....for almost twenty years, all I have seen on tv when it comes to Elvis is "the man behind the legend" or "the inside story". The die hard fans loved it, while the casual viewer or there siblings just looked at us and said: "you guys are Elvis nuts! Why did they not understand why we (Elvis fans) are the way we are. We do understand fully what Elvis was about and the impact he had, and still has, on not only rock music, but the very fabric of society today. Not just the "flying Elvii" or the fat, bloated sunglass wearing cartoon image we have so been acustomed to for all these years since his death. There has never really been a show that brought the Elvis who started it all, on a platter that the youth of today would even look at, let alone keep an interest in. The twenty fifth anniversary surely has been Elvis’ year. Not just because of the hype or the rehash of "old" records, but because for the first time in twenty five years, Elvis returns to splendor with a brand new special on TV called..ELVIS LIVES!
What could Marilyn Manson or Britney Spears have in common with Elvis Presley? More than you think! The generation of MTV’ers who watched "Elvis Lives" last night, were exposed to a different Elvis, one they have never seen before. The raw powerful Elvis who has helped create and maintain the music they listen to..TODAY. The energy that Elvis had, and still has, was shot across the TV screen right into the homes of millions of Americans this thanksgiving, jolting those of us who remembered and those who just never knew the power of Elvis Presley. With so many comments by singers and actors who filled the age spectrum, Elvis now has the justification he deserves, to those who were too young to remember, or those who were not even born then. The Elvis Presley portrayed in this special was always youthful, sexy and full of enough power to light up a city! I really think that this special will become the driving force behind Elvis’ new image and expose him to a new generation of fans, well into the next millenium.
It will be very difficult to shake the image of Elvis that the youth of today has embedded in their minds, From Lipton Iced Tea to the overused cliche’ "ThankYouVeryMuch" and of course the "penut butter and ‘nanna sandwich" that bugs the hell out of me when I hear it. Elvis was and is very complex and at the same time so very easy to figure out, once you see thru the shroud of parody that surrounds him. Just sit down and let the kids see Elvis in black leather with a rough sensuous voice that changed the world, or see the newly restored version of "That’s The Way It Is" to see what he was all about. We have access to so much more than the audiences of Elvis’ day had. So much that it is nearly impossible not to have something that would appeal to folks young and old alike. Just like the Special said, "if you look at any rock and roll singer today, you will find a little Elvis in all of them". Everything comes full circle, and you will find that it is Elvis’ turn, in 2002 to be re-introduced in the proper way, to the next generation. Yes, we may dress different than they do, act different than they do, but we all stand upon a single common foundation, and Elvis was part of that foundation.
The clips used in the special were great, and some I had never seen before (‘68 special clips of that wild "baby, what you want me to do") had Elvis kneeling into a crowd of young girls strumming his guitar, and just that Elvis smirk was enough to drive folks wild, even today! The later years were done very tastefully also (yes, they used clips from the ‘77 tour) and Elvis was described as "operatic at the end" and hearing him hit the high notes on "unchained melody" still send chills down my spine! With some of today’s artists singing Presley classics, it shows the endurance these songs still have after nearly 40 years. We all know that Elvis will remain timeless. But it is, however, our responsibility to present him to each generation in his purist form, not the false images so many have been subjected to. Let the youth of today, and tomorrow, be the judge of whether Elvis Lives on forever. I’m sure that you will find, that it will be the pure, raw untamed Elvis power and charm that will win out every time. As B.B. King said it best last night..."he had every right to be called THE KING"