Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

In search of Elvis

First up, I need to get this on the table. I am not, nor ever have been, an Elvis fan. His voice never really spoke to me, and I viewed most of what he did as a watered-down version of the real thing.  I thought his manager’s desire to stick him in any second-rate movie that came along was decidely uncool, and he suffered the indignity of losing his image and looks in the months leading up to his death. There are notable exceptions, however. Heartbreak hotel is a classic – and his 68 ‘black leather’ comeback TV show presented him perfectly, and hinted at what he could be when he wanted. It remains my favourite Elvis moment.

All of that aside, it cannot be denied, he still is The King of Rock’n’ Roll, and unlike so many others, totally deserved the term living legend, for that he was. His place in music history cannot be understated, for whilst he took others music and made it his own, he brought it to an audience previously unaware. A white boy from Tupelo Mississippi singing black mans music in that era was earth shattering, groundbreaking, and worthy of respect. To describe him as a phenomenon would be falling short of the mark. Elvis was a seismic shift in culture, and things would never, ever be the same.  I would not be doing what I do without Elvis. As John Lennon famously said ( and it is displayed upon a sign on Elvis Presley Boulevard) “Before Elvis, there was nothing.”

Well, this was the day we were going to do the Graceland tour, Elvis’s planes, etc.  Our first shock was when we saw the prices. Clearly, Elvis earns more dead than alive.  We were biting the bullet prepared to pay, when we reached Graceland parking who wanted a further $10 dollars off us, in addition to the tour.  I couldn’t do it. I hate being taken for a mug, and it smacked of the giant industry of tasteless tat that has grown up around, and become synonymous with, Elvis since his death.  

There is a Taco Belle about 500 yards from the entrance to Gracelands and we parked up there, had a burrito and decided what to do.  I suggested we leave the car and just walk along to the entrance, take a couple of pictures of those famous gates, so we did. Once there, Miki said, why not ask if we can just walk up to the house?  Lo and behold, the lady in the little security hut at the end of the driveway said  that, although the house was closed, the meditation garden was open, and we were allowed up there. No ticket office, no charge, nothing. We walked the long curving driveway up to the house and marvelled at the history that had unfolded here. Off to the right was a small awning over an entrance to a garden. We wandered in, catching a glimpse of Elvis’s surprising ly small swimming pool. Either side of us were huge wreaths from allover the world, paying homage to the King, whose 75th birthday would have been  just a week or two ago. Then we were there, alone, in front of the final resting place of Elvis Aaron Presley.   Finally at peace alongside his Grandmother, his Father, his beloved Mother and tragic twin Jesse.  What fates had brought us here, alone, in such peaceful circumstances, without the razamatazz, and cheap exploitation of his memory, to pay our respects in such a profoundly personal way?

I was overjoyed that we were able to do this just like visiting ones own departed loved ones, and not as some tasteless sideshow. I don’t know if it happens like this generally, but I was profoundly grateful we had this opportunity, and that in this, at least, he was given respect.  I have stood before the embalmed body of Lenin, in his tomb beneath Red Square, marvelling at the seismic historic events his unseeing eyes must have witnessed throughout the 20th century while he, oblivious, slept on. But sitting here alongside this musical legend, who has been a worldwide phenomenon for my entire life, I was touched very deeply. Miki understood why, and I think she is right.It was because he was buried here, where he lived, with his family around him. At least in death he had achieved a peace that had so eluded him in the last years of his life.

Why not read about other musicians on Beale Street on my moore:music site HERE?

Kev Moore

Advertisements

January 20, 2010 - Posted by | culture, death, Entertainment, events, life, Music, writing | , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. Touching post, Kev. Clearly you are on a kind of personal pilgrimage and it is gracious of you to share it with all of us.

    Love the picture of you at the gravesite…

    Comment by bob Cornelis | January 20, 2010

  2. What long term effect this will have on you remains to be seen. Remember those emotions Kev and take your game two a whole new level. You’re young; you’re perfect in everything you are and how you do it. I believe in you so much.

    I can see from the facial expressions and the eyes “this” trip has had a profound effect on you. So use the power that comes with this.

    I am in awe of the Photography because in a certain way its human and not commercial. That I like.

    Comment by Michael Pokocky | January 20, 2010

  3. I read all you write since the beginning. I don’t understand everything (you speak so good english ! 🙂 ) but I like travel with you through the pictures !!

    Plein de pensées pour vous deux !

    Comment by Pomme | January 20, 2010

  4. Very nice post, Kevin. Thank you for travel !

    Comment by Joël | January 20, 2010

  5. Your appreciation of these legends is becoming mine! Thank you for sharing with us.

    Comment by Susan Cornelis | January 21, 2010

  6. Thanks all, for all the kind comments. It’s a pleasure to share it with you all, especially my friends on here. I guess it is something of a personal pilgrimage for me, as Bob suggests, and I really need to thank Miki for indulging me on this one!

    Comment by kevmoore | January 21, 2010

  7. Wonderful post.

    Comment by Jonathan | January 23, 2010


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: