What Billvis Presley might look like today. Roughly.

What Billvis Presley might look like today. Roughly.

Elvis Presley died.

Calm down, it happened 36 years ago. You didn’t know? I have a hard time believing that. It was on the front page of all the newspapers, and I’m pretty sure it made the six o’clock news that day. You really need to pay more attention to current events. You should know about stuff.

When I was a child, Elvis was my idol. His rhythmic hip shaking and guttural noise making intrigued me. He wore flashy jumpsuits emblazoned with rhinestones and gummy bears. He drove a big Cadillac and took massive amounts of amphetamines. All of the things a young boy aspires to do.

I used to listen to Elvis records all the time. I would work on my lip sneer and pelvic thrusts while standing in front of my bedroom mirror. I would thank people very much all the time. I even tried to grow a pompadour and mutton chops at one point before my mother vetoed my choice of hairstyle in favor of a boy’s regular. I was almost like a mini Elvis.

When my parents would throw a party, chances were good that at some point during the festivities I would wind up getting up on the coffee table to impersonate Elvis for everybody. They would clap and dance and laugh. Eventually one of the drunken ladies would try to get me to “king them”. Yeah, you know what I’m saying. The seventies were a sexy, sexy time.

I was also a big fan of Elvis’ movies. Yeah, I know, right? Every Sunday, channel 68 would play three of his movies back to back to back. That sounds like too many backs. I might mean back to front to back. That sounds better. There must be a front in there somewhere. I would watch as the King played various characters that could all sing and dance and woo the dames.

When he died, I took it really hard. I was sad that I would never get the chance to see him in concert, or have him adopt me and change my name to Billvis Presley and hand feed me fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches from a golden plate right before he took me cape shopping

See the thing about it was that Elvis was my first taste of rock and roll. My parents both loved country music, or country and western as they used to call it. So I didn’t get to hear much rock music as a child. They liked Elvis Presley though.

Sure he had a lot of gospel songs and what not, and he might not even be considered “rock” today. But the first time I heard Heartbreak Hotel, I felt something stir in my loins. But I was only five, so I didn’t know I had loins yet. Or I knew I had loins, but I thought that It was just something to wet the bed with.

I knew it felt different from the music I normally heard, though.

And I knew that I loved it.

15 responses »

  1. I remember the day he died so clearly. My mother was heart broken… it was a huge deal. I too watched all of his movies, and was a fan. I tried to pretend that the older, fatter Elvis wasn’t the same as the really hot, younger one… like in the picture you have at the top of your post. That, is the Elvis I will remember. 😉 Thanks for reminding us.

  2. I remember the night Elvis died. They had footage of him onstage? Help me remember…Anyway, that’s now how you want to remember him I bet. Elvis is king! I’m such a seventies child, too. Today I was thinking…I’m feeling that way? Are you feeling that way, too? Oh, my God!

  3. REDdog says:

    Elvis is dead? Rats!

  4. I remember the day he died. I think it was a Tuesday and I heard the news on the radio in the car on the way to Big Band rehearsal with my grandfather. We didn’t get much accomplished at that rehearsal. Hard to believe it’s been 36 years!

  5. When I was a child I idolized Peaches and Herb but I never knew which one was the girl. I’d say Peaches is a pretty good bet but you can never be too sure because Herb could go either way.

  6. mollytopia says:

    Oh Bill. I love every one of your posts. This: hand feed me fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches from a golden plate right before he took me cape shopping….bahahaha – yes! Elvis died when I was in 1st grade, and they announced it in the school cafeteria. Is that weird or what?

    • Thanks, Molly! It was a huge dealy-o. I remember when Reagan got shot and watching it on television in my first grade classroom. Or that might have been when Pope John Paul got shot. One of those two. But we watched the news coverage. Fucking first graders! It was a Catholic school, so I’m thinking it was the Pope. Was Ronald Reagan ever Pope? I’ll have to check Wikipedia.

  7. I don’t know how I missed this when you originally posted it so it’s good for you that I found it today. In fact it’s probably your luckiest day of the week so you should go buy a lottery ticket or a case of beer. Maybe some Slim Jims if you don’t drink. I’ve gotten my 13 year-old son hooked on Slim Jims, which might be considered child abuse so I’m not telling anyone. Except you. I really feel like I can tell you anything, which might scare you and probably should. I was born in 1970, and by then Elvis was already half dead so I don’t have a great affinity for is music but I don’t hate it either. My parents didn’t really listen to Elvis. They DID listen to Tom T. Hall, who wrote “Harper Valley PTA” but didn’t sing it. I just googled “Tom T Hall and Elvis” to see if there might be a connection. The only thing I found was a tribute to Elvis where some dude changed the words to a Tom T. Hall song. It still counts as a connection though because if it’s on the internet it’s 100% real: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5cQb8NKED8.

    • Holy shit!!! Stacie Chadwick really is back. This was like it’s own post. By the way, I believe I sang Harper Valley PTA at a talent show when I was 7 years old. Or that might be a dream that I keep having in order to repress an even worse memory. One of those two things. Good to see/hear/read you again, my friend!

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