Friday, 8 January 2010

Happy Birthday to You: the King at 75

At around 4.30am on January 8th 1935 Gladys Presley gave birth to Elvis Aron Presley, around a half hour after his stillborn brother, Jesse Garon, in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi. Elvis is 75 today, Friday 8th January 2010. At Graceland, Priscilla and Lisa Marie will be making the annual birthday declaration and cutting his birthday cake on the lawn. It's Elvis Presley Day in Memphis, and the Estate is hosting a four-day bash there which you can follow online.

Across Britain Elvis fans will be making their own celebrations: from Middlesbrough's own Niall Southall, to a bring your own party in Glamorgan with Kurt Tallon, to Blackpool's major Elvis contest. In London, the Charlotte Street Blues Bar has hired Ian Coulson as ETA for the weekend, while one of the burgeoning underground supperclubs is hosting an Elvis’s Birthday Special with a menu derived from Elvis's Southern favourites cooked by his Graceland cook. The supperclub cook quotes David Adler, author of The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley: "Coincidentally, Elvis's favorite word of endorsement was 'burnt'. 'That's burnt, man' he would say, which could indicate either a good steak or a good performance". I’ve already got started on Elvis's birthday with a similar but less advanced personal tribute with friends Cat and Chris. An apocryphal story has Elvis living off fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches for seven days so I assembled the ingredients – sliced white bread, smooth peanut butter, ripe bananas – and the delicacy was washed down with El’s favourite drink – Pepsi Cola. Although Elvis didn’t drink much, we added a tot of Jack Daniels for the toast. At least it's from Tennessee. All I can say is those seven days must have been desperate times for Elvis. Banana vom, as my friends have christened elements of this sandwich, is not nice. The bite-sized chunks make it more palatable. I'll be continuing celebrations at the Ace Cafe on the North Circular.

If you're in the US, those nice Elvis fans at the Independent (who did a magazine special last Saturday on people making a living from Elvis - hopefully to be revisited anon) have collected a few little Elvis activities for you to do this weekend, including what promises to be an awesome spectacle in Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil's compilation of Elvis toons and aerial daring Viva ELVIS which opens this weekend.

Happy Birthday Elvis, I love you, says Suzi Quatro at the end of her Radio 2 broadcast, part of the BBC's Elvis (radio and TV) Season. In Suzi Quatro's Elvis, Suzi visits Tupelo and audibly moved by Elvis’s humble beginnings, explores his Southern life, its sites, its people and Elvis's rise to fame, at the same time acknowledging her own debt to the King and putting right her 35-year-old regret at not accepting an invitation from Elvis himself (she didn't feel worthy). She ends with her new tribute single to the King, Singing With Angels.

Finally, Elvis as a living mega-star: Elvis Fantasay is one techno-geek's collection of Elvis assemblages that conjure a live Elvis into a 21st-century mega-stadium. The marvelous birthday greeting from the crowd is seriously special. Imagine this at Anfield: Watch that space for a forthcoming interview with the King - his first in over 32 years.

Finally, finally, hear it here from the King himself. 

Thanks: ChrisCat (for the birthday party), Stan, and Dan.
Pictures:  Graceland lawn webcam

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