Elvisly Yours......Or Maybe Not? The King Reassessed

Sigur Ros is the greatest living band. Discuss.

Is Elvis Presley Overrated?

Yes
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42%
No
19
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Total votes : 33

Elvisly Yours......Or Maybe Not? The King Reassessed

Postby HollywoodBabylon on Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:12 am

30 years ago this week The King finally left his earthly hell to find his paradise in the Great Beyond. His standing and legacy within 20th Century popular music is total and irreversible.

But does he deserve it?

A great singer, a great showman, a catalyst for a whole new lifestyle and sound, an artist whose influence on succeeding generations just cannot and will not be denied. He was the original and that is that. Case closed.

Or was he someone who just struck lucky, a man whose looks and voice overlooked the fact that he never wrote a single tune, someone whose actual creative talent is found sorely wanting when compared to The Beatles or Dylan. Was he nothing more than the first manufactured pop singer? And Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochrane. Do these artists deserve a higher standing?

On this, the 30th aniversary of his demise, it's time to put The King in the dock and ask the unaskable: The King is Dead. Should his reputation be as well?
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Postby minstrel on Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:59 am

Sure, Elvis wasn't a songwriter. But he was the first great rock singer. He kickstarted the music into being.

To me, his rep is based not on being the greatest, but on being the FIRST great rock performer.

I would also suggest that the fact that he was the first great WHITE rock performer was a major factor, but I don't want to risk forcing this thread into the EFBR.
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Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:03 am

I had a major crush on Elvis as a youngin'.

I watched all of his movies, they were sure cheesy, but good fun to watch.

As a performer, he was groundbreaking. He paved the way for the rest of them to do pelvic thrusts on stage.

I don't understand all the hoopla and ELVIS STILL LIVES STUFF though - that is a bit odd, to say the least.
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Postby The Todd on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:05 am

minstrel wrote:I would also suggest that the fact that he was the first great WHITE rock performer was a major factor, but I don't want to risk forcing this thread into the EFBR.


Funny you should mention race and the EFBR.....

I already voted that he wasn't overrated, but haven't given any reasons yet. I know that Elvis didn't write his songs. But he was a SHOWMAN. And a great one at that. He had the look, the sound, the shaking pelvis.

But part of what makes him The King, is that he helped usher African-American music into mainstream, white America. A lot of his music and sound takes its root from Southern, African-American songs and gospel music.

You can argue that he stole the Southern African-American sound and used it to make money. I don't think that's the case, but I won't play naive and say that it's not a possibility. But either way, his popularity did force people to realize this music existed and was terrific.....
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Postby King Psyz on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:09 am

Well a largely denied fact by many is that Elvis actually did give credit to the black musicians he got his music and sound from. But it wasn't a very popular stance during his heyday so it's not like the DJs or his Record company shouted it from on high before and after every performance.

But in Mia Wallace terms, I'm a Beatles man...
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Postby minstrel on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:27 am

Elvis's first producer, Sam Phillips, heard black artists on black radio and commented, "If I could find a white guy who sounds like a black guy, I'd make a billion dollars." Then he found Elvis.

That's the story, anyway. It may be apocryphal.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:41 am

minstrel wrote:Elvis's first producer, Sam Phillips, heard black artists on black radio and commented, "If I could find a white guy who sounds like a black guy, I'd make a billion dollars." Then he found Elvis.

That's the story, anyway. It may be apocryphal.


Maybe the credit should go to him then?
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:42 am

Heh man, if the King is overrated and overhyped and overpaid and overlai.. er.... well then who else in the world ISN'T?!

I always thought that The Beatles were slightly overrated myself as much as I love them anyway.

To me, what little I know of Elvis The King, well he brought magic and real life to us. When we would hear some of his songs, we'd be reminded of what life should be all about. The whole feeling is there in a lot of his songs. I think another near King to him is Marvin Gaye (who ambitioned to be a coloured Elvis anyway) who tributes to life in his songs wonderfull well too.

But, I'm tangenting. Put it this way, if even a miserable old sod like my Dad who likes NOTHING can come alive full of brightness for Elvis, his favourite singer ever, then Elvis truly is deserving of enough of his legendary status to make him worthy of the magic that he's given people.

