My subject at the League of Reluctant Adults blog today is my Top Ten favorite Elvis songs, in honor of Elvis’ birthday.
My love of Elvis is not ironic. It is not post-modern or post-punk or tongue-in-cheek or any of the above. It comes in part from the same place as my adoration of macho men, from my childhood spent at the racetrack while my Dad ran quarter miles or spending most of my summers playing baseball in the street or travelling extensively throughout the South.
Even the excesses of Elvis love don’t bother me, the glittery pillows or bad embroidery or black velvet paintings. I don’t smirk a superior smirk or laugh at the tackiness (okay, sometimes I do, but I’m laughing at myself too, the little girl who wrote her crush’s name all over her notebooks in lurid glitter inks or Outliner metallic markers and put Duran Duran posters on every available surface of her bedroom).
Because when we see greatness we want to honor it. We know something has walked among us that never will again, and we mourn its passing–worship its absent presence–with the intensity and devotion we reserve for all gods in no matter what arena.
I’m not getting into Elvis as a person, the drug addiction or apparently kinky sexual preferences or the was-he-racist-or-a-product-of-his-upbringing-and-shouldn’t-he-have-overcome-it debate. I’m talking exclusively about the performer, the voice that crashed over our heads and wrenched emotions from the depths of our souls. The man who even at his overweight worst, when he had to read lyrics to songs he’d sung hundreds of times from a sheet of paper, could still make us cry, all of us, together. My adoration for that man comes from my earliest childhood, and is implacable. I will never stop loving that voice, those songs, and I will never stop wishing it had not been silenced so soon.
(Note, this is how I get when I’m homesick. Feel free to make fun of me, but don’t you make fun of the King, lol.)