Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Elvis Edition

My subject at the League of Reluctant Adults blog today is my Top Ten favorite Elvis songs, in honor of Elvis' birthday.

My love of Elvis is not ironic. It is not post-modern or post-punk or tongue-in-cheek or any of the above. It comes in part from the same place as my adoration of macho men, from my childhood spent at the racetrack while my Dad ran quarter miles or spending most of my summers playing baseball in the street or travelling extensively throughout the South.

Even the excesses of Elvis love don't bother me, the glittery pillows or bad embroidery or black velvet paintings. I don't smirk a superior smirk or laugh at the tackiness (okay, sometimes I do, but I'm laughing at myself too, the little girl who wrote her crush's name all over her notebooks in lurid glitter inks or Outliner metallic markers and put Duran Duran posters on every available surface of her bedroom).

Because when we see greatness we want to honor it. We know something has walked among us that never will again, and we mourn its passing--worship its absent presence--with the intensity and devotion we reserve for all gods in no matter what arena.

I'm not getting into Elvis as a person, the drug addiction or apparently kinky sexual preferences or the was-he-racist-or-a-product-of-his-upbringing-and-shouldn't-he-have-overcome-it debate. I'm talking exclusively about the performer, the voice that crashed over our heads and wrenched emotions from the depths of our souls. The man who even at his overweight worst, when he had to read lyrics to songs he'd sung hundreds of times from a sheet of paper, could still make us cry, all of us, together. My adoration for that man comes from my earliest childhood, and is implacable. I will never stop loving that voice, those songs, and I will never stop wishing it had not been silenced so soon.

(Note, this is how I get when I'm homesick. Feel free to make fun of me, but don't you make fun of the King, lol.)


BernardL said...

Elvis put me on the road to becoming a mechanic. I was twelve when I saw 'Kid Galahad' at the movies. Elvis played a boxer, who really wanted his own auto repair shop, and all he did was lean in under a hood to fix anything. Man, I thought being able to do that was the greatest. :)

Anonymous said...

It seems like everytime I try to bring up Elvis as a great PERFORMER there's always someone there to say, "Buddy Holly was the real king of rock" -which has nothing to do with Elvis being a great performer.

Elvis was a great performer, everything else about him is arguable, but that isn't. -V95

December/Stacia said...

Bernard, that's so cool! I guess being a mechanic isn't quite the same anymore now that computers run so much in cars.

My Dad and my brother are both major gearheads, but newer cars aren't as easy, I guess. Which is fine. Who wants to drive one of those souped-up lawnmower Hondas you paid someone else to do, when you could get some real muscle and have fun doing the work yourself?

I agree, V95. I adore Buddy Holly and love Chuck Berry with a serious passion, but neither of them had Elvis' voice or his amazing appeal.


I'll make fun of our mutual Duran Duran wallpaper.

Oh, the shame.


Ohdamn, I put my real name on that!

December/Stacia said...

Kerry, I even had a t-shirt made, with fuzzy pastel balloon lettering, that read, "I (heart) Duran Duran".

*hangs head*

BernardL said...

We still lean in and fix anything wrong under the hood, D. We just have to drag along fifty thousand dollars worth of hi-tech gadgets with us to do it. :)

Robyn said...

Duran Duran? Pfft. Try explaining Barry Manilow and Andy Gibb posters- THEN we'll TALK.

I loved Elvis. "We know something has walked among us that never will again, and we mourn its passing--worship its absent presence--with the intensity and devotion we reserve for all gods in no matter what arena." So well said! That's how I feel about the early Beatles.

December/Stacia said...

Lol, Bernard. The image in my head is you leaning into an engine well with this enormous space-age gizmo next to you, with all sorts of tubes and wires poking out of it.

Oh, now, Robyn, you know I likes me some Manilow. I didn't really have posters of him (although: Shaun Cassidy) but I really liked his songs when I was a kid and still do.

Bernita said...

Are you lonesome tonight?