Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Elvis tribute

Elvis died today in 1977. Around 10 years after his death, I wrote a song for him. Then, 10 years after that I read this curious story in the paper:

'A US expert has discovered that the number of Presley copycats is spiralling out of control. Back in 1977, the year Elvis died of a heart attack at the age of 42, there were just 150 people impersonating him. This year (2000), that figure has risen to a staggering 85,000. If the number continues to rise at the same rate, by the year 2019 there will be three billion of them - a third of the entire world population. The shock statistic was exposed by Gordon Forbes, an American TV producer, who has just filmed a documentary about Elvis impersonators. His predictions astonished one of Britain's top Presley mimicks - "Chinese Elvis" Paul ‘the wonder of’ Hyu. Paul, 33, said: "If I'm going to have all this competition in the future, maybe I should branch out and do Alvin Stardust impressions instead? He's an untouched goldmine." Elvis look-alikes already stretch across the globe. They include a group of skydiving Presleys in Las Vegas called The Flying Elvi. And in Florida the first openly Jewish Elvis, called Melvis, performs such classics as Blue Suede Jews.'

The lyrics had to be completely re-written to accommodate this amazing concept! And then, in 2000, one of my favourite singers, Kirsty MacColl was killed - some would say unlawfully - and, in tribute, I changed the first line of my Elvis song. With a final version complete, I hastily recorded the song on a crappy old cassette recorder ... and here it is. If you can't figure out the lyrics, they're printed below. Read along because, yes, I did attach the wrong photo to the video. At least Star Wars was also something that happened in 1977.

There’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis
And another one who works at B & Q
There’s an Elvis Aaron Presley at the Bingo every Wednesday
And the Fine Fayre bacon counter has one too
Every year the population rises
The number is growing exponentially
In theatres and pavilions, they number in the millions
There’ll be more of them than us next century

We should rename the whole world ‘Planet Gracelands’
And call the solar system Tennessee
Because sooner or later we’ll all be impersonators
But if everyone is Elvis … Who’s gonna be the King?

The vet who spayed my hound dog grew the sideburns
My butcher does that thing with his hips
The guy who cuts my hair just wants to be my teddy bear
And curls his locks while curling up his lip
Everyone I know is turning Presley
The fancy dress shop guy’s a millionaire
But Elvis must turn in his grave, each time some lardy bloke called Dave
Crams himself into some sequined flares

Flattery means copying your idol
You try to feel what Elvis must have felt
But in catsuit and DA, I’m like a badly stuffed duvet
In a wig that looks like some dead mammal’s pelt
I don’t want to be the square peg in the round hole
I don’t desire to stand out from the flock
But there’s a fine line I’m guessin’ between hobby and obsession
And that’s a line I’m not prepared to cross.

As long as there are people like Elvis Presley, you'll never have to listen to drivel like this.

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