By Terri Hemmert

You may wonder, “What’s all the fuss about this Elvis character?  I mean, really, the jump suits….the movies.  I just don’t get it.”  Understandable if that’s all you know about the King of R&R.  If Elvis had only released the Sun Sessions album and his early work for RCA, and freaked out the adults with all that wiggling, and if his plane went down in Germany when he was there to serve in the U.S. Army, we would still be discussing how great he was and how he would only keep getting better, but died before he hit 30.   Elvis was great in the second half of the 1950’s because he was young, handsome, could sing, could shake his money maker and the dude really rocked.  Big time.  Like no one else before him.  Being the first means a lot.

What if Buddy Holly took the tour bus instead of the air plane?  What if he had lived past 22?  Would he have gone on to Vegas and do the jump suit gig complete with contact lenses, or would he have continued evolving as an artist?  A Rock & Roll specialist.

And it was on Elvis’ birthday in 1960 when Eddie Cochran had his last recording session.  Three months later he was killed in a car accident in England.  Would Eddie had gone all loungy on us or would he continue to experiment and be a leader in the development of this new form of music?  Who knows?  He as only 21 years old when he died.

And what if the Beatles’ plane went down during their first American tour?  They never would have released Revolver, The White Album, or even the song Yesterday with the string quartet.  They would be remembered as a darn good cover band with a few original songs and goofy hair cuts.

What if indeed.  So today on the King’s birthday, forget the jump suit jokes, and the Elvis cookbooks with recipes for fried peanut better and banana sandwiches.  Remember that he taught us how to rock.  The King is dead.  Long live the King.


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