Elvis called to life

Per my last post, describing Joe Cocker’s band at Woodstock (1969) as remarkably contemporary in sound and appearance and Elvis (in the 1962 clip) as a character from a bygone era (despite his intrinsic merits), I received a good-natured complaint that I underestimated Elvis’s own ability to shock and rattle the culture of his day. He was not just some 1960s “square” holding onto the old ways.

Guilty as charged. Or half guilty. I will now do Elvis the service I did to Joe Cocker and the Woodstock generation in the previous post. I’ll post the famous theme song from one of the most popular TV shows of 1952, followed by a re-post of the clip with Elvis singing the #1 song of 1962.

From The Roy Rogers Show (1951-1957, song by Dale Evans, released 1952)

Elvis in Girls, Girls, Girls (1962)

In this context, one can see Elvis as all-round provocative to the Roy Rogers generation that preceded him. That’s my half-guilty part. But I claim half-innocence as well, insofar as the central thesis of my previous post still stands: If you stumbled upon a festival in the park today, Elvis, however risqué he may have been to his elders, would cut an odd and outdated figure on the stage, whereas Joe Cocker’s band would fit right in.

Now, as microscopically scanning others for flaws so that we might sit in public judgment over them has become the #1 national pastime (at least in the US), I hereby submit myself to your judgment. Innocent or guilty of misrepresenting my case?

P. S. For those of you following this choppy musical path from 1952 to the Woodstock generation, note that Janis Joplin recorded a version of “Happy Trails” to send to John Lennon shortly before she died in 1970.

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(Click covers for links)

BookCoverImage     year-bfly-cover          mgg cov clipped 2019-11-23

8 thoughts on “Elvis called to life

    • Quite a bit of Elvis in my house when I was a little kid too. He dominated pop culture at the time the way the Beatles would a few years later. I don’t listen to him a lot these days, but I could watch that “Return to Sender” clip all day. I showed it to my 20-something daughter and she became obsessed with it!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “Elvis the Pelvis” is not someone I thought about much then or now. When I did think about him, my thoughts centered on sadness that his end was so ignominious.
    But I watched his “Return to Sender” performance with fresh eyes—and I would happily watch it repeatedly (though probably not daily). Truly delightful. So thank you for that, amigo.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny you should write this. I was been drawn back to Patsy Cline, Artie Shaw, willie Nelson, and John Lennon. Odd mix but harkened back to more secure times and connection to my parents and childhood. A nice break from Covid news.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Three language tricks | shakemyheadhollow

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