people say some strange and stupid stuff about elvis presley

Es­ti­mated reading time is 5 minutes.

THIS TIME THE QUES­TION posed to me on Quora was some­what neb­u­lous and seem­ingly point­less: “What is some­thing that needs to be said about Elvis Presley?” Neb­u­lous in that al­most any­thing can be said, and point­less be­cause what hasn’t been said about the man? Of course, I had an an­swer, though prob­ably not the kind that most fans want to read as it’s as neb­u­lous as the question.

And of course I turned my an­swer for Quora into a blog post, ex­cept this post has an intro—you’re reading it now—and an outro.

With a few pic­tures and my clever captions!

If you want to read all the an­swers to the ques­tion “What is some­thing that needs to be said about Elvis Presley?” go here.

If you just want to read my an­swer to the ques­tion and any com­ments that follow, go here.

My an­swer as posted on Quora can be read be­tween the two pic­tures below with the sub­heading “Some­thing that needs to be said” . . .


Elvis GoldenRecordVolume3 mono 600

This in­cred­ibly un­ex­citing jacket—the back cover is as boring as the front—contains one of the best album com­pi­la­tions as­sem­bled and re­leased during Pres­ley’s life­time. Twelve killer tracks, all big hits in the US, from seven million-selling sin­gles, each a tes­ta­ment to how good his records were in 1960-1962. The $2.99 price is ac­cu­rate for the mid-’60s, al­though I reg­u­larly pur­chased mono LPs for less.

Something that needs to be said

Well, Joshua, some­thing that needs to be said about Elvis Presley that most young fans or ob­servers don’t know is that decades ago (in the 1970s or ’80s), a survey showed that more people around the world knew who Elvis Presley was simply by saying his first name (“Elvis”) than they knew anyone else by their first and last names!

De­spite this ex­tra­or­di­nary fame, he re­mains some­what of an enigma and few people re­ally knew him: he sup­pos­edly opened up more about his deepest be­liefs with women he brought back to his hotel room than he did with mem­bers of the Mem­phis Mafia he had known for years.


De­spite his fame and for­tune, Elvis re­mains an enigma that few people re­ally knew.


So people infer and read into him just about any­thing they want (good and bad). This has led some (sup­pos­edly) rea­son­ably in­tel­li­gent people to say some un­blood­y­be­liev­ably stupid things about him.

For some il­lu­mi­nating and en­ter­taining reading on this sub­ject, I rec­om­mend a se­ries of posts on The Round Place In The Middle web­site grouped to­gether as “Stupid Stuff People Say About Elvis.”

This in­fer­ring (which, alas, in­cludes the stupid stuff) will prob­ably go on for as long as Elvis Presley re­mains a topic of interest . . .


Elvis GoldRecords4 lpm 1

This fourth volume of Elvis’ Gold Records (ar­guably even less graph­i­cally dy­namic than the third volume above) should have been ti­tled “Elvis For Everyone Volume 2.” It con­tains twelve tracks of varying quality, each from a single—some of which were gen­uine hits, a few of which ac­tu­ally sold a mil­lion copies. The mono pressing of this album is ex­ceed­ingly rare with NM copies fetching up­wards of a thou­sand dol­lars and factory-sealed copies twice that.

mere karaōke makeover 

Since we are here on my blog, I wanted to ex­pand a wee bit on the stupid stuff that people just keep right on a-saying, de­spite the fact that just a few min­utes re­search on the in­ternet would show them the error or their ways. of course, when you’re busy being right all the time, who has time for re­search, right?

In one of his ar­ti­cles in The Round Place In The Middle, blogger Nondis­pos­bale­johnny (NDJ) takes Ish­mael Reed to task for making this stag­ger­ingly stupid claim:

“There would be no Rock and Roll without Ike Turner, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Allen Tou­s­saint, etc. Fake ghetto books and fake ghetto music. Elvis Presley, whom they idol, is merely a karaōke makeover of James Brown and Chuck Berry.”

