If Elvis Presley were still alive, he’d be 75. If you weren’t there, it may be hard to believe what a shocking and refreshing tonic Elvis was to the 1950’s, not only his melodic voice that reached into our hearts but his sexuality. The nation tuned in to the Ed Sullivan Show every Sunday night for the best variety of entertainers in the world. It was a compromise of the times, that didn’t last long, that Elvis’ wiggles were not seen on Ed’s show. Here’s a medley of Elvis classics from 1957 on Ed Sullivan.
Here’s Elvis in one of his hit movies, 1957's Jailhouse Rock. (Notice the early pole dancing.)
A decade later, the Beatles ruled. But, Elvis Presley is always the King. In 1968 Elvis was on the comeback trail, performing his Love Me Tender, one of his best to express our longings. The Beetles came close but never matched the King.
Elvis became, was Las Vegas, as in this medley from his show in 1970.
By 1977 his excesses and addictions can be seen catching up to Elvis, as the King performed before the King of Greece. He loses the words to Are You Lonesome Tonight, which he prefaces with “I am and I was”, probably reflecting on his divorce from Pricilla after 5-years of marriage – whom he never stopped loving, and just hear Elvis’ voice singing “shall I come back again.” Elvis has never left us.
Elvis died on August 16, 1977. His fans haven’t forgotten him. He recorded 711 songs. Others have “covered” his songs, but none have ever captured the soul of the King and how he connected with each person individually in his audiences.