate enough to see him perform live as well, both times in England. The last time was 2001. Musical genius is musical genius. I know how hard the profession is so I have enormous respect for those who have the gift and make great use of it. Another rocker I am partial to is Yngwie Malmsteen. And I grew up listening to Hank Williams, Sr. who like Elvis took music in a completely different direction and whose contribution is often overlooked.

Joan said...

But nobody's mentioned The Monkees?

*Thunk.*

p226? p226?

jo robertson said...

Sorry I'm soooo late to the party today, Joan, but YES, I remember Elvis. I remember his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and every song he ever recorded. I'm obviously older than dirt.

I think Elvis and those who came after him changed the face of music forever.

Most people don't realize how wide Elvis' vocal range was and how he could've been one of the great opera singers of all time, but chose rock and roll instead. He was one of the great ones and we rightly remember him at this time of the year.

Thanks for the post, Joan!

Keira Soleore said...

Louisa, you have a year to rehearse (and take requests) and rehearse. Mozart, pretty please (Alelluiah!), your hottie on top?