No figure in modern history (or likely, even ancient history) has been the subject of more works of popular culture than Elvis Presley.
To track and list the actual number of songs, film roles or stories Elvis is mentioned in or were created in his likeness is a daunting task. This should give you some insight– the creator of “Speed Racer” (“Mach GoGoGo”) supposedly based the likeness of the character off of Elvis after he saw a performance. A cartoon character who drives a race car is based off of Elvis? That’s some kind of reach.
Though I had a hard time nailing down every film, book or TV show Elvis is mentioned in, I can come up with a list of the best songs ever written about Elvis. Some are vague and only allude to him, others are undeniably in tribute to the King.
Artists and groups from Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen to Denis Leary have recorded songs in his name, but the best ones are the ones that have a real connection to the boy from from Tupelo or his beloved Memphis.
And then there’s the Class of ’55 album, which was recorded, partly, as a tribute to Elvis. The participants were Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins– the other guys who came to Sun Records in 1955 to make music. The entire recording process was filmed from start-to-finish and the recorded Interviews from the Class of ’55 Recording Sessions earned the 1987 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for the four performers.
No matter the subject matter of the song, whether it is about a love bigger than the Beatles (like Elvis), a soulful tribute to love lost (like Elvis) or the greatness of Memphis– it’s hard to deny the legacy and lasting impact Elvis has had on hundreds of musicians than came after him– and in some cases– that even knew him and worked with him.
We’re celebrating Elvis Presley all year long. Elvis would have been 80 years old this year, and his legacy lives on making him just as relevant today as he ever was. Click here to celebrate Elvis with us.
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