This is hardly the first time that I have read such unf*ckingbelieveably stupid and chrono­log­i­cally and his­tor­i­cally fac­tu­ally in­ac­cu­rate state­ments. Nor was it the first time for NDJ, who coun­tered with this:

“Reed is, per­haps un­wit­tingly, using a classic pro­pa­ganda tech­nique: crit­i­cizing fake nar­ra­tives by uti­lizing a fake nar­ra­tive. I say per­haps un­wit­tingly, without putting any per­cent­ages on it, be­cause, like most fake nar­ra­tives, this one is rooted in ig­no­rance born of emotion.

The stupid stuff that people say about Elvis is end­lessly and even per­versely entertaining!

Reed wants what he says to be true, there­fore it is true. Or will be, if enough people just keep re­peating it.

As to facts? Those stub­born things?

Sorry, but once in a while, we have to slog back through the ac­tual record, tire­some though the march may be.

So-o-o-o-o . . .

Of the five men he men­tions, only two of them had made a record be­fore Elvis made his first.”

Of course, NDJ has more to say, but I want you tan­ta­lized enough to click on over to that Round Place In The Middle and read the rest in the proper con­text. Reg­ular readers of A Touch Of Gold (and I know who both of you are by now) al­ready know that I have made ref­er­ence to John’s be­fore, and shall do so again.

But if enough of you go there, read his stuff, and leave com­ments asking for more, then maybe he’ll write some new stuff be­cause, as we know, in­tel­li­gent people to say some un­be­liev­ably stupid things about him and there is no reason to be­lieve that they ‘re ever going to stop be­cause they live by the credo, “Damn the facts! Full speed ahead!”

De­spite his fame and for­tune, Elvis re­mains an enigma that few people re­ally knew. Share on X

Elvis 1962 photo color 1500

FEA­TURED IMAGE: During most of the 1960s, Elvis was pack­aged as a clean-cut, happy-go-lucky, hand­some if lik­able doofus. The rock & roll rebel of 1958 was long gone, while the res­ur­rected rock & roll deity of 1968 was all but un­dreamt of. If a young person with no knowl­edge of Presley but the brouhaha should have his first Elvis ex­pe­ri­ence via a couple of the movies Presley made from this pe­riod, he could not be faulted for thinking some­thing wrong with his elders.


10 thoughts on “people say some strange and stupid stuff about elvis presley”

  1. As al­ways, thanks for the rec!...I don’t know about adding to the stupid stuff (ya never know)...I mostly wanted to col­lect a sam­pling. Going into much more de­tail would prob­ably have me wanting to drive nails with my forehead.

    But I WILL get back to some se­rious Elvis writing at some point...Still much to say about the fifties and the orig­inal plan was to carry on to the Six­ties and Seventies....I ain’t forgot. Just wish the real world (work, health, fi­nances) would quit butting in!

  2. Hi I think that the sleeves for gold records vol 3 and 4 are great and now al­most iconic , volume 5 was the worst !
    4 would have been a boost at the time if it con­tained Bossa nova,kissin cousins ‚viva las vegas,rock a hula etc, it was clearly just a way to get random 45s on to album.

    • PHILIP

      Thanks for the comment!

      Oh, my re­sponse to the cover art on those al­bums is sub­jec­tive: I can un­der­stand you and others liking them. But I am not a fan of the cover photos and art­work on most Amer­ican al­bums, es­pe­cially while Elvis was alive.

      Agreed, the fifth volume of the Gold Records se­ries was ghastly!

      Agreed, the fourth volume should have put the strongest col­lec­tion for­ward. Most of the re­views of the album in 1968 dis­cussed the “fact” that there was no more gold, ergo the weak se­lec­tions. So while it was nice of Elvis/Colonel/RCA to give us twelve tracks we didn’t have on an LP, it didn’t do Elvis’s rep­u­ta­tion any good at all.



  3. Hi ‚Re­garding your com­ment about Elvis movies, younger people today watching Elvis movies like Roustabout, Love in Las Vegas, Spinout,Girl happy,Speedway etc are in my ex­pe­ri­ence in awe of how cool he was ‚re­gard­less of the plot, they love the Amer­ican cars,ladies fash­ions of the time , Anne Mar­garet (!) and there are some spec­tac­u­larly good songs (Stop look and listen/king of the whole wide world/bossa nova baby/whatd I say/little Egypt/follw that dream ...etc etc .as the King him­self said....“Hell they were not all bad , I be­lieve he es­pe­cially liked “Tickle me” !
    There are enough songs from the 7os to match Yoga is as yoga does/old macdonald/barefot ballad....
    As Paul Mc­Cartney sings....“there is good and bad in everyone....”....Elvis in the 6os is my favourite time .

