Is The King Finally Dead, After 25 Years?
August 11, 2002 1:08 AM   Subscribe

Is The King Finally Dead, After 25 Years? Elvis Presley died on 16 August 1977 and, silly season or not, The Observer, kicking off with Nik Cohn's above-linked essay, has assembled a cracking collection of articles, interviews and humorous pieces about the controversial crooner, mainly directed (I'd say) at non-fans. To my mind, the most enjoyable are Nigel Slater's brave attempt to make the famous Presley sandwich; the weird interview with Larry Geller, his hairdresser and spiritual advisor; the account of Elvis's only (secret) visit to Britain; Michael Odell's funny set of instructions on how not to behave at an Elvis party; an interview with George Nichopoulos, the doctor who wrote out more than 10,000 prescriptions for him; a round-up of ludicrous ex-girlfriends' memories and, as an after-thought, a collector's report on locating that legendary first "Uh-huh" of his. It's all good stuff but one has to ask whether, in this day and age, it isn't, er, overkill. Is Elvis Presley still that relevant or is he slowly becoming a figure of fun? Whether or not he's actually dead, of course, is entirely another matter...
posted by MiguelCardoso (22 comments total)
He's brown bread alright
posted by johnny7 at 1:38 AM on August 11, 2002

Elvis died the same year I was born. I believe the "King" connection is quite obvious...
posted by owillis at 6:45 AM on August 11, 2002

I love Miguel. This will take me a while to go through all these links. Hopefully, I'll be done by next Friday night.

And what is Friday, you ask? My annual "Party without Elvis" where we try to channel his spirit back to earth. RC cola, nanner sandwiches, bowls full of bacon, mashed potatos, and pills (okay, tic tacs, but you get the effect). And me, in my sideburned glory.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
posted by ColdChef at 6:53 AM on August 11, 2002

posted by y2karl at 7:27 AM on August 11, 2002

Really CC? Oddly enough it was just 4 days ago that I had an Elvis sandwich at this joint. Perhaps he may arise after all.
posted by jonmc at 8:50 AM on August 11, 2002

I'll bring the white panties and dexedrine...
whats weird is i remember that day. i was on vacation and...Miguel, i lurve you but Elvis is both a figure of reverence and fun. a truly unique american Nixon. Boy it is fun to poke at him but some of us kinda rever the Smeagol...he has a purpose. I find that sort of attitude rare for celebs. (to be able to cut them down yet have a soft spot)

true tidbit or clav meme.
Elvis' cousin was a usher at my parents wedding.
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 AM on August 11, 2002

>>Is Elvis Presley still that relevant or is he slowly becoming a figure of fun?<<

I was 17 when he died. Trust me, he was already a 'figure of fun.' The other Elvis (who broke EAP's days-alive record five years ago) had already burst upon the music world and rendered the moniker 'Elvis' both snarky and referential at the same time.

My nine-year-old daughter -- who, to my knowledge, has never seen or heard Elvis I -- knows him as a mythical black-haired, sequined creature who says, "thankyew, thankyewverrmuch."

Then again, to her, anyone in Buddy Holly glasses is Elvis II. Even Buddy Holly himself.

But that's just the indoctrination showing...
posted by baltimore at 9:24 AM on August 11, 2002

He can't be dead. I heard a new Elvis song on the radio just the other day.
posted by webmutant at 10:09 AM on August 11, 2002

Well, at least Chelvis is still alive.

(P.S. Elvis shot JFK)
posted by Silune at 10:45 AM on August 11, 2002

Well, at least Eilert Pilarm is still alive.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 12:33 PM on August 11, 2002

ColdChef: we also usually set up an Elvis shrine each year, with bacon, pharmaceuticals, and candles - but you really need a black velvet Elvis to complete the scene (that one's not ours, but most Elvii on black velvet look pretty much alike).
posted by yhbc at 12:41 PM on August 11, 2002

elvis is fun. very fun. it was all about fun. elvis in hollywood. elvis in vegas...

"A Cabin Built of rocks near las vegas, Nev, in 1869 was wrecked by a storm that same year-and that rocks were found to contain ore worth $75,000"

believe it or not.

man, the first slot machine turns out to be something akin to Freds 'wild dream' (eh Bhawn) from Rock Vegas.
posted by clavdivs at 5:17 PM on August 11, 2002

baltimore, I happened to be in Memphis shortly after his death (about a month) and stopped by his 'place'. As I recall there wasn't any thing special going on at the time, no flowers or other stuff. It took some time for him to be re-idolized into the current immortal image.
As for being a 'figure of fun', so was Ozzy back then, as I recall. Go figure.
(Oh, and I think I must be the only person on the planet who doesn't 'get' Elvis II. Try as I may I just can't get through even one of his tunes without wanting to rip off the headphones ASAP.)
posted by HTuttle at 5:24 PM on August 11, 2002

Elvis is my guardian angel, as I was born on August 16, 1977. This also means that I get Elvis memorabilia for every birthday.
posted by illusionaire at 6:59 AM on August 12, 2002

Miguel, I just finished the first article. Fantastic stuff. Reminded me very much of Peter Guralnick's "Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley." (with that bit about E being a lousy lay thrown in as laginappe). Great article. I look forward to reading the rest.

Also, just for the sake of full disclosure, I have about thirty five Elvis related books in my ever growing collection.
posted by ColdChef at 7:56 AM on August 12, 2002

So the volume of comments on Elvis seems to mean that he's not merely an irrelevant figure of fun. Or maybe that's just Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley working their Graceland magic on y'all. Elvis is (and was, and always will be) the definition of overkill. Ergo, the point is moot. Thanks for the links, Miguel. Fun stuff.
posted by blucevalo at 8:54 PM on August 12, 2002

Whether or not he's actually dead, of course, is entirely another matter...

As David Letterman quipped upon Lia Marie's wedding to Michael Jackson--

If Elvis was dead, he'd be rolling over in his grave.

And, now, may I effortlessly segue into the following?

Cage to Lisa Marie: Love me tender

Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage now has his own little bit of Graceland. Cage married the King of Rock 'n' Roll's only child, Lisa Marie Presley, over the weekend in a Blue Hawaii ceremony.

Let the jokes begin...
posted by y2karl at 8:40 PM on August 13, 2002

"I played your father in a movie, sorta."

"That makes me so hot."
posted by ColdChef at 8:21 AM on August 14, 2002

"I played your father in a movie, sorta."

How creepy is that?

Well, given that she's already married and divorced Michael Jackson, I suppose this counts as soccer-mom normalcy. Maybe Justin Timberlake's her next conquest.
posted by blucevalo at 8:39 AM on August 14, 2002

Elvis is not dead. According to the Ottawa Chapter of the Elvis Sighting Society, he lives in Tweed, Ontario.

And if you are in Ottawa and feel the need to enjoy a pizza and a huge collection Elvis memorabilia all in one sitting, check out Moe's World Famous Newport Restaurant (headquarters of the sighting society).

As further proof of Elvis' continuing health and vitality, the karate dojo next to Moe's sports a sign boasting "Elvis trains here".

Sorry for the lack of links, the only references I could find were bits and pieces buried within some fairly crappy web sites
posted by melimelo at 9:04 AM on August 14, 2002

"That makes me so hot."

I hear ya, man...
posted by y2karl at 8:48 PM on August 14, 2002

for a little more history than the in-front-of-Graceland entertainment reporter soundbites, listen here (old interview clips interspersed with music). I think someone who is not all Elvis all the time fan would still enjoy it. Semi-related: Pere Ubu had a great CD insert in the 90s about coming to terms with Elvis people.
posted by dannajanet at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2002

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