Two For Tuesday: Elvis Presley

I blew it! Last Tuesday was Elvis Presley’s birthday. He would have been 78 years old. He should have been last week’s featured artist. Oh well, sometimes even dear Homer sleeps…

You can’t talk about popular music without talking about Elvis Presley. He was more than a singer and movie star, he was a cultural phenomenon. As with so many Southern singers and musicians, he got his start in church; as such, he had a great love for gospel music, and had the perfect voice for it. I chose a couple of songs that will give you some idea of what I mean. The first, “Help Me,” was a song that he began singing around the time he did his famous “Aloha from Hawaii” concert in the mid-Seventies. This is from a 1974 performance and includes Portuguese subtitles. The second is “If I Can Dream,” taken from his 1968 comeback TV special. It was written by Walter Earl Brown for the special, and includes a number of direct quotes from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, who had been assassinated in Memphis the previous April. While not a gospel song per se, Elvis sang it as one, and brought his backup singers to tears during the recording. It spent thirteen weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1968 and early 1969, peaking at number twelve.

A belated “happy birthday” to Elvis Presley, your Two for Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

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