Monday, August 16, 2004

The Day The Music Died

Dr. Nick made sure Elvis was well taken care of. Near the end Elvis was taking, Seconal, Placiclyl, Valmid, Tuinal, Demerol, and an assortment of other depressants and placebos. Elvis couldn't sleep. With Dr. Nicks help, he would be able to forever. Ginger, his girlfriend at the time, found him in the bathroom, on the floor, shag carpet full of vomit, pajamas pulled down. As his friends tried to revive him, little Lisa Marie wondered in, "What's wrong with my daddy?" His father Vernon cried out, "Oh, God, son, please don't die!"
July 1954 seemed a long way away. That's when he first walked into Sun Studio at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis and told the receptionist, "I don't sound like nobody." John Lennon once said, "In the universe of rock&roll, before Elvis, there was nothing." Indeed he was right. Before Elvis, there was the blues. Before Elvis, there was gospel music. Before Elvis, there was country music. Elvis took from all these and transformed himself into the first, true, rock star.
"Elvis just started singing this song, jumping around and acting the fool, and then Bill picked up his bass, and he started to act the fool, too, and I started playing with them. Sam, I think, had the door to the control booth open -I don't know, he was either editing some tape, or doing something-and he stuck his head out and said, 'What are you doing?' And we said, 'We don't know.' 'Well, back up, he said, 'try to find a place to start, and do it again.'"
This is how Scooty Moore recounted recording "That's All Right Mamma" an Arthur Crudup song. This session was just the beginning of the revolution about to take place. The birth of rock&roll.
It was Elvis' rise from humble beginnings that endeared him to so many. This notion that anything is possible. That a truck driver making forty dollars a week, can one day become the most famous human being on the planet. Even today, go to the most remote village in China, mention Elvis' name, and inevitably, you will get some kind of smile. While in London, "Elvis" was invariably the first thing out of most people's mouth's when I mentioned I was from Memphis.
So today, it's fitting to remember what happened some 27 years ago. When the world lost a singer, but gained an icon, a symbol for all the possibilities one life can posses. We should remember Elvis,today. The day the music died.


4 Comments:

Blogger ALa said...

I was just telling JustRose how my Grandmom (who I call GrandMax) has three sweaty Elvis hankercheifs -intact and cherished in a glass case...She saw him countless times -he was her Brad Pitt.

10:07 PM  
Blogger RBP said...

ALa71- Everyone in Memphis has an "Elvis" story, my father's is of him waiting patiently at a four-way-stop for the light to change, one morning, and upon getting the green, starting to turn left, when all the sudden this convertible almost plows into him. Elvis was trying to beat the yellow light, and didn't make it, but he stopped practically in the middle of the intersection. Dad, instantly recognized Elvis, leaned out the window and shouted, "Go ahead Elvis!" to which the king smiled, waved, and proceeded on through. I know it's not much, but my dad tells this story to any and all comers.

6:24 AM  
Blogger ALa said...

You had Elvis...now you have Nashville Pussy...haha...

6:52 PM  
Blogger leftyjones said...

JFM,
You still out there?? Post-European blues? The Dirty South has been awfully quiet lately....

11:23 AM  

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