IF you haven’t seen the Elvis biopic at the cinema, you should go.
It’s a bit long at two hours and 39 minutes, but Austin Butler, who I’ve never heard of before, plays the title role beautifully.
Centered around both “Colonel” Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks) and the singer of the same name, the film, while uplifting and brilliant, is ultimately a tragic tale of how dysfunctional relationships and greed sap a young man’s idealism can distort and destroy talent. Everyone wanted a piece of Elvis Presley, and everyone got it; unfortunately little left for the man himself.
Parker, a swindler in both name and background, always put his own interests first, milking his cash cow with everything he was worth and more. Elvis, trapped in a totally codependent relationship, had no choice but to believe and invest in the charlatan impresario and it killed him.
In the end, it was the tight schedule of his Las Vegas residency – 636 shows at the International, back-to-back energetic, sweaty performances each night, with Elvis “relying on ebbs and flows to get through his hectic, energetic schedule,” according to a BBC -Documentation of his later life that killed him.
Priscilla, his wife and only truly grounded counselor, had divorced him in 1973 because she could no longer stand his unpredictable behavior, and in the four short years before his death his physical and mental health deteriorated greatly. However, Parker had made his money and kept losing at the roulette tables right where his income was guaranteed.
But Priscilla’s courage shone after her husband’s death. Graceland and Elvis’ extraordinary form of rock ‘n’ roll have all been successfully nurtured, preserved and monetized by her to ensure that most of his legacy is what we remember. Later this month, with Priscilla’s blessing, a massive collection of Elvis’ jewelry will be auctioned off – 200 pieces of jewelry he’s gifted to Parker over the years.
In this tiny corner of Ireland, at least, he belts out joy, pathos, spirituals and rock
In an interview about the sale, she explained: “There are so many products that aren’t authentic at all and that worries me. I want to be sure this goes to someone who cares, loves it.”
Well, I for one loved listening to Elvis’ long and incredible songbook. It’s retro and red hot at the same time.
In the current sunshine amid depressing global news, 45 years after his death, he belts out joy, pathos, spirituals and rock in at least this tiny corner of Ireland. His concert is probably the only concert you would give anything to see live.
Las Vegas residencies are now commonplace as mega money-making opportunities for an artist without the hassle of travel. Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, Shania Twain, Diana Ross and the recently deceased Olivia Newton-John have graced Sin City, and now we’re hearing even our own U2 will do so in 2023.
None, dare I say, will come close to the magic that The King was, for all his slick, technical performances.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/its-45-years-since-his-death-but-elvis-presley-is-still-the-king-41901749.html 45 years have passed since his death – but Elvis Presley is still the king