What if… Elvis Presley hadn’t died in 1977?
Another great thing about the White Bear in Mancot is that they have live music on Saturday nights. Whether it’s a full band or a lone artist, there’s usually some entertainment on. And very good they are too.
One night I witnessed an Elvis tribute night, which was excellent. Andy Wright was the performer, and he put on a great show. Two sets of classics from the King, complete with jump suit outfit and giant lit up Elvis back drop. He had the voice and mannerisms dialled, not being afraid to stay in character with his between song banter. Brilliant fun.
Another section of the performance intrigued me. For the encore, Andy sang several songs that Elvis hadn’t actually performed*. The reason that they hadn’t been covered by the King was that they were, for the most part, songs written after his death. Thus, we were regaled by songs such as Purple Rain and Folsom Prison Blues. A fantastic idea – very different and thought provoking.
It got me thinking. What if Elvis Presley hadn’t died on August 16th 1977?
What if, in an alternate reality, Elvis had lived on? Maybe the 1980’s would have been a barren patch creatively. Perhaps a half hearted come back tour, a residency in Las Vegas. Perhaps the Elvis show would run to parody and be devoid of both true spectacle and triumph.
Perhaps in the 1990s, Rick Rubin would have decided to record something stripped back, honest and gritty with Elvis? To put the King back on his throne and return him to his glorious past? Used contemporary songs to showcase the immense talent that this fallen icon still possessed? Remind us all why we loved Elvis in the first place, and what a force to be reckoned with he still was?
Something vaguely similar happened in the 90’s with Elvis’ contemporary Johnny Cash. In another dimension, would the King have recovered his cool in the same way?
This thought led me to create the playlist below. Twelve songs by newer artists that I think would have been fantastic for Elvis to cover.
Just imagine: Elvis Presley – and his recent Rubin produced comeback album “American Recordings: Long Live the King”.
- “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaak)
- “American Nightmare” (The Misfits)
- “Mama Said” (Metallica)
- “Crazy in Love” (Beyonce)
- “You Shook Me All Night Long” (AC/DC)
- “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (U2)
- “Blood and Tears” (Danzig)
- “When the Going Gets Tough” (Billy OCean)
- “Mystify” (INXS)
- “Stranger on the Town” (The Damned)
- “Mysterious Ways” (U2)
- “Hip to be Square” (Huey Lewis & The News)
Some of those choices may not be obvious, if you’re not familiar with the bands. Take my word for it, Elvis singing Misfits and Danzig songs would be awesome. Glenn Danzig reminds me of Presley anyway, a lot of the time. And The King’s voice would be perfect for The Damned and Metallica tracks.
Disagree with my song choices? Have more ideas for songs for Elvis? Leave a comment and let me know.
You can visit Andy Wright’s Facebook page here. Get in touch and book him.
Of course, I should also mention Darth Elvis and the Imperials in this article! Fantastic band, they perform Star Wars based covers in an Elvis style.
I saw them at Sci-Fi Weekender in March. Fantastic!
Make sure you catch ’em!