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Friday, December 19, 2008

The Sanctity of Elvis

Some things are sacred.

Ask my family which Christmas music I subject them to ad nauseum and you'll hear a resounding "Elvis." To me, while I'm far away from everyone and every place that connects me to childhood holidays, nothing has quite the power to resurrect the Christmas spirit in me more than his music. His songs are every tree-decorating Sunday when his "Christmastime, Pretty Baby" inspired a burlesque striptease of loud holiday sweaters and fits of laughter to last all day, every shingle my father hand-glued on a homemade dollhouse when I was eight, every nasty pecan sand tart my brother insisted my mom make.

With the release this season of Elvis Presley: Christmas Duets, we are subjected to a play list of tracks laid over his vocals by a smattering of female singers of our time. Someone should really tell Carrie Underwood that winning American Idol does not grant her the keys to every kingdom, but even her "I'll Be Home For Christmas" track is stellar compared to a duet with Gretchen Wilson. I feel confident Elvis would overdose all over again if he knew his "Merry Christmas Baby" was forever united with the Queen of Wal-mart. Why not extend the Elvis empire to a "Silver Bells" duet with Rob Zombie? A Fall Out Boy "Silent Night"? Lisa Marie, in all her lip-twitching glory, should be the only one allowed to sing with her father. Just because we have the technology, doesn't mean we should use it.

Wow, that was a theme in my previous novel. Huh.

Anyway, maybe I'm just an old soul with a semi-youthful glow. So to make amends with all of you out there who think marrying Elvis to Olivia Newton-John in "O Come, All Ye Faithful" bliss is the best new Christmas song since "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer", I offer up a way for you, too, to sing with The King. Please don't send me your version. I'll either be listening to Elvis or Rob Zombie-just not at the same time.

10 comments:

Rick said...

The idea of a Rob Zombie-Elvis duet just hurt my head!

laughingwolf said...

i'm with rick... OW!

Jen FitzGerald said...

Absolutely, L.A.--some things should remain sacred.

Merry Elvis Christmas to you--

Jen

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm listening to OZZY's "black rain"
at the moment. Black rain is pretty close to white snow.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I used to hate Elvis. Growing up in the late sixties, I regarded him with suspicion and decided he was a greaser and therefore, not worthy of my attention. When he died in the late seventies, I still held onto my bigotry of Elvis and the culture of the fifties that gave him birth. Still...in the last few years, I think I've started to develop an appreciation for THE KING.

Elvis was a phenomena..and he certainly helped popularize certain forms of music that white kids might not have become acquainted with, at least not for a while. However, while Elvis was rocking to HOUND DOG, the woman who wrote and sang that number (Big Mama Thorton) was still touring the chitlin' circuit, crooning with a sax and guitar for accompanyment.

At least Elvis did'nt destroy the integrity of Rand B. His rock and roll wasn't offensive. Unlike Pat Boone and other whites recruited by the studios to produce white "race records". Who can ever forget Boone's rousing version of "Tooty Fruity". Good God. Yawl.

So, here's to Elvis. I wronged you and in my twilight years I admit your work had merit and that your presence made the music world a better place.

Vesper said...

Oh, I just couldn't and won't listen to those duets! :-)
I love Elvis...

Merry Christmas, L.A.! I hope you listen to his songs to your heart's desire... :-)

Barbara Martin said...

L.A., you just go ahead and listen to Elvis all you want this Christmas.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Rick and laughingwolf...not the best visual, either. All the swinging hips and dreadlocks :O

Jen...Merry Christmas to you, too!

Charles...essential Ozzy to balance out the overdose of Christmas music, right?

Stewart...I shall erect a confessional over the holidays for future soul-bearing. What a heart-felt sentiment and very much appreciated here. Merry Christmas!

Vesper...another purist :) Merry Christmas back at ya.

Barbara...thank you. My family would not, however :)

Darlene said...

...but isn't Rob Zombie going to release a CD of holiday music ...and isn't one of the tracks going to be "Blue Christmas" with White Zombie backing him? =D

LMAO! This is a great post, L.A.! So true about having the technology and the good sense of when to use it. I say let the man rest in peace and totally agree that only his daughter should be able to do a 'duet' with him. Same thing for Hank Williams & Hank, Jr. (not that anyone else is recording "with" him).
**pushing soapbox back under desk**

darlene

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