For reasons I'm not entirely sure of, I became an Elvis fan at the age of 6. I heard "Burning Love" on cassette tape once and was just like, "Yep. I like this guy." It still baffles me a bit how I chose such an outdated teen idol to obsess over in my elementary school days, but I have to say I wouldn't have my childhood any other way. Regardless of what Elvis' legacy is - either in jumpsuits, screaming fans, conspiracy theories, or jelly-filled donuts - he, himself, was a legendary performer and fantastic singer.
Today would have been his 76th birthday. By all standards, he should still be with us, an old man who shows up to the Grammys who we all clap for because he is a living legend and we can't believe he's standing among us mere mortals. He should be singing at events with Beyonce in one of those charming-but-awkward duets that show just how much music has changed in just fifty years. He should be getting Lifetime Achievement Awards and joking about how time flies and it seems just like yesterday he was singing on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Unfortunately, he is not doing any of those things. I never believed the "ELVIS LIVES!" stories anyways. Luckily, though, we can still listen to his music, and even better, watch his performances. His performances are great. A lot of people give Elvis guff for not ever writing his own music, but frankly, he didn't have to. Elvis performed the hell out of every song he ever sang. It didn't matter who wrote it; he put his signature all over it.
The one thing that I truly love about Elvis' performances is his dancing. That man loved to dance and saw absolutely no harm in it. And yet, the entire nation freaked out over his gyrating hips and bouncing legs. Funny that that was such a scandal. Today, I think it's joyous to see him twist around on stage, lip curled in a grin, hair flopping in his face, and the entire audience screaming their lungs out - especially knowing the tragedy of his later career. This image is what I choose to remember him by, not the drugs, and the weight gain, and the jewel-encrusted jumpsuits. Long live the King.
Happy Birthday, Elvis. You have made my life complete, and I love you so.