Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ELVIS




I just saw a film I'd seen before --"Elvis On Tour" -- spliced-together clips that revealed all the aspects of Elvis -- great moments, embarrassing, amusing moments -- his enormous ego, his kindness, his amazing awareness of others, his amazing connection to music.

Golly, his gestures, his fingers, his hands that said that he was into whatever he was singing -- the song itself -- the words, the idea; his dancing -- the knee that kept time, the trucking feet and legs -- sudden bursts of full out, full body movement -- he mesmerizes me now as he did the first time I saw him.

I was a fan. I am a fan, who is still embarrassed, even annoyed by all those weepy, thrilled, young and old females who loved him, truly loved him. I know that kind of love. (Hey, I married a man who has an inner thing like Elvis had. When you see a performer who has it, you fall in love -- it’s nutty, it's crazy, adoration.)

Sure, I saw again how Elvis changed as he aged -- the film emphasized all that, as we saw him, again and again, mop himself, toss his scarves to his fans, and drive them crazy when he bent down and kissed a female in the front row. What he wore -- his taste, rings, capes, low-hung glittering gold belt -- those gaudy, outrageously studded, bejeweled outfits -- did I look down on them? Sure. But I loved everything about those outfits because I knew Elvis picked them out and loved to wear them.

I haven't mentioned that voice of his -- the range, the control he had -- his lower register, wow. Like a Stradivarius, his voice was somehow encased in him perfectly, so perfectly that the tone was ... His voice was thrilling.

After his movie career, Elvis went back to touring and touring -- it's a killer way of performing and earning a living. (I know from my experience as dancer.)

All that we’ve learned about Elvis's death, August 1977, at age 42 -- awful that we had to know that he died on the toilet -- it was shocking to learn about his pills and medications, and why he was hooked on them.

None of this ugly reality was on my mind when I heard him again, in this film.
I just saw a man, a boy, a person, who loved to sing. Music was everything to him, gospel music that came from the world in which he was born and lived in all his life. Gospel was his family.

I am a writer, and as I work on what I write I feel out what’s on my mind. I loved his music, loved what came out of that voice. Elvis was to me, still is, a preacher in song.
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