Saturday, August 16, 2008

Elvis Has Left The Building

A friend of mine was asking a co-worker the other day if he knew what Saturday (today) was. The guy thought a minute and said "the 16th". He got another hint when my friend said, "August 16th, 1977". The guy looked puzzled and I said, "Memphis". Finally I said, "How many hints do you need?" He said, "Oh yeah, the day Elvis died."

Nope. The day he went home.

I saw the King in concert about two months before he died, wearing the suit he would eventually be buried in. I told my date, "He won't live a year." He didn't.

Several years later I had the opportunity to go to Memphis with a friend. When we landed at the airport and got our rental car he asked, "Are we going to the hotel?"

Nope. Straight to Graceland.

When we entered the house, I instinctively knew where everything was, including the infamous bathroom (believe it or not, located directly above the front door). I felt right at home.

I've been an Elvis fan all my life, and unashamed of it, even when it wasn't popular to be one. The earliest movie I recall watching was "Love Me Tender" on TV. I pretended a tennis racket was a guitar and I'd swivel my hips and twitch my leg just like him. My family all knows my affection for Elvis and I think I've won most of them over to my side.

So today we celebrate the King with my list of favorites:

Favorite Elvis Movie: "King Creole". My favorite song in this movie was "Trouble". I'm singing it in my mind as I write. Of course I also liked the line in "Loving You" when Elvis was at the home of some dignified music critics who asked him about his singing methodology using terms only intellectuals would know (in an effort to embarrass him), to which he replied "Lady, I don't know what the hell you're talking about."

Favorite Elvis Move: The leg twitch. Whether he really got it from Forrest Gump or not, it sure worked for him.

Favorite Elvis Song: "Suspicious Minds". He was at the height of his career and you can feel everything he was ever about in this song. Or any of the ballads. I really liked the "sleeper" songs that weren't the most popular, like "Love Letters" and "Are You Sincere?".

Favorite Elvis Concert: The early 1970s show from the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis. Nothing like a hometown crowd to bring out the best in you.

Favorite Elvis Album: The "white album", "From Elvis In Memphis". Not a bad song in the bunch. "Long Black Limousine" was ominous, wasn't it?

Favorite Elvis Moment: With Nixon in the White House. Only one of them really meant business that day. The one with the gun in his boot.

Folks talk about early Elvis, 70s Elvis, thin Elvis, fat Elvis, blah blah blah. They call him self-indulgent and childish. They speculate about his drug use. But you don't hear this from anyone very often:

Favorite Elvis Saying: One time someone in the audience yelled out "You're the King!" to which Elvis replied, "There's only one King, and that's Jesus Christ."

Thank you...thank you very much.

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