Monday, August 18, 2008

Ladies & Gents, Elvis is Still Dead!
Oh No! Not another moronic MUSIC POSTING...

I must be slipping. I failed to notice that the Date of Elvis Presley's death zipped right on by and flew outta here two days ago. He fell from the commode 31 years ago and landed in Eternity, leaving the building never to return. Were Elvis to speak to us from the Great Beyond, perhaps he'd renounce that whole "better living thru chemistry" thing. He'd be 73, were he still with us. Of course, perhaps he'd break a hip getting "All Shook Up". He'd probably get heartburn from those hunka-chunks-o' "Burning Love". And he couldn't "Wear that ring around (his waist)", let alone around his neck. That's 'cos fat, by heck. (Sorry, couldn't resist...)

Actually, concerning that last song, "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck"...I didn't hear that song until the 70's, way after it was recorded. Since I was unfamiliar with romantic fads of the early '60s, I thot upon hearing the song, "how do you get a ring around someone's neck?" "Is this song about choking your sweetie?" Then, I found out that the ring hangs from a CHAIN around your neck. Ohhhhhh...okaaay.... So what would Elvis look like, were he still alive? Well, I found the following picture on the internet, and let me warn ya, it's kinda scary...

In our fantasy world, we'd have to assume that if Elvis could've looked like this at age 73, although in order to appear that way, he would've needed quite a spot o' liposuction done. I always thought it was really ironic that the title of his last singles was "Way Down", 'cos that's where he's at now. Six feet under. The music lives on, and just about everyone on the planet has written an Elvis book. I've read a lot of 'em, all which paint a different portrait of the singer. Suffice it to say he's an interesting character who Really Could Rock...when he wanted to. At his best, he was something, he's just gone.

One of the first big hit singles I had when I was a kid was "Respect" by Aretha Franklin. I won it on a radio contest. Even though, as a 13-year-old kid, I would've never bought that single, I did like the song, and it just keeps getting greater as time goes by. (I was more into the rock groups than soul singers at the time.) I've since found many of Aretha's records in discount bins and second-hand stores. Her producer was a guy named Jerry Wexler, who died recently at the age of 91. Unless you were in the habit of reading the small print on the back of album covers, you probably weren't aware of him...but he had a lot to do with the many great songs the Atlantic label put out over the years...such as...

Jerry Wexler produced Aretha, Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, and many other influential Atlantic artistes...

The late, great Otis Redding wrote "Respect", and he actually recorded it before Aretha. But, Aretha is the one that came up with that little spelling-thing at the end, you know: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T, found out what it means to me..." And Otis was quoted as saying, good-naturedly, "That girl Stole My Song". Later on, he began putting that spelling-thing into the song when he did it on stage. Ironically, Otis never got to hear his big hit, "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" on the radio; he recorded it three days before his plain crashed...into a lake. I've seen Otis' electrifying performance on the DVD of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival; he was a dynamo. Too bad he didn't live longer.

Nifty, Nifty! Guess who's FIFTY!!! That much-utilized phrase, which shows up in annoying little cubicle-type ads to announce someone's birthday in the local noozpaper can be applied here to...MADONNA, who may have marginal talent, but she sure knows how to market herself. She's great at it. And nowadays, she's trying to pull off her largest-ever makeover; she's actually trying to live like a Normal Human Being, which may be a s-t-r-e-t-c-h for her. Is she aging gracefully? I honestly don't know. Is her music any better these days? Couldn't tell ya. All I can do is speculate on a time in the distant future, when Madonna's child looks thru her Mom's photo albums and sees pictures like these...

Still, one has to give Madonna credit for being around for such a long time. I really don't want to, but I begrudgingly have to. I imagine those who grew up in the Age Of Madonna maybe view her with a little more validity than I do, but I don't think She's Very Important. Although, when I hear a song of hers on the breezes by...comes and goes, and melts in my memory faster than a sugar cube in hot coffee.

Madonna's music's not awful, just insubstantial. Although, she did exhibit some nerve when she recorded "Papa Don't Preach", a song which says "I'm Keepin' My Baby", that song confronts a whole lotta issues. And her first hit conjured up more images when she sang that she felt "Like a Virgin...(it) feels like the Very First Time"...Madonna, yer a bad, baaad girl.

COMING CLEAN: I must admit the "Like A Virgin" single resides somewhere in my record collection. (Hey, I never said I was a musical purist.) The backing track actually rocks pretty well. I found it at a 2nd-hand store for 50 cents. Come to think of it, that's how I acquired a lot of records over the years I'd've never otherwise bought.


Blogger raymond pert said...

What's wrong with me??!!!

I think that image of Elvis at 73 strongly resembles BILL CLINTON!

Pretty weird.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Hey, Ray...wonder who's had more women, Elvis or Bill...

9:45 PM  

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