Especially in this song. A fave of mine and a perfect song here, as it's a perfect tribute to him. Sorry about the crud quality.
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Postby judderman on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:54 am

Bit of an unfair question really, since it isn't possible for him NOT to be overrated. No one rated that highly could ever live up to the hype. Some of his music was good, some OK. I've always been more of a Beatles man than an Elvis man (to use QT's phrase) or, more accurately, a Mod rather than a Rocker, so I'm never likely to see Elvis the way his burgeoning cult does. And for God's sake; he's not effing Jesus! He's dead!
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Re: Elvisly Yours......Or Maybe Not? Reputations Reassessed

Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:54 am

HollywoodBabylon wrote:
On this, the 30th aniversary of his demise, it's time to put The King in the dock and ask the unaskable: The King is Dead. Should his reputation be as well?



I have this very large print in my bedroom. It's called Heaven's House Band - Celestial Tour. It consists of great rock legends. It's rather a cool painting. Nevertheless, it consists of many greats: Hendrix, Lennon, Marley, Holly, Morrison, Joplin, Garcia - also included in this picture is Elvis. I can't tell you how many times I've had friends say, "why is Elvis there"? :roll:

To me, he deserves the spot, even though he wasn't that great a singer, didn't write any lyrics - he did pave the way. That's my thoughts.
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Re: Elvisly Yours......Or Maybe Not? Reputations Reassessed

Postby minstrel on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:58 am

Maui wrote:To me, he deserves the spot, even though he wasn't that great a singer, didn't write any lyrics - he did pave the way. That's my thoughts.


WASN'T a great singer???

He was one of the greatest rock singers in history. Sure, his style is very old-school (how could it not be?), but he had the voice, the passion, the skill, and the presence to outshine nearly everyone who ever approached a microphone.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:58 am

judderman wrote: And for God's sake; he's not effing Jesus! He's dead!


DON'T...............SAY THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil: :evil: :x :x :P :P :P :( :( :evil: :mrgreen:
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Postby Seppuku on Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:00 pm

I'm not an Elvis man at all. If you go back to the Elvis era, I'd pick out Bo Diddley as my hero. THAT man could rock with the best of them: he had a killer sense of humour (take a listen to Say Man or Cops and Robbers). He had a totally unique guitar style which went on to influence everyone from The Velvet Underground to the whole Post Punk scene. HE was a legend. Elvis was a guy with too much Vaseline hair tonic.
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Re: Elvisly Yours......Or Maybe Not? Reputations Reassessed

Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:12 pm

minstrel wrote:
Maui wrote:To me, he deserves the spot, even though he wasn't that great a singer, didn't write any lyrics - he did pave the way. That's my thoughts.


WASN'T a great singer???

He was one of the greatest rock singers in history. Sure, his style is very old-school (how could it not be?), but he had the voice, the passion, the skill, and the presence to outshine nearly everyone who ever approached a microphone.


To me a great rock singer is Freddie Mercury. I know a different decade but that's who I compare most male singers too.

:D
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Postby Peven on Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:19 pm

i go with Ray Charles's assessment of Elvis, there wasn't anything Elvis did that Black dudes weren't already doing, and doing better. Elvis had a pretty white face, thats it.
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Re: Elvisly Yours......Or Maybe Not? Reputations Reassessed

Postby minstrel on Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:20 pm

Maui wrote:To me a great rock singer is Freddie Mercury. I know a different decade but that's who I compare most male singers too.

:D


Freddie's in the pantheon, too. So's Bob Seger, Roger Daltrey (from 1970-74, anyway), Janis Joplin, and others. But Elvis is there, too.
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Postby Fawst on Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:38 pm

I have a simple response to this:

Elvis is overrated simply because there is an undeniable market for paintings of the man on black velvet canvas.

No man, not even Jesus, deserves that level of praise. Or that lack of respect. You decide.
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Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:21 pm

Fawst wrote:I have a simple response to this:

Elvis is overrated simply because there is an undeniable market for paintings of the man on black velvet canvas.



Don't forget Las Vegas impersonators too.
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Postby The Todd on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:23 pm

Maui wrote:Don't forget Las Vegas impersonators too.


Did anyone ever stop to think that the legion of Elvis impersonators are like the army of Saddam Husein look-a-likes? Traveling the country so the REAL Elvis can elude the public eye and remain safe and anonymous.....

Think about it.
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Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:30 pm

The Todd wrote:
Maui wrote:Don't forget Las Vegas impersonators too.


Did anyone ever stop to think that the legion of Elvis impersonators are like the army of Saddam Husein look-a-likes? Traveling the country so the REAL Elvis can elude the public eye and remain safe and anonymous.....

Think about it.



hahahah. Don't they have some crazy thing now in Las Vegas where a large group of Elvis impersonators parachute off a plane? Or am I thinking of some movie... :roll:
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Postby The Todd on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:32 pm

Maui wrote:hahahah. Don't they have some crazy thing now in Las Vegas where a large group of Elvis impersonators parachute off a plane? Or am I thinking of some movie... :roll:


Normally, I'd always say you're thinking of some movie, but in this case, I believe you're thinking of 3000 Miles to Graceland.
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Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:33 pm

The Todd wrote:
Maui wrote:hahahah. Don't they have some crazy thing now in Las Vegas where a large group of Elvis impersonators parachute off a plane? Or am I thinking of some movie... :roll:


Normally, I'd always say you're thinking of some movie, but in this case, I believe you're thinking of 3000 Miles to Graceland.



Yeah you normally would say that. You are becoming predictable now, that's negative points.
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Postby The Todd on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:34 pm

Maui wrote:Yeah you normally would say that. You are becoming predictable now, that's negative points.


Bah! It's the TIMING that makes it unique and funny. That fact that you didn't understand that is negative points. 8)
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Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:38 pm

Oh whatever :evil:

Yeah, they did do that in "300 Miles to Graceland" but it's "Honeymoon in Vegas" I'm thinking of. Cage does the Elvis parachute thing, I remember now.
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Postby The Ginger Man on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:41 pm

I dont think that the number of impersonators or black velvet paintings or other like things really factor into Elvis being over/underrated. Elvis, like every geek property ever made, has fans and fanatics. Fanatic love isn't a realistic sign of how something is received overall.

That said, I wouldn't say Elvis is overrated. As a historically important musician, he opened the door to rock-n-roll, whether or not it was already being performed by African American performers. The man had charisma, great stage presence, and a killer voice.

He wasn't exactly original and he wasn't exactly Dylan...but the man had skill. He didnt perform in the age where anyone could be "produced" into sounding like a singer. Elvis wouldn't have been Elvis if he had been lacking in talent.
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Postby The Todd on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:42 pm

Maui wrote:Oh whatever :evil:

Yeah, they did do that in "300 Miles to Graceland" but it's "Honeymoon in Vegas" I'm thinking of. Cage does the Elvis parachute thing, I remember now.


I stand corrected! I knew that uncanny ability to relate scenes to every other movie except the one you are watching would pay off! :D
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Postby Seppuku on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:44 pm

I don't think Elvis Costello is overrated at all.
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Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:44 pm

The Ginger Man wrote:I dont think that the number of impersonators or black velvet paintings or other like things really factor into Elvis being over/underrated. Elvis, like every geek property ever made, has fans and fanatics. Fanatic love isn't a realistic sign of how something is received overall.


You are right. We are just going off in a silly direction is all.
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Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:46 pm

seppukudkurosawa wrote:I don't think Elvis Costello is overrated at all.



No, afterall, he wrote the book.
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Postby The Todd on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:47 pm

Maui wrote:
The Ginger Man wrote:I dont think that the number of impersonators or black velvet paintings or other like things really factor into Elvis being over/underrated. Elvis, like every geek property ever made, has fans and fanatics. Fanatic love isn't a realistic sign of how something is received overall.


You are right. We are just going off in a silly direction is all.


What do you mean 'WE'?
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Postby Maui on Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:50 pm

WE

Also called the royal we. (used by a sovereign, or by other high officials and dignitaries, in place of I in formal speech): We do not wear this crown without humility.
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Postby DennisMM on Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:46 pm

Elvis was overrated. How could he not be? All legends are overrated because even their dark sides and their great failures are excused or at least pushed into a corner where they are not so visible. Elvis didn't have that protection. As the money was pressed into the Colonel's rapacious hands, Elvis self-destructed on a thousand concert stages.

But let's not forget that Elvis Presley was Elvis before he was "Elvis." Ya know? He could sing, he could strut, he could dance before anybody but a few small-time people who booked carnival shows had ever seen him. He wasn't developed, but the man had immense raw talent. Could he really sing you might ask? Listen to the voice and the phrasing, especially on the Sun sides. Listen to his gospel recordings. Don't listen to the moronic lyrics he was too often made to warble. Turn off your language center if you must and listen to the sound. The man had a great voice and knew what to do with it. When he was given decent material he cared what he did with it.

Was he creative? Not really. Was Dean Martin, another wonderful voice with a fine sense of style, creative? No. But each brought to his genre a gift that he used well for a time and, after that time was past and he became a parody of himself, still on occasion.




If you ask me if I'm an Elvis man or a Beatles man I'll have to say Beatles. If you ask me if I'm a Beatles man or a Stones man I'll shout, "THE WHO!"
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Postby Blondie on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:05 pm

Elvis was sexy
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Postby judderman on Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:58 am

Anyone else see Elvis worship as a new religion?
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Postby tapehead on Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:19 am

Peven wrote:i go with Ray Charles's assessment of Elvis, there wasn't anything Elvis did that Black dudes weren't already doing, and doing better. Elvis had a pretty white face, thats it.


