Bringing It Back
(Dedicated to the memory of Lester Bangs, rock journalist).
By Bob Nelson
I love reading nostalgic reminisces
particularly when the writing
refers to Elvis Presley.
My one wish is that more of our readership would commit there ideas to a
Microsoft Word Document and send it to our friend Jordan. Please do not
be concerned about producing a polished product. So many original ideas
filter through those diamonds in the rough - and discovering those
diamonds are half the fun.
May I borrow a line from author Jerry Hopkins, from his book, "Elvis:
He made the following statement I believe in an attempt to make a
brilliant and simple psychological reference to the artistic thinking of
our friend Elvis Presley regarding the sociological impact of music on
the minds of Westerners..
"...chewing gum for the mind." Sorry I don't have the exact page
reference - I am working strictly from memory.
I enjoy slipping on those headphones which are connected to this
fantastic invention we know as a computer and while I enjoy the audio
provided by Jordan's Elvis World I will enjoy another round of chewing
gum for the mind again and invite all of you to travel with me down
For all the young membership please remain seated during our memory
voyage and for those Elvis experts joining us for the ride please pull
on your thinking caps. All of you, please fasten your seat belts when
the red light comes on.
Warning: when the doors to the craft open we will return to the memory I
had from 1977. Please remain calm. This condition is only temporary. We
will return safely when we embark on our return journey to the year
2005. Your memories may or may not return to 1977 but, if they do not
for any reason there is no reason for alarm. Please try to refrain from
mentioning anything 2005 to my 14 year old self. I am not sure what my
14 year old reaction will be. And please be patient with me because
during this period I am discovering Elvis and his music for the first
time. The only LPs of Elvis' I have seen this summer is "Moody Blue",
Elvis's Gold Records Volume 3 and 4, a box set which includes Elvis In
Hollywood, Elvis Forever and the second double set in the box simply
titled "Elvis" with the awesome shot on a blue background from Aloha
From Hawaii. Believe it or not, I do not own a record player at this
time. My mother has played "Moody Blue" on the living room stereo once.
The first songs I have heard for many years. In 1977 people are seeing
one of the first television advertisements for the
Macintosh computer. I
am very impressed as a 14 year old. And we are hearing about the maiden
voyage of the first space shuttle.
Oh, one more thing: our journey will only last for one hour. We will
know our time is up when the faces of our watches start flashing and we
will magically be transported to our time machine. Again, no need to
worry. The procedure is safe. What's that you ask (? ) - have I tested
the time machine before..........?
1977. Fourteen years old. My worldly concerns were; hoping that mustache
would grow (Quote from 1977: "hey, Rob, you call that a mustache ? Why
don't you have your cat lick that off!"), will I have another
opportunity to see the pretty neighbor two doors down, and does my shiny
polyester jacket (fake looking leather) look just right?
We have arrived. The hyper-drive reverse function performed beautifully
this time producing a gentle landing.
The doors have opened.
Where are we? Oh, yes. London, Ontario, Canada. 1977. Whew! The blast of
warm air that hits us! Yes, the humidity is very high. Well, no need to
hurry. I have about two weeks of summer holiday after finishing my
summer job.. So let's take it easy. Man, I wonder what high school will
be like in September?.
Thinking Elvis. Yeah, you know my buddy Mike who worked with me on my
job this summer was really shaken up last week. Over and over again he
kept saying to me - "Can you believe it Rob? The King of Rock and Roll
is dead." "The King is gone." "I can't believe it." I didn't say too
much. I tried to be polite but, secretly, man, I wanted to say Shut Up!,
Mike. This is effecting me enough as it is already. I didn't want to
show any emotions, you know what I mean?
I have a money in my pockets and it is beginning to burn a hole. There
is the old house where I live - houses built for military personnel
years ago. I know it looks small. My family of seven live there: my Mom
and Dad and two younger brother and two younger sisters. Dad is home:
our 1977 Gran Torino Station wagon is parked in the driveway. That car is
a beauty. Dad bought it a couple of months ago. Used Car Dealership but
it is like new. The dealer says to Dad that the previous owner was a
doctor. He warned Dad the license plates were marked to identify the
driver is a doctor so out on the test drive Dad hopefully won't be
pulled over for a medical emergency. Well, he wasn't and he had the
plates changed. Across from my house is Oxbury Shopping Plaza. The air
conditioning will be on so we will head over there first.
