Thursday, 16 August 2012

35 Years Later - Elvis' Music Lives On

It's 35 years since the news broke that Elvis Presley died.

In some respects it seems almost absurd. One of the few lingering memories of my father showing me some consideration was him breaking the news to me that the King of Rock 'n' Roll had died.

"I don't want you to be upset..." he informed me "...but Elvis has died".

The news bounced off my 9-year-old brain and I was remarkably unmoved by it.

I didn't really connect the white-suited Vegas mega-star with the cool young rock'n'roller I'd watched on television in films such as Jailhouse Rock or G.I. Blues.

I knew who Elvis was but at that point the Elvis the world was mourning seemed disconnected to the image I was familiar with.

John Lennon allegedly said on hearing the news that "... Elvis died when he joined the army" To a degree Lennon was right.

Perhaps my appreciation of Elvis didn't really kick off until the 10th anniversary of his death in 1987. A TV special in which several then current artists such as The Pet Shop Boys and Kim Wilde performed their favourite Elvis hits and more importantly the Elvis '68 Comeback Special got a well-deserved repeat on television. There's something really special about that show, yes Elvis performs some really inspirational material on it but he also gets really rocky too, paying homage to the  music that made him great as well as the music he was performing at the time. Perhaps my favourite bit is when Elvis sits in a circle with his fellow musicians belting out a version of One Night - a truly great rock'n'roll moment.

Thankfully we still have these great performances and the music!

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