In honor of my 50th post (yes, I’ve been posting about Elvis every week for almost a year. And, I still have things to say about him…can you believe it?), anyway, I thought I would see if I could think of 50 things I love about Elvis. In the words of Barney Stinson…Challenge accepted!
So…here goes…(This is really long, and I doubt anyone will read it all, but I wrote it anyway :))
- His voice: From his early days to the last days of his life, he had a beautiful, powerful voice that you could feel clear through to your soul.
- His movies: He made 31 motion pictures, and while not all of them were riveting classics, some were really great movies, and the ones that weren’t all that great were still fun and enjoyable.
- He was a man’s man. He loved football, was a black belt in Karate, loved fast cars, wasn’t afraid to fight, whether it was defending himself or coming to the defense of someone else. He also insisted on doing his own stunts in Roustabout, which was pretty cool for a multi-mega-million star like him.
- His generosity: Not only did he give to charities and to his friends and family, he gave to complete strangers. In his own words: “Money’s meant to be spread around. The more happiness it helps to create, the more it’s worth. It’s worthless as an old cut-up paper if it just lays in a bank and grows there without ever having been used to help a body”
- His delivery: Not only did Elvis have an amazing voice, he delivered a song with so much heart, that he actually made you believe whatever he was singing.
- His love for his mother.
- His sense of humor.
- His service in the army. As everyone knows, he was drafted at the height of the beginning of his career. He was offered an opportunity to get out of it, or to go into special services where he would only have to entertain and be a spokesperson for the military, but he chose to do his tour like any other soldier.
- He was humble. He was in awe of his good fortune and his fame. He was afraid that one day he would wake up and find it had all been a dream, or that everyone would forget him.
- He stayed true to his home town of Memphis, bought a house there and remained in it for the twenty years from the time he purchased it to the time he passed away.
- His knack for producing music. The people who worked with him said Elvis was a genius at arranging his music, and he had an uncanny knack for getting everything exactly right in his songs.
- His ability to make people happy. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard fans say that listening to Elvis music or watching his movies helped them during some of the darkest times of their lives. I haven’t really had ‘dark’ times in my life, thank God, but when I’m down, I can listen to him or watch his movies, and I immediately feel better.
- The way he connected with and worked the audience. He didn’t just perform, he engaged with the audience, giving scarfs and kisses, joking with them and making them feel a part of something truly special.
- His relationship with his father. While he wasn’t as close to him as he was his mother, he loved him and treated him well all his life.
- He treated his employees with respect and appreciation.
- He was a great friend. If you were allowed in his circle, he treated you like family and he gave the same loyalty he expected to receive. Granted, he fired his friends from time to time when they pissed him off, but most of the time, he rehired them.
- He was a badass. In 1956, he got into a fight with two guys at a gas station, one of them was nearly twice his size, and he held his own. And, in June of 1977, he noticed two guys beating up on another guy and he jumped out of his limo and stopped the fight. (I’ve told these stories before, but they are worth repeating)
- He had a way of making people feel comfortable and important, even though he was a super star. I, of course, did not have the pleasure of experiencing this myself, but I’ve heard several interviews with people who said the same.
- His charisma. He had a special presence, a special charisma that you could feel, even in a concert hall with tens of thousands of other people. I can only imagine what it must have been like up close and personal.
- He was sexy. The way he moved, his looks, the way he expressed himself, the way he sang, sooo sexy.
- His way of speaking. He had an adorable southern accent and a speaking voice that was just as sexy as his singing voice.
- He was patriotic. He loved America and was proud of his country.
- He shot up televisions. Many people might think this is a negative, but I think it’s funny. And, in the words of JD Sumner, of the stamps quartet, to Elvis, destroying a television would be like us tossing a 98 cent lighter when it stopped working. How many of us would like to pull out a gun and blow a hole in the television when, say, the Kardashians come on?
- He gave his all in concerts. He sang, danced, joked with the audience and worked his heart out in his performances.
- His spirituality. He loved God and sang the heck out of gospel music.
- His eyes. I know this falls under looks, but they were so beautiful, so special, that they deserve a number of their own. Blue, sparkling, and gorgeous.
- Even though he wasn’t crazy about many of the movies he made, or the songs he sang, he told his guys that, if they were going to perform the songs, no matter how silly they were, they were going to do the best job they could.
