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My Favorite Elvis Song: Donny Osmond, Darlene Love, Kenny Loggins & More Stars Reveal Their Most Cherished Tracks By The King
Elvis Presley performing "If I Can Dream" during the ''68 Comeback Special' in 1968.

Photo: Gary Null & Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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My Favorite Elvis Song: Donny Osmond, Darlene Love, Kenny Loggins & More Stars Reveal Their Most Cherished Tracks By The King

As fans head to theaters to catch the new 'Elvis' film, artists who performed with and were inspired by The King choose their favorite Elvis songs.

GRAMMYs/Jun 30, 2022 - 02:48 pm

The King of Rock and Roll has taken center stage in theaters across the country thanks to Baz Lurhmann's critically acclaimed Elvis. The rousing biopic stars Austin Butler as the titular icon, and tracks Elvis Presley's tumultuous life and indelible impact on American culture — including his remarkably timeless discography.

Elvis classics like "Hound Dog" and "Can't Help Falling In Love" are sprinkled throughout the film, along with several other hits and deep cuts that display the late legend's genre-spanning abilities. He explored rock, blues, country, R&B and even gospel during his two-decade career, in turn having a lasting impact on artists of all types. .

In honor of both the new film and Elvis' legacy, GRAMMY.com asked a disparate range of artists — from those who performed with Elvis like Darlene Love, to rock idols like Kenny Loggins, to the latest generation of stars like Em Beihold — to pick their favorite tracks by the King. Elvis movie personalities Yola (who portrays Sister Rosetta Tharpe) and executive music producer Elliott Wheeler also weighed in on the Elvis songs they believe reign supreme.

Darlene Love

I was fortunate to sing with Elvis. We both shared the same passion for gospel music. "Amazing Grace" or "River of Jordan" or "Heaven Is a Wonderful Place" or "Sweet Hour of Prayer." We called them hymns of the church. There was another one called "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior." 

[My group] The Blossoms were known for their harmony and we'd harmonize with him. That's something we had with Elvis that others didn't have. It was fun to be praised by someone like Elvis Presley.

Yola (country/soul singer/songwriter)

My favorite Elvis song is probably "Hound Dog." His performance is iconic, but more importantly, has eventually helped illuminate rock-and-roll originator and the first artist to record the song, the remarkable Big Mama Thornton.

I've come late to Elvis, mainly by way of Baz Luhrmann's Elvis movie, in which I portray the creator of rock and roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Elvis was deeply immersed in the Black music scene of Beale Street in Memphis — from his relationship with B.B. King, to Sister Rosetta Tharpe's direct musical influence, alongside the showmanship of Little Richard, and of course Big Mama Thornton.

His sound was directly influenced and caused by Black music. The movie does a great job of demonstrating this fact, and reminds us that it is important to remember that when we pay homage to a great song performed by Elvis, we too must pay homage to its originator.

Johnny Rzeznik (the Goo Goo Dolls singer)

"Jailhouse Rock." Looking at the song in the context of the time it was written and performed, I can see how radical and dangerous he was to adults and how raw and sexual his appeal was to younger audiences. Dangerous stuff in 1957.

Dan Smith (Bastille singer)

We were recently on tour in Memphis and lucky enough to go on a private tour of Graceland. I’d always thought Elvis' performance of "Unchained Melody" had some real emotional resonance, but being shown the piano that he sang it on to a small collection of his friends on the night that he passed away was really powerful.

Apparently he’d finished an evening of racquetball and drinks with some of his close companions in Graceland, and his friends asked him to sit and play them some songs before he headed off to bed. He sang another song and "Unchained Melody," and then headed back into the house and upstairs for the final time. The piano itself is a modest German upright, but getting to see the thing in the place where he played it that time painted such a vivid picture of those moments.

Michael Feinstein (jazz singer/pianist)

My favorite song sung by Elvis is "If I Can Dream," which was written by Earl Brown for his 'comeback' TV special, This Is Elvis. The song helped to renew his career and expresses a timeless philosophy, which is even more resonant today. I sang that song at Carnegie Hall last month for the Ukraine Relief concert, and that message of peace and brotherhood embodies what I feel Elvis brought to so many.