    • P

      It’s cool that there are young people watching those movies.

      As for the songs, I never said they were all bad. For the most part, they were un­ex­cep­tional, pedes­trian, which bored everyone‚ Elvis and the fans.

      And un­ex­cep­tional simply wasn’t good enough to sus­tain in­terest in the movies or the records, hence the de­clining sales of tickets and vinyl.

      There are other ar­ti­cles on this site ad­dressing my love for a lot of what Elvis did in the ’60s. Check ’em out ...


      PS: It was VERY dis­tressing being an Elvis fan in 1966-1968 and going to the new Elvis movie and being one of only a dozen people in the theater.

  4. The one thing to say about Elvis which seems to get over­looked while dissing his movies and the 70s Vegas Elvis is that he had the greatest singing voice ever known.I see nothing wrong with the Vol 3 and 4 al­bums and loved every song on them.Ok they were not vol 1&2 as far as con­tent go but you cannot have everything.As re­gards his movies there were some in­cred­ibly bad ones admitted.The men­tion of Tickle Me is a bit lame as far as the songs were con­cerned be­cause they were better than the usual bunch simply be­cause they were not movies songs but a crop taken from ear­lier studio al­bums to save money.

    • D

      Elvis’s movies 1964-1968 were dis­cussed be­cause many of them were garbage, as were the sound­tracks: no one lis­tening to the record­ings for HARUM SCARUM or EASY COME EASY GO or DOUBLE TROUBLE would ever in a mil­lion years guess that he had “the greatest singing voice ever known.” The songs were lame, the arrange­ments unin­spired, the band limp, and Elvis flaccid—and the en­gi­neering on some simply dreadful!

      Like the first two vol­umes, ELVIS’ GOLDEN RECORDS VOLUME 3 is one of his very best LPs of all time; VOLUME 4 should have been one of his best but isn’t even close.

      For me, TICKLE ME is mem­o­rable for the pres­ence of Julie Adams (who shoulda been a bigger star) and Jo­celyn Lane, not much else. I wonder if there is anyone out there in­volved in the making of that movie who has all the de­tails of what hhap­pened: con­vincing Elvis to make it ba­si­cally to save a foundering com­pany. Might make a good movie all by itself.


      PS: Some­where I have the be­gin­nings of an ar­ticle on what GOLD RECORDS VOLUME 4 could have been—all I gotta do is find it and finish it ...

      • I agree that Elvis great singing voice was not very much in ev­i­dence in the movies you mention.He sounded bored and dis­in­ter­ested and who can blame him but as a kid I just loved the color and the music and the women.It was not until I was older that I could hear the dif­fer­ence from Are You Lone­some Tonight and say You Gotta Stop.This does not de­tract from my view on the overall singing voice of the King.I some­times try to think what his worst song was and have of course come up with Yoga Is As Yoga Does.The writers should go down in history.

        • D

          I re­member going to see DOUBLE TROUBLE in May or June 1967. I was 15 at the time. Went with my grand­fa­ther, who was sober for a change and wanted to treat me.

          I al­ready had the sound­track album, and try as I may, it was tough to think much of the title song, “Baby, If You’ll Give Me All of Your Love,” and “Old MacDonald.”

          And to re­lease the ab­surd “Long Legged Girl (With the Short Dress On)” at the same time that the Doors and Jef­ferson Air­plane and other fab new groups were is­suing killer sin­gles was tough for us fans to justify.

          But now I look back and think that if there hadn’t been that pe­riod of lousy movies and sound­tracks, there would never have been a need for the 1968 NBC-TV Spe­cial, and that more than jus­ti­fied the bad movies!

          I have sev­eral cool ar­ti­cles on the selling of Elvis product in 1956 that I should be posting soon. Hope you enjoy them . . .



Leave a Comment