On this day in 1935 in the tiny town of Tupelo, Mississippi, a King was born. That’s right: today marks the 78th anniversary of the birth of Elvis Presley. God bless us all, everyone!
There’s hasn’t been one like him since and there probably never will be again. And we say that acknowledging both the glories of his reign—it is beyond argument that Elvis was one of the most important, if not the most important, American popular culture figures of the 20th-Century, and only a fool could overlook his impact upon popular music, fashion and culture since he first exploded on the scene—as well as some of the less pleasant memories: the sequined jumpsuits, the karate, the amphetamine-fueled nonsensical diatribes, the rhinestone glasses, his appointment by Nixon as a federal marshall, the girls in white panties.
But as seems to be the case for all of us, it takes the highs and the lows to make us who we are. So there were some bad times, sure, but just think of all the good things The King gave us: teddy bears and hound dogs, jailhouses that rocked, warnings against suspicious minds and devils in disguise. Besides, this is a birthday party. Don’t get stuck on the shortcomings, and instead get out the the rhinestone glasses, the jumpsuits, the ducktail wigs and the sideburns and shake those hips like the King taught us to.
And if, for whatever reasons of constitutional deficiency you’re one of those turd-nosed haters whose black soul would scoff at The King: sadly, we don’t have the energy to outline in extended detail what a schmuck you are. But the proverbial proof’s in the pudding, and if you can somehow listen to the song below and not acknowledge that it kicks ass, we recommend a trip to the cardiologist because something’s seriously wrong with your ticker.
(From the album Elvis in Memphis, 1969)