Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Dance Party: A Very Leather Christmas

This must be the month for confessions. Last week, I revealed the unease I had, and still have, with puppets in general and Muppets in particular. Might as well go whole hog and now confess an even greater evil: the King of Rock and Roll leaves me cold.

In my own defense, if I need one, the period during which I became aware of popular music coincided with the 8 year career slump Elvis endured during the middle of the 1960s. I was a Beatles fan (and Monkees, too, let's be brutally honest here), and stylings by groups such as the Mamas and the Papas were also on my radar. Elvis seemed like an oldie to me. I never really got over the feeling that Elvis and his music belonged only in the 1950s, even after his big comeback in 1968.

Presley had spent most of the decade in a string of forgettable films, allowing his music to suffer accordingly. He had not had a number one hit in 6 years, had not performed in front of an audience since 1961, and had not appeared on television since 1960. His self-titled comeback special in 1968 is credited with putting him back on top, with the show's soundtrack cracking the Top Ten, and the show itself becoming NBCs top-rated program of the year.

I don't remember that special, and would not have watched the thing anyway, but several clips are roaming around, which show an Elvis which surprises me. In the following moment from the special, there are no gyrating hips nor vocal pyrotechnics. Here, he sits simply and sings a couple of Christmas tunes, surrounded by his acoustic band and a few adoring ladies. He comes off as downright endearing in this clip, and while I have never thought he was a great looker, in this shot, he is pretty smokin'.

Merry Christmas from the King: