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” …
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 …
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.
A mere karaoke 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 karaoke 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.
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. Click To Tweet
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.