This is the week of what would have been Elvis' 74th birthday if he were still around -- and according to some eyewitnesses, he may still prowl the places he loved best. But he is Always on My (and our) Mind, especially when it comes to dealing with times when The Lord Gave Me a Mountain. What Would Elvis Do if he were here facing the most serious recession in our time?
President-elect (and sometimes Deputy President) Barack Obama recently warned that the economy may become very dire if action is not quickly forthocoming from the federal government to turn things around. Elvis as a patriotic American would answer the call and institute his very own bailout program. Considering that his estate generates an estimated $100 million dollars a year, he should be able to make a bit of a dent in the consumer spending index. Here is a quick five point plan to save the economy.
The Elvis Bailout Program
Buy Everybody a New Car
Sing a Few Gospel Tunes to Raise Morale
Embrace New Technology
Go On Tour
Go Out to Eat
We know how much Elvis enjoyed the pleasure of making someone happy with a spanking new car. He did like a good deal, though. Reportedly he walked away from a multiple purchase because the dealer did not give any discount on the total price. However, this time around, he should be able to get a very sweet deal from any of the Big Three -- who are getting rather desperate to move units, as they say in the dealer biz. Just think if every employer followed his example and bought their employees new, fuel-efficient cars. Why, we would have our economy and Wall Street up