"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 human 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)


"Before Elvis there was nothing!"

(John Lennon)


"There were rock 'n' roll records before Heartbreak Hotel, but this was the one that didn't just open the door…it literally blasted the door off its rusted, rotten, anachronistic hinges…. producing....no propelling, an unstoppable, fundamental and primordial shift in not only musical, but social, political and cultural history"

(JNP, BBC website)


"Elvis, the musician, is largely a relic belonging to the baby boomer generation...Elvis, the icon, is arguably one of the most potent symbols of popular culture"

( Dr. John Walker)


"It [rock & roll] was always about Elvis; not just because he was Elvis, but because he was the big star"

(Bono from U2)


""If they had let me on white radio stations back then, there never would have been an Elvis"

(Little Richard)


















































































































































































































































































Graceland - The Ultimate Bachelor Pad


A trip to Graceland offers a look at the birth of cool

I finally made my pilgrimage to Graceland. And I finally get it. The Memphis home of Elvis Presley means different things to different people. Some go for the music -- which blended country, blues and gospel into rock n' roll. Some go for the man -- so popular that there are those who still refuse to believe he's dead. And still others, like myself, go to find out how to be cool.

I've fluctuated between average coolness and below-average coolness for most of my life. My coolness fell to an all-time low during the buck tooth/huge glasses/nasal voice years between ages 7 and 10, and it reached its peak at the end of high school when I finally got a car (a 1987 blue two-tone Toyota Celica). But now, after I've been to Graceland -- the birthplace of cool -- I know what the word really means.

Elvis created a timeless model of cool for the modern man -- particularly the single, looking-to-get-girls modern man. Long before Cribs on MTV showcased rock stars' lavish homes, Elvis had the first real bachelor pad. Long before Snoop Dogg was hated by the establishment and loved by teenagers, Elvis was an outlaw in the eyes of conservative adults. And long before imitating musicians was a standard part of adolescence, boys sported the Elvis sideburns.

First, Elvis was cool because of his unique style. He exuded such bravado that he looked cool wearing anything -- even ridiculous one-piece bejeweled tight white suits. Eventually, it didn't matter that the cape thing was sort of weird and the oversized glasses were a bit much. It was cool because it was Elvis. Second, Elvis had the larger-than-life presence needed to take his coolness to the next level. When women threw handkerchiefs on stage during concerts, Elvis picked them up, wiped his brow and tossed them back into the clamoring hands of the crowd -- all without stopping the song.

Third, despite this absurd level of fame, Elvis apparently wasn't arrogant -- he was actually a good guy, which is a crucial ingredient to coolness. He paid strangers' medical bills and bought them Cadillacs. He was known to actually say "ma'am" and "sir," and when he was drafted to the Army at the height of his popularity, he actually served. Can you imagine teeny-bopper Aaron Carter fighting alongside Marines in Iraq today?

Fourth, Elvis was an oversized kid. He had tons of hobbies: Football, karate, horseback riding, shooting guns, racing golf carts and riding snowmobiles. Like the most popular male interests today-- from NASCAR to the NFL to PlayStation -- they all involved speed and violence.

And finally -- except for the years he was married to Priscilla -- Elvis created the quintessential American bachelor pad at his Graceland mansion. It would become a template of how the single man would strive to live for generations.

Like bachelor pads today, Graceland was wired. There are still stereos everywhere, including one built into his white fur bed on his private plane and an eight-track player installed in his desk. And like bachelor pads today, the TV was a crucial fixture. Elvis had three TVs in one room -- remember, this was the 1960s -- so he could watch all three network news shows at once. Graceland had a $200,000 racketball court with couches, a pinball machine and a bar. The famed "jungle room" had green shag carpeting on the walls to improve the acoustics for jam sessions, fake fur on the sofa to ensure the comfort of the ladies and a waterfall for the sake of having a waterfall. Of course, even cool kids have their problems, and Elvis ultimately died in the least cool way possible -- while sitting on the toilet.

At Graceland, though, there's no mention of Elvis being hooked on pills and overdosing at just age 42. There's no criticism of Elvis's music as more style than substance -- just black blues repackaged with a white face. But that's OK, because Elvis' role was more important than music. He had attitude before pop music, bling before hip-hop and sex symbol status before The Beatles. And for that, ya gotta love The King.

Matt Katz, Courier-Post

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"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)


"You can't say enough good things about Elvis. He was one of a kind"

(Johnny Cash)