Sunday, August 16, 2020

My Ode to Elvis Presley on the 43rd Anniversary of his Death

On this day in 1977, Elvis Presley passed away. 

I remember the exact moment when I heard the news. I was 15 years old at the time. It was a warm Tuesday afternoon and I was sitting in the front passenger seat of my former brother in law’s, Datsun B-210 (ugly orange). 

We were heading to Lake Washington Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton, Washington (my hometown) for some swimming. My brother in law was driving and someone was in the back seat (I don't remember who...maybe my brother, Roger??). They interrupted the radio station’s regular broadcast with news. For me, the music world would never be the same.

Besides being devastated by the news of his death, the one thing I kept thinking (and I still do, to this day) is, if I could somehow go back in time, I would go back to Memphis Tennessee, prior to his death and try to somehow warn him, so he wouldn't die. Of course, there’s no way I could have done that.  With what we know today, his tragic downward spiral started long before his death. Yet, if there was a way to go back in time, I would head to Memphis prior to his death and try.

My earliest memory of Elvis was his 1973, “Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite Concert”.

 I watched it with my mom and I distinctly remember my dad making a point of his dislike for Elvis (he was a Hank Snow fan), my mother and I watched the concert anyway. I was 11 years old. From that day forward, I was hooked. So while I only had a few short years to immerse myself in Elvis prior to his death, he made a major impact on a quirky 11 year old. 

My favorite Elvis album was 1977’s Elvis in Concert. 

It was recorded during his final concerts. Again, I watched that CBS concert with my mother. 

Earlier this year I purchased the 2016 Elvis album, “Way Down in the Jungle Room”. 

It was recorded prior to his death in 1976. It’s a magnificent album and would probably be my favorite album, if it wasn't for, “Elvis in Concert (it has the sentimental edge - probably from watching the original broadcast with my mom).

Although most Elvis fans give lists of their favorite Elvis songs,  following are my Top 5 Elvis Presley performances, because he was all about the performance. 

Number 5 - Hurt. Although he sang this song at several of his concerts, his final performance still blows me away. Listen to his magnificent voice. He throws everything he had into this performance and it proves that he was the best ever, even at the end.

Number 4 - Trying to Get to You. I just love this song. This was taken from his, ‘68 Comeback Special.

Number 3 - Polk Salad Anne. - From Las Vegas (my second home) in 1970.

Number 2 - Blue Hawaii. The bellow clip is an outtake from  his 1973, “Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite Concert. From what I’ve read he performed this after the concert was over.

Number 1 - Unchained Melody. From one of his final performances, prior to his death. Unbelievable! 

By the way, have I ever mentioned that I impersonated Elvis for a Charles A. Lindbergh High School, talent show in 1979? Yep! There are pictures out there somewhere that prove it and if I get a hold of them, I’ll post them here!


Michael has left the building...

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