Stephen Sanchez (pop singer/songwriter)

"It's Now or Never" is one of my favorite songs from Elvis. It's a song of deep longing and confession between himself and the lover. I relate to that within my own personal life and my own songs. He also has the most insane register in that song!

Em Beihold (pop singer/songwriter)

While maybe cliche, my favorite Elvis song has to be "Jailhouse Rock." I have a fond memory of dancing around to the track when I was maybe 7 or 8 — and making sure I put it on the CD of my Top 10 Favorite Songs that I would give as parting gifts at my birthday parties to prove to all the kids that I had good music taste. Elvis' energy and aura is unparalleled, the song is an immediate mood booster, and the track has undoubtedly stood the test of time.

Kenny Loggins

When "Hound Dog" came out in 1956 I was 8 years old. I would come home from school and would sneak into my brother's room to play his 45 over and over again. It's one of the greatest songs of all time.

Elliott Wheeler (Elvis Composer & Executive Music Producer)

It's an impossible task, but my favorite Elvis track is "Never Been to Spain." It's not the song that moves me the most, nor even the best vocal performance. But there's an incredible joy in the performance — an artist at the height of his powers, performing with a band he clearly loves making music with, who are playing with everything they've got. It's awesome.

VINCINT (pop singer/songwriter)

"Can't Help Falling In Love" has to be one of my top Elvis Presley songs. It's the perfect over-the-top love story with all the bells and whistles, but it's also quiet and gentle in the most heartbreaking way. I love it because it's a rare moment of him just holding his heart in his hands and telling someone, "This is how much I love you."

Dave Cobb (country/Americana producer and songwriter)

Elvis' "An American Trilogy" is by far my favorite Elvis song because it has every emotion. And how many times can you get away with using flute in a pop song?

Allison Ponthier (indie-folk singer/songwriter)

I grew up hearing Elvis around me my entire life. As a child, Elvis as a character was larger than life, an icon of show biz, and representative of something that felt so untouchable to my average life in the suburbs. Maybe that's part of the reason why "If I Can Dream," the emotional live TV performance from his '68 comeback special, affected me the way it did.

My own EP is named Shaking Hands With Elvis after a euphemism for death. It's named after a song I wrote about the loss of someone I was once close to. No matter who you are or what level you're at as a songwriter or artist, vulnerability is the only way forward — and it's wild how timeless that feeling is.

M. Ward (Americana singer/songwriter, She & Him guitarist)

My favorite Elvis song right now is "Baby What You Want Me To Do (Live in Las Vegas)" because I love his vocals and his interplay with his guitarist Gary Burton. And, it makes me want to go to Las Vegas. 

Donny Osmond

I was only about 13 when I watched him sing my favorite Elvis song during one of his live performances in Las Vegas. "Polk Salad Annie" is a little hidden gem of R&B and swamp rock that seems to be overlooked by most casual observers of his music. To this date, it influenced my own live performances.

Elvis and I had the same costume designer back in the early '70s. I always wore that iconic high-collar jumpsuit on stage, but I will admit that he was much sexier in his jumpsuit. 

Thanks to a rare recording, we get an appreciation for the soul that he mastered. Listen to how he takes control of the band, particularly Ronnie Tutt on drums. This performance will convince you that he most definitely deserved the title of "The King." 

11 Amazing Elvis Covers, From Frank Sinatra To Kacey Musgraves

Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik remembers 1999 GRAMMY T-shirt
John Rzeznik

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

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Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik remembers 1999 GRAMMY T-shirt

Goo Goo Dolls frontman on challenging himself on the band's latest album, 'Magnetic,' writer's block, the custom T-shirt he wore to the GRAMMYs in 1999, and building furniture

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

More than two decades into a career that has evolved from a punk-inspired garage band to Adult Top 40 bastions, the Buffalo, N.Y.-bred Goo Goo Dolls have returned with their latest release, 2013's Magnetic, which is set to debut at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. The preceding single "Rebel Beat" has populated the airwaves and reached No. 27 on Billboard's Rock Songs chart. Comprising original members John Rzeznik (vocalist/guitarist) and Robby Takac (bass), and drummer Mike Melanin, the Goo Goo Dolls will launch a lengthy tour on June 25 in support of Magnetic with co-headliners Matchbox Twenty.

