Happy Birthday Elvis
It's today, Parishioners, January 8th.
I remember The Day The King Died.
My buddy Macca brought in a black armband for me.
What's this for? they asked.
Elvis Presley died.
We wore them all day
& everyone asked what they were for.
The King is dead we replied...
Some time earlier, my father had come back from the Big City
& brought me a present - an Elvis Presley double album.
Years ahead of Phil Lynott,
we went back to my place
& listened to the whole thing from beginning to end
(no wine, no gin in those days...)
Here are some interesting facts from Wikipedia:
Elvis Aron Presley (January 8, 1935 - August 16, 1977), often known simply as Elvis and also called The King of Rock 'n' Roll or simply The King, was an American singer, musician and actor. He remains a pop icon and is regarded by some to be the most important, original entertainer of the last fifty years.
* * *
He was teased by his fellow classmates who threw "things at him - rotten fruit and stuff - because he was different, because he was quiet and he stuttered and he was a mama's boy."
...all the citizens' councils in the South called Elvis 'nigger music' and were terribly afraid that Elvis, white as he was, being ambiguously raced just by being working-class, was going to corrupt the youth of America.
Elvis became "a symbol of all that was oppressive to the black experience in the Western Hemisphere"
The Roman Catholic Church denounced him in its weekly magazine in an article headlined "Beware Elvis Presley."
Adult programmers announced they would not play Presley's music on their radio stations due to religious convictions that his music was "devil music" and to racist beliefs that it was "nigger music." Many of Presley's records were condemned as wicked by Pentecostal preachers, warning congregations to keep heathen rock and roll music out of their homes and away from their children's ears (especially the music of "that backslidden Pentecostal pup.")
In August, 1956 in Jacksonville, Florida a local Juvenile Court judge called Presley a "savage" and threatened to arrest him if he shook his body while performing at Jacksonville's Florida Theatre, justifying the restrictions by saying his music was undermining the youth of America.
John Lennon later observed, "Before Elvis, there was nothing."
Presley began his movie career with Love Me Tender which opened on November 15, 1956. The movies Jailhouse Rock (1957) and King Creole (1958) are regarded as among his best early films.
Altogether, Presley had made 27 movies during the 1960s, "which had grossed about $130 million, and he had sold a hundred million records, which had made $150 million." Overall, he was one of the highest paid Hollywood actors during the 1960s. However, during the later sixties, "the Elvis Presley film was becoming passé. Young people were tuning in, dropping out and doing acid.
After his divorce in 1973 Presley became increasingly isolated, overweight, and was battling an addiction to prescription drugs which took a heavy toll on his appearance, health, and performances. According to Anna Paterson, "binge eating led him to gain large amounts of weight. It wasn't just the quantity of food that he was eating which caused the problems.
Elvis frequently consumed very high fat foods. His favourite meal was reportedly peanut butter and banana sandwiches grilled in butter. Another famous meal he enjoyed was 'Fool's Gold Loaf'. This was a hollowed out white loaf, drenched in butter and then stuffed with peanut butter, jam and bacon.
Coupled with a heavy prescription drug problem, this harmful behaviour caused Elvis to die at the age of only 42."
Presley made his last live concert appearance in Indianapolis at the Market Square Arena on June 26, 1977.
On August 16, 1977, at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, Presley was found lying on the floor of his bedroom's bathroom by his fiancee, Ginger Alden, who had been asleep. A stain on the bathroom carpeting was found that indicated "where Elvis had thrown up after being stricken, apparently while seated on the toilet. It looked to the medical investigator as if he had "stumbled or crawled several feet before he died."" He was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital, where at 3:30 P.M. doctors pronounced him dead. Presley was 42 years old.
At a press conference following his death, one of the medical examiners declared that he had died of a cardiac arrhythmia from an intake of a large amount of drugs.
In 1977 alone, his personal physician Dr. George Constantine Nichopoulos (usually referred to as Dr Nick) had prescribed 10,000 hits of amphetamines, barbiturates, narcotics, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, laxatives, and hormones.
