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1959: Could it have become an early 1972/73?

Sat Jun 28, 2003 11:10 pm

Except for the fact that John Lennon would have had one smart sentence less to say: Did you ever ask yourself what would have become of Elvis if he had not joined the Army in 1958?

Personally I think that his absence added much to his legend. Didn't Elvis in fact "invent" the rock'n'roll comeback this way? The star being far away from his fans - just to return? I mean, it obvious: No absence, no return. No Elvis Is Back, no Welcome Home Elvis TV-Show. Probably Sinatra would have never had him on his show. Elvis would have never been introduced to a new kind of (adult) audience.

In the early 60ies most of the early rock'n'roll stars were gone. Would Elvis have been among them? Would one of these teenie-stars have been able to replace Elvis? Would Elvis have run out of material or ideas before he was forced to more or less re-invent himself in 1960?

It's been said very often that Elvis needed the challenge. Well, in 1958 he had achieved everything he ever dreamt of. He had sold millions of records, had had plenty of number one and gold and platinum records and albums, he had Cadillacs, he had bought his parents the house he had promised them to buy one day. He was even about to make as an actor with his ast pre-army movie "King Creole" even praised by the critics. Where was the challenge in 1958? Did you ever ask yourself this question?

Is it possible that 1959 or 1960 might have become an early 1972/73 if he had not gone into the Army to take a time-out and think about his future moves and explore "new" music in Germany (there're three 1960/61 number 1 records that come to my mind he rehearsed: Are You Lonesome Tonight, It's now Or Never and Surrender)?

What do you think?

Sun Jun 29, 2003 3:55 am

No, I think if Elvis had not been drafted, he would have gotten even further into acting - perhaps venturing into more dramatic roles. The hits would have continued as well, and he would have tried to broaden his range.

Most importantly, he may never have been exposed to drugs (amphetemines) which occurred in the army. Who knows? Also, his mother may have lived longer.

Mike C

Sun Jun 29, 2003 9:48 am

See See- This is an interesting topic and I see how things could have broken either way. Part of me tells that the time away from show business was good for Elvis as was the time in Europe. He got a chance to rethink music and even just by listening to the radio in Germany he was exposed to different music. If Elvis had been under the grind to create product, he might not have had the time or the inkling to practice vocalising and listening. Plus there's no doubt that his time in the army boosted his rep in Middle America. A few of those people who were afraid went on to be fans.

I also agree about the challenges. However, missing the service would have provided his own I think at first Elvis would have been carried by the challenge of working with a new band. For sure going in the army, reenergized his interests in music. When it was taken away he realized what it was worth. Elvis' return in 1960 was indeed the first rock comeback and the first reinvention.

As an actor, he might have had the chance to capitalize on the momentum of "King Creole" to capture even better roles. The Lieber and Stoller story about "Walk on the Wild Side" though makes you doubt that the Colonel would have allowed him to take the good roles had they come along.

Though without the double whammy of the draft and his mother's death simultaneously robbed him of any confidence he might have had to fight the Colonel. One thing is for sure though, without the draft Wallis would never have been able to put Elvis into such vanilla projects as "GI Blues" or "Blue Hawaii". Nobody would have believed it. In the 50s, Elvis was not the All-American Boy.