In an exclusive interview with GRAMMY.com, Rzeznik discussed the band's new album, his future vocational endeavors and the custom T-shirt he wore the night of the 41st GRAMMY Awards in 1999 when the band's hit "Iris" was nominated for three awards, including Song and Record Of The Year.

Is there an overall thematic concept to Magnetic?
I think the thematic concept of it kind of unwound itself after it was done already. It seems that when I listened back to the album it was saying, "Get up, get out, and live your life," you know?

But you've said that on previous albums.
Yeah, it sort of got back to the theme that our band has always been about — that life may be completely screwed up, but we've got to make the best of it. I kind of strayed away from that on the last record. We put out a somber kind of album [with 2010's Something For The Rest Of Us].

What's the most satisfying aspect of Magnetic for you?
I think the biggest thing was that I absolutely had to keep my mind open and challenged all the time. I had people challenging me, great [song]writers, who said, "No, that's not good enough. Try something else." And then having to swallow my ego and say, "Alright, let's find something better" — that's what I'm most proud of. The day [Magnetic] came out, I went and bought it — just sort of a superstitious thing. [I] went back to my hotel room to one of those Bose Wave radios with a CD player in it and I listened to it top to bottom. And then I asked myself, "Are you proud of this? Did you do your best?" And I was like, "Yes!" As long as I suit up and show up and do my job, I can't really concern myself with the stuff that is out of my hands. The collection of songs that we have on there seemed to fit together really well in one package.

You're about to embark on a 50-date tour with Matchbox Twenty. When you perform new songs from Magnetic, how does that cure the writing process for you?
It completes it when you're singing a new song that everybody's seen on YouTube already, and they're singing it back to you. That's where it's like, "Alright, great! I did a good job!" Does the audience like it? That's what it's about, you know?

How have the Goo Goo Dolls evolved since their beginning as a garage punk band?
I think the music has to evolve with you as a person. I was 19 when I started this band, and I was heavily influenced by slick, goofy-aed hardcore music. We just wanted to play as hard and fast as we could. The prime directive of the band was, "Drink beer. Get girls." And when you're a 19-year-old guy, that's sort of what you do. But somewhere around [1993's] Superstar Car Wash, that was really when we started to learn how to play our instruments. And I was actually stringing thoughts together that made sense. That was really the turning point for me, where I thought, "Wow, I can actually write songs. I can actually play my guitar."

My understanding is that you were experiencing writer's block when you wrote "Iris." How did you overcome it?
Honestly, I was sitting there, and I had had some success with a song called "Name," and I just got completely full of fear. I mean, writer's block is just fear, and I think it's specifically fear about two things: You're afraid that you're not going to get what you want, and you're afraid that what you have is going to be taken away from you. At that point, I had written so many songs, and then finally one of them became a hit, and I felt that was nothing but luck. I said to myself, "OK, God  — or whatever is out there in the universe — if I'm supposed to do this, give me a sign." That song came out and it was really a gift. I saw the film [City Of Angels] and it completely made sense to me: Now I could play a supporting role in somebody else's creative vision. My subject matter was laid out in front of me, and then I went at it from the perspective of, "OK, what would I say if I was this guy?" Then it all came out.

"Iris" was a massive hit, hitting the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Did you know you'd hit a home run with that song after your finished it?
No, I didn't; and then it was everywhere. I remember strangers walking up to me and saying, "You know, man, I really love that song, but I just wish they would stop playing it." And I replied, "Yep, yep — that's my song!" [laughs]

What do you remember about attending the 41st GRAMMY Awards in 1999?
We got nominated for three [GRAMMYs] that night, and I didn't think we were going to win, which we didn't. I had a T-shirt made up that I wore underneath my suit, and it said, "I was nominated for three GRAMMYs and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." [laughs] So, I unbuttoned my shirt and people were asking me how it [felt to lose] three times. And I said, "It was pretty damn amazing that we were nominated at all!"

I understand that you're the type of artist who likes to have a life outside of music.
This tour is going to probably be pretty long. And I'm getting married [to Melina Gallo] and I owe [her] a honeymoon. We're going to travel a little bit and then we're going to regroup and figure out what the next step [in] our lives is. This is going to sound crazy, but I went to a vocational training school for high school, and I've always been interested in building furniture. That's something that I'm going to start messing around with. To build something tangible, like a chair, and sit in it … it's an empirical piece of evidence of your effort. Whereas, I've been building songs that sort of float around in the air, and it's all very subjective. But I think creating something solid that serves a purpose might be good for my brain.

