I just completed filming an interview for the BBC1 special that will air in the UK in January, for Elvis’ birthday. I was also interviewed for a six-part BBC Radio series “The Elvis Presley Trail,” which will air around the same time – but this one will also be available for all of us on the Internet. I’ll let you know when I have more details.
All this interest in Elvis coming from another part of the world got me thinking. Elvis was so completely and essentially American, yet his appeal is universal. In a way, he represents this country and what is great and good about it.
Elvis lived the American dream. He rose from the most desperate poverty of the Depression to unprecedented fame and fortune that never diminished. He also embodied the American spirit; he was optimistic, brash, daring and certainly a pioneer. Just like America, Elvis embraced everyone; whether it was a President, an office worker or a janitor, everyone was treated equally by him.
After all these years Elvis still inspires and touches millions of lives around the world. Many who weren’t even born when he left us. Elvis’ image, his music and the force of his personality continue as a vibrant, living presence.
Elvis goes beyond being a legend; he’s an historic icon. Yet one of the great ironies of his extraordinary life can be revealed in a comment he once made, “I wonder,” he said quietly…”I wonder if I’ll ever be remembered?”
I think it’s safe to say that we all remember him, and love him for the great human being he was – uniquely American, yet belonging to the world.