Thursday, 16 August 2012

Elvis: 35 Years On

Elvis Presley: born 8th January, 1935, died 16th August, 1977.

"Before Elvis, there was nothing." --- John Lennon

'The young boy with the long, greasy, dirty-blond hair poked his head in the door shyly, tentatively, looking as if he were ready to withdraw at a moment's notice if you just said boo to him, using that look to gain entrance, determined somehow to make himself known.
He said, "If you know somebody that needs a singer . . ."
And I said, "What kind of singer are you?"
He said, "I sing all kinds."
I said, "Who do you sound like?"
"I don't sound like nobody."'
         Marion Keisker of Sun Studio, quoted by Peter Guralnick in Last Train to Memphis 

'Elvis contained more of America --- had swallowed whole more of its contradictions and paradoxes --- than any other figure I could think of . . . I understood Elvis not as a human being but as a force, as a kind of necessity: that is, the necessity existing in every culture that leads it to produce a perfect, all-inclusive metaphor for itself. This is what Elvis Presley turned out to be. Or, rather, turned himself into. Or, maybe, agreed to become. This would of necessity be a Faustian bargain.' Greil Marcus, Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession

'Long before he was laid in the grave, the legend of Elvis' success . . . had been retailed over and over again, but (after his death) it was overwhelmed in a flood of reminiscences that at first strove to deny the "frail humanity" that bound him to the rest of the human race, then rushed to condemn him for it . . . but in the end there is only one voice that counts. It is the voice that the world first heard on those bright yellow Sun 78s, whose original insignia, a crowing rooster surrounded by boldly stylized sunbeams and a border of musical notes, sought to proclaim the dawning of a new day. It is impossible to silence that voice; you cannot miss it when you listen to "That's All Right" or "Mystery Train" or any of the songs with which Elvis continued to convey his sense of unlimited possibilities almost to the end of his life. It is that sense of aspiration as much as any historical signposts or goals that continues to communicate with a public that recognized in Elvis a kindred spirit from the first . . . '
                                     Peter Guralnick, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley

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