REMEMBER THE KING WITH MUSIC
ROCK FANS SHOULD PAY TRIBUTE TO MUSIC'S ETERNAL LEGEND ELVIS PRESLEY
No review of some new record, or a report from a recent concert, or interview with a local band.
Today, we're having a moment of musical silence, if you will.
Today, we're paying some respect.
Respect to the man who made everything that you normally read on this page possible.
Respect to the man who started it all.
Respect to Elvis Aaron Presley.
The pop music charts to your left?
The club listings to the right?
The story below about what's happening on the local music scene this weekend?
It all goes back to Presley
If you're out in a club enjoying your favorite band this weekend, take a second to think of Presley. And ask the band on stage to play some of the music from the poor boy from Mississippi who started it all. It's the least they could do. Some of rock's biggest acts - if they were playing - would be glad to do it.
Artists like Bruce Springsteen, Robert Plant and Billy Joel have all covered Presley's songs. Plant was actually once able to meet Elvis and sing a few bars of "Love Me" with The King. In 1975, Springsteen - a bona fide superstar himself at the time - tried to scale the gates at Graceland in an attempt to meet his idol. KISS' Gene Simmons said in a recent interview that KISS closed its Aug. 16, 1977 show with "Jailhouse Rock." U2's Larry Mullen - during the filming of "Rattle and Hum" - begged Graceland security to allow him to simply sit on Presley's motorcycle for a few seconds. The scene of the band visiting Presley's grave is one of the most moving scenes in the film.
Show the same respect.
Forget about so many of the silly things that have become associated with Elvis. Forget about the tacky wall murals, lamps and porcelain plates. Forget about the tasteless mockery by people who don't have half his talent or character. Forget about all of the tabloid schlock, the way he put himself in the grave at the young age of 42 while friends he took care of and employed since high school idly watched and let him abuse himself. Forget about postage stamps and rumors of "sightings."
Think about how the kid came out of nowhere in 1956 and knocked America's collective socks off. Think about how parents who were initially horrified at his rebellious demeanor soon learned that Presley was a kind, humble and generous young man who called people &quo;ma'am&quo; and &quo;sir.&quo; Think about a man who- at the peak of his career- went off to Germany to serve his country in the Army, never asking for special treatment and quickly befriending the men in his outfit. Think about the man who loved to share his wealth. A man who would, on a whim, buy people automobiles and who, if you admired a piece of jewelry or clothing he was wearing, would often take it off and give it to you.
Think about the greatest singer in rock music history.
Listen to the early stuff, fabulous recordings like: "That's All Right," "Mystery Train" and "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." Listen to the big '50s hits: "Heartbreak Hotel," "Don't Be Cruel," "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock." Listen to his gems from the early '60s: "His Latest Flame," "Little Sister," and "Are You Lonesome Tonight." Watch the "'68 Comeback Special" - the best performance of his career.
Listen to his inspired work from the late '60s and early '70s: "Suspicious Minds," "Kentucky Rain" "Always on My Mind," and "If I Can Dream." Listen to his wonderful, almost immediate covers of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." Watch the tape of his last performance, only a few weeks before his death. Listen to how- although puffy-eyed, bloated and obviously in poor health- his voice never failed him. Listen to him sing "Unchained Melody" and "My Way" with a power no rock vocalist has ever matched.
Take a moment to thank The King for all of the pleasure you've gotten from rock music throughout your life.
Twenty years ago, Elvis Presley - The King of Rock n' Roll - died at his beloved Memphis home.
His loss is still felt by millions.
Throughout the past week, Elvis tributes have run rampant, with thousands making the pilgrimage to Graceland to take part in a week in activities celebrating the life and music of America's greatest entertainer. Presley deserves it all ... every TV special, every radio show, every newspaper and magazine article.
No one has contributed more to pop culture than he.
I'll never be able to buy a ticket to a Presley concert, hear that remarkable voice in person or see that genuine smile he always broke into when he heard the roar of the crowd. I can't realize every music journalist's dream and interview the man who started it all. All I can do is give him this column today, tell you - in my words - how much he's meant to me and all of who enjoy any form of rock music.
It's nothing really.
Certainly not enough of a tribute.
Certainly not one befitting a King.
But thank you, Elvis Aaron Presley.
"Thank you very much."
We miss you.