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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Elvis lives ~ in song

In case you missed it, it was Elvis Presley's 75th birthday last Friday the 8th.  A report issued exactly 5 years ago today showed that more songs had been written about Elvis Presley than any other artist, over 220 at the time, but no doubt the figure would be much higher today.  A Wikipedia list is here.

The list included: ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon, ‘A Room At The Heartbreakhotel’ by U2, ‘Calling Elvis’, Dire Straits, ‘Happy Birthday Elvis’, Loudon Wainwright III, ‘There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis’, Kirsty MacColl, ‘I Saw Elvis in a UFO’, Ray Stevens. ‘Elvis Has Left the Building’ by Frank Zappa and 'My Dog Thinks I'm Elvis' by Ray Herndon.

I doubt this list includes the song "You're Dreaming of Elvis" (words by Geoff Parry ~ tune by me, and recorded by the Lunchtime Legends).  To quote a line from that song, "I remember in '77 when Elvis the King passed away" that I was in the London pub in Warrington chatting to a barmaid called Maggie, a friend from college, who told me he had died.  It was quite a shock, as Elvis had always been there, whether you followed his music or not.  His age of 42 seems quite young to me now, but what he achieved in his lifetime will probably never be repeated.

7 comments:

  1. Aaaahaa! I was in the Cardross Inn near Dumbarton the night he died. I remember going back from the bar to the pool room to say it had just been the news and no-one would believe me at first.

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  2. I was in Bournemouth listening to John Peel when the news came through about Elvis' death. I never got the point of EP, too many talented people to enjoy instead!

    Elvis is dead by Peter & the Test Tube Babies is probably the best 'tribute' song.

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  3. Paul: I know what you mean. Elvis at his peak was before my time; I was eight when the Beatles had their first hit, and they are the act I identified with, not Elvis. I came to appreciate Elvis later, probably because in the 80s I was in a band that played 50s rock & roll songs, and I play them still.

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  4. Paul: I've just listened to "Elvis Is Dead" on YouTube and I'm unsure that "tribute" is the correct word. I notice the chords are G, D and C throughout.

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  5. Still a towering figure, who can inspire Presley Blues by Gillian Welch (a ring I love) and also Public Enemy.

    RIP King

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  6. I was 8 when Love Me Do hit the charts, guess we must be of an age. 'tribute' was tongue in cheek and I'm not sure I understand your point about the chords. By default I have a couple of Elvis' early songs on a compilation CD - I bought the CD because it had Rocket 88 by Jackie Brennan on it - better than anything by Elvis.

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  7. Yeah, I did twig you were being tongue in cheek. No particular point about the chords, except perhaps that the song is extremely simple. It's basically the riff of Three Steps To Heaven used for the entire song

    Rocket 88 is a great song, often called the first rock & roll song, although Fats Domino's The Fat Man was earlier. This all proves Elvis didn't invent rock & roll, as some hagiographies of him claim. Elvis' main claim to fame with rock & roll is that he sold it to a mass white audience.

    Yes, I was 8 when Love Me Do came out too. The 60s were a great time to come from Liverpool as I did, because everyone assumed you'd know the Beatles, which I didn't. But I knew people who did.

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