Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Elvis is 79

                                                    Elvis Is Alive

             Elvis may have left the building but he is still alive in our minds and heart. January 8TH would have been Elvis' 79th birthday.. So why am I writing about Elvis on this site; after all Elvis didn't live long enough to retire, was not from Texas, and was not a professional teacher.All true but I think most of us who are currently retired   teachers do have vivid memories of Elvis from our youth so I'll share my memories and hope you'll share your memories or thoughts.

                                                       Elvis and we Who Were Once Young

              Elvis was born in Tupelo Mississippi in 1935. After public schooling and a brief stint as truck driver Elvis began singing at various places near his native Mississippi. The first time I heard of Elvis was when I was about 14 and an uncle of mine who was stationed in the air force in Louisiana came to visit us and said he had seen this young singer on a local country and western show in Louisiana. "Mark my words this Elvis Presley is going to be a big star.". I can't remember if I marked his words but I have obviously remembered them. Elvis first hit public fame when he checked into Heartbreak Hotel, warned us not to "Step On His Blue Suede Shoes"   and scolded us for being "Nothing But a Hound Dog"

              These hits led to Elvis being featured  on the biggest variety show of the time the Ed Sullivan Show and the second biggest show The Steve Allen Show. Elvis reputation was made when NBC  ordered the cameras to not show Elvis from the waist down because Elvis made some moves while singing that were quite suggestive for the 1950's. Elvis may not have given birth to Rock and Roll but he soon became it's king. This of course insured his popularity with all of us who were then in our teens and were looking for a rebel with a cause. The fact our parents disapproved of him was of course even more in his favor. I've always thought Elvis came along at just the right time . After all there were 74 million Baby Boomers ( born between 1946-64) and they had money to spend because the USA  was the richest country in history in 1954 and teenagers, a new concept in the 50's, had disposable income which they spent mostly on records. Yes, there was once a thing called records. I myself talked my parents into buying me a guitar, which I'm sure they couldn't afford. Other than my striking resemblance to Elvis it soon became evident that my guitar playing left much to be desired . OK OK  so I don't have a striking resemblance to Elvis either.            Elvis went on to make one hit song after another in the 1950's . My personal favorite was  I Can't Help Falling In Love with you". All of this ,of course,  further consolidated Elvis as  the King of rock and roll.

                                                              Elvis Went to Germany and the British invaded.

    In 1958 Elvis was drafted into the army and served two years in Germany. In my mind this has always stood out more than any other fact about Elvis character because he could have found a way to avoid service but chose to interrupt his career and served honorably for two years Elvis met a the young daughter of his commanding officer there, a stunning fifteen year old named Priscilla who would become his wife and a star in her own right. Elvis left Germany in 1960 and I joined the army arrived in Germany myself in 1962. I always joked that the army sent me there because they didn't want the German  Frauleins to be to disappointed over Elvis leaving. The Frauleins did not seem to impressed by my arrival but I know many never forgot Elvis.

        Elvis career took a downturn after he returned to the states at least partly because the new trend from Britain of bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones had come to dominate rock. The King was not yet dead but he would never again sit on the throne of rock a she had in the 50's . Elvis also had a movie career in the 60's( I always thought his movies were terrible) and then recreated his career as a Las Vegas entertainer. Elvis personal life went downhill though in the 1970's with his divorce from Priscilla and his descent into drugs and over indulging his appreciation of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Elvis died in 1977


My own personal thoughts are that Elvis is one of the more important entertainers of the Twentieth century given his role in the birth of Rock and Roll . I also think he had one of the great voices and could sing in many genres including not just rock but country and gospel. I could go on but this is after all a  blog and not an essay. Besides it's your turn.

                                                     Your Turn

 OK enough of my musings. Time for your thoughts.

              WHAT are your memories of Elvis

              What were your favorite songs

                If you're one of the young readers( below 60 is now young to me) what are your thoughts

                 Any other thoughts you might have

                  Just scroll down to the bottom of this page , click on comments and write away.

                   Thanks for reading