Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977)


As it is the anniversary of Elvis death in 1977, it is worth a media related note on The King.

Post his explosion onto the music scene in 1954 via Sun Records with “That’s All Right (Mama)”, Elvis was on a roll towards signing with RCA in ’55.

The famous Ed Sullivan appearance followed in 1956 viewed by over 60 million viewers. He was then drafted in ’57 interrupting his early movie making, but Paramount pleaded with the government as they were mid way through “King Creole” and Elvis was subsequently drafted in ’58 allowing them to finish the film.

Elvis was prolific in movies – 31 in total through the 60’s. Most were very forgettable. But as Hal Wallis would later remark: “An Elvis Presley picture is the only sure thing in Hollywood.”

The true genius is all in the 1968 comeback special.

First aired on December 3, 1968 as a Christmas telecast called simply Elvis. Later dubbed the ’68 Comeback Special by fans and critics. Brilliant stuff and the relaunch of his career.

The real Elvis story and legacy is best told by Peter Guralnick in his two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis in 1994, followed by Careless Love in 1999

I met Peter in Memphis whilst making the pilgrimage. He captures the Elvis legend from start to finish. He also made it possible for me to meet Priscilla. A very fine man indeed.

Elvis is about the music, but his influence is everywhere in popular culture from Warhol to Wham. Long may it continue!

“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.” Elvis Aaron Presley.

(Sad to see the great Les Paul go this weekend as well…another genius of the music world!)