CDs and Elvis

Mid-August had the distinction of two passing milestones recently.  The 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death and the 25th for the Compact Disc.  I’ve read a bunch about both, both have had an impact on modern Americana.  While one seems to be fading in popularity the other is going strong. 

I have my own observations…

I have seen without exception ALL of Elvis Presley’s movies.  My sisters loved him and as I grew up I did, too.  Though later movies were dissed by the critics, his earlier black and whites mixed in some good character studies with a few original tunes.  Even Flaming Star, a western, had the King singing one number in the film and the title song as part of the soundtrack.  

In Jailhouse Rock (one of my favorites) Elvis did most of his own choreography.  Follow That Dream showed Elvis’ true colors, his hair is not dyed its traditional black.  The film, Blue Hawaii, was one of his most popular and I can still sing “wise men say… only fools rush in, but I can’t help… falling in love with you.” better than UB40.  (whose version I think sucked)  The movie I have probably seen the most of Elvis’ is, Viva Las Vegas.

I didn’t know it at the time but the title song, Viva Las Vegas, was the only song recorded for a movie where Elvis performed the entire song in one take and in front of a single camera.  It still gives me goose bumps watching it.  (I didn’t care for the ZZ Top version, I liked it better as one man’s stand against the odds then as a rock anthem)

It is has been documented that Elvis claimed he got ill watching himself in some of his movies and that Tom Parker insisted that he make musicals instead of trying dramatic roles.  But as I watch his films in retrospective, the man had charisma and gave each role all he had.  

Jesse Winchester asked, “Where were you when Elvis died?” and I remember distinctly where I was and with whom.  Though I haven’t seen that girl in ages, I know when she reminisces upon that dreadful day she remembers who she was comforted by… 

Long live the King of Rock and Roll.  

I remember the first CD I bought.  Originally when CDs first came out they were only recording current music.  I always bought new vinyl records, raced home and recorded them on cassette tapes so the albums remained in pristine condition.  The phenomenon of the digital era didn’t strike my fancy until the recording industry wised up and started reissuing earlier classics. 

The very first Beatles CD to be digitalized was the White Album.  Not only did I buy a copy on the first day it was released, I bought my first CD player the same day.  I have had many CD players since then, but that disc still sounds the same as when  I bought it, flawless.  Digital music has been a boon for the audiophile in me.  Ironically, the first vinyl record I owned was the Beatles, White Album.  (and yes, I do have Elvis’ the Number One Hits on disc as well)

Now the music industry is complaining about the downloading of music and the formats that are being enjoyed today.  The CDs days seem to be numbered and will no doubt go the way of the vinyl records, 8-tracks and cassettes that were used a generation ago.  But I question the quality of some music, maybe the content isn’t quite what it used to be and that is why the sales are down.  Or perhaps as the music changes so must the way it is recorded, produced and distributed. 

I miss those days of album cover art ala Sgt. Pepper and listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in endless loops on an auto-reverse cassette player as we buzzed the rurals back in Iowa, but one thing remains the same.

To quote Mick Jagger…

 I know… it’s only Rock and Roll… but I LIKE it! (though he sings it better than me)



3 Responses to “CDs and Elvis”

  1. chirchi965 Says:

    I do agree that UB 40 song is not as good as Elvis, though I m not a fan of Elvis, I liked some of his songs and sometimes horrible impersonation of some songs…lol ( dunno why, but its fun :P)

    Take care


  2. Cyndi Says:

    I think I dragged you to a lot of the Elvis movies I was such a fan way back when.

    I remember when you got the White Album although I didn’t remember it was your first. It was for Christmas, you said that was all you wanted and Mom had a lot of trepidation about it (Are you sure this is what he wants?) but she came through for you.

    Love, Cyndi

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