The King And I

By Parade/ Ben Fong-TorresAug 14, 2007
Parade has Elvis on its homepage prominently. Here you can read a part of a fine background article. "When Elvis Presley died, 30 years ago on Aug. 16, I was one of millions of people who felt that a part of them had also died. It was something more than memories of a black-and-white past. It was more than nostalgia, or sadness for him and his family. At least for me, it was the loss of the Elvis within us. I know. Weird. But, hard as it may be to believe, given how singular he was, many people saw Elvis in themselves. These were men and women, young and old, black, white and the whole rainbow. They may have been drawn to Presley in the early years by his sheer magnetism: his looks, his voice, his sound, his moves—in short, his style. They may have liked it that he upset parents, preachers and other authority figures. It’s been said many times that girls wanted to be with him; boys wanted to be like him. I was with the boys. I liked the swagger in his voice, the amazing range of music he tackled and conquered, and the sense of humor; the laissez-faire attitude he displayed on television, punctuating lines by letting his eyes bug out; laughing with the Jordanaires while the girls screamed; enjoying the puzzlement of the adults who dominated the studio audiences at those mainstream variety shows. Like so many guys, I did that Elvis thing; stood in front of a mirror, held a guitar, a ukulele or a mop, and tried to sing and sway just like Elvis. People connected with him in a way they simply did not with, say, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry or any other rock pioneer. They were drawn in by the charisma and excitement. And then, as they learned about him, I think they began to identify with this poor boy from the South who dreamt big dreams; who was ostracized because he dared to be different, with his choice of clothes and hairstyle; with his love of the black music he heard in Tupelo and Memphis. They liked it that, in the midst of his phenomenal success, he remained humble and close to his mother, and that he seemed to be God-fearing, good-hearted, and generous...." On Parade's site you can read the full version, express your memories of that dreadful August 16, enjoy a slideshow or sweat during the quiz we provided.
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