Elvis Presley Week takes place after his death. (The singer passed away on August 16, 1977.) There's a ritual in Graceland, a huge mansion that was turned into a tourist destination. It's a divine moment for his fans. Some music aficionados might think they're too old, but they'll be amazed at Presley's influence.
The young Elvis grew up in that rustic part of Mississippi. Girls who swooned over him would talk about his charisma. Some would call it rural charm, while others saw sex appeal. There was no doubt about it whenever he gyrated his legs on the big stage. Elvis put his recording career on hold during the 1960s, as he starred in a string of musicals. Critics derided the derivative storyline, but they missed the point. This was an Elvis Presley picture. It was hard for women to resist his singing and dancing. Ask Ann-Margret, his leading lady in "Viva Las Vegas" (1963). He tried his best in acting in "Jailhouse Rock" (1957). It was an earnest picture, but fans wanted him to perform.
RCA Records knew Elvis was the real deal when they signed him for a recording contract in 1956. Songs like "Love Me Tender" became one of the biggest hits of that year. He set many records, which the current generation of recording artists could only wished for. Some even re-recorded it. (Who doesn't like Cheap Trick's rendition of "Don't be Cruel"?) If you're still clueless about Elvis Presley, or want to know more about the man, then try to take part in Elvis Presley Week.
Here are some suggestions:
Go to Vegas. This desert city is renowned for casinos, but visitors can have a picture of Elvis impersonators. Even an Elvis wannabe can serenade during the wedding ceremony. You may want to don an Elvis costume, but the dark glasses and slick hairdo might not suit you. Just look for one, take a photo, and sing along with him. And don't be cruel if they're not close to the original.
Visit Graceland. Marc Cohn's 1991 hit, "Walking in Memphis", is about a journey in the singer's hometown. This is where rock and roll and church jazz meet, where Elvis managed to fuse both genres with uppity tempo. But his sprawling estate is something else. As Lisa Marie Presley would put it, time stood still in this part of Memphis after his father's death. It's a trip down memory lane, even a nostalgic look into that period that won't happen again. You'll be forgiven if you gyrate your hips unintentionally.
Watch the King's movies. If you want to see Elvis up close, then find a video copy of his pictures. Many are shown on cable, so check the listing. You can view it over and over again, even learn his dance steps along the way. But no singing.
Buy a CD. Technology ensured old records would be preserved. The King can dominate the Billboard charts. Nothing tops his voice, not even the beat.
Sing, and sing some more. There's a right time to sing an Elvis tune. And it's about to start now.