Thursday, August 16, 2012

In Remembrance of Elvis

August 16 marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. Rock critic Lester Bangs concluded his essay "Where Were You When Elvis Died?" with:
If love truly is going out of fashion forever, which I do not believe, then along with our nurtured indifference to each other will be an even more contemptuous indifference to each others' objects of reverence. I thought it was Iggy Stooge, you thought it was Joni Mitchell or whoever else seemed to speak for your own private, entirely circumscribed situation's many pains and few ecstasies. We will continue to fragment in this manner, because solipsism holds all the cards at present; it is a king whose domain engulfs even Elvis's. But I can guarantee you one thing: we will never again agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis. So I won't bother saying good-bye to his corpse. I will say good-bye to you.
The essay appeared in The Village Voice on August 29, 1977 and is reprinted as the introduction to Elvis Presley: The Rebel Years (ML420.P74 E29 1994). It is part of out large collection of Presley biographies. Of course we have plenty of material by and about the King.

Special thanks to Jim Testa of Jersey Beat for the Bangs quote.

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