The King Is Dead – Long Live The King

I was watching TV with my sister on a hot humid Sacramento school free summer afternoon circa August 16, 1977, when the always suspenseful “We Interrupt This Program To Bring You A Special Report” bulletin popped on to announce that Elvis Presley Was Dead. I had grown up with his voice via my parents and the media, and while I was never an Elvis man, I appreciated his impact on rock and culture. Though he only made two good films, KING CREOLE (1958) and VIVA LAS VEGAS (1963), his other movies were hopeless even as cultural kitsch; I can watch the AIP Beach Party films over and over, but am yet to make it through CLAMBAKE (1967). Obviously, he had great screen presence, and I know he wanted to do a movie with Bruce Lee, which we can only dream about. My favorite Elvis is definitely his 1968 “comeback” period, where he never looked leaner or meaner. The only Presley disc I own is the kick-ass “Memphis Sessions” recorded the same year, the album that brought him back to public consciousness. His famed TV special is uber-cool too, as it contains my favorite Elvis moment, the whole of this astounding gospel melody production number. Watch it in tribute to The King.

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5 Responses to “The King Is Dead – Long Live The King”

  1. I’m from the South & down there, like with Jesus, you, sooner or later, have your come to Elvis moment. Mine came after considering him, not a joke or a buffoon, but just an artist that was not worth serious consideration. Then, I saw the “’68 Special” & that all changed in the blink of an eye…you could say I finally “saw the light”. An incredible talent who, even in his (many) worst moments, manages to tower above the rest. I refer all non-believers to “Suspicious Minds” for proof.

    “If I had to, if I really had to, I’d f**k Elvis”.

  2. christian Says:

    Yeah, I’m partial to “Kentucky Rain” and especially “Long Black Limousine.” Those musicians on the Memphis sessions like Glen Campbell just rule. And as for as his films, I do love the opening title and song to STAY AWAY JOE. I can’t imagine the script selection process with poor Elvis being steered by Colonel Tom: “Okay, here’s yore next film, boy. You gonna fall in love with a nun played by that Mary Tyla Moore gal. Ya hear, boy? Ya hear?” And then it would be his last movie…

  3. Karl Holzheimer Says:

    Christian,

    I was so extremely lucky enough to have seen Elvis perform at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in his first “comeback” effort on August 12, 1969. I was seventeen. And at that performance I became an Elvis fan. My parents, my sister and I went to that particular show merely because he was the biggest name playing Vegas that one night we were in Vegas. It is undoubtedly, even now, the greatest live performance I’ve ever seen. There was something electric between Elvis and the audience. Elvis films: I enjoy Viva Las Vegas, but because of when I saw them initially (in a theatre) I have a fondness for Frankie and Johnny (considered one of his weakest, I know) and G.I. Blues.

  4. christian Says:

    Wow. I bow to you. Seeing Elvis live! Awesome. Did he do any of his karate moves? What was the best part of the show? And did you get a scarf?

  5. Elvis & Ann-Margret are pure s*e*x in “Viva Las Vegas”. They are practically eye-f**king each other in that picture. Karl, I join Christian in bowing to you. Elvis. LIVE! Yeah, boy.

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