It is so easy for me to remember the day that I moved from New York to Bel Air, Maryland. Because it was the same day of Elvis’ death (8/16/77). Honestly, I had no idea who Elvis was. All I knew was that my Mom was crying in the living room. But, she pulled out his albums and started playing them on the console stereo. Well, I guess I was too young to appreciate his music. I found myself bored as my Mother played song after song. All the while, she talked incessantly about stories of sock hops & stuff. Looking back on it, I realize that my Mom was grieving her youth; for Elvis defined the youngsters of her generation. I guess it’s similar to the way I felt when Kurt Cobain killed himself. But, for whatever reason, Elvis’ music seemed so outdated to me. Then again, it was the Disco era when he died. “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” by Andy Gibb was the #1 song at the time. It made “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” sound ancient. However, my Mom tried to explain that Elvis’ moves (grinding his hips), and Rock-N-Roll music paved the way for artists like The Bee Gees, Rolling Stones, and Donna Summer. At any rate, I quickly learned that Suspicious Minds was my most favorite Elvis song. It brings back memories of sitting in the living room, with the family, singing Elvis’ lyrics while the 1969 hit blared out of the console stereo. Oh, how I can remember seeing the crushed red velvet (that hid the speakers) vibrating to the percussion of Suspicious Minds. I had no idea that the lyrics were about distrust & cheating (“Here we go again. Asking where I’ve been. You can’t see these tears are real, I’m crying”). I just knew that I loved the melody. But, that’s the thing about many of my favorite songs: They earn a place in my heart because of the memories attached to them. It doesn’t get more nostalgic than the emotions conjured up from memories of my family and our console stereo.
Not long after Elvis died, rumors started circulating that he wasn’t really dead. To this day, many still believe that he is among the living. Truth is, if he were still alive, nobody would be able to peg him as The King of the 1950’s when they’re looking at a 78-year-old man! The thing is, I KNOW Elvis died in 1977. I know this because my former boss was one of the doctors who performed his autopsy. One day, he even showed us the autopsy report and pictures:
Anyhow, over the years I’ve learned how important Elvis really is/was. My Momma was right about him. And, even though most of his hits were in the 50’s & early 60’s, my favorite Presley song is Suspicious Minds (from 1969).