Sunday, May 06, 2012

"I have no need for all this..."

For the past several months, Sheila O'Malley - the best blogger out there, in this blogger's opinion - has been doing some remarkable writing on Elvis Presley.  Remarkable and groundbreaking, because in what she has written she has made it possible to look at Elvis in an entirely new light - something that I didn't think was possible in this day and age.

Today, she posted what may be the best Elvis post yet, which you can read here.  But don't stop there - check out everything she's written about the King, because it's all more than worth your time.

A short but powerful excerpt:

"In December of 1976, in Las Vegas, Elvis lay in his bed in his palatial suite. He wrote the following note on a piece of paper which was later found crumpled up in the wastebasket:
I feel so alone sometimes. The night is quiet for me. I’d love to be able to sleep. I am glad that everyone is gone now. I’ll probably not rest. I have no need for all this. Help me, Lord.
As Seal wrote, “It’s the loneliness that’s the killer.”
It was the loneliness that made him want to reach out and communicate with thousands, not just with one or two. Only thousands (and then millions upon millions) would help him feel less alone. He “always felt that someday somehow something would happen to change everything for [him] and [he'd] daydream about how it would be.” The loneliness was in him and made him wise beyond his years (just listen to his “Blue Moon” again to get a sense of that). Perhaps it came from his striving towards God, his longing for communion, for communication with the Creator. Perhaps it came from his economic status, highlighting the gap between where he was and where he wanted to go, and “all the lonely people” and all that. But perhaps it was just part and parcel of his character, a vein of melancholy and self-awareness that made him able to tap into loneliness, before he had actually experienced it to the degree that he experienced it at the time he wrote that note in 1976."

That note - "...I have no need for all this.  Help me, Lord" - is truly haunting. 

I have this fantasy about Elvis - that in an alternative universe, he survived the demons, the pills, everything - and then it was him who settled down in his old age with Rick Rubin to record, mostly with acoustic guitar and otherwise surrounded by his closest musical friends, the music that meant the most to him.  Reinterpreting old classics; bringing new life to the gospel that was so close to his heart; taking a stab at the contemporary artists who tickled his fancy.

Now that would have been something.

1 comment:

Sheila O'Malley said...

Thank you, Jeff! I can't seem to stop!