I wonder why Carl Perkins never became a bigger hit, then?

"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother. He said I was good and I said he was good; we never argued about that. Elvis was a hard worker, dedicated, and God loved him. Last time I saw him was at Graceland. We sang Old Blind Barnabus together, a gospel song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There'll never be another like that soul brother."

James Brown



I'm with James Brown... with a little of the Flavour.


"Motherfuck him and John Wayne!"


judderman wrote:Anyone else see Elvis worship as a new religion?


I'm sure I've read that Bob Dylan has a theory that there will eventually be a Church of Elvis.
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Postby Peven on Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:50 am

Tape, do you know Elvis is purported as saying the only thing a Black man could do for him was shine his shoes?

as much as he owed his career to the creativity and work of Black musicians you didn't see him paying the kind of homage that guys like The Beatles or the Stones did, who made trips over here to meet Black Musicians as if it were a pilgrimage, and would openly make reference to the impact those guys had on their own music and success.
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Postby tapehead on Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:01 am

Peven wrote:Tape, do you know Elvis is purported as saying the only thing a Black man could do for him was shine his shoes?

Yeah buddy, I've heard that one, I never said he was a smart man.
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Postby Peven on Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:09 am

why do i imagine a dry sarcastic tone in the term "buddy"? :( :lol:
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Postby Seppuku on Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:09 am

Peven wrote:why do i imagine a dry sarcastic tone in the term "buddy"? :( :lol:


He's an Australian, not an American!!! :wink:


Also, I've heard that Elvis quote before and a few more similar ones whose cumulative effect on me is that I have no respect for the guy. To me, he's always seemed like a dumb, wooden figurehead for the Southern "moral" heart of the U.S [of the '50s]. whose kids wanted something a little more kicking than swing to dance to. Some of those songs are pretty classic in their own way, it's just I think his singing style was all affectation and no heart (as opposed to, let's say, Gene Vincent, who had an incredible voice). Couple that with the honky politics he represented, and you've got someone representative of all the worst traits of America and only a few of its upsides. Taken on tunes alone, his back-catalogue isn't even as sharp as Buddy Holly's or definitely Chuck Berry's. He wasn't the first. he wasn't the best, so why is he still referred to as The King?
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Postby Peven on Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:40 am

seppukudkurosawa wrote:
Also, I've heard that Elvis quote before and a few more similar ones whose cumulative effect on me is that I have no respect for the guy. To me, he's always seemed like a dumb, wooden figurehead for the Southern "moral" heart of the U.S. who wanted something a little more kicking than swing to dance to. Some of those songs are pretty classic in their own way, it's just I think his singing style was all affectation and no heart (as opposed to, let's say, Gene Vincent, who had an incredible voice). Couple that with the honky politics he represented, and you've got someone representative of all the worst traits of America and only a few of its upsides. Taken on tunes alone, his back-catalogue isn't even as sharp as Buddy Holly's or definitely Chuck Berry's. He wasn't the first. he wasn't the best, so why is he still referred to as The King?


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Postby so sorry on Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:01 am

seppukudkurosawa wrote:Also, I've heard that Elvis quote before and a few more similar ones whose cumulative effect on me is that I have no respect for the guy. To me, he's always seemed like a dumb, wooden figurehead for the Southern "moral" heart of the U.S [of the '50s]. whose kids wanted something a little more kicking than swing to dance to. Some of those songs are pretty classic in their own way, it's just I think his singing style was all affectation and no heart (as opposed to, let's say, Gene Vincent, who had an incredible voice). Couple that with the honky politics he represented, and you've got someone representative of all the worst traits of America and only a few of its upsides. Taken on tunes alone, his back-catalogue isn't even as sharp as Buddy Holly's or definitely Chuck Berry's. He wasn't the first. he wasn't the best, so why is he still referred to as The King?



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Postby Seppuku on Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:38 am

Man, I wonder what would happen if they all got together and decided to take over the US. They'd probably rename it Graceland, change the national anthem to (Let me be your) Teddy Bear, and force the army to wear gold lamé uniforms so as to blind their opponents into submission.

Sounds good. Where do I sign up?
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Postby The Vicar on Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:43 pm

Peven wrote:Tape, do you know Elvis is purported as saying the only thing a Black man could do for him was shine his shoes?


