Honoring the King
I had planned to write a long post today about my love for Elvis Presley — how his music through 1960 and from 1968 until his death still wows me, reminiscing about my two pilgrimages to Graceland, showing you some of my Elvis tchotchkes — but I decided to hold that homage until his birthday. This anniversary of his death just didn’t feel like the appropriate time to gush. But I need to honor The King in some way … so of course I’m going down music boulevard. What better way to show the love?
Who doesn’t love covering Elvis Presley? Everyone wants to play King for a day — Sinatra and Bennett, rockers and country artists, our favorite alternative bands. There are two genres in my collection missing Elvis representation: punk and indie.
I guess the indie kids are too young to be influenced by Elvis. Too bad; wouldn’t you kill to hear Colin Meloy singing “The Wonder of You” … Scott McCaughey warbling “Clean up Your Own Backyard” … Sam Beam with “Kentucky Rain” … Chan Marshall breaking your heart with “Blue Moon” … Jeff Tweedy making “Mystery Train” his own? Maybe that’s my project for 2008: the hippest album of Elvis covers evah. Michael Stipe, are you listening?I spent two weeks whittling down the list to a manageable fortysomething, trying to include as many styles and genres as I could. Click. Listen. Sing along. Shake your hips. Let me know which ones you like best.
And because nobody has covered it (not that I’ve found, anyway), here’s one of my very favorite Elvis songs:
They’re Caught in a Trap
And they can’t get out from under the covers of “Suspicious Minds” — according to my MP3 collection, Elvis’ most-covered tune, at least in my MP3 collection. Here’s a sampling of those with suspicious minds:
Belle & Sebastian
Bowling for Soup
Jessi Colter + Waylon Jennings
Fine Young Cannibals
My Morning Jacket
The best live version of “Suspicious Minds” I’ve ever heard was in the early 1990s, during the encore of a 10,000 Maniacs show at Chastain Park Amphitheater. Pal Joe and I were lolling on the grass in the back, enjoying the music coursing through our ears and the vodka coursing through our veins. A sudden shout went up, as did we — to see our beloved Michael Stipe joining the band onstage. Joe and I were front and center with a time that Carl Lewis would be proud of. Michael and Natalie were brilliant — funny, flirty, having a good ol’ time singing it together. I have searched for a boot of this duo’s duet for fifteen years … so if you have a copy …
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