If you’ve been following my blog, you know I swept in and out of Memphis, TN with two friends for a three day weekend last month. We packed in a lot of sightseeing and activities, but we didn’t have time to visit the King’s house–Elvis, that is.
I happened to mention that fact to one of my younger co-workers shortly after I returned. And she said to me, “You call that guy who died on his toilet from a drug overdose a king?”
Not exactly what I wanted to hear after a truly great weekend adventure. I tried to explain to her what it had been like seeing Elvis for the very first time on the Ed Sullivan Show.
What I found out was, it is impossible to define the “Phenomenon of Elvis” to young people who cannot comprehend a time when there were NO Super Stars.
Then came Elvis.
So, here was my dilemma. How could I possibly explain about the young Elvis that the world fell in love with? How could I tell her what a fresh faced boy he was back then, when all she is familiar with is the unfortunate last act of his life. In a way, it broke my heart, because I grew up with Elvis and I know that, although it appeared he had “everything”– money, fame, adulation– he also had a really rough ride. He was literally trapped in his compound at Graceland. He agonized and begged to be able to make movies that would allow him to act, but the studios insisted he star in movies that they believed his public craved, and maybe we did. His music was the only freedom he was afforded.
Of all the movies he starred in, he liked only one–Jailhouse Rock
To top that off, Elvis had no idea what it meant to be an internationally known Super Star. Why? Because he was the first. He was “it.” How does a kid who grew up in a small country town handle that? Who can instruct him? There were no footsteps to follow.
Superstar! We have plenty of them today, but none– repeat none–come even close to the King’s popularity. He was known throughout the world. Here is a statue of him in Jerusalem.
January 8th was Elvis Presley’s birthday. People all over the world remembered him especially on this day. Following is a comment posted on a blog that originates in Ireland
Elvis Presley was remembered here in Ireland as our national radio service RTE1 played his beautiful music on his birthday.
Did ever a vocalist’s voice reach right around the globe like Elvis’s did? and light up millions of peoples, lives like no other, before or since.
They loved him in Germany then and now
In the quaint little town of Bad Nauheim, it was “big love big heartache” every day when young ladies back in the 50s wrote their phone numbers with lipstick on the typical German garden fence outside the king’s villa. Aging German locals report that every night the wooden fence would be cleaned to make room for more love notes.
“He still preoccupies us, he’s well-known across the generations, and he brought about a sexual, musical and social revolution,” said the head of a German museum that hosted a recent Elvis exhibition.
Unlike any other performer before him, he spawned an industry.
He met Presidents and Heads of State. Crazed crowds of people clamored to see him at every airport.
And when he passed on to the stardom in the sky, many countries outside the U.S. built monuments for him like this one in Germany.
So, “To answer your original question, dear, Elvis remains The King, in spite of his final curtain. I doubt there will ever be another like him.”