Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy Birthday, Elvis.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 11:39 AM

click to enlarge Elvis with Dewey Phillips - COURTESY OF LANSKY’S ARCHIVES
  • Elvis with Dewey Phillips
Whether skies are grey or blue, Memphis has a thing for the King, who would have been 80 today. Let's not think about the movies or the carpet pile.Those are for fools to ponder. His best work was done here in Memphis. At Sun, he changed the world. At American, he reasserted himself into the culture as one of the ultimate honkey badasses of all time. It's hard not to dwell on the lost potential and the genuinely tragic downfall. But under the artifice, there was a hell of a singer.

There are three videos after the jump that find him on his own terms: His first recording was for his mother. He paid for the session himself. The second is the sit-around from the ’68 Comeback Special. This is staged, but it's an attempt to distance himself from the trappings of Hollywood schlock. The King floors his engine on "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." Finally, some rehearsal footage: He's started to slide at this point. But he is enjoying making music, and it's a powerful thing to watch.  

Happy Birthday, Elvis Presley.

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