Bull talk from some asshat who wouldn't have had a career without the sweat & genius of black men who were better than he was.
They created.
Elvis stole.
What did Presley do, other than bloat out on drugs and die a sad, pathetic Vegas lounge lizard on the crapper?
King of rock & roll my ass.
Elvis was a douche.
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Postby Seppuku on Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:48 pm

IPAMPILASH!

If Elvis was a douche (which he was), then long live douches if they get Vicar fired-up enough to make Zoney-worthy posts like that.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:39 pm

The Vicar wrote:Bull talk from some asshat who wouldn't have had a career without the sweat & genius of black men who were better than he was.
They created.
Elvis stole.
What did Presley do, other than bloat out on drugs and die a sad, pathetic Vegas lounge lizard on the crapper?
King of rock & roll my ass.
Elvis was a douche.


Burl?
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Postby wonkabar on Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:04 pm

When I look out into your eyes out there,
When I look out into your faces,
You know what I see?
I see a little bit of Elvis
In each and every one of you out there.
Lemme tell ya...
Well...
Elvis is everywhere. Elvis is everything. Elvis is everybody. Elvis is still the king.
Man o man what I want you to see?
Is that the big E's inside of you and me! Elvis is everywhere, man!
He's in everything.
He's in everybody...Elvis is in your jeans.
He's in your cheesburgers
Elvis is in Nutty Buddies!
Elvis is in your mom!
He's in everybody.
He's in the young, the old, the studly, the skinny,
the white, the black, the brown and the blue people got Elvis in 'em too
Elvis is in everybody out there.
Everybody's got Elvis in them!
Everybody except one person that is...
Yeah, one person!
The evil opposite of Elvis.
The Anti-Elvis

Anti-Elvis got no Elvis in 'em,
lemme tell ya.

Michael J. Fox has no Elvis in him.

And Elvis is in Joan Rivers
but he's trying to get out, man!
He's trying to get out!
Listen up Joanie Baby!

Man, there's a lot of unexplained phenomenon
out there in the world.
Lot of things people say
What the heck's going on?
Let me tell ya!
Who built the pyramids?
ELVIS!
Who built Stonehenge?
ELVIS!
Yeah, man you see guys
walking down the street
pushing shopping carts
and you think they're talking to allah,
they're talking to themself.
Man, no they're talking to ELVIS!
ELVIS! ELVIS!
You know whats going on in that Bermuda Triangle?
Down in the Bermuda Traingle
Elvis needs boats! Aahh! The Sailing Elvis!
Captain Elvis!
Commodore Elvis it is.
Yeah man, you know people from outer space,
people from outer space they come up to me.
They don't look like like Doctor Spock.
They don't look like Klingons,
all that Star Trek jive.
They look like Elvis.
ELVIS!
Everybody in outer space looks like Elvis.
Cause Elvis is a perfect being.
We are all moving in perfect peace and harmony towards Elvisness! Soon all will become Elvis.
Everything everywhere will be Elvis.
Why do you think they call it evolution anyway? It's really Elvislution!
That's right ladies and gentlemen,
The time has come!
Time has come to talk
To that little bit of Elvis inside of you. Talk to it! Call it up! Say "Elvis, heal me!"
"Save me, Elvis!"
"Make me be born again in the perfect Elvis light"
That's right!
You've got that Elvis inside of ya, and he's talkin to ya
He says he wants you to sing!
Everybody's got to sing like the king!
Like the king
Get that leg going now
Get your lip too.
Not no fool Billy Idol lip either
Everybody!
Yeah, we're rockin now! Elvis is with us. He's with us and he's speaking to us.
He says "Peoples!"
"Peoples!"
"Everybody!"
"Everybody got to sing!"

Elvis is everywhere
Elvis is everything
Elvis is everybody
Elvis is still the king
Last edited by wonkabar on Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Cha-Ka Khan on Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:17 pm

I was actually fortunate enough to watch Mojo Nixon perform that live in a small club.

Maybe fortunate isn't the right word.

In any event, the song rings true!
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Postby The Vicar on Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:35 pm

seppukudkurosawa wrote:IPAMPILASH!

If Elvis was a douche (which he was), then long live douches if they get Vicar fired-up enough to make Zoney-worthy posts like that.


You're welcome..... :wink:
.
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Postby The Vicar on Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:36 pm

"Elvis ate America, before America ate him....."

bono ( not Sonny, smart asses...)
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Postby DennisMM on Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:46 pm

If we're going to talk about the "shoe shine" remark, let's not forget that Elvis Costello called Ray Charles a blind, ignorant n----r. That's two Elvises, two racist remarks, two great performers.
"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." -- Noam Chomsky
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