Has Elvis Presley really left the building as the saying goes? At least that thought seemed to be on my mind as I watched the much anticipated Elvis movie last week on the big screen. For in addition to the Elvis hype of the movie, I’ve seen my “fill’ of iconic Elvis moments at various Las Vegas casinos, his Mississippi birthplace and Memphis Graceland Estate on our road trip visits that convinces me of his “larger than life” status in rock n’ roll music around the world then and now.
Yet I must admit as a past band member myself and world traveler, there’s a deeper human side to explain the rise and fall of Elvis’ fanatical stardom that began when he recorded his first musical hit at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee on July 5, 1954. So I’ve compiled in the following paragraphs some personal reflections about Elvis the person beyond his extraordinary rock n’ roll legacy and how they might directly relate to future improvements in our future travels.
1. Elvis’ Color Blind Mentality
In the film, Elvis’ music arose from a wide diversity of musical styles played during deeply segregated 1950s times.For he consciously resisted prejudicial pressure against those who believed his act to be wrong for America by embracing such music legends as B.B. King, Mahalia Jackson, as well as the Beatles in his later times. So I could use such timely advice as a road tripper and world journeyer by acting more assertively to find common ground with “locals” who might confront my wife and me in “red” states like Alabama, West Virginia, and Idaho because of our politically different ways.
2. Elvis’ Team Evolution
In the mid 1950s, the film clearly illustrates that Elvis’ popularity as “The King of Rock n’ Roll” exploded during each nightly performance as a charismatic solo artist. In fact, however, he never actually wrote original music for any of his songs. Know as well that as Elvis grew older, his later performances in Las Vegas took place on a grander scale as more polished set lists in sync with an orchestral stage show setting. Thus he became increasingly interdependent with those comprising his team of musicians each night to sustain the high energy performance that the audience expected of him each night. Thus given Elvis’ need to become more than a solo act, might I also be more receptive to the idea of delegating more responsibilities for planning our vacations to my wife and respected travel agencies now.
3. Elvis’ Worldly Outlook
It’s quite obvious from the movie that the Elvis’ rock n’ roll craze exploded with world wide appeal. Yet because of the questionable booking arrangements of Colonel Parker to profit from Elvis’ night to night concert “grind” back home in the U.S., Elvis never realized his long desired quest to travel and perform overseas. So as I ponder with apprehension my current dilemma about how to manage current family and medical challenges that require extended time spent in South Florida, I must overcome such fears and remain committed to venturing independently with my wife to new places outside my city, state, and. country,
4. Elvis‘ Addictive Ways
Life on the road playing the raucous rhythm and blues style music that Elvis loved grew more difficult for him over time. For the late 1960s and beyond presented him in the film with a new spirit of protest in each performance as the MLK and Bobby Kennedy’ assassinations, Civil Rights violence on the streets , and the escalation of the Vietnam War weighed heavily on his mind at the time. Compounding these stressful issues, mounting problems in Elvis’ relationship with Priscilla would lead to the end of their marriage in 1973. To mask such inner pain, Elvis’ body thus began to wear down on the road. His once slender figure now became bloated from poor eating habits while his drug- alcohol misuse would sometimes slur his speech or cause him to stumble around awkwardly on stage. Very simply, it would thus behoove me to consider Elvis’ decline in his physical condition as a “wake up” call. For while I might enjoy a “good night on the town” in day to day travel in sensory indulgence, it’s simple not worth it at this stage of my life to abuse such freedoms from a health perspective.
5. Elvis’ Financial Woes
Who would had ever thought that a famous musician like Elvis Presley would be depicted in the movie as hopelessly in debt due to outrageous expenditures at his Graceland Estate and unfair royalties contract with his booking agent, Colonel Parker during the course of his musical career? Thus, it would be wise for me to be more mindful about when to invest our time and money in this present era of information overload concerning desired places and modes of travel. I must particularly read the fine print more as to fees allotted to commercial entries that advertise travel extras such as time share gift bribes, untrusting booking arrangements, and credit card fraud activities.
In addition to these movie depictions I’ve reasoned about the popularized “King of Rock n’ Roll”, take a long look at the Elvis photo set below. How then does his legacy both in music and beyond measure up today? In what ways?
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Thanks for this very impressive posting. There is so much about “The King”, i had never heard before. Best wishes, Michael
Tupelo Mississippi might also be a nice place to see the real Elvis legacy, Michael. Thanks for commenting.
My Dad grew up about 40 miles from Tupelo and in the same generation. He learned to love classical music and marches and despise Elvis. He was susceptible to Hank Williams Sr. though. I was thinking about taking a drive back through the area on a solar eclipse tour in 2024. Preliminary research shows some interesting similarities to the anti-hippie era.
Very interesting comparison of Elvis the hero to your father’s hometown point of view.