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elvis aaron presley: a life in lists
as gleaned from the titles of his songs
by russ carr (@DocOrlando70)
8.16.04
music

Elvis was born January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi.

   I Got A Feelin' In My Body.
   I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago.
   It's Your Baby, You Rock It.

His twin brother, Jesse, died within hours of birth.

   My Baby's Gone.
   Don't Cry, Daddy.
   Return to Sender.

Elvis sang in his church choir, won a singing contest at 10, and learned to play guitar at 11.

   Where Could I Go But To The Lord.
   Sing You Children.
   It Ain't No Big Thing But It's Growing.

In 1949, Vernon Presley moved his family to Memphis, TN, where teen Elvis was greatly influenced by the urban blues.

   Memphis, Tennessee.
   I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water.
   A Mess of Blues.

Elvis started recording songs for his own amusement at Sun Studios in 1953. Owner Sam Phillips realized that the boy was the "white artist who could sound like a Negro" he'd been looking for, and arranged a professional recording session.

   That's All Right, Mama.
   I Shall Be Released.

(But the album didn't get much airplay, as local DJs thought Elvis was a Negro.)

   I Shall Not Be Moved.

After finding modest success, Elvis entered into a partnership with Colonel Tom Parker, who brokered a lucrative contract for the singer with RCA, in return for a 25 percent cut of all profits. Elvis received a $5,000 advance, which he used to buy a new car for his mama.

   Big Boss Man.
   A Little Bit of Green.
   Pink Cadillac.

With Parker's promotion, Elvis burst into the American media in 1956, appearing on Milton Berle's, Steve Allen's and Ed Sullivan's television shows, with an upbeat rock tempo and controversial dance moves that got him censored.

   Hound Dog.
   Seeing Is Believing.
   Don't Forbid Me.

In 1957, Elvis bought Graceland, a former church, and converted it into his home.

   Baby, Let's Play House.
   Mansion over the Hilltop.
   I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here.

But then, a year later, Elvis was drafted into the U.S. Army and served a 17-month tour of duty in Germany.

   G.I. Blues.
   There Is So Much World to See.
   Bad Nauheim Medley.

After his discharge from the army, Elvis spent the next two years touring and raking in the money. Then Colonel Parker stopped the tours and pushed Elvis into acting. Between 1961 and 1968, Elvis made 21 movies. (He would ultimately make 33 movies in his career.)

   Jailhouse Rock.
   Kid Galahad.
   Clambake.

After many years of casual affairs, Elvis married long-time girlfriend Priscilla Beaulieu on May 1, 1967. Precisely nine months later, Priscilla gave birth to Lisa-Marie Presley.

   Can't Help Falling in Love.
   I Love Only One Girl.
   One Boy, Two Little Girls.

But four years later, they separated. Priscilla and Lisa-Marie received a generous settlement.

   Easy Come, Easy Go.
   I'm Not the Marrying Kind.
   (That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me.

For awhile, Elvis rebounded well, with a global broadcast of his "Aloha From Hawaii" concert and a string of successful tours, particularly in Las Vegas. But it was actually the beginning of the end.

   Hawaiian Sunset.
   Viva Las Vegas.
   I'm With a Crowd But Oh So Alone.

Elvis began to spend more and more time in seclusion at Graceland, and began overeating and abusing prescription drugs.

   A Little Less Conversation.
   Do Not Disturb.
   Help Me Make It Through the Night.

Still, starting in 1976, Elvis launched a flurry of nationwide tours. Though he started off strong, by mid-1977, his voice was weak, his memory poor and his stamina gone. His performances varied by whether he'd taken too many uppers or too many downers. He was increasingly incoherent.

   Make the World Go Away.
   I'm Beginning to Forget You.
   Edge of Reality.

On August 16, 1977, Elvis' then-girlfriend, Ginger Alden, found him dead on the bathroom floor at Graceland. He had been reading The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus. The cause of death was listed as "cardiac arrythmia."

   Cross My Heart and Hope to Die.
   Take My Hand, Precious Lord.
   What A Wonderful Life.



ABOUT RUSS CARR

If the media is the eye on the world, Russ Carr is the finger in that eye. Tune in each month to see him dispersing the smoke and smashing the mirrors of modern mass communication. The world lost Russ on 2/7/12, but he lives on.

more about russ carr

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COMMENTS

heather millen
8.16.04 @ 9:44a

Brilliant.

I do love me some Elvis. Bet this is making Trey "all shook up" with memories of Graceland. TCB, baby!

tracey kelley
8.16.04 @ 10:30a

This is hysterical.

You need to link it on the zillions of Elvis' fan sites.

adam kraemer
8.16.04 @ 10:42a

I'd have put "King Creole" instead of "Clambake," but maybe that's just me.

russ carr
8.16.04 @ 2:44p

Here in St. Louis there are annual Elvis parties at one of the cooler bar/restaurants in town, Blueberry Hill (its claim to fame: STL native Chuck Berry plays there once a month). One of these years I'll make it to one (either Elvis' birthday or deathday).

adam kraemer
8.16.04 @ 6:01p

Wasn't "Blueberry Hill" a Fats Domino song?

russ carr
8.16.04 @ 7:41p

What's your point, Skeezix?

heather millen
8.17.04 @ 11:32a

The whole reason Elvis has a song list a mile long is because he covered every song made popular before him. Unchained Melody isn't his either, but I've heard his rendition countless times.

jeffrey walker
8.17.04 @ 1:52p

Did Lou Diamond write his lines for your play? No.

It doesn't matter that Elivs didn't write all his songs. And it's not how many songs he did; the point is that he had fire in his performance. Hands down.

[edited]

heather millen
8.17.04 @ 3:08p

Are you arguing with ME about Elvis being fabulous? You misunderstand. I LOVE Elvis. I've got his picture in my office. I once channeled his spirit through a Ouija board. I own a TCB shirt. I've been to Graceland, for chrissakes!

jeffrey walker
8.17.04 @ 3:32p

No, I like him fine. I'm just saying he isn't liked because of the breadth of his songlist. He's liked because he did a good job and commanded attention on stage.

Not so much on film, but...

adam kraemer
8.20.04 @ 12:56p

An interview with Bill Murray about being at Elvis' funeral.

russ carr
8.23.04 @ 10:16p

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) -- Al Dvorin, the concert announcer who made famous the phrase "Elvis has left the building," was killed in an auto accident in California. He was 81.

Dvorin was thrown from the car he was riding in Sunday after it swerved off a desert road near Ivanpah, the California Highway Patrol said.

The night before, Dvorin performed his signature closing line at an Elvis impersonator concert in California.



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