Saturday, 12 April 2008

Elvis revisited

Like millions of others each year, I visited Graceland and whilst not exactly going in as an Elvis fan I certainly left as one. It's not that I actually listen to a lot of the music but that if anyone has to be King of rock'n'roll then it is him. Seeing the passion and belief of elvis reflected throughout the accounts of his close friends and family was quite an eye-opener - his daughter imploring him before the concert to include 'How Great Thou Art' in the set list - Lisa again describing that you could feel his energy precede him as he commenced down the central stiarcase at Graceland, his hair and outfits prepared to perfection in anticaption of greeting his guests.

As much as some of the accounts of Elvis suggested a character a little larger than life, my conviction was that he was a believer; certainly a believer in his ability, art, voice, and music; surely a believer in his family; with a deep personal belief in God and commitment to gospel music.

I don't know much about Elvis' personal experience of his faith but I know what he sounds like when he sings the gospel and, guess what? He sounds like he believes it. According to all the abounts of his life and work in Memphis and Nashvile he simply didn't do things that he didn't believe in. I may not like everything he recorded or even half of it, but he scrutinized each and every new song he was offered before decidinng to recording.

That he was troubled and addicted to prescription drugs doesn't lead me to question his belief in God. I can hear him reaching up in the high notes and you know he wasn't singing about himself. If he anything, the stars who cut their teeth on gospel music before getting hooked up with their own stardom may even make the best job of singing it: I see Elvis searching himself in his performance for the simple knowledge of God beyond a time and place where the world and the flesh have any say of his thoughts and behavior. King of rock n roll is one thing- king of the universe that's something else.

Don't take my word for it- youtube me Elvis right now!!!

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