Yes. August 16th, 2017.

It’s that time of year again. To which many, many out there will cry…

Why Elvis?

I mean, Why should anybody, ANYWHERE care anymore?

Well, in a word or 984 I believe, here’s Why. Ready?

First of all, if it hadn’t been for Elvis, we simply wouldn’t be sitting here reading this right now. Really!

Don’t believe a word I type? If you’re of legal age, and if you like, live, and/or make rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis – indirectly or not – is the reason why.

Into those Beatles and their ilk instead, for example? Fine, then… be that way.  But just remember there would have been no Beatles without John Lennon, and John’s on permanent record as admitting to the world that, and I quote, “Before Elvis, there was nothing.” NOTHING. Huh! He’s right, of course.

Sure, there was Hank and Chuck (RIP), not to mention Jimmie Rodgers and Jimmy Reed, Bill Haley and Little Richard, and of course Bill Monroe and Ray Charles. Et al. In other words, two mighty musical forces they called Country and Rhythm ‘n’ the Blues, flowing strongly – but separately – cross their chosen ways o’er that wild wild land just south of the Pine Curtain.

Indeed then, it was only a matter of time before those atomic powers were foreverafter intermingled to surge forward as one. Unstoppable, deep, strong and pure. But for those who simply think it was Elvis’ first release for the tiny Sun label in A.D.1954 (downright bizarre – and for their time near-blasphemous – readings of Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right” and the aforementioned B. Monroe’s “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”) which bridged those two waters – just the inevitable musical accident waiting to happen, as it were – then think again (again), mister or Mrs.:

Elvis’ first record was, in fact, the sweat-soaked, blood-stained result of unimaginably fraught MONTHS spent searching for that ever-elusive, brand new, and (this was the scary part) colorless “sound.” A sound that would, given time, somehow change the very world we live in from that moment hence …or, as Sun mastermind Sam Phillips has been said to have said, “If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a million dollars.”

Just listen to RCA Legacy’s spanking new A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings to hear just how painstakingly Phillips guided Elvis and his brilliant accompanists, Bill Black and Scotty Moore, towards that tantalizing, all-encompassing, hitherto uncharted “sound.”

These are recordings which should – nay, MUST be heard by all, as they form no less than the blueprint upon which every musical thought of the past half-century-plus is inextricably linked.

Too bad Sam missed out on his million dollars though.

Then again, something’s missing here, isn’t it? Again, you (and I) may well ask:  WHY ELVIS?

Why not (off the top of our head) Jerry Lee? Johnny Cash? Carl Perkins or even Sid King for that matter? All these were artists perhaps the equal of Presley, each also slumming around the American Southlands during the early Fifties, recklessly exploring similar musical hybrids. But, you see, it was ELVIS – and He alone – who ultimately succeeded where these and countless others failed …or simply became legends as opposed to Gods. Because Elvis, like the All American Boy he lived and died as, absolutely slogged and fought – night and day for years, it’s now apparent – for his richly deserved fame and fortune. And against every conceivable form of adversity, both musical and social, it’s extremely important to remember.

Yes, those yellow Sun Records certainly capture one side of his struggle to be King, you bet. But Elvis damn well wore his fingers, and his band, to the very bone in order to break out of Tennessee (off of Sun and onto RCA Victor too, by the way) in his quest Upwards and Onwards towards global stardom and damn-near universal immortality.

Yep, here’s one boy who unfailingly “yes ma’am”ed and “no sir”ed all the right people, deigned to sing at a hound dog (not to mention kissed Ed Sullivan’s black and white ass) in order to get himself, and his legs, onto TV – and in doing so, spread his beautiful madness irrevocably and irreparably across North America …only to seemingly toss it all away and spend the entire 1960’s doing time on the silver screen while his protégés in all their manifest forms (Bob Dylan, the British Invasion, Jimi Hendrix even) took over the air. For a while anyways, that is: One hour of Prime Time just before Christmas of ’68 was all it took for Presley to forever reclaim his throne.

Of course, as all martyrs to their various causes must, Elvis Presley ultimately sacrificed himself and his career upon the unforgiving altar of public opinion, taking that one last dive off his Memphis toilet just as a slew of his ex-bodyguards were nailing him to the cross with a sordid little book called “Elvis: What Happened?” For most out there, all that soon remained of Elvis was the bloated, sap-bellied, pill-saturated National Enquirer coverboy who seemed content to sweat, mumble, and at times even “mooo” his way into the realm of truckstop immortality. Less painful by far, however, is Peter Guralnick’s supremely authoritative book on post-Army Elvis entitled “Careless Love: The Unmaking Of Elvis Presley.” Ahh my.

In the bitter end then, there’s really not that much left to say when looking at this man’s life and career, from Tupelo to Hollywood to the inevitable bathroom floor, other than Here’s ONE guy who not only dreamed, but actually did it all, and in the holy name of apple pie, motherhood, and Uncle Sam to boot. Or was that Colonel Tom? Sorry… I almost digress.

But, dernnit, Elvis really was The One. There’s never been another like him. There never will be. In fact, there honestly doesn’t HAVE to be anymore, does there? He did – and, most importantly sang – it all. For me. Even for you.

Think about it. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to remember Mr. Sam Phillips either:  “Without whom,” as I believe the epitaph should still go.


Gary appears here whenever he wants

Contact us at:

DBAWIS_ButtonGary Pig Gold may have grown up in Port Credit, run away to Hamilton to join his first rock ‘n’ roll group, hung out with Joe Strummer on his first-ever night in the UK, returned to T.O. to publish Canada’s first-ever rock ‘n’ roll (fan)zine, run away again gary pig gpld facong leftto Surf City to (almost) tour Australia with Jan & Dean, come home again to tour O Canada with that country’s first-ever (authorized!) Beach Boys tribute band …but STILL, he had to travel all the way back to the USSR to secure his first-ever recording contract

2 Responses to “Gary Pig Gold – ELVIS PRESLEY DIES FOR YOUR SINS”

  1. davidiste Says:

    interesting, Sam Phillips remark on the blend of Black and White, soul and sound. Does this mean Marky Mark is another Elvis? people keep blending but still Elvis is king.

  2. […] in July, 1954 that this late, legendary Memphis good ol’ first crept out on his limbs to spin a young local singer’s debut disc. Before anyone fully realized what had been unleashed, that little Sun record had […]

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: