Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword or section
Like this
26Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Legends Elvis Presley

Legends Elvis Presley

Ratings: (0)|Views: 1,376 |Likes:
Published by ElvsPrsly Special

More info:

Published by: ElvsPrsly Special on Jan 09, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

06/15/2013

pdf

text

original

 
 
UNCUT LEGENDS
|
3
MUSIC, SEX, POLITICS.
MUSIC, SEX, POLITICS.
IN ELVIS YOU HAD THE
IN ELVIS YOU HAD THE
WHOLE LOT. AS HE CHANGED
WHOLE LOT. AS HE CHANGED
SHAPE, SO DID THE WORLD
SHAPE, SO DID THE WORLD
O
O
 
ut of Tupelo, Mississippi, out of Memphis, Tennessee, came this green,sharkskin-suited girl chaser, wearingeye-shadow – a trucker-dandy white boy who must have risked his hide to act so blackand dress so gay. This wasn’t New York or evenNew Orleans; this was Memphis in the ’50s.This was punk rock. This was revolt. Elvischanged everything – musically, sexually, politically. In Elvis, you hadthe whole lot; it’s all there in that elastic voice and body. As he changedshape, so did the world: he was a ’50s style icon who was what the ’60swere capable of, and then suddenly not. In the ’70s, he turned celebrity into a blood sport but, interestingly, the more he fell to Earth, the moregodlike he became to his fans. His last performances showcase a voiceeven bigger than his gut, where you cry real tears as the music messiahsings his tired heart out, turning casino into temple.In Elvis, you have the blueprint for rock’n’roll: the highness – thegospel highs. The mud – the Delta mud, the blues. Sexual liberation.Controversy. Changing the way people feel about the world. It’s allthere with Elvis.I was barely conscious when I saw the ’68 Comeback Special, at eight years old – which was probably an advantage. I hadn’t the criticalfaculties to divide the differentElvises into different categories orsort through the contradictions.Pretty much everything I wantfrom guitar, bass and drums waspresent: a performer annoyed by the distance from his audience;a persona that made a prismof fame’s wide-angle lens; asexuality matched only by a thirstfor God’s instruction.But it’s that elastic spastic dance that is the most difficultto explain – hips that swivel from Europe to Africa, which isthe whole point of America, I guess. For an Irish boy, the voicemight have explained the sexiness of the USA, but the danceexplained the energy of this new world about to boil overand scald the rest of us with new ideas on race, religion,fashion, love and peace. These were ideas bigger than theman who would break the ice for them, ideas that wouldlater confound the man who took the Anglo-Saxon stiff upper lip and curled it forever. He was “Elvis the Pelvis”,with one hand on the blues terminal and the other on thegospel, which is the essence of rock’n’roll, a lightningflash running along his spine, electroshock therapy fora generation about to refuse numbness, both male andfemale, black and white.I recently met with Coretta Scott King, John Lewisand some of the other leaders of the American civilrights movement, and they reminded me of the culturalapartheid rock’n’roll was up against. I think the hill they climbed would have been much steeper were it not for theracial inroads black music was making on white pop culture.The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Creedence ClearwaterRevival were all introduced to the blues through Elvis. He was already doing what the civil rights movement was demanding: breakingdown barriers. You don’t think of Elvis as political, but that is politics:changing the way people see the world.In the ’80s, U2 went to Memphis, to Sun Studio – the scene of rock’n’roll’s big bang. We were working with Elvis’ engineer and musicdiviner, Cowboy Jack Clement. He reopened the studio so we could cutsome tracks within the same four walls where Elvis recorded “Mystery Train”. He found the old valve microphone The King had howledthrough; the reverb was the same reverb:
“Train I ride, 16 coaches long” 
.It was a small tunnel of a place, but there was a certain clarity to thesound. You can hear it in those Sun records, and they are the ones forme – leanness but not meanness. The King didn’t know he was TheKing yet. It’s haunted, hunted, spooky music. Elvis doesn’t know wherethe train will take him, and that’s why we want to be passengers.Jerry Schilling, the only one of the Memphis Mafia not to sell himout, told me a story about when he used to live at Graceland, down by the squash courts. He had a little room there, and he said that whenElvis was upset and feeling out of kilter, he would leave the big houseand go down to his little gym, where there was a piano. With no-oneelse around, his choice would always be gospel, losing and findinghimself in the old spirituals. Hewas happiest when he was singinghis way back to spiritual safety.But he didn’t stay long enough.Self-loathing was waiting back upat the house, where Elvis was seenshooting at his TV screens, the Bibleopen beside him at Saint Paul’s greatode to love, Corinthians 13. Elvisclearly didn’t believe God’s gracewas amazing enough.Some commentators say it wasthe army, others say it was Hollywood or Las Vegas that broke hisspirit. The rock’n’roll world certainly didn’t like to see their Kingdoing what he was told. I think it was probably much more likely his marriage or his mother – or a finer fracture from earlier on,like losing his twin brother, Jesse, at birth. Maybe it was just the big arse of fame sitting on him.I think the Vegas period is underrated. I find it themost emotional. By that point Elvis was clearly notin control of his own life, and there is this incrediblepathos. The big opera voice of the later years – that’sthe one that really hurts me.Why is it that we want our idols to die on a crossof their own making and, if they don’t, we want ourmoney back? But, you know, Elvis ate America beforeAmerica ate him.
BONO
©ELVIS PRESLEY ENTERPRISES INC/©BONO: THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN 
ROLLING STONE
 MAGAZINE
O
 
MUSIC, SEX, POLITICS.IN ELVIS YOU HAD THEWHOLE LOT. AS HE CHANGEDSHAPE, SO DID THE WORLD

Activity (26)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
espeaheat liked this
Jasmina Tevsic liked this
Ong Chowhong liked this
helmut_zech5016 liked this
Juan Gardur liked this
Virginia Meadows liked this
diapason02 liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->