Elvis Aron Presley born January 8, 1935 and died August 16, 1977. The son of Gladys Love (Smith) Presley and Vernon Elvis Presley. Father of Lisa Marie Presley. Friend, employer, confidant, and icon to countless others. Beloved “King of Rock and Roll” as well as being the greatest entertainer who ever lived…period.
Elvis, who was born poor in wealth but loved by his family, knew what it was like to be without – to dream alone by ones self – to raise up daily knowing hardships were a fact of life – to question why others “had” and others did not – to be born with the knowledge that he was talented but to what extent? – to look upon the heavens and the stars and to know that what occurs in this World is but a small part of ones’ salvation – to be so moved by music, song, and rhythm as to feel it in every cell in his being – to know the pains of love and the heartaches of love lost – to be a Solider stationed overseas during the height of his popularity – to rebound time and again to reclaim the highest level in his career – to have his life cut short by unimaginable personal, physical, and emotional pains – to have given his all, year upon year, touring virtually non-stop for six years – to have reached out to others in need both privately and publicly every year of his life since adulthood – to sell more musical recordings than can be counted and yet still be “undervalued” by his peers and those in the industry – to be both a proud Southerner and a Christian who sought answers about God, about Religion, and about Salvation – to always try to embrace the written word and to seek knowledge from the writings of those who, perhaps,…knew, to give up his time to say “thanks” and to sign countless autographs and take countless pictures both day and night with his fans – to even after these 30+ years since his passing still not thoroughly understood and (wholly) under appreciated.
To those who worked with him, and/or were his oldest friends/relatives, they recall Elvis’ greatness and his flaws both with respect and admiration that they, in some part, were blessed to have…known him.
Elvis set benchmarks in every category of music in which he applied himself. His fashions, hairstyles, movements on stage, facial expressions, mannerisms, and style was and has been copied for over five decades including in every corner of the Globe.
Elvis fell in love with a young teenage girl and kept his word to her parents all the while moving forward to the day in which they would be married. Nine months to the day of their marriage they welcomed into this World a daughter….Lisa Marie Presley. Sadly, the marriage deteriorated with un-reconciled hurt feelings on each side nonetheless became (separately and together) wonderful parents to their daughter. At the divorce final hearings they marched hand in hand sharing a parting kiss for all the World to see. Elvis became, against his idealization, a single Father seeking love through his relationships all the while continuing to share a bond, and open communications, with Priscilla both understanding that what they shared was…special and yet the wounds that each other had authored would not quite heal enough for forgiveness to totally occur. All the while they knew that the most “serious wounds” are those that are…self inflicted.
The life, and legacy, of Elvis Presley has been “front and center” all these decades because he was simply…unique, talented, and blessed by God. His voice touched those both in the audience and in the privacy of their homes or autos as his songs played. Whether it was surprising his critics by singing a beloved Gospel song on the Ed Sullivan show or raising his right hand and pledging to defend his Country at the peak of his life and career.
Enduring the movie contracts, through the sixties, and the wave coming from England and Southern California Elvis took the stage again in 1968 on a square stage dressed in black leather accompanied by a few close friends/musicians and he sang and performed and he (literally) reclaimed his place among the musical greats.
His shows in Vegas were unparalleled hits. His concert appearances were sold out in every State/Commonwealth he toured. His recordings sold millions and he had the inner faith to sing, and praise, God through his Gospel renditions.
Elvis left behind many who loved him by knowing him firsthand and for each of those fortunate enough to have known him personally there were a million fans who came to appreciate him simply by his music or his efforts or his movies and/or all of the above.
They say that when a man dies if he has one person who remembers him ten years later that he truly was…a blessed man. In Elvis’ case those who remember him are in the millions yet (sadly) each year claims those who Elvis befriended, worked with, loved, was related to, and/or cared about. It is this simple truth that I have always recommended that EPE, Priscilla, and Lisa Marie formally acknowledge each member of the Memphis Mafia and afford them some official capacity within EPE so that fans can see, once and for all, that time does heal all wounds and that those that Elvis cared about and loved are not forgotten through his business ventures.
Each Elvis Presley Fan is unique and yet we all adhere to the fundamental knowledge that Elvis Presley was, is, and forever will be someone worth listening to and worthy of our time.
Elvis left behind a legacy of films, concert appearances, TV specials, and recordings that amass three decades. His photographs, though magnificent, still did not do him justice for he was even…”more”…in person. His presence radiated from every venue he performed including via the TV set and stereo speakers.
Elvis came from love and earned a fortune. He rubbed elbows with those in Hollywood and Las Vegas yet he yearned to return home…to Memphis. He could earn $100,000 an hour and yet knew that his relationship with his daughter was…priceless.
The enduring legacy of Elvis Presley is everything that he put his efforts into (i.e. music, TV, movies, concerts, etc.) publicly and equally as important the manner in which he lived his life including all those moments when it was just him alone with a book marking the pages of passages that struck him as well as underlining those which inspired him. Elvis Presley is an oxymoron in so many ways and yet he lived on this Earth, dreamed, cried, bled, suffered, and loved just like all of us and there is something “magical” in someone who has the fortitude to use the gifts that God bestowed without regard for failure…or criticizm.
Elvis often said that as a child he was the “hero of the comic book” and yet after all these years of studying Elvis I understand that he was much more than that for he was…true to himself in everything he did and he was man enough to care for others both close to him…and afar.
Elvis Presley should be remembered for all that he did, achieved, and gave and in spite of those who try to minimize his contributions through his failing health in later years they miss the point entirely and that is that Elvis showed us who he was and did so in the brightest, and harshest, of lights. And when the lights started to fade, the familiarity of “I can’t help falling in love with you” was formed on his lips, and the curtain started to fall, the accolades from his fans rang out in a storm of emotions bearing witness to…excellence personafied.
Certain things in life have anindelible truth that literally pierces the soul. Such was, and is, the case with Elvis Presley…and his enduring legacy.