Song Of The Day 4/22/2014: Elvis Presley - "Fools Fall In Love"

You Pick The Artist: Lynda Shepherd gave me the King, whose monarchy I was always a little too young to acknowledge, but whose legacy I've come to understand in dribs and drabs. I really should read up more on him. I'm sort of in line with Quentin Tarantino's argument in a deleted scene from Pulp Fiction, in which Mia Wallace puts forth that there are Elvis people and Beatles people. The two camps are entirely separate and only partially reconcilable. Elvis people can like some Beatles stuff, and Beatles people can like some Elvis stuff. But there's no room for both, maybe because they were far too much larger than life to occupy a person's headspace so totally at the same time. Which is a long way of saying, I was a Beatles person. For me the story of Elvis was more about the icon, the figure, the separatist nature of his existence that, like Michael Jackson, might have eventually killed him. That said, he seemed like a pretty nice guy.

My favorite Elvis track is kind of strange, though. It's a cover of Leiber/Stollers' "Fools Fall In Love" which never graced the charts. Also it was released in 1966, a long reach out of his heyday, and certainly not representative of what he did. That said, it's probably predictable that I have a personal reason for holding it close to my heart, and I do: It's the first Elvis song I ever heard as a child. We had a 45rpm copy of it in our house when I was growing up, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out which of my family bought it. My parents stopped following popular music the minute rock and roll started (even though Elvis was born between the births of my dad and my mom, who are separated in age by less than 14 months). I suppose it's more likely that one of my older sisters bought it, but if they did they never spoke of Elvis afterward.

My favorite part of this song is the crazy guitar. It sounds like it's using a wah pedal, but if it is it must be an early prototype because the wah pedal didn't appear until November 1966. It's out of character, not just with this song, but virtually everything Elvis did. But it's nice enough. And it provides the song with a very strange-sounding note to finish. It just sounds like it was plopped onto the end, like a wet mound of mashed potatoes on a platter in a cafeteria line. Aesthetics are funny.

Thanks, Lynda!

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