TEN YEARS AT THE TOP FOR THE ‘KING’IT is now nearly ten years since a six-foot American who hails from Tupelo, Mississippi, first appeared before a TV camera. He was then 20 years old and had long dark hair with sideburns that came down well over his high cheek bones.
Few people would have dared assume at this stage that this hip-swinging youth who wore his guitar on a long strap, was to become not just the uncrowned king of popular music but a model upon which millions of young people throughout the world were to fashion themselves.
On Friday of next week, January 8, Elvis Presley celebrates his thirtieth birthday. Yet despite the fact that for any other pop artist this would mark a very definite turning point in his career. For Presley it will probably – apart from personal celebrations – go by unheralded. For he is still virtually as successful and as popular as he ever was.
Yet he had a lot stacked against him.
He has an irresistible smile, yet for two years while he was serving in the American forces in Germany we saw comparatively few pictures of him.
He is a dynamic performer, yet in Britain he has NEVER made a personal appearance, and during recent years very few anywhere, including America.
With every new Presley film comes the critics observations that it is not as good as the one before. Yet everything that El has turned his hand to he has made a hit and only a few weeks ago he was again voted top individual artist in the world in our poll. His nearest opponent – Cliff Richard – had 500 points less than Mr. P.
But looking back over his career, it is his films which have become his most important part of his life of Elvis. Virtually all his recent singles have been taken from the scores of his movies.
El has just completed “Tickle Me” with Jocelyn (formerly Jackie) Lane. In it he plays a modern day singing cowpoke who drifts into a beauty spa ranch stocked with gorgeous girls, Jocelyn Lane is a shapely physical training instructor who first puts El down as a fortune hunter.
However, after fighting off a masked prowler from her bedroom battling with wax figures that come to life in a deserted hotel and discovering her grandpa’s hidden gold, he finally gets to marry her. And while all this is going El manages to give out with nine great songs.
Elvis kicks off the New Year with the production of “Polynesian Paradise” – another Hal Wallis film – which will start shooting in February or March.
“Girl Happy,” with Shelley Fabares, should be premiered here in the spring.
So this is the Elvis on 1965 – no longer with long sideburns but still equally as good-looking as ten years ago and still as popular. But why? I can’t answer that one but I should be interested here why you, the fans, still think he’s the greatest.
Why not drop me a postcard with your reasons, and I will print the most interesting or unusual ones in a future issue.
UK, music paper, January 1965