Guest Author - Chris Curtis
Why has the world remained so enamored by the man called Elvis? He is known as the King and revered as a Rock and Roll icon. His memory is bigger than his life itself. Some say he is responsible for Rock and Roll's longevity; others say his talent was nominal and overblown. Was his career really dead when he died as some claim or would his talent have proven critics wrong with the test of time? Is he remembered only because of shrewed marketing and enough mystery surrounding his death to keep fans wondering? We will never know the real answers and the opinions are as varied as the world is wide.
Elvis had talent and his style was uniquely different from contemporary artists, earning Elvis his reputation as a rebel. He possessed sensational good looks, a singing voice that bridged genres and a stage presence previous unknown in the music industry. His manager, Col. Tom Parker was a former carnival barker. He recognized merchandise that he could sell; he saw dollar signs. Parker exploited Elvis’ talent, mismanaged his career and pushed Elvis in a direction that ultimately proved to be deadly to his career and then his life. But yet, Elvis' memory has lived on in the hearts of his many fans and kept alive for later and future generations.
August 16th marks the 25th Anniversary of Elvis’ passing. Each year hoards of fans have descended on Memphis, Tennessee to honor their fallen “King” during Elvis week. This year the festivities have been planned the week of August 10th culminating on the Anniversary date of his passing. As anticipated, the turnout this year has been bigger then in previous years as fans mark this milestone anniversary. Clearly, his appeal has not waned, even 25 years after his death.
His memory has been kept alive with clever marketing and continual release of his work by Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE). EPE is the organization that has managed Elvis’ estate for the past 25 years. It is EPE that has kept the “King” alive with opening Graceland to the public, promotion of the annual Elvis week, the periodic release of albums and record sets, and clever merchandizing. Millions of dollars have been made from the Elvis legacy.
During this 25th Anniversary year something quite unique in the music industry has occurred with Elvis achieving a number 1 hit in the European market 25 years posthumously. A Little Less Conversation already on the top of the charts in England is quickly following suit in the USA. Originally remixed by Dutch DJ JXL for a Nike commercial, the recording has gained popularity quickly riding on the coat tails of World Cup Soccer fever. Originally released in 1968, it failed miserably. Now, more than 30 years later, it's a winner.
In addition and in response to the overwhelm market acceptance of "A Little Less Converstion", look for EPE in conjunction with BMG to release a compilation album of 30 Elvis number one recordings. EPE is banking on the popularity of "A Little Less Conversation" and Disney's Lilo and Stitch featuring 6 of Elvis original recordings to generate interest among the younger generation. Also rumored for 2002 is an album of new material previously not released.
I believe, his talent would have withstood the test of time, had he lived. He had a charismatic stage presence and a beautiful singing voice that drew his audience in and kept them spellbound. Today, at 67 years of age, he would still be on that stage mesmerizing his minions of fans.
I've asked our Bella Prime Time TV host for her permission to reprint this forum posting in this article. Kitty grew up in Memphis and this is her personal remembrance of Elvis. Thank you so much Kitty!
I was born in Memphis, TN. My father went to East High School and played football against Elvis with the "guys" from Humes at the waterworks. Later, he was asked if he wanted a job with the Memphis Mafia. (He declined.) My mother was among the bevy of college girls Elvis invited to late-night exclusive movie showings at the Paramount Theater.
I met Elvis as a little girl - my grandfather sold him a few Cadillacs. He was a quiet, engaging, charismatic and sad, restless man - the impression of an 11 year old.
I was in my backyard, "sunning" as we call it here, when I heard Elvis had died. We were stunned - I was thirteen. We crowded our radio and sat stunned over the next morning's newspapers.
Now, 25 years later I am 38 (Elvis would have been 67) and thousands of people are waiting outside the gates of Graceland as I write this tonight. They line up to light candles and walk past Elvis' final resting place. Some weeping, others leaving gifts and token of their devotion.
It has rained in Memphis for the past three days. This is a slow, humid, soaking, southern, Summer rain. How befitting for this solemn occasion - the 25th anniversary of Elvis' death.
Little Less Conversation [CD-SINGLE]
Today, Tomorrow & Forever [BOX SET]