(Nick Krewen is a Toronto-based journalist and co-author of Music From Far And Wide: Celebrating 40 Years Of The Juno Awards, as well as a contributor to The Routledge Film Music Sourcebook. He has written for The Toronto Star, TV Guide, Billboard, Country Music and was a consultant for the National Film Board's music industry documentary Dream Machine.)

news

Jackson Tops Dead Earners List

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Jackson Tops Dead Earners List
GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Michael Jackson topped Forbes' annual list of top-earning dead celebrities with $275 million, earning more than the combined total of the other 12 celebrities on the list. Elvis Presley ranked second with $60 million, John Lennon placed fifth with $17 million and Jimi Hendrix tied for 11th place with $6 million. Forbes compiled the list based on gross earnings between October 2009 and October 2010. (10/26)

UK Arts Council Announces Budget Cut Plans
Following a previous report, Arts Council England has revealed plans to implement the 30 percent cut to the UK's arts funding budget. The cuts will include a 7 percent cash cut for UK arts organizations in 2011–2012, a 15 percent cut for the regular funding of arts organizations by 2014–2015 and a 50 percent reduction to the council's operating costs. (10/26)

GRAMMY Winners To Perform At World Series
GRAMMY winners Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum and John Legend are scheduled to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" during Major League Baseball's 2010 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers. Legend and Lady Antebellum will perform at games one and two in San Francisco on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, respectively, and Clarkson will perform at game three on Oct. 30 in Arlington, Texas. (10/26)

 

The Week In Music: Elton Rocks Rush
Elton John performs at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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The Week In Music: Elton Rocks Rush

The Rocket Man performs at talk show host Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

We're guessing he didn't play anything from his album A Single Man. According to a People.com report, flamboyant rocker Elton John was the musical guest (for a cool fee of $1 million) at conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding, this one to 33-year-old Kathryn Rogers, who is reportedly a direct descendant of President John Adams. Regarding the couple's age difference, Rogers said, "I'm sometimes not able to relate to the average person my age." It would seem the 59-year-old Limbaugh is neither her age nor the average person.

Here's a concert that went to the dogs. Performance artist Laurie Anderson staged a show outside the Sydney Opera House for an audience of canine music lovers on June 5. The show took place as part of the city's Vivid Live festival, which is being co-curated by Anderson and her husband, Lou Reed, and featured music for mutts including high-pitch squeals and even sounds only dogs could hear. Anderson called the show, which was born from a conversation with cello master Yo-Yo Ma, "a highlight of my life." For man's best friend, it may have been the best dedicated music since the Singing Dogs' version of "Jingle Bells."

If you think Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle — the four-part opera based on Teutonic and Norse mythology that can run as long as 15 hours over four nights for the full cycle — carries some pretty heavy artistic heft, you'd be right…and literally right. For a new Metropolitan Opera staging over the next two years, the Met had to install 65-foot steel girders to support the 45-ton set. This might make Wagner the biggest current heavy metal act in music. The opera is set to open Sept. 27.

Coldplay's own artistic heft just got heavier...and freakier. In 2002 guitarist Jonny Buckland and frontman Chris Martin starred as a murder-solving duo in Irish rock band Ash's self-made slasher flick, appropriately titled Slashed. Unfortunately, the project was shelved, but footage has made its way into the band's new video for "Binary." Meanwhile, Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman is steering clear of axe-wielding killer ghosts to restore Scandinavian furniture with his brother Mark. Berryman's Antiques specializes in tables, seating, cabinetry, and even a Swedish bridal chest. Customers who find their purchased antiques haunted should contact Buckland and Martin immediately.

Now you can love him tender, love him mashed, or even love him au gratin. The Elvis Presley estate has teamed with Hasbro and PPW Toys to launch an Elvis version of the classic Mr. Potato Head toy. The first release will be a Las Vegas jumpsuited Elvis, scheduled to debut during Elvis Week in Memphis, Tenn., in August, and will be followed by a leather-clad Elvis spud. The Elvis potato follows a Kiss version released last year.

