sábado, 18 de setembro de 2010

SONG: Elvis Presley

The King of Rock'n'roll

Nos Estados Unidos dos anos 50, um menino tímido, pobre e nada brilhante na escola tornou-se um mito adorado por milhões de fãs graças à ousadia e a uma voz muito especial. Mas aos 42 anos ele morreu, vítima de seu próprio sucesso.
In the 1960s Elvis
concentrated on making
films of mediocre quality.
lvis Presley is one of the most important figures in the cultural history of the 20th century. He is universally recognised as the founder of rock'n'roll: as the first white man who could "sing like a black," he helped unleash(1) a musical - and social - revolution. His career may have gone downhill after that but, since his death at the age of 42, he has been responsible for a second, even more intriguing phenomenon: the birth of a bizarre religious cult, "Elvisism."
The man responsible for all this was born in a shack
(2) in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935. Today that shack is a tourist attraction, complete with a museum and chapel. His parents, Vernon and Gladys, were "poor white trash"(3) and, after a few years, the family moved to Memphis in search of work. Neighbors at the Lauderdale Courts housing project(4) recall that Elvis was a "Moma's boy," while his father was a drunkard who spent time in jail. Elvis's high school career was mediocre, to say the least (some classmates thought he was retarded), and, after graduation, he found employment as a truck driver(5). And yet, even if the young Elvis couldn't play a musical instrument, he had a great singing voice. This was apparent to Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Studios, where members of the public could record songs for a small fee(6). When Phillips heard the 19-year-old Presley in July, 1954, he realised that he had a star on his hands.
The release of "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1956 turned Elvis into a national sensation, with hysterical fans mobbing
(7) him wherever he went. Unfortunately, his instant success also contained the seeds(8) of his downfall(9): he left Sun for the larger RCA and acquired a new manager. This was the sinister "Colonel" Tom Parker, who took 50 per cent of his income(10). Nor could Presley avoid being called up by the army: this, along with the death of his much-loved mother, was to prove devastating. According to John Lennon, in creative terms, "Elvis died when he joined the army." On his release in 1960, he neglected his singing career and concentrated on making movies of poor quality. He found some stability when he married Priscilla in Las Vegas in 1967 but, when she left him six years later, his career and lifestyle deteriorated further. He mainly played in Las Vegas, even if his "Aloha from Hawaii" comeback concert was one of the most watched events in television history. By now he had become a pathetic figure. A gargantuan(11) appetite, both for junk food and drugs (prescribed by a friendly doctor), made him obese and incoherent. He slept during the day at his Graceland mansion and partied at night with a group of parasitic friends known as "the Memphis Mafia."

In addition to his colossal powers of consumption, Elvis was pathologically generous. He was fond of giving presents (cash
(12) and Cadillacs, mainly) to friends and strangers. By the time he died, there was little left of his fortune. Yet death was a "great career move": as the nation mourned(13), record sales boomed. Graceland has also become a lucrative business, with 600,000 fans making the pilgrimage every year.

Reprodução Speak Up edição 153 - fevereiro/2000

Elvis the Pelvis
lvis Presley was the king of rock'n'roll. Here he meets the press: the year is 1956.

Interviewer (Standard American/Southern accent): What is Presley's answer to his critics?
Elvis Presley (Standard American/Southern accent): Sir, those kids, that come here and pay their money to see this show, come to have a good time. They're somebody's kids, they're somebody's decent kids, probably, that was [sic] raised
(14) in a decent home. If they wanna... if they wanna pay their money and come out and jump around and scream and yell(15), it's their business. I'll say this, and I'd like to add it to what I just got through saying(16) about... as a rule, most of the adults are real nice. They're understanding... they... I've had them come round to me in their hundreds(17) and say, "I don't personally like your kind of music, but my children like it and so on. And if they like it, well I ain't got any kick(18) about it cos when I was young, I liked the Charleston, I liked the Foxtrot, I liked this and that." They're adults with a little intelligence.
Interviewer: Do you recall the first time you sang in public?
Elvis Presley: Yes, sir. It was back when I was about ten or eleven year old. I was on an amateur program in a fair
Interviewer: And did you... did you use live girations(20) then?
Elvis Presley: Well, I wasn't doing the type of songs I'm doing now. Nobody knew what rock'n'roll was back in those days.

Interviewer: When you hear rock'n'roll, it gets you on fire?
Elvis Presley: When I'm doing it on the stage, you have to put on a show for people. In other words, people can buy your records and hear you sing, and they don't have to come out to hear you sing, you have to put on a show in order to draw a crowd
(21). If I just stood out there and sang, but never moved a muscle, the people would say, "Well my goodness, I'll just stay home and listen to his records." But you have to give them a show, something to talk about.
Interviewer: Where was the first time that you used the... the rapid action?
Elvis Presley:
My very first appearance, after I started recording, I was on a show in Memphis where I started doing that. And I came out on stage and I was scared stiff(22). And I came out and I was doing a fast-type tune, one of my first records, and everybody was hollering(23) and I didn't know what they were hollering at, everybody was screamin' and every-thing. And then I came off stage and my manager told me they was [sic] hollering cos I was wiggling(24) my legs. And so I went back out for an encore(25) and I did a little more, and the more I did, the wilder they went.

Time Line

8 January 1935 Elvis Aaron Presley is born in Tupelo, Mississippi.
5 July 1954 Is "discovered" by Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Studios in Memphis.
1956 "Heartbreak Hotel" turns him into a star. He acquires a new manager, "Colonel" Tom Parker.
24 March 1958 Is drafted by the US Army and spends the next two years in Germany. On his release he concentrates on his film career.
4 April 1973 His "Aloha from Hawaii" concert reaches a TV audience of 1 billion.
16 August 1977 Dies in the bathroom of Graceland in Memphis.


1 to unleash - libertar.
2 shack - barraco, casa muito simples.
3 white trash - pessoas brancas de classe baixa (lit. lixo branco).
4 housing project - conjunto habitcional.
5 truck driver - caminhoneiro.
6 fee - taxa.
7 to mob - seguir.
8 seeds - sementes.
9 downfall - declínio, decadência.
10 income - renda, ganhos.
11 gargantuan - gigantesco.
12 cash - dinheiro vivo
13 to mourn - ficar de luto.
14 raised - criadas.
15 to yell - gritar.
16 what I just... saying - o que eu acabei de dizer.
17 in their hundreds - centenas deles.
18 I ain't got any kick - eu não me importo.
19 fair - feira, festa aberta.
20 girations - movimentos, rebolados (aqueles típicos de Elvis).
21 to draw a crowd - atrair uma multidão.
22 I was scared stiff - eu estava paralisado de medo.
23 I was scared stiff - eu estava paralisado de medo.
24 I was scared stiff - eu estava paralisado de medo.

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