|Eat it, every single other performer who ever fancied they had stage presence|
Elvis gone 35 years ago, August the 16th, 1977.
I don't remember the death of Elvis. I was two. However, I grew up in a house where my mother played Elvis music on the turntable and hummed Elvis tunes while driving me to soccer practice. A great gift once received was a bottle of "Elvis White Wine" which nobody ever drank, and eventually it got gross and was tossed away in 2010ish.
Like Marilyn Monroe, James Dean or Bogart, Elvis passed into the twilight realm of American Mythology, a demigod who didn't just sizzle in popularity for a short time after his death, but who attained legendary status once his life itself was no longer there to decry what could be and what could be believed.
With the man gone he became a cartoon to many, and that was often how I thought of him. Someone to impersonate for a cheap laugh with a lip curl and by dropping your voice an octave and giving it a Tupelo swing. But, like I said, we were an Elvis house, and I still carry a tremendous amount of affection for Elvis's music, far less so his movies (which I've never been able to finish - even Roustabout), but certainly the legend that built up in the years following his passing of a runaway train of success and excess, but still a decent seeming sort of guy who was handsome and talented and maybe confused why all this money kept appearing.
We don't talk about it any more, but in the 1980's, Elvis became Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. His death had been faked, and he was spotted all over the country... legendarily secreting away from the public that both loved him and tore away at him. And it seemed utterly and perfectly possible that Elvis had, indeed, used his wealth to escape The Colonel and find a simple life somewhere in God's Country.
Maybe he did. It'd be a pretty great trick.
As an adult, I cannot believe everything we think of as Elvis happened in 42 years.
And now, what Jamie knows all too well is my favorite Elvis song...