Viva Elvis!

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Since Elvis Week is wrapping up (he passed away on August 16, 1977), I thought I’d talk about Elvis in some way. We’ve been listening to songs and reading about him all week in the English class I’m teaching, and Sitzman ABC is also a bit Elvis-ified, but Sitzblog hasn’t fully commemorated The King in style yet. Especially since this was the year that I finally got to Graceland, I had to put up something. So, I decided to share some quotes I found this week, some pictures from my Graceland visit, and my 10 favorite Elvis songs.

First of all, let’s get rocking! Enjoy these convenient (and hopefully functional) playlists to listen to some music as you enjoy the rest of the post. As is my tradition and preference, I’ve divided them into slow and fast songs. We’ll get the slow songs out of the way first, since even thought they’re great, they’re still not as exciting:

MY TOP 5 SLOW ELVIS SONGS

A note: The list is actually backwards, so number 5, “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” is actually my favorite. But this is the first time I’ve tried doing a playlist like this on the blog, and I’m not sure there’s a way to reverse the order.

As for the songs, as you can see, I’m partial to later, fatter Elvis songs. That’ll show up in both lists. I think that many people who like late-period Elvis might agree on some of these songs, although “Loving Arms” may not be that high on many people’s lists. I admit that a few years ago I was surprised to learn that it was an Elvis song, since I’d only heard the Dixie Chicks’ version before that. But the Elvis one is even better. Of course, the rest are great, and as a bonus “Always On My Mind” is great for teaching perfect modals to my English students, but other than that, I’ll let the music do the talking.

Now, let’s get to the meat of this post… or maybe the bacon, peanut butter, banana, and jelly sandwich of this post: the fast songs!

MY TOP 5 FAST ELVIS SONGS

What can I say about these? Well, aside from the fact that the list is reversed again, of course? As you can see, Fat Elvis is coming strong and representing in this list, too. For a long time, “Suspicious Minds” was my favorite Elvis song, but “Burning Love” just had to win out since it’s ultimately a more upbeat one, and I like that in a fast song. The others are just excellent.

What about you out there? Any Elvis fans in the house? If so, what do you agree or disagree with here? I’d love to hear your takes on The King’s catalog, as long as you don’t berate me for not caring much about Young Elvis.

TWO PICTURES FROM GRACELAND

We went on a Mississippi River trip this past January, and I took a LOT of pictures (you can see some more here). On the day we visited Graceland, I had some lingering gastrointestinal issue from a few days previous–I believe I self-diagnosed it as “death gut”–so I wasn’t “top fit,” as the Germans would say. Still, Graceland was really cool, and I was happy to have finally gone there. That other post has more Graceland pictures, and Flickr has even more, but here are two I wanted to share today:

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A portrait of Elvis in the entrance to the Graceland mansion. Decades before Seinfeld, he was unironically sporting the pirate shirt, and kicking ass after ass along the way.

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Elvis’ grave. Actually a very touching inscription, although I didn’t realize it till later (had to get a move on to find a cool toilet to curl up with and die next to).

THE FINAL PART: SOME GOOD ELVIS QUOTES

In my English classes we always have a “Quote of the Day.” I usually try to find something that’s relevant to what we’re studying in class or some current events, but this week was all about Elvis. I found some good ones from Elvis, but I also liked some of the quotes about Elvis a lot. Here are some of the best ones I found:

BY ELVIS:

“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a while, but it ain’t going away.” – Elvis

ABOUT ELVIS:

“When I first heard Elvis’ voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.” – Bob Dylan

“A lot has been written and said about why he was so great, but I think the best way to appreciate his greatness is just to go back and play some of the old records… Time has a way of being very unkind to old records, but Elvis’ keep getting better and better.” – Huey Lewis

And, about Elvis’ death:
“Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique, irreplaceable. More than twenty years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense. And he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness and good humor of this country.” – President Jimmy Carter

Well, there’s really no such thing as “too much Elvis,” but that’s probably enough for now. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading, and I’d be happy to hear what any of you think about Elvis. Have a good one!

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