Every retail outlet I visit this summer: grocery stores, variety stores,
record shops, furniture and clothing retail chains, and even Boots Drug
Store offers Elvis stuff for sale.
Let's see what is happening at Oxbury Mall:
Smitty's Restaurant smells good. We'll get something to eat later. Not
very busy in here right now.
Hi Luigi! (my barber) no thanks Luigi, I just had it cut (I'm
it more like three months ago). Boots Drug Store has a small LP record
section and hey, look at this. Cool. All right. An Elvis LP! Hmmm. Nice
cover on the front. Like an oil painting. "Welcome To My World" Lot of
songs on here that I don't know. Ok. This one is a keeper. I better look
at the magazine section too. Looking for Elvis. Elvis. Elvis. There's
one! Great. Elvis on the cover - very small picture too. Ok. This one is
a keeper. No, I don't need to look through them first before I buy them.
I better check out the grocery store too. An import magazine from
England. Geez, not cheap! $3.25 The Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of
Great Britain. Flipping through quickly. Hmmm. Lots of Elvis with the
sideburns and jumpsuits.. Great! Pay for it and home I go.
Nah, better check out that record shop at Northland Mall. Down Highbury
Avenue about six blocks. Yeah. I know it is hot and humid but, they have
a lot of Elvis records there. We can walk it because the bus is
scheduled every hour. The fare is ok. 40 cents I think.
Thank goodness for air conditioning today. Here we are. Right over to
the Elvis section. I love those covers! Where do I look first?. "I'm
just looking. Thanks". Hey, no problem, the store clerk is ok. They like
to be helpful here. I have never seen many of these LPs before. The
lettering is really amazing the way they did the name ELVIS in big three
dimensional letters. "Promised Land". What did you say? This is the
Peacock Suit? Never heard of these songs. "Promised Land". This one is a
cover of a Chuck Berry song? No kidding. "If You Talk In Your Sleep".
One of Elvis' body guards wrote the song? Man, you people know a lot
about Elvis, eh? "It's Midnight." I have to get them all one day for
sure. Here is another cover. Looks like the picture is from Aloha From
Hawaii. Let's see. "Fool", "Where Do I Go From Here?" "Don't Think Twice
It's Alright". "I Will Take You Home Again, Kathleen". Elvis plays piano
on this song? Really? What's it say here? Copyright 1973.
Look at the cover on "Burning Love and hits from his movies." Wow! Now,
here is the one I want - "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis,
Tennessee." "Recorded Live". Looks like a concert album. Includes the
songs "Hurt/For The Heart".
What do you mean it is not a live concert album? It says, "Recorded
Live." And it has a picture of Elvis on stage? Excellent picture on the
front and a letter from Elvis on the back.
Time to head back home:
My room is downstairs in the basement. Careful walking down those
stairs. Yep. My dad made this room. That is wall paneling. Yeah. Two by
four wood. I love this room. Nice and cool down here. You want a soda?
"Tab". "Diet Tab". "Dr Pepper". "Mountain Dew" "Coke". What do you think
of my Elvis posters? Sure, I have two of the same posters on opposite
walls. I picked these up at Kmart. I bought one of them for my mother
but, she didn't want hers. Elvis standing with his microphone and cool
leather outfit. I like the white lettering along the bottom - "January
8, 1935 - August 16, 1977" What's that you say? The picture on this
poster is from the NBC TV Comeback Special? "Comeback Special"? 1968? I
thought this picture was from 1975. I haven't seen the program, nope. My
mom probably saw it years ago. I will ask her about it later. What's
that? It was released on DVD this year? Hey, what the heck is DVD?
Wait. What's that Mom?!! Elvis is on TV! Sh--! Just takes a second to
turn the dial over.Oops, one too many. Here we go. Yeah, black and white
TV. What is this? Elvis with the sideburns. Yeah! Hmmm. Holding his
hands in a prayer and looking up as he walks on stage. I haven't seen
this concert before. No, I haven't seen Elvis in Concert on television.
When did it come on? Not until the Fall? Well, how do you it is coming
Huh? That's the Liberty Bell Jumpsuit? Oh. 1976? Bootleg film? What is a
bootleg film? Filmed from the audience? Oh, ok. Elvis is rolling is
eyeballs to the beat of a song! I read about that in a book I bought the
other day. Here it is - Elvis: What Happened? Man, my tape machine is
chewing tapes right now. Man, I wish I could record this concert!
Hey, man, what's going on? Look here, your watch is flashing