Posts Tagged ‘Elvis Presley’


February 14, 2012

Whitney Houston and Lana De Rey? It seems a long stretch but hear me out.

Whitney Houston died and again we need to ask the very same question asked when Michael Jackson died, and Elvis died and others died. Where were the minders? How did it get to this? We know that Whitney was a trainwreck ready to crash. There were probably hundreds of junkies who died on the same day. Alone. Famous people aren’t alone. I’m not naive. I know that their fame and money allows them to surround themselves with people who WILL turn a blind eye and WILL assist destructive tendencies, but they’ve still got more chance of being rescued than those other lonely casualties.

Whitney Houston was handed life on a platter. That’s the real tragedy. She was beautiful and she had the gift of a great voice. She already had a potential career as a high profile model on offer when she opted to  follow her mother and cousin into music. Then she was handed “the world”, not an ordinary beginning to a career. Clive Davis searched out songs and producers and months were spent on assembling that debut album. It was an important record in many ways. It introduced us to Whitney Houston. It broke the mould of one producer overseeing an entire album. The industry was never the same. And Whitney and her album changed pop music.  It was so fitting that Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to Whitney at the Grammys. Since American Idol started we’ve seen female singer after female singer emulating Whitney Houston’s “over-singing” vocal style.

Whitney was handed life on a platter. How could it go so wrong? . Is it true that she used to have someone blow cocaine up her backside?

So where does Lana Del Rey fit into all this?  I’m wondering what the hell HER minders are up to. Are they deliberately letting  her commit career-o-cide or are they just incompetent? How could she be put out there so “un-prepared”.  Maybe she really is a starry-eyed wanna-be who’s stumbled into the spotlights, but she actually didn’t get there on her own. She has management, she’s signed to a major record company. There ARE people around her who SHOULD know better.

Has there been another artist who’s been made such a public target for derision? A lot of it wasn’t necessary. Or was it? Is this the way the music industry operates now? Sacrifice rather than support?  The first artists caught lip-syncing on stage were lambasted and ridiculed, but now that’s the way it’s done. Is that what we’re seeing with Lana, the first step in the next era of public illusion? After Lana, after she’s been made to break the ice, is this the way we’ll see artists in the future launched?

The pity is that the ’Born To Die’ album is quite interesting. Lana seems to have idea of the kind of mystique she wants to create. We should have been allowed to focus on that, to share her vision and allow her to evolve it. Already she’s talking about not making another album.  

How did it come to this? How could it go so wrong? Or is this the way it was meant to be, as inevitable at Whitley’s demise. Born to die.



January 11, 2010

Elvis Presley is dead. You know that. We would have turned 75 this week if he’d lived. But how could he not have died on that toilet seat at Graceland, his arteries and colon choked from years of poor diet? Who was going to stop Elvis from dying? Not his doctor, who like Michael Jackson’s doctor more recently, just did his client’s bidding. Conrad Murray will be charged with manslaughter. Michael Jackson was guilty. Elvis was guilty. Elvis’ famous live-in buddies were guilty, too busy accepting his pay and gifts to care. Priscilla was out of there. Can’t blame her. Elvis did manager Colonel Tom Parker a favour by dying. While the exploding Elvis was stumbling and forgetting his words on Las Vegas stages the Colonel was gambling, amassing debts he was paying off by carving off bits of his excessively large share of the Presley empire.

Elvis still alive? It’s impossible. He was on the slow road to destruction and nothing and no-one was going to save him. How could he have saved himself?

We know the story of Elvis the entertainer, the Southern boy with the matinee idol looks, the wild sound and the swivelling hips that sent the girls (and parents) crazy; sent into exile into the Army by the Colonel who thought that was the best way of prolonging Elvis’ career. The argument continues whether he came back from the army with his career mortally damaged. Certainly he didn’t perform live again for years. The hits kept coming but would these songs have been hits without the sensation caused by the “original” Elvis?

With the career came an odd life. His stillborn twin brother was named first, and Elvis was the afterthought. He was born to take away the pain. His mother reminded him of that fact for the rest of her life. Elvis was obsessed by his mother. He looked after his parents like a parent and called them “the kids”.  He had lots of women, before and after Priscilla, but his sexlife got all confused with what Mama would think. In today’s world his relationship with his “child bride” Priscilla would be a scandal, bringing her at 15 to live chaperoned at Graceland until ready. Why Priscilla over all his other women? Elvis told his circle at the time he had found a girl he could bring up to be exactly what he wanted. Then came daughter Lisa Marie, born exactly nine months after the wedding day. Don’t take this as gospel, but apparently Elvis’ relationship with Priscilla went downhill from that day forward. He had trouble making love with women who had born children.

We all have our eccentricities. Yours and mine don’t become public, nor do we get the chance necessarily to indulge them and allow them to become extreme. Hopefully we reach a point where we stop before we hurt ourselves or others. Elvis and Michael Jackson didn’t have that luxury.

Elvis and Michael were also great entertainers, by another weird twist of fate, ultimately, After Elvis’ death, related by marriage. They changed the world, our world, but became victims of the world they were allowed to create for themselves.

What I’m listening to: Biffy Clyro (Only Revolutions),  Rowland S Howard (Pop Crime), The Jesus And Mary Chain (Honey’s Dead)