The Elvis Craze
The public made Elvis Presley larger than life, better known than Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and in some cases God Himself.
I cannot quite understand the Elvis craze. I don't think he was a handsome man, I don't enjoy his music, I won't waste my time trying to sit through one of his boring, talentless movies, and if, God forbid, I end up on my deathbed with some horrible, incurable disease, I certainly won't make a pilgrimage to Graceland to be miraculously healed.
Jack Gould conveyed some of my feeling in the essay TV: New Phenomenon when he wrote, "Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability."
Although he gave away cars, cash, and gifts to friends, family, and sometimes, strangers, I can't think of any of his contributions that merits his God-like status.
Cults and "churches" have been formed to worship him. One such "church" named "The First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine" in Colorado claims he paid them a visit, and he was as young and in shape as he was in his early years. There are websites dedicated to proving that Elvis and Jesus are one and the same. People claim to have seen Elvis alive at grocery stores and at parks. There is also a website devoted to the cloning of "The King" himself. People have just gone overboard worshipping Elvis! The same mothers and fathers who can't understand son or daughter's fascination with the Backstreet Boys are buying vials of Elvis's sweat from the Internet. It scares me to think that some if these people will soon be participating in the nationwide vote for a new president.
Born January 8, 1935 to Gladys and Vernon Presley, the odds were against Elvis Aaron Presley from the moment the entered this world. The fact that he ascended from his dirt poor roots to superstar status is a major factor of why he was so popular in the South among the lower middle class, and the diversity in his style contributed to his assorted fan base. In his teen years, Elvis absorbed the cultural aspects and musical style of Country, Gospel, and Rhythm & Blues. He lived in the South, where Country music was most prevalent, it was sort of a "given" for him for him to adopt the country music style. His parents were devout churchgoers, and Elvis frequently attended the all night revivals, where he enjoyed jumping around and singing the gospel. It is also known that Elvis spent quite a bit of time on Memphis's Beale Street, known for its Rhythm & Blues clubs.
When Elvis did unoriginal songs that had been sung previously by other artists, he added his own flavor that was made up of his mixed Gospel, Country, and R & B background. His style drew diverse crowds, and songs such as "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" went to #1 in the Country, R & B and Pop charts. None of this justifies the deification of Elvis.
After a brief stint in the US Army, Elvis started concentrating more on movies. He made a wide variety of movies, GI Blues, Blue Hawaii, Viva Las Vegas, and Fun in Acapulco to name a...