Elvis Lives: A Triumph, Yet Incomplete.
NBC's presentation of "Elvis Lives" was a triumph in many aspects of how Elvis Presley continues to influence today’s music more than any other performer of his or any generation, I was equally impressed with the acknowledgement he received for his efforts to bridge the gap between racial boundaries of his and our time. Many African Americans today believe that Elvis stole their sound and music for his own gain, what many people do not realize is Elvis' love and respect for the black culture that originally produced gospel and rhythm and blues music and at no time did he ever try to say that it was his own creation. Elvis Presley was as poor and white trash as you could get back then and was raised around the sound of the Delta Blues in Memphis and that is the music that he grew to know as his roots. Much like Eminem of today who grew up listening to rap and hip hop. If not for Elvis Presley bringing black music to the attention of mainstream America, who knows what the music industry would be like today. To quote BB King, "They were not mistaken when they called him King."
As for the performances, over all I was impressed with the way Elvis' songs were performed except for one, Dave Matthews rendition of "Stuck on You" was not done in a way that I would have called a homage, it sounded too much like a Dave Matthews song and nothing like an Elvis song. I did especially enjoy No Doubt's rendition of "Suspicious Minds", by far my favorite performance of the show. It was presented in an Elvis style with a touch of No Doubt that really made me feel that they could actually place it on their next album.
Bono of U2 did an amazing job of expressing Elvis' influence overseas. It's really quite amazing to hear that, especially since he never toured outside the United States. Not that I understood Bono's poem at the end of the show, but I did feel an extreme amount of personal reverence from Bono toward Elvis.
As much as I was impressed with the way Elvis' influence on the music of today was expressed, I couldn't help but feel that something was missing. To begin with I don't believe the presentation was long enough, there were so many more venues to be represented that were not even mentioned, to begin with, Country Music stars of today were all but excluded from this presentation had it not been for Leann Rimes, who by the way is a crossover artist so I do not believe she was there representing her country association to music. To just give an example, Dwight Yoakum and Travis Tritt are two country musicians who have expressed receiving inspiration from Elvis. As much as he was the King of Rock and Roll, let us not forget the Grammy recognitions he received for his country music as well as the fact that a lot of today’s country hits are not that far from sounding like Rock-a-billy, one of Elvis' earlier styles of music. Latino musicians were also hardly mentioned as well.
The one thing I was happy to see it that there was not an overabundance mention of the new 30 #1 hits album, I understand that the producers of the album played a large role in the development of this presentation but kept true to its meaning. Overall it was a success, Elvis was and is still the King of Rock & Roll and continues to inspire us all, whether it be musically or just as human beings, because "If I can dream of a better land, where all my brothers walk hand in hand, tell me why, oh why, oh why can't my dream come true."
Long Live Elvis Presley.
Until next time E fans, “Elvis has left the building!”.
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