Bon Jovi launched an impressive 12-night, sold-out residency at London's O2 Arena on June 7, marking a return to the venue they officially launched three years ago. The GRAMMY-winning New Jersey natives also recently christened their new hometown digs, New Meadowlands Stadium, with three concerts in late May. AEG Live is predicting tickets sales for the band's current tour will eclipse their 2007–2008 Lost Highway trek, which was Billboard's highest-grossing tour in 2008. Not bad for a band Rolling Stone magazine once described as a "bad fourth-generation metal, smudgy Xerox of Quiet Riot." Jon Bon Jovi's take? He recently smirked, "Like it or not, we're one of the biggest bands in the world." No word on a JBJ Mr. Potato Head, however.

Looks like international singing sensation Susan Boyle will be making a holy trip later this year. The Roman Catholic Church says Boyle will likely perform for Pope Benedict XVI at an open-air papal Mass in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park on Sept. 16. An unidentified spokesman said negotiations are still taking place. "Likely" and "negotiations still taking place"? Could be a tour rider issue brewing…

Have the the Melvins gone commercial? The band's latest album, The Bride Screamed Murder, sold 2,809 units this past week, good enough for the bottom spot on the Billboard 200 and marking the first time the Seattle indie rock legends have placed on the album chart in their 25-plus-year career. With another 2,000 units, they would have reached the chart's upper echelon and passed the likes of Beyoncé, Eminem, Michael Jackson, Nickelback, Pink Floyd, and Timbaland. Asked for his comment on the milestone, singer/guitarist Roger "Buzz" Osborne said, "Top 200 what?"

Katy Perry's "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, reclaimed the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, as well as the top spot on the iTunes singles chart.

Any news we've missed? Comment below.

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Last Week In Music

 

5 Ways Elvis Presley Forever Changed The Music Industry, From Vegas Residencies To Cultural Fusion
Elvis Presley

Photo: John Springer Collection / Getty Images

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5 Ways Elvis Presley Forever Changed The Music Industry, From Vegas Residencies To Cultural Fusion

The music industry would be unrecognizable without Elvis Presley. Along with Colonel Tom Parker, the 20th-century innovator activated divergent spaces, helped architect the modern-day Las Vegas residency and so much more.

GRAMMYs/Apr 11, 2022 - 09:23 pm

Is it possible to undersell someone by calling them "the King"? It might be when you're talking about Elvis Presley.

Despite rising from nothing to become one of the most recognizable figures of the 20th century — and posthumously weathering periods of wrongheaded associations, from "fat Elvis" to rumors of racism — Presley didn't emerge simply as a monarch, or an icon baked into culture and taken for granted. These days, it's more edifying to consider him as an innovator.

That's how Panos A. Panay, the co-president of the Recording Academy, views the three-time GRAMMY winner and 14-time nominee. Instead of regarding Presley as a figurehead reigning over rock's development, Panay calls him "a multi-faceted superstar" who, along with his savvy yet misunderstood manager, Colonel Tom Parker, drew the blueprint of the multidimensional pop titan of today.

"I think people forget that this is a kid who grew up dirt-poor in the heart of the old south," Panay, who co-authored the 2021 book Two Beats Ahead, about the intersection of business acumen and musical artistry, tells GRAMMY.com. "He fused all the different things around him — from styles to music — to create something that literally took the world by storm." 

Need a reminder of how seismic Presley's impact was? Turn to the first few pages of almost any rock bio, and you'll find the artist as a young man or woman, hearing "Heartbreak Hotel" or "That's All Right" or "Jailhouse Rock" for the first time. Chances are, they described that moment in the language of natural phenomena: a meteor strike, a tsunami, a thunderclap.

Every star in his wake who repeatedly overhauled their image, staked claims in wildly various media spaces, and fused divergent cultural signifiers owes Presley a debt of gratitude — from the Beatles to Beyoncé, from Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga.

Of course, Presley wasn't the first rock star. He didn't invent the music, and he arguably walked so others (namely the Beatles, who worshipped him) could run. But the fact remains: there's never been another Presley before or since. Here are five ways he irrevocably changed the music-industry landscape.

He Helped Braid Disparate Cultural Threads

Granted, rock 'n' roll was a colorless cultural interchange years before Presley showed up.

For decades prior, musicians both Black and white — from what we might designate "country" and "R&B" and "gospel" and "rock 'n' roll" spheres, but who were really parts of the same primordial soup — perpetually inspired and influenced each other.

