Saturday, August 18, 2012

Apropos Elvis Death Week

I've been interested in the decline and death of Elvis Presley from a young age, mostly since it first presented the seeming paradox that a person rich and famous could also be lonely and miserable (now that I'm older that seems less mysterious.) Each August during Elvis Week (which is really Elvis Death Week, since it falls on the anniversary of his passing), my mind wanders to his untimely demise.   It's less out of respect or worship than a purely morbid fascination with the fall of a once god-like man.

When I do contemplate Elvis' fate I often check out clips from his last live performances in 1977.  When watching them I have been struck both by his starkly noticable decline, as well has his flashes of determination. For instance, he horribly flubs the lyrics "Are You Lonesome Tonight" in an apparent pill-popping haze, but also gives us a spirited, defiant rendition of "My Way." It is not pleasant to watch someone dying, especially a person who was once so vibrant and majestic. Then again, this is the way of all flesh, and I find his attempt to keep himself together in the face of the Reaper as inspiring as it is depressing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember in '77, reading about how morbidly obese Elvis was, and then I look at photos or watch the last concert, and he looks slim by today's standards. Same with the Big Bopper in 1959. He was referred to as a "stout man" a "fat guy" but he was barely 200 lbs.