Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I.M. Elvis, For Tomorrow
Since I probably won't have time to do it tomorrow, here's a reminder that Elvis Presley died 29 years ago tomorrow. Does it matter anymore, given that culture has moved on so comprehensively since 1977? To be honest, I don't care. It matters to me. When I was growing up Elvis' power and influence were beyond anything that a kid would understand today. He was mythical in his own lifetime, the most admired and desired man in the world. And his music had transformed (violently at first) contemporary culture.
Though heroes have come and gone and musical fashions have changed beyond recognition, I am still so completely under Elvis' spell that when I watch "That's The Way It Is" (as I did barely a week ago), I gape and I shiver even now at his brilliance. Elvis dying and Muhammad Ali losing the World Heavyweight Championship to Leon Spinks in Vegas the following year may well have been the two events that ended my childhood: what could be the same if the two giants of my young imagination had been felled in such an ignoble fashion?