See, this is the kind of rock & roll star we're stuck with today: Prince. Ah, do I long for the days of the King.
Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, ma'am, but from his lean and hopeful beginnings to his sad and bloated end, Elvis Aaron Presley's life story fits our criteria for mythos and allegory like a skin-tight, jewel-encrusted, pit-stained, white-leather jumpsuit.
Elvis blew the lid off the sexually repressed, uptight '50s, set the stage for the upheavals of the '60s, and was the excesses of the '70s. Elvis lives in our consciousness as icon, cautionary tale, alter ego and punchline, embodying a litany of contradictions: a great talent with a boundless capacity for schlock, a transcendent live performer who starred in some of the most god-awful movies known to man, a rebel who willingly served his country, and most enigmatically, a man who liked white gravy on top of his brown gravy.
Now, according to the biographers, Elvis was a big eater from the beginning of his life to the end. It's just that in his 20s, he had the metabolism to burn all those calories off. When I was in my 20s, I ate six cheeseburgers a day and drank three quarts of buttermilk, too, but instead of launching into a successful career as an international superstar, I used up the calories jerking off in my room. Different paths. No regrets.
How big an Elvis fan am I? Just ask my sons, Tuinol and Seconal Miller.
When Elvis first appeared on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, they had to shoot him from the waist up because CBS felt America wasn't yet ready for the gyrating pelvic thrusts of a hormonally crazed banshee. Pretty much the same reason that CBS to this day still insists Dan Rather never come out from behind his desk.
Highbrow music critics have always looked down their noses at Elvis, but the truth is, he had much in common with history's greatest composers. Like Mozart, Elvis was a performer whose energy and stage presence brought him fame at a young age. And like Dvorak, Elvis synthesized African-American tonal idioms with European performance tradition. And most striking of all, Elvis and Johann Sebastian Bach were both deeply religious men who both wrote chamber works for the Margrave of Brandenburg that were virtual textbooks of late baroque-era polyphonic counterpoint. Also, Presley and Bach--both monster pussy hounds.
Elvis is the most important musical force of the past 100 years. Look around. You don't see any Beatles impersonators, do you? Except for, you know, Oasis.
Incidentally, ever notice all the Elvis impersonators portray him in that '70s blue-sequinned painkiller haze? It's a lot easier to impersonate that Elvis than the raw, sexually primed Elvis of the '50s. In fact, nobody does Elvis from the '50s, because they can't. After the '50s, even Elvis couldn't do Elvis, and he pretty much became the world's highest paid Elvis impersonator.
Oh, by the way, is Elvis still alive? No, he isn't. If he was alive, he would have showed up and stopped his kid from marrying Michael Jackson. You know, even though he's dead, I'm shocked he didn't show up to put the kibosh on that freak show.
Elvis still exerts a mystical pull on us. An estimated 700,000 visitors file through Graceland each year. Or to put it another way, that's nearly 800,000 teeth.
How tastelessly did he decorate Graceland? It's like if the guy who put THE PRICE IS RIGHT showcases together was blind. Elvis bought shit for his home that's so hideous, they won't even sell it in the Graceland giftshop. Hey, I've seen black velvet paintings of Jesus in clown makeup playing poker with dogs and big-eyed kittens that are less tacky.
Was Elvis a musical force of nature, a bridge between two cultural heritages, or just a lucky hick who stumbled into the right recording studio at the right moment in history? The answer is the same one Elvis might have given when confronted with the five-page menu from Skeeter's International House of Waffles And Deep-Fried Arterial Plaque. "I'll have all of the above, my man, with a side order of more."
In summing up about Elvis, let me say this before I leave the building. When the post office made us vote for which Elvis stamp we wanted, I voted for fat Elvis, and I was really disappointed when he didn't win. Sure, any country can put out a stamp with a trim, young, sexy star on it. But to be a citizen of a land that proudly sticks on its mail an overweight, reclusive, constipated, pill-addicted, television-shooting, two-pounds-of-bacon-at-one-sitting-eating, God-damn American legend--well, I think the King would have wanted it that way. Thank yuh, thankyuverymuch.
Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.