The "REAL" Elvis Remembered
August 16th: most people remember where they were when the news hit the afternoon airways. I was ten years old, driving back with my family from a trip along the East coast. At first, I didn't identify with my
aunt's tears, or my mother's surprise, or the endless tributes which formed the basis of radio programming for hours to follow. Then gradually, as I was exposed to his face on t-shirts, pocket books, posters, magazines, hats,
watches, buttons and re-releases of albums, I became immersed in the image of Elvis.
Elvis: the name had a mythical ring to it. As a child, I couldn't conceptualize his age as 42 being young when he died; at 36 years old it's unnerving. I have visited Graceland and witnessed admirers of all ages; I have taken
classes with Master Kang Rhee, Elvis' martial arts instructor; I have had lunch with Elvis' friends after they have come back from a 10K run. Yet, unmistakably, Elvis is dead. His flesh is gone but his voice and physical presence
live in endless recordings and video footage. More than what can be said about the average person's dead relative(s).
We live in a world where Elvis is still on the Top 40 Charts. In October, U.K. dee-jay Paul Oakenfold collaborates with Elvis on a re-mix of Rubberneckin'. Last year, A Little Less Conversation was a hit in dance clubs with it's
funky extended play version. And finally Nike featured Elvis' voice in its' basketball commercials.
Elvis is dead, isn't he?
For an individual as spiritual as Elvis was, it's not surprising that his essence holds enough power to permeate 21st century culture. As with many religious leaders who have passed on, Elvis may even be more influential now
than in life. We begin to appreciate who he was, what he represented, the chances he took, the choices he made, the lives he influenced, the world he shaped. Quite an undertaking for one individual in a compressed time
When daylight breaks on August 16th, take a moment to reflect on Elvis. If it's not the name which inspires you, perhaps it's the music which may move you; or the face which may excite you; or the gentle voice which resonates
with innocence and fills you with peace. Whichever way you choose to remember him, keep close to your hearts what Elvis stood for, and with the highest and best intentions, follow your own heart in making the world in which you live
something to remember you by.
August 12, 2003