I grew up listening to the King – my mother was a huge fan. She had a lifesize poster of Elvis on the wall of the bedroom she shared with my father, in Hawthorn Place in Harpur’s Hill, Coleraine.
I never asked my father how he felt, waking up every morning to find Vegas-era Presley, in an open-chested cobalt blue jumpsuit and aviator shades, looking down at him. My mum was a Fan with a capital F – to her dying day she could recite Elvis’ date of birth and his GI number. So… Elvis was constantly on the record player when I was a child.
PS - A quick websearch found an image of the ACTUAL poster (used in the graphic above right), which appears to be something of a collector's item now...
Here are five Elvis stand-outs for me…
Something Blue – I loved the early, late night stuff that Elvis did for RCA (They Remind Me Too Much of You). It still sounds so fresh today. The piano on this is delicious – I think it’s Floyd Kramer.
Suspicious Minds – The classic combination: great players and a great voice on a great song.
Jailhouse Rock – Those opening chords are still thrilling. There’s a family story about how I used the lift the needle on the record and go back over and over again to hear the piano lick that comes just after the line: ‘I wanna stick around, I wanna get my kicks, let’s rock…’ I see it as a kind of epiphany – I think I was about nine, and it would have been the first time I noticed that music was Doing Something to Me. It wasn’t just a noise in the background anymore – this little piano phrase was making me feel unbearably good.
Memories – I’ve become convinced this was the B-side of ‘If I Can Dream’, but I think I’m wrong in this. I remember kind of swooning at this as a child, the sound of the Spanish guitar and the strings and the way the chords moved around. It’s still a beauty.
In the Ghetto – this was constantly on the turntable when I was growing up, and I remember always being kind of horrified by the short, brutal life depicted in the song, but I also admired that they could fit that entire tragedy into one little plastic record.
Copies of the new album Ink are available from the STORE page at this website.
The album will be officially launched at the Lyric Theatre on Sunday evening, April 23rd, in a concert that will feature special guests Ciaran Lavery, Eilidh Patterson and John McCullough. Click HERE to be directed to the ticket sales page at the Lyric Theatre website.