Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23, 1956 - Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley (Self Titled)

Elvis Presley, as it goes without saying, is a man who has more influence on modern music than most people even realize. It's easy to call Elvis a legend of rock and roll, it's easy to call him the "King", but to really acknowledge what he did for Rock & Roll and music in general... it is very humbling :P

A collage of rip-off artists :)

I couldn't pinpoint my first experience, or exposure to Elvis. Before I even knew Elvis for his music, I knew him for his cliches. By the time I was born, Elvis was already such an icon, that he became a caricature in a lot of the cartoons and comics I loved as a child. Off the top of my head, I am certain he was lampooned in Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons, The Far Side, Sonic the Hedgehog and probably more than I can even begin to remember. Even Saturday Night Live's "Tiny Elvis" sketches contributed to my conception of the myth of Elvis. As a result, I didn't even have to know the music before I knew Elvis.

I was familiar with the legions of impersonators, the "fat" stage, the shooting of the television, the black belt, the seemingly endless mounds of eccentricities which range from the specific preparation of his sandwiches, to owning a monkey as a pet, to his tragically hilarious death on the crapper.

Thinking back, I'd have to say that my first experience to his actual music would have to be when I saw Forrest Gump.

I couldn't have been any more than 9 or 10 when it hit theaters. Before that time, pretty much the only music I would listen to was The Beatles, and Film and Video Game scores. That following Christmas, I got the soundtrack from a family friend, and through it, I embarked on a musical journey that would change me forever, much in the same way that Elvis changed music forever.

But! There will be time to talk about the Forrest Gump soundtrack later! Elvis is the focus here! I'll admit, my interest in Elvis seems to wallow in his early career. As soon as his albums started to turn into vehicles upon which Elvis promoted his own motion pictures. Elvis may be one of the earliest examples I can conjure of a singer to actor transition going horribly wrong. As a result, I paid little attention to anything he released past 1960, with a few exceptions.

My love for Elvis carried well into my teenage years, despite having only heard a handful of songs, from only one era of his career. I seemed to have an attraction to music from the 50's and 60's, Elvis, The Beatles, Buddy Holly and co. were mainstays.
The summer of 2001, right before 9-11 actually was when this love of vintage rock reached its peak. I have very clear memories of riding around downtown Mountain View with my then crush with proto-rockabilly twanging on the radio.

It was through this interest, and through this summer crush that I came to know of the film "Six String Samurai". The film itself has little to do with Elvis, other than a very subtle, and passing theme. It actually has a lot more to do with Buddy Holly, so I'll talk more on it when I get to my entry on him :)

Over time, my vintage rock phase died down, but I still love the music, and the culture something fierce. I especially love how modern culture had adapted to, and absorbed it whenever there's a resurgence. Case in point, the flash animation below :)

Crazy Elvis Presley Flash Animation
A remix of the Elvis song Little Less Conversation was done some time ago. Recently a flash animation set to this song was done. It features some of the well known flash characters from the internet.

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