"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)


"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)


"The image is one thing and the huiman being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image"


(Elvis Presley, Madison Square Garden press conference, 1972)


"Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was actually stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something"

(David Bowie)


"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme"

(Mick Jagger)


"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother...there'll never be another like that soul brother"

(Soul legend, James Brown)


















































































































































































































































































DVD Review - "Why Elvis?"

Why Elvis?: released in 2005 by Kultur International Films; Region 0; Dolby 2.0 audio, Picture: 4:3 full screen; Color/B&W; Running time: 76 minutes; Picture disc; Visual quality: non-digital but generally good; Audio quality: Good

The first thing to say about this recent DVD release is that it is not a new documentary. In fact it was originally released on video in 1993.

The second thing to say is that while you will have already seen much of the material presented in the documentary it nevertheless has its moments of adding value to our understanding of the complex Elvis story.

Minor irritant: At times the use of a hand-held camera is annoying as is an occasional "tinny" sound to the audio.

Elvis destroys religious uptightness: However, t he DVD is rich in archival footage and interesting interviews. One of the most important statements comes from singer/songwriter, Mojo Nixon, who offers the perceptive observation that Elvis virtually singlehandedly 'wiped out 2000 years of Judeo-Christian uuptightness' through one appearance on national television!


Another observation worth remembering is from Elvis' recording mentor at the Sun Recording Service, Sam Phillips: "Elvis vocally could do anything". Similarly, the theme that Elvis sang "just for you" is an important one the producers explore in explaining the incredible impact he had, and still has, on fans.

Other interesting material includes how Eddie Bonds fired Elvis from his job at The Hi-Hat Club; claims that Gladys Presley suffered from OPCD syndrome and that Jimmy Denson taught Elvis his "vocal echo", and some of the less salubrious things deejay, Dewey Phillips, introduced Elvis to.

How Elvis got his "wiggle": Calvin Newborn, a Beale Street guitar legend, has a very interesting take on how Elvis' "wiggle" came about while "The Dead Elvis Ball" and Paul McLeod's "Graceland Too" are likely to leave you scratching your head.

And unfortunately the Elvis disliked Robert Goulet myth is reinforced in the documentary.

Wonderful imagery: A visit to Jim's Barber & Beauty Shop where a young Elvis had his hair cut conjures up some wonderful imagery, and music writer, Stanley Booth, suggests Dewey Phillips was the biggest influence on Elvis' music (a valid theme echoed by Professor Louis Cantor in his superb book, Dewey and Elvis). Professor Cantor also features in the documentary when it is revealed he is a former sound engineer at radio station WDIA in Memphis.

Other interviews include Elvis' close friend and Memphis identity, George Klein, Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, and a former secretary at Graceland, Becky Yancey. Ms Yancey was responsible for the interesting book, My Life With Elvis, published shortly after Elvis' death in 1977.

The Early Days: Superfan, Bernard Roughton reveals an Elvis collection, the size of which will stagger most fans, and Naomia Stiers (an 88 years-old fan club president) reflects on the early days of Elvismania, telling us how club members would order 25 copies each of the latest Elvis single and quickly go from jukebox to jukebox popping in coins but not hanging around to hear Elvis sing.

Two fascinating stories come from nurse Marion Cocke. One is a heartwarming account of a young girl named Maggie who Elvis befriended. After buying her parents a car so Maggie could get to school, young Maggie was required to come to Graceland every day after school to do her homework and answer the phone for Elvis. Some people have all the luck!

Marion's second story is about how Elvis' specimens would always go missing when he was hospitalised.

The Colonel: The documentary is not kind to Colonel Parker. It claims he received 50% of Elvis' earnings from early in his career (another myth - the 50% arrangement didn't happen until the 1960s), and suggests that because of his "carny" background he treated Elvis as a freak, not a musical genius.

Other segments look at how Elvis was used by both the Democrats and Republicans in the 1992 American Presidential Election and Dr. Joseph Cassius, a Memphis psychologist, suggests Elvis was on a self-destructive trip throughout his career.

Elvis as religion: An underlying theme in the documentary is that Elvis is a religious myth in the making and some convincing evidence is offered to support this contention. Interrelated to this idea, the importance of the "white jumpsuit" to development of Elvis as (religious) myth is welly stated.

Verdict: Solid documentary, definitely worth a look for its valuable insights to why Elvis!

Why Elvis? is available at a reasonable price from www.amazon.com and Elvis Australia

Click to comment on this review

Book: Dewey and Elvis
CD: Black & White Elvis
CD: All Shook Up
Book: Rough Guide to Elvis
DVD: Elvis by the Presleys
FTD: Rockin' Across Texas
FTD: Elvis Is Back
TV Special: "Elvis by the Presleys"
Book: Elvis by the Presleys
CD: Tom Green
Show: Sonny West
CD: A Legendary Performer Vol. 5
CD: Young & Beautiful (TV Guide)
DVD: Elvis by the Presleys "Target" bonus disc
Mini-series: Elvis
FTD: Big Boss Man
VCD: Joe Esposito's Home Videos of Elvis
Book: Complete Guide to Elvis Presley
CD: Now What (Lisa Presley)
The King and I
Elvis was a racist? (4)
Elvis was a racist? (3)
Schism between Elvis' stage & studio work
Tupelo, Miss....Elvis 2005
Elvis was a racist? (#2)
Elvis vs. Jerry Lee Lewis
Elvis was a racist? (#1)
Elvis making a killing
Elvis & the treasure chest of blood money
Priscilla - "no angel"
Elvis in the 1970s
More on Elvis on TV
"Orion" gunned down!
Elvis Is Back
Elvis - Hero with 1000 faces
Elvis Film Guide
Elvis rules on television! (updated May 2005)
Elvis & other major artists miss out on Grammy Awards
How did Elvis die?
Albert Wertheimer
Priscilla Presley
Marshall Terrill
Lisa Presley on Larry King Show
Tony Joe White
Stanley Oberst
Bud Glass (part 2)
Red & Sonny West
Ed Bonja (Part 2)
Ernst Jorgensen
Phil Aitcheson (Presley Commission)
Graceland cam
Listen to the Elvis "strung out" in Vegas audio
The "Real" Elvis off-stage
Unreleased Elvis audio now online
View EPE Graceland tourism ads
View video of "All Shook Up" opening night on Broadway
All about Elvis
All about Elvis tribute artists
All about Lisa Presley
All about Graceland
Elvis books 2005-07
Elvis film guide
Elvis Online Virtual Library
Elvis Presley Research Forum
Elvis was a racist? (archives)
Elvis Week 2005
Links to Elvis' family & friends
Online Elvis Symposium
Sale of EPE "Archives"
6th Elvis Website Survey
Spotlight on The King


"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"

(Dr. Gary Enders)


" Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"



"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"

(humorist Dave Barry)


"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"

(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")


"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"

(Nick Tosches)


"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"

(Carl Perkins)


"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"

(Bob Dylan)


"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"

(Sir Paul McCartney)