When he died on August 16, 1977, it was a huge shock to his fans. However, it soon became clear that a combination of over-work, obesity, depression, bad diet and severe abuse of prescription drugs, accelerated his premature departure. However, much confusion, conflict, contradictions and general controversy still surrounds his death.
There is a belief in some quarters that Presley did not die in 1977. Many fans persist in claiming he is still alive, that he went into hiding for various reasons. This claim is allegedly backed up by thousands of so-called Elvis sightings that have occurred in the years since his death.
Two main reasons are given in support of the belief that Presley faked his death:
† On his grave, his middle name Aron is misspelled as Aaron. Presley's parents went to great lengths to remove the double 'A' on his official birth certificate after his twin brother Jesse Garon was stillborn
† Hours after Presley's death was announced, a man by the name of Jon Burrows (Presley's traveling alias) purchased a one way ticket with cash to Buenos Aires.
...after his death, Presley had been seen by fans as Other Jesus or Saint Elvis.
In 1970 he wrote to J. Edgar Hoover requesting to join the FBI at the height of its campaign against political activism. In a letter that Presley wrote to Nixon, requesting that they should meet, Presley told the President he was a huge admirer of everything he was doing, and asked to be made a "Federal Agent at Large" in order to help get the country off drugs. Nixon duly made Presley a "Federal Agent at large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, presenting him with the appropriate badge.
* * *
...a parallel industry, mostly kitsch, continues to grow around his memory, chronicling his dietary and chemical predilections along with the trappings of his wide celebrity. Many impersonators still sing his songs. "While some of the impersonators perform a whole range of Presley music, the raw 1950s Elvis and the kitschy 1970s Elvis are the favorites."
According to the American Demographics magazine, 84% of the US people say that their lives have been touched by Elvis Presley in some way, 70% have watched a movie starring Presley, 44% have danced to one of his songs, 31% have bought an Elvis record, CD or video, 10% have visited Graceland, 9% have bought Elvis memorabilia, 9% have read a book about Presley, and 5% have seen the singer in concert. Not all of these people are Presley fans.
* * *
In her autobiographical article, Sexing Elvis (1984), Sue Wise even describes "how she came to terms with her lesbianism through a close identification with the feminine side of the King." "Elvis's 'effect' on young girls threatened those men who assumed that young girls needed to be protected both from sex in general and from its expression in questionable characters like Elvis in particular." However, there were not only female fantasies directed at the star. According to Reina Lewis and Peter Horne, "prints of Elvis Presley appeared to speak directly to the gay community."
According to Robert A. Segal, Elvis was "a consummate mamma's boy, who lived his last twenty years as a recluse in a womblike, infantile world in which all of his wishes were immediately satisfied yet who deemed himself entirely normal, in fact 'all-American.'"
However, one of the most frequent points of criticism is the overweight and androgyny of the late Las Vegas Presley. Time Out says that, "As Elvis got fatter, his shows got glammier." It has been said that the star, when he "returned to Las Vegas, heavier, in pancake makeup, wearing a white jumpsuit with an elaborate jeweled belt and cape, crooning pop songs to a microphone ... had become Liberace.
According to several modern gender studies, the singer had, like Liberace, presented "variations of the drag queen figure" in his final stages in Las Vegas, when he excessively used eye shadow, gold lamé suits and jumpsuits.
Although described as a male sex symbol, Elvis was "insistently and paradoxically read by the culture as a boy, a eunuch, or a 'woman' - anything but a man," and in his Las Vegas white "Eagle" jumpsuit, designed by costumer Bill Belew, he appeared like "a transvestite successor to Marlene Dietrich."
There are many, many Elvis sites
but these are a good start:
The Official Site
Elvis at IMDB
Honourable Mention to The Flying Elvi!
Long live The King!
lerevdr on Tue 09-Jan-2007 @ 18:01 e.s.t [permalink]