Remembering Elvis Presley

Posted: 08/16/2008 by that's Elbert in Elvis, Music, personal
Tags: ,

On the anniversary of his passing, I’ve got to write something about Elvis.

I’ve written before about remembering hearing Elvis’ passing from my aunt in the Salisbury Mall (not the Center at Salisbury, there is a difference). When I got back home from her house, my mother had every Elvis album and 8-track that she owned out, playing them over and over again. I think I heard more Elvis during the following 2-3 weeks than I had heard the first 9 years of my life. It seems to me I had to ask permission from my mother to play something other than Elvis.

There are plenty of Elvis impersonators out there. I enjoy attempting to mimic his voice. “Blue Christmas” was always one of my favorites around Christmas time. Elvis’ voice backed by that high tenor part in the verses always sounded cool. I can mimic the high part and Elvis’ voice, although I can’t do them at the same time. That would be cool though. When I worked at Laurel Middle School, the assistant principal would have me do “Blue Christmas” at Christmas as well as “Love Me Tender” and “Hound Dog” at other times during the year. And you couldn’t do those songs without ending with “thankuverymuch!” Recently our pastor, Jim Brown, tapped me to do an Elvis impersonation at the end of a song of cartoon impersonations called “Cartoons”. I’ve got a MP3 of it that I should post sometime.

Obviously I love most of the gospel material Elvis Presley has recorded. I’m mostly a fan of the early recordings, particularly “Peace In The Valley”. I love the way his voice just seems to move across the lyrics. There’s a power and passion in his delivery that you just can’t repeat. “How Great Thou Art” had that passion. I don’t think anyone did that song better, although I’m biased by the fact he was the first I heard do it.

His demise is very sad, but he left behind some wonderful music that so far has stood the test of time.

Here is the link to last year’s Elvis post.

UPDATE: A video from YouTube:

  1. swampcritter2 says:

    Elbert, You know of course that Elvis was exposed to Southern Gospel music at an early age, and that he loved the music so much he considered singing in a gospel group. As far as Elvis singing goes, I’d call him a stylist. Listen to any Dean Martin tune from the ’50s, then listen to Elvis doing a ballad. The influence is obvious, but Elvis could put his signature on a tune and make it all his. My guess is that when he recorded “How Great Thou Art” he stepped back slightly from the mike and increased his volume at the same time This is an old trick that works live as well as in the studio. It makes it sound as though the singer is hitting higher notes when he actually isn’t. Although it is a trick, it does require some skill to pull it off effectively. His use of reverb on vocals was a technique copped from one of Elvis’ favorite singers, Roy Orbison. Roy was not a true ballad singer, but that’s what he was most successful at singing, primarily because his rather weak singing voice was run through a reverb. He could never have had that sound otherwise. It worked better for Elvis because Elvis was the better singer of the two. I’m not belittling either artist here, both were great performers. (I also don’t want to be assassinated by Elvis fans)