Friday, January 8, 2016

The King's Songs

81 years ago today was born a man who would be called the King - The King of Rock n Roll.

Elvis Presley has had an influence on most of our lives growing up. There is an active Elvis Fan Club in Mumbai headed by my once fellow RJ - Fali R. Singara, who was born after Elvis' death. 

I was six when Elvis died. And that was also the age, when I first sang a song in harmony -  and yes, it was an Elvis' number. Sang a voice part for "The Wonder of You" with my elder brother as a special wish to the OLPS Headmistress - Mrs. Viola D'Lima on her birthday that year. 

The Wonder Of You - Elvis Presley

Every year at Christmas time, the St. Anthony's Homes Co-op Society would have a series of activities at the Club including Talent Contests and Entertainment Events. We'd take part regularly in these contests and win a few prizes and trophies. One one occassion there, I remember doing another Elvis favorite - "Return To Sender".

Return To Sender - Elvis Presley

Last week I was emcee-ing 'Members' Nite' at the same venue with one of Mumbai's top entertainers Walter Pereira and squeezed out some backing vocals alongside, and I along with the 200+ guests enjoyed every Elvis number that he sang at the event. 

I'm reminded of another occasion at the same venue involving a cousin of mine, Glen Mascarenhas, who in his teens had this singing and dancing act that he performed on Elvis.  It was rumoured that to get the Elvis pelvis gyrating always, Elvis used to take the help of roaches that he'd slip into his shirt before getting to stage. Glen sang a couple of Elvis songs on stage dancing to tickles of the (imaginary) roaches, and stamping hard on the ones that fell to the floor. Remember he had the audience roaring with laughter with this song.

Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley

During my band days - in the 90s - Jailhouse Rock started the Rock n Roll medley in our Jive set. Will try to put a sample sometime soon on SoundCloud. 

Among Elvis' vast repertoire of songs, there's this one that has a special meaning for me. It's the first song I sang when my voice matured to a baritone, and won me many prizes including at the zonals in Chembur against 'Mack the Knife' Trudy. A soft powerful song that  serves as praise as well. Recorded this recently as a tribute to the uncle (The Singing Priest) who introduced me to the song and was also born in the same year as the King.

Elvis may be no more, but his music across various genres lives on. As we remember him today, let's remember this song every single day of this year that's just begun. Yes, there's Somebody bigger that all of us, who loves us all very dearly. 

And to end this post on a lighter note, just thought I'd play this song for you. While it is a sad song, there's this one line in this version that I've never heard before. Let's see whether you can find it - has to do with a 'hair' condition. Trust I'll see your comments below.

Are You Lonesome Tonight - Elvis Presley

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