Tuesday, April 1, 2014



Thomas Kinkade's Graceland Anniversary Painting


Nearing Menopause, I Run Into Elvis at Shoprite
Barbara Crooker

near the peanut butter.  
He calls me ma’am, like the sweet
southern mother’s boy he was.  
This is the young Elvis,
slim-hipped, dressed in leather, black hair swirled
like a duck’s backside.  
I’m in the middle of my life,
the start of the body’s cruel betrayals, 
the skin beginning
to break in lines and creases, 
the thickening midline.
I feel my temperature rising, 
as a hot flash washes over,
the thermostat broken down.  
The first time I heard Elvis
on the radio, 
I was poised between girlhood 
and what comes next.
My parents were appalled, 
in the Eisenhower fifties, by rock
and roll and all it stood for, 
let me only buy one record,
“Love Me Tender,” and I did.

I have on a tight orlon sweater, circle skirt,
eight layers of rolled-up net petticoats, 
all bound together by a woven straw cinch belt.  
Now I’ve come full circle, 
hate the music my daughter loves,
 Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, 
Crash Test Dummies.
Elvis looks embarrassed for me.  
His soft full lips
are like moon pies, 
his eyelids half-mast, pulled
down bedroom shades.  
He mumbles, “Treat me nice.”

Now, poised between menopause 
and what comes next, 
the last dance, 
I find myself in tears
 by the toilet paper rolls,
hearing “Unchained Melody” 
on the sound system.  
“That’s all right now, Mama,” Elvis says, 
“Anyway you do is fine.”  
The bass line thumps and grinds,
 the honky tonk piano moves like an ivory
river, full of swampy delta blues.  
And Elvis’s voice wails above
it all, the purr and growl, 
the snarl and twang, above the chains
of flesh and time.



Teddy Bear - 1957

25 Fun Facts About Elvis Presley, 
the King of Rock & Roll
Some Fascinating Facts
 Top 10 facts about Elvis Presley
This Day in Music

50 Elvis Facts
A Sampling From Here and There

  • Elvis' famous black hair was dyed - his natural color was brown.
  • In 1947, a local radio show offered a young Elvis (age 12) a chance to sing live on air, but he was too shy to go on.
  • In 1954, Elvis auditioned for a gospel quartet named the Songfellows.  They said no. 
  • That same year, a local radio DJ played Elvis' version of That's All Right.  He went on to play it 13 more times that day, but had trouble convincing his audience that Elvis was white.
  • He played only five concerts outside the U.S., all on a 3-day tour of Canada in 1957.  Many believe that the reason why he never toured abroad again was that his longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was an illegal immigrant from Holland who would have been deported had he applied for a U.S. passport.
  • Elvis was 6 feet tall and wore a size 11 shoe.
  • Performing "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" in Las Vegas in 1969, Elvis did one of his frequent lyric changes to amuse himself.  Instead of "Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?", he sang "Do you look at your bald head and wish you had hair?"
  • In 1956, he began his film career with a western, Love Me Tender.  His second film, Loving You, featured his parents as audience members.  Following his mother's death in 1957, he never watched the film again.  He went on to make a total of 31 movies in his career.
  • Elvis' popularity faded in the 1960's with the rise of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and others.  He successfully relaunched his career with a 1968 television special that came about because Elvis had walked down a busy Los Angeles street and had no one recognize or approach him.
  • He was distantly related to former U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter.
  • Elvis recorded more than 600 songs, but did not write any of them.
  • Elvis served 17 months in Germany during his stint with the US Army.
  • Elvis had 10 consecutive songs that went to #1 on the charts.
  • Elvis had 107 top 40 songs - more than anybody in history.
  • At the age of 36, Elvis Presley became the youngest recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • The minor planet 17059 Elvis was discovered by Australian astronomer John Broughton in 1999 and named after Elvis Presley.
  • Elvis had 18 No. 1 hits in the U.S. from "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1956 to "Suspicious Minds" in 1969.
  • Elvis is the only solo performer to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll, Country, and Gospel Halls of Fame.
  • "Flaming Star" is Elvis' only non-singing movie role.
  • In 1957, Elvis was rushed to a Los Angles hospital after swallowing a porcelain cap from one of his front teeth which then lodged itself in one of his lungs.
  • In Switzerland it is illegal to cut a front lawn while dressed as Elvis Presley.
  • Elvis became a karate blackbelt in 1960 and went on to use karate moves in his stage shows.
  • Preseucoila imallshookupis is a species of gall wasp derived from the Elvis Presley song 'All Shook Up'.
  • Elvis is Norse for "all wise."
  • At age 10, Elvis placed fifth singing "Old Shep" at a children's talent show.
That's All Right, Mama
Released in the summer of 1954, 
"That's All Right" was Presley's
 first commercial single
  • Elvis' maternal grandmother was Jewish, so Elvis added a Star of David to his mother's gravestone in the mid-sixties.
  • Ethnic derivation for Elvis Presley: Scottish, Irish, German, Welsh, Cherokee Indian and French.
  • Presley preferred sponge baths.
  • Presley worked as an usher at Lowe's State movie theater in Memphis. He was fired when he was discovered taking free candy from the girl working the concession stand.
  • Elvis smoked thin German cigars.
 Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
  • Presley's movie idol was Tony Curtis.
  • Elvis' big disappointment while in Germany in the Army was he never got to meet Brigitte Bardot.
  • In 1956, Elvis made "Love Me Tender" and in 1957, he did "Loving You." In the hiatus between filming these two epics, he had plastic surgery on his nose, had his teeth capped, and had his acne professionally treated.
  • Elvis dated Natalie Wood, but only for a very brief period. He said he didn't like the way she smelled.
  • Presley had a slight stutter.
One Night With You
  • Elvis used A&D ointment to keep his lips soft.
  • Elvis recorded 15 songs with the word "blue" in the title.
  • Presley and the Beatles met at his BelAir, California house in 1965, after Colonel Tom Parker forced Elvis to invite the Fab Five over.
  • When Presley met Richard Nixon in 1970, Tricky Dick said: "You dress kind of strange, don't you? Elvis replied, "Well, Mr. President, you got your show, and I got mine."
  • Once, after receiving a kidnap/assassination threat, Elvis performed with a pistol in each boot.
Don't Leave Me Now - 1957
  • In the early 1970's, Presley would impersonate a police officer and pull people over and hand out autographs. He had purchased police equipment for his 36th birthday.
  • He turned down the opportunity to play Kris Kristofferson's role in "A Star Is Born" opposite Barbra Streisand, because the Colonel wouldn't let him. The chance was a career-making comeback opportunity, and ex-wife Priscilla urged him to take the role.
  • Once, while showing a woman a karate move in his Las Vegas hotel suite, he broke her ankle.
  • The year before he died, Presley was prescribed about 10,000 pills.
  • When Presley played Madison Square Garden in 1972, he rented the New York Hilton's top floor.
Mystery Train - 1955
  • Presley believed he would die in his forties like his mother, Gladys.
  • Elvis reportedly had a problem with teenage boys wanting to beat him up on his tour stops. (I wonder why?)
  • Elvis was reportedly regarded by fellow students as a “trashy kid who sang hillbilly music” when he took his guitar to school and sang during lunch.
  • In the eighth grade, Elvis received a “C” in music.
  • The first riot following an Elvis concert occurred in Jacksonville, FL, after Elvis finished a show by saying, “Girls, I’ll see you backstage.”
Don't Be Cruel - 1956
Elvis at Microphone - David Cowles

