Elvis Presley would have been 74 years old today. As famous as he was in life, he’s achieved immortality in death. He may be bigger now than ever. Visitors still flock to Graceland in the hundreds of thousands, and his records still sell very well.
The story of Elvis is the quintessential American story. Poor boy rises to worldwide acclaim, and then allows himself to be destroyed by it. It’s a cautionary tale for anyone who aspires to the heights.
If you haven’t read it, I heartily recommend Peter Guralnick’s majestic two volume Elvis biography, Last Train to Memphis; The Rise of Elvis Presley, and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley. Like all great biographers, Guralnick puts you right into the scene and you feel like you’re taking part in Elvis’ ascension and demise.
Finally, I’m sort of infamous among a few friends for singing along with this song when it comes on the sound system in a club. Truth be told, I don’t merely sing along, but I add my own Elvis moves. It may look funny, but it’s my homage to Elvis, and my favorite Elvis song: