Saturday 17 March 2018

Kevin Myers: 'Elvis duped and cheapened by tawdry squalor of Vegas'

Kevin Myers

You will be all Presleyed-out tomorrow, the 75th anniversary of his birth, so let me get my spoke in now, to commemorate the life of Elvis.

The key to the great man was cultural fusion. It is just one of these charming coincidences that the great hero of the US Marine Corps (USMC) was himself representative of the cultural fusion of the Irish and the English in the US. Presley O'Bannon, (whose father probably came from near Moneygall, an ancestral home of Barack Obama) led the Corp's tiny expeditionary force to Tripoli on the Barbary Coast in 1805. He probably acquired his given name from his maternal grandmother's maiden name. So it's possible the creator of the foundation myth of the greatest armed force for freedom in the world was a kinsman of the virtual founder of musical popular culture.

How different might the musical world have been if Elvis's twin brother, Jesse Garon, had not been still-born is not a question upon which any intelligent person wastes any time. It was just so. (And if you want to know more about Elvis as a child, and the Tennessee where he grew up, you should read Peter Guralnick's splendid 'Last Train to Memphis'.)

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