To many at the time of his death Elvis was an icon in the field of rock n’ roll music. This adulation not coming without cause as he was and still is the best selling recording artist of all time as well as being one of the if not the biggest money making nonliving artist. It is estimated that revenue from his music as well as home “Graceland” (it being the most visited home in America baring “The White House”) hovers over the 42 million dollars a year mark, this figure putting him on an equal footing with many of today’s top paid entertainers. It goes without saying that these statistics are impressive for anybody’s standard but how does one judge the significance of the legacy of an artist or person? Should it be financial success alone that determines it? I do not believe this should be the case with art but what should be is how it endures the test of time. In the case of the late Elvis Aaron Presley after still being so well remembered by his fans some of whom had not even born when he passed away it would be safe to say that his work has passed that test in which I belief all art should be measured by.
I for my part was 10 years of age when Elvis Presley passed away in “Graceland”, Located on “Elvis Presley Boulevard” in Memphis, Tennessee 30 years ago on the 16th of August in 1977. I at the time of his death did not really know all that much about Elvis other then that he was a singer who stared in light comedies which were often shown on television so it would be hard for me to say that I experienced a great sense of loss because of his bereavement. Another factor which put distance between myself and the hysteria that surrounded his demise was that I found myself in Argentina at the time living with my grandmother so I did not experience the media event as much as if I had been in the States. Naturally however when a person of Elvis’s fame expires the news is heard all over the world sparing no country no matter how far as was the case with Elvis.
At the time of this death I particularly remember reading a lot about him and even hearing some of his music, some of which I had already heard not knowing it was his at the time. A lot of his music however was unfamiliar to me because music was not something that at the age of 10 was of particular interest to me. Eventually I did become interested in music very much so but not in pop or Rock music but in classical music which is what I write about today and follow in the way of frequenting the opera as well as the philharmonic on numerous occasions.
With regards to Elvis I can not really lay claim to being a rock n’ roll fan nor an Elvis fan but what I can say in all honesty is that I have a great deal of respect for his musical talent even if it was in an area of music that is other then my preference. He to my way of seeing things is proof that a person with talent can create something of value in any kind of music even one which though simplistic specially when compared to classical still has something to offer to the emotions in us.
Tragically by the end of his short life which ended at the age of 42 he had become very much overweight going over the 300 pound barrier making him loose his fine figure and altering his facial features for the worse as it gave his face the appearance of being swollen. Prescribed medicine had also had its way with him as he had become addicted to what would eventually cause the heart attack which ended not only his great career but life. The ironic matter in all this was that while his physical appearance as well as health were in decline his voice was doing the reverse. His vocal powers were increasing in not only range but depth making his voice truly wonderful in a kind of music that is not generally known for having great voices in the same way opera is. I may not be an admirer of his in the way many are but I would have to give credit as it is due for the way he made songs like “For The Good Times”, “American Trilogy”, “You Gave Me a Mountain” “Love Me Tender” and several others far too many to mention legendary.
As for his music I can not declare it to be my favorite but on the other hand I do find something that draws me to listen to it specially when I wish to relax with a drink after work. Naturally no “New Year’s Eve” or “birthday party” of mine would be complete as their would be no dancing without him and his “Blue Suede Shoes”.
In conclusion I would like to say that Elvis was many things to many people but I can not speak for many people therefore I will limit myself to speaking about my wife, daughter and myself. To my wife he is the man who lead her to paying me the biggest complete I have ever received concerning my looks when she said that I resembled him. To my daughter who is 9 he is basis on which one of her favorite cartoon characters “Johnny Bravo” is based on. For myself I will say that he is a man who was a good singer in his category of music and confirms that if a person believes in his or her talent though other so called experts may not, they will triumph. After all he was once told by the people at the “Grand Ole Opry” that he would be doing himself a favor by sticking to driving a truck as his talent definitely lay among a different pass which surely was not singing.