Elvis Presley became a one-man industry during his lifetime. He continues to be a one-man industry 30 years after his death (more Elvis’ records have been sold after he died than when he was alive). It’s well over half a century since he made his first commercial recording, for Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, and Elvis’ voice and image are still two of the hottest properties on Earth.
When Elvis recorded his hit tunes the CD had not even been invented, but record shops are full of them now. Even 30 years after his death, the idiolization of the King shows no signs of slowing down. Life can be cruel. He was the original rock and roll outlaw. But they didn’t allow him to play himself. They package him as the boy next door just as all the other rockers were becoming bad boys…, thanks to him.
When I see the footage of his last concerts I can imagine how humiliated he must have been to be fat, sweating like a pig, and stoned out of his mind. When once he made girls scream. But does the monstrosity of Elvis really matter? He remained a great artist and a professional performer to the end. Not a god or a true king. He was just an explorer of vast new landscapes of dream and illusion. He was a man who refused to be told that the best of his dreams would not come true, who refused to be defined by anyone else’s conceptions. That Elvis made so much of the journey on his own is reason enough to remember him with the honor and love we reserve for the bravest among us. Such men made the only maps we can trust.
And forty years later his fans (older and new) still remember him, still carry him in their hearts. The man has certainly died on that August 16. But the myth is alive and kicking between us and will remain that way forever. And now, once more, it’s time to celebrate his contribution to music. Rato Records has assembled this unique collection of some of the best covers of the classic songs he made famous all around the world. Hope you like it. Then you can hurry and go listen to the originals.