Here is the bona fide
Peanut Butter & Banana
PB&B recipe from 
"Graceland's Table"

Yield: 3 sandwiches

2 large ripe bananas
1 cup peanut butter
6 slices white bread
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

 —Peel and mash the bananas in a medium bowl. 
Combine the peanut butter 
with the bananas and mix well.

—Toast the bread lightly and spread 
the mixture on three of the slices; 
top with the remaining three slices.

—Melt the butter in a large skillet and 
slowly brown the sandwiches on both 
sides until golden brown.

Return to Sender - 1962

Elvis Quotes
“Some people tap their feet, 
some people snap their fingers, 
and some people sway back and forth. 
I just sorta do ‘em all together, I guess.”
Elvis in 1956, talking about his 

way of moving on stage.

Are You Lonesome Tonight - 1960

“Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. 
You never walked in that man’s shoes.”
Elvis often used this adaptation 
of a well-known quotation.

  Best Movie Scene 
Mean Woman Blues 
Loving You - 1957 

“When I was a child, 
ladies and gentlemen, 
I was a dreamer. 
I read comic books and 
I was the hero of the comic book. 
I saw movies and I was the hero in the movie. 
So every dream I ever dreamed has come true 
a hundred times...
I learned very early in life that: 
‘Without a song, the day would never end; 
without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; 
without a song, the road would never bend - 
without a song.' 
So I keep singing a song. 
Thank you.”
From his acceptance speech for the 

1970 Ten Outstanding Young Men 
of the Nation Award. 
Given at a ceremony on January 16, 1971. 
 (Elvis quotes from copyrighted material 
with lines from the song “Without a Song”.)

Treat Me Nice - 1957
Jailhouse Rock
 “The first time that I appeared on stage, 
it scared me to death. 
 I really didn’t know what all the yelling was about. 
I didn’t realize that my body was moving. 
It’s a natural thing to me. 
So to the manager backstage I said, 
‘What’d I do? What’d I do?’ 
And he said “Whatever it is, 
go back and do it again.”
From a 1972 taped interview used 

in MGM’s documentary "Elvis on Tour"

“ ‘Til we meet again, may God bless you. Adios.”
Said in 1977 at the end of a concert 
during his last tour.
  How Great Thou Art - 1966


Graceland Christmas - Thomas Kinkade

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