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Why I Don't Listen to Elvis Presley Anymore

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I've touched the subject here in the forum several times, but I thought it would be better to write it all down under one post.

I became Elvis's fan when I was eleven years old. I was deeply in love with him and thought he was very generous, kind loving and talented. He indeed sang well, but that was all he could do. At that time, it didn't matter to me that much though.

Michael "seriously" entered and changed my life in 2005. I still remember a conversation I had with another fan at home. He noticed Elvis's posters above my bed and asked me if I preferred Elvis or Michael. I answered honestly, "I like them both to the same extent and don't want to choose one over the other."

Well, that has changed. I don't know the exact moment although I only explicitly voiced that very recently.

1. He wasn't a creator.

He could sing and play the guitar, but he hasn't composed a single piece of music. Nor has he ever produced it. He might have written lyrics to one or two songs, but that's all about it. I mean, there's nothing wrong with just interpreting music rather than composing and arranging it, but I prefer personal input. Also, if you are just a musician, you are not a musical genius in my eyes. Sad, but true.

2. The music wasn't that good anyway.

I didn't realise it back then as I had been learning English for a short period of time. However, as I was growing up, I learnt many English subtleties and didn't need to rush for a dictionary as I was studying artists' lyrics in my free time.

Elvis's lyrics were, for the most part, not thoughtful, what's worse, some were openly sexist or racist (think about the Hawaiian songs or the Harum Scarum soundtrack). Now, I know some Michael's songs are controversial for similar reasons, but I have done some research and nevertheless concluded Michael was an amazing person. The fact he managed to recreate the uncomfortable feelings, but at the same time was a great humanitarian (and this side of his is also reflected in his work) clearly shows he had a good heart and was a genius.

3. His relationship with women.

Something I didn't realise initially either. I don't want to support rumours because I know they needn't be true, but if i have to trust Priscilla Presley, his ex-wife, Elvis seemed to be an abuser and a manipulator. What he did to her is a clear example of partnership violence (something I have been through).

As far as I know, no woman has accused Michael of violence. He actually spoke out against injustice to women on several occasions, be it through the songs or otherwise. He stood up for Janet after the Superbowl incident, highlighting the fact that a naked white man streamed live decades ago hadn't cause a stir. He was well aware of gender-structured hypocrisies.

Besides, Michael collaborated with many female artists, be it songwriters or performers. I'm not sure if Elvis did such a thing during his lifetime.

4. His relationship to guns.

Elvis was an avid gun collector. It is a notoriety that he would shoot at a TV if there was aired something he detested. Sounds rather silly, doesn't it? I can't imagine shooting a TV set, especially if that cost some money.

I'm not so fond of guns, either. I understand they are unfortunately necessary for protection under certain circumstances, but they should only be used under such conditions. Shooting a device doesn't count, sorry.

5. How he brought up his daughter.

Reportedly, he spoilt Lisa Marie, his only child. There has been some material written about this and you can easily find it. I don't find it amusing, to say at least. You need to teach children important values and insist on them, not provide for them excessively in a materialist way. Your children need to be aware of others' needs and to care about scarce resources this planet has.

Michael was a strict, yet also a loving and supportive father. He didn't want his children to hang around doing nothing and living by his material legacy. All his children are doing amazingly right now. (Before you say a thing about Paris and smoking and drinking, note that I was doing the same. And guess what, I managed to get a degree and achieve several accomplishments in my life. Also, it's easy to be critical of someone who has been through hardship.)

I may come up with a few more reasons, but this list so far is pretty comprehensive. If you are Elvis's fan: Your relationship to Elvis is up to you. Whether and how you'll listen to his music is your business although I'd suggest reading around and critically thinking about his art and legacy (unless you've already done that). And the same applies to Michael or any other performer out there.

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Comments

  1. MJInTheMirror's Avatar
    Great blog! I checked it out because the title grabbed my attention. I honestly only listened to few songs from him, so I know almost nothing about his career. But I just wanted to comment on the fact that it's interesting how when we are fans of someone his personal life can change what we think about his professional life. I think a big part of why I admire Michael is his kindess, and I don't know if I would've been such a big fan if it wasn't for that. Idk if you quite understand me, anyway, great blog