Elvis, then, now - always...
So yes I am very kicked about rock and roll. Like most quarantined souls, I got hooked on some of the music trivia-type Netflix specials.
*repost from 2021 When Elvis Presley - The Searcher, showed up on my feed this week, I was not going to stop till I completed the entire season.
Without giving too much away, this larger-than-life songwriter, guitarist, actor, and arguably devoted son and father have been depicted in minute detail.
There is a simple finesse to the documentary. The likes of the late, Tom Petty and the 'boss' himself, (Springsteen) have discussed at length the legacy that Elvis undoubtedly had on the world of music. He has had an impact on most artists from the time he first burst on the scene.
As I tried to piece together my own love for this heartbreaker of a singer, I can attempt to understand the mass hysteria. It is easy to get drawn into the misty eyes of a man, who's "Are you lonesome tonight?" Can still make a few girls from 2021 weak in the knee. The leather jackets, the puffy hair, and that smile were something that he got down to a science in itself.
There have been many rock and pop bands that have tried to replicate his unique bluesy sound. Many have tried to emulate his curly lip and cheeky pelvis thrust.
While a plethora of impersonators pay their tributes, there are those who have panned the artist calling him a loner, a womanizer, and an addict- the latter is sadly what cut short his life at the age of 42.
Inevitably it is a life that still draws mystery. I could listen to "Suspicious minds" over and over again wondering what exactly the singer was relating to when they put those tunes and backup vocals together.
As for his personal life, his wife, Priscilla Presley states, "they held hands during a very difficult and public divorce." It must have been hard for him to have two masters, she states in the docu-series.
Unlike the documentary on his son-in-law (Michael Jackson), this one delves into the thin line that iconic characters like EP have to cross when it comes to their public and personal space. In recent times artists like Bieber and Rihanna have vehemently mocked the media for prying too closely. The 2022 biopic has actor, Austin Butler impersonating EP. In my opinion the actor has done an amazing job of bringing the legend to life. It took him close to two years to study the art, craft and iconic dance moves of the biggest solo recording artist in the music business. Current musicians who don't even speak English attribute Presley's music as being influential in their lives.
I remember the 80's when a friend who was much older than me, had a black and white poster in his living room of Elvis hung up in his family apartment in India. He confidently told me he worshipped Elvis. Countless others replicated his music in various Hindi films of the '60s and '70s. I wonder if Elvis ever estimated the impact he had on the world.
He does mention in one clip that he would want to go to Japan. Having only traveled outside the U.S. when he was drafted to Germany to fight the war. Behind the highly embroidered jumpsuits and the large sunglasses, was a man who clearly was not able to stop.
Watch the Netflix series if you are a fan. The enigma of Elvis prompts me to believe he does not have to be contained to his sprawling mansion in Graceland. He has survived the test of time.
Cut to 23 June 2022 Watched the worldwide preview of the film 'Elvis,' which took 7 years to make and has received much-deserved adulation from the daughter of Presley himself. I felt fortunate to see it on a truly big screen, here in Dubai where it was released a day before the U.S.
The 2022 biopic has actor, Austin Butler impersonating EP, melting hearts along the way. Tom Hanks does a stupendous job as Col. Tom Parker. They recreate a time and take you on a spinning carnival of adventure.
What I loved most about this film, is how every artist - be they writers, singers, musicians, politicians -- everyone is battling thor e demons in their minds. We may call them addicts, rebels or plain mysterious. It is so easy to 'diss' anything these days. Have the patience to sit and give your usher a smile. Even though you may be wearing a mask. Don't sit in judgement. There were moments that got be by surprise. I never knew that Presley had a twin brother who died at childbirth or that he was an introvert at the start of his career. Yes he did struggle with getting old. Who doesn't? The press ought to give celebs some space, to which I know many will say, it's the price of fame. It comes at you like a double-edged sword.
A few lines by the legend struck me the most, “I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a friend, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend-without a song.’ So I keep singing a song.”
In a world where human beings are so skeptical of each other, we do need music to keep us going.