Elvis death anniversary increases tourism at his birthplace


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No surprise. I knew a few Elvis fanatics in my neighborhood when I was growing up. Every year on Jan. 7 and Aug. 16, they went to Graceland to visit, lay flowers, hold hands and sing his songs and try to reach his soul by seances. And BUY BUY BUY swag. They had everything about Elvis you could imagine - his films on videotapes, toy jukeboxes, posters on the walls, and LPs + cassettes + CDs of his work - even those crummy bastardized 'remix' albums where his voice is dubbed with synths and drum machines (you know what I mean, jellybean?). All this stuff and more out the yinyang!

There is NO question about the greatness, essentiality and importance of the King Elvis Presley. He brought rock'n'roll to the entire planet and now it's everywhere. But at the same time, there are total koo-koos who admire him to the point of worshipping him as a god. And that's not just a fan base, it's become a RELIGION.

He also gets cheaply imitated by some truly awful cover artists wearing white jumpsuits at casinos, weddings, corporate bashes, church festivals, etc. Even that tacky crap at least reflects how historically and culturally iconic Elvis truly is.

Nonetheless, I've been in Graceland and if I were to visit Tupelo I'd go and check this place out regardless. He's not a god but his impact is tremendous. And his songs are covered by everybody from Bryan Ferry to Cheap Trick to Motley Crue to ZZ Top. Also, his legacy and influence I have seen live in those two acts and Bruce Springsteen, Billy Idol, Adam Ant and more. Hail to the King!

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When music and artists are the topics of some of my lessons, most of my Japanese students under the age of 50 don't really know who he was.

But all of them can tell you everything about Michael Jackson.

Elvis at one time was the most recognized person on the planet.

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When he died, the BBC played his movies all week long.

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