But nobody elevated that fusion to the world stage than Presley, and his large-scale disregarding of easy racial and sexual categorization was highly jarring to buttoned-up 1950s America. 

Hip-swiveling shock value aside, what would pop music sound like without his revved-up amalgam of gospel, blues, country, and R&B? What would it look like without his tousled hair, twisted visage and skin-tight black leather?

It's anyone's guess what an Elvis-free world would be like, but it wouldn't include disciples like the Beatles, the Stones, or scores of other greats. In other words, it would be a drag beyond belief.

He Galvanized A Nascent Teenage Market

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstram, Presley could scarcely have arrived at a better time.

"A new young generation of Americans was breaking away from the habits of its parents and defining itself by its music," Halberstram wrote in his 1993 book The Fifties. And with the advent of new technology — namely the transistor radio — came a paradigm shift in authority.

"The important figures of authority were no longer mayors and selectmen or parents," the author continued. "They were disc jockeys, who reaffirmed the right to youthful independence and guided teenagers to their new rock heroes."

Who was the ideal leader for this emerging market? In the cinema space, you had Marlon Brando and James Dean as brooding avatars for the post-WWII cultural milieu.

Then, in music, you had Presley, who landed in culture like an ambassador from Andromeda, ready to lead a teenage exodus from suburban monotony to frenzied, life-affirming joy.

He Activated Film & TV Spaces Like Never Before…

When Panay considers how to shepherd the Recording Academy into the future in the 2020s, he looks to what Presley accomplished on small and large screens during his career.

"If you want to know the future of the business, man, look at Elvis Presley," he says. "Look at all the artists that followed the guy. He set the mold for what a prototypical superstar is."

One way Presley did this, Panay says, was by transcending the boundaries of a record or concert and strolling into your TV screen in any number of films — especially during the '60s, when he focused on that component of his work with flicks like G.I. Blues, Blue Hawaii and Girl Happy.

While Presley's films are sometimes contemporaneously criticized as formulaic dreck that stalled his creative evolution, the man did have serious aspirations as an actor — and presence in that space was important to pop's multimedia development.

…And Paved The Way For The Modern Music Video

As Panay says, Presley's participation in film wasn't just proof musicians could be actors. The entire point of a music video — to make an artistic statement while selling a record — is crystallized in Presley's films.

Through that lens, there's a direct thread from Love Me Tender and Jailhouse Rock to the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night, Prince's Purple Rain and more.

Still, Presley's onscreen innovation extends beyond cinema: 1973's "Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite" was revolutionary in that it was the first live satellite broadcast to feature a single performer.

When you take it with the unforgettable "Jailhouse Rock" video and "'68 Comeback Special," a case can be made that Presley's DNA is encoded deep within in this modern artform.

Thank Elvis For The Las Vegas Residency, Too

Think the format of the Las Vegas residency is the province of wash-ups? Think again: This month alone, 2022 GRAMMY performers BTS, Silk Sonic and Lady Gaga will delight audiences in Sin City. (The 2022 GRAMMYs were held there, too.)

"People used to make fun of the Las Vegas residency," Panay says. "But name an artist right now who doesn't want a Las Vegas residency."

As Richard Zoglin explained in his 2019 book Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show, Presley's first Vegas run in 1969 — and more than 600 shows in the city afterward — set the stage for loftier, glitzier affairs.

This was a marked turn from the era's typical, intimate nightclub shows featuring older performers, like Nat "King" Cole or Judy Garland. "It opened the door to big shows," Zoglin told The New York Post. "All the modern residencies in Vegas, from Celine Dion to Lady Gaga — Elvis was the first of those kinds of shows."

So, next time Presley seems hopelessly fossilized in the past, a frozen face on a lunchbox, simply stream his greatest songs — they'll set your head straight. 

"He sang from his heart," Panay says, summarizing Presley's genius. "He was an amazing interpreter of songs in a way that, frankly, few people before and after have ever been."

From there, consider how the pop universe would be unrecognizable without Presley — complete with the performers who never fail to wash away the drudgery of daily life, making it more vibrant, more colorful, more meaningful.

He was the King, indeed. But he was also something more.

Almost Everyone In The Famous Harlem 1958 Jazz Photograph Is Gone. This 96-Year-Old Vibraphonist Remembers Most Of Them.