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I discovered Elvis in 1956 at the pliable age of eight…my curiosity was born!
Nothing was molded from it though until post-army Elvis erupted on the Hollywood Movie Scene. I was a timid teen now: hypnotized, fascinated, dumbfounded,enraptured, enthralled, mesmerized and bewitched by the Elvis image. His music, his looks, his attitude…that combination just made you giddy, daring, carefree. All was right with the world if Elvis was in it!
Amazingly that euphoria ,for me, lasted until just after the Aloha Special at which time I began to realize Elvis was a commodity to be used, mis-used, mis-guided and mis-understood by his management, his promoters, his record label, his cohorts, even we his fans. This was Elvis Presley the manufactured “mega-god”, not human, not prone to weakness, not allowed to sleep in, have bad moods, off days, frustrations…”work Elvis”, “tour Elvis”, “cut records Elvis”, “make us happy and carefree Elvis”, “never mind your creativity Elvis”, “make us more money Elvis”.
Was Elvis happy? When he had room to breathe, moments away from packed arenas Holiday Inns and suffocating demands, I imagine he was. In Hawaii, at his beloved Graceland , in solitude, he could relax; however looming in the wings…those damned demands!….”sing Elvis”, “pay us Elvis”, “entertain us Elvis”, “we need you to excite us Elvis”, “don’t let us down, Elvis”…..Behold the Burden!
Meditation Garden. Medication Garden. Always Elvis Presley. Always in demand. “Give us our money’s worth Elvis”, “you signed a contract Elvis”, “perform no matter what Elvis”, “You’re trapped Elvis”! Intervention is not a dirty word. Killing the Golden Goose? Possibly but not likely!.
Far Elvis, Stoned Elvis, Lonely Elvis, Angry Elvis: all better for everyone than a Recovering Elvis or no Elvis.
I am neither eight years old nor a teenager any longer. Elvis is and was my hero and I feel I let him down. For that I will always have great remorse.