My mind is a dangerous place. Make sure you wear a cup.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Thankyew. Thankyewverymuch.

Elvis Presley was born on this date in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Man, I love Elvis. I have a lifesize cardboard cutout of Elvis that I keep in my den, and I also have an Elvis phone that plays "Hound Dog" when it rings, except I finally disconnected it because it was really loud and would scare the hell out of me when I was in the den on the desktop computer.

My work keys are on an Elvis keychain.

I love the music, but it's more than that. I am fascinated by the way he lived. His poor upbringing, the way he grew up, his catapult to fame, his subsequent iconic career, and the increasingly insular life he led in his later years.

It's enthralling. And it is best captured in two books by Peter Guralnick. Last Train to Memphis chronicles Elvis from his birth up to his induction into the army, and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, picks up where Last Train leaves off, right until his death in 1977.

He was a facinating man, and he led a life that was incredible on so many levels. I consider him to be a tragic figure, and I have an affinity for tragic figures.

From a shotgun shack singing Pentecostal hymns
Through the wrought iron gates to the TV room
He had a little world, it was smaller than your hand
It's a rockabilly ride from the glitter to the gloom

Left behind by the latest trends
Eating fried chicken with his regicidal friends
That's how the story ends
With a porcelain monkey

Porcelain Monkey Warren Zevon

Black velvet and that little boy smile
Black velvet with that slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring you to your knees
Black velvet if you please

Up in Memphis the music's like a heat wave
White lightning, bound to drive you wild
Mama's baby's in the heart of every school girl
"Love me tender" leaves 'em cryin' in the aisle
The way he moved, it was a sin, so sweet and true

Black Velvet Allanah Myles

I dreamed I had a good job and I got well paid
I blew it all at the penny arcade
A hundred dollars on a kewpie doll
No pretty chick is gonna make me crawl

Get on a TWA to the promised land
Every woman, child and man
Gets a Cadillac and a great big diamond ring
Don't you know you're riding with the king

He's on a mission of mercy to the new frontier
He's gonna check us all on out of here
Up to that mansion on a hill
Where you can get your prescription filled

Riding With the King John Hiatt

"When I first heard Elvis' voice, I just knew that I wasn't going to work for anybody, and nobody was going to be my boss. He is the deity supreme of rock and roll religion as it exists in today's form. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail. I thank God for Elvis Presley."

Bob Dylan

"That Elvis, man, he is all there is. There ain't no more. Everything starts and ends with him. He wrote the book."

Bruce Springsteen

"Before there was Elvis, there was nothing."

John Lennon

Indeed. 'Nuff said.


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