- He didn’t conform. When he was in school, his dress and hair style was a unique style that made him the butt of ridicule, but he still wore and did what he wanted, no matter what others thought. He did the same when he started his career. He took a lot of criticism, a lot of heat, but he prevailed and started a movement that rocked the world.
- His love of fun. He was a kid at heart and loved to have a good time with his buddies. Once he became famous, he couldn’t go to movies or amusement parks like normal people, so he would rent them out in the wee hours and entertain all his friends.
- Graceland. His home was his haven, his refuge, and he welcomed his friends and family into it. I love that, even all these years after his death, his home is a place where fans can go to see his things and feel his presence.
- He shared the stage with others. I loved in his concerts when he would turn the stage over to one or the other of his background singers, when he would introduce his band, and give everyone on stage special attention. I remember in the Elvis on Tour documentary, when he had the Stamps sing “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” and the audience was cheering, and he gently shushed them so he could listen to the Stamps sing.
- The ’68 Special. His first performance after 8 years of making movies and not doing concerts was a ground-breaking, masterpiece of a success.
- His smile. Again, part of his looks, but it deserves its own number. He had a beautiful, engaging smile that lit up his entire face.
- In that vein, his laugh. He had a great sense of humor and loved cutting up with his friends and on stage. People who knew him said he hand an infectious laugh and when you heard it, you couldn’t help but feel happy.
- His love of reading and thirst for knowledge. It bothered Elvis that he hadn’t gone to college, so he read everything he could get his hands on and educated himself on as many subjects as he could.
- His appreciation of his fans. He was truly grateful for the love and support of his fans. He didn’t take them for granted, he was always aware that we were the ones who put him where he was, and he showed his appreciation.
- This line in Jailhouse Rock.
- He was polite. He called people sir and ma’am and treated others with respect.
- The way he was on movie sets. The people he worked with said he didn’t act like a superstar, like he was better than they were. He listened to their advice, he was easy to work with, and he made everyone feel comfortable.
- He never forgot his beginnings. He didn’t try to hide who he was or where he came from. He was used to being poor, and he was aware his fortune could be taken away.
- His rehearsals. Thanks to Sirius Elvis Radio, we have the opportunity to listen in on some of his rehearsals. Not only was he funny and loose and engaging, even when he messed up on a song, it was still fantastic.
- If he liked someone and wanted to keep them around, he would just give them a job. He was responsible for tons of people making an excellent living and being able to take care of their families.
- He knew what he wanted, especially when it came to his music, and he did what it took to make each song the best it could be. In 1956, he wanted the Jordanaires to sing back up, but Chet Atkins was the producer, and he refused to allow them to come to the recording session. Elvis never cared for Chet after that. And, not long after, the Jordanaires were part of his band. When he recorded Jerry Reed’s “Guitar Man,” the guitar did not sound like it did on Jerry’s version, and he wanted that sound. So, he brought Jerry Reed himself in to play on the song.
- He loved movies…something he and I have in common. His favorites were Peter Sellers movies. Oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Peter Sellers movie, but I plan to watch one, one of these days.
- He loved football. I think it’s so cool that he loved sports, and football was his favorite. The Cleveland Browns were his favorite team. I have a feeling, had he lived, he would have enjoyed pro basketball, once the Memphis Grizzlies came to be.
- He was a wonderful father. Lisa Marie was only nine years old when he died, but in the short time she had her father, he doted on her. She still holds special memories of him and is proud to be his daughter.
- His concerts. I had the honor of attending three of Elvis’ concerts, and they were truly magnificent. You could literally feel the electricity in the air when he walked on stage.
- His music: He was one of the most versatile singers in history. He could sing blues, country, rock, soul, pop, gospel, and even opera. He recorded nearly 800 songs, and like his movies, I didn’t love all of them, but most of them were fantastic.
- Elvis Christmas. Elvis recorded several awesome Christmas songs. And, it was his favorite time of year. He had Graceland decorated beautifully each Christmas season, and they are still using the same decorations. His favorite thing about the holiday was generously giving to his friends, family, and employees.
- His desire to be a serious actor. While I loved his movies, they weren’t exactly critically acclaimed. And, with the exception of King Creole, Elvis wasn’t very proud of his movies. He studied actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean and had the desire to do the kind of films they did.
There you have it, 50 things. If I put my mind to it, I might be able to come up with a few more. Is there anything I missed that you love about Elvis?
~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~*
Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.
Learn more here, including how to donate:
END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!
On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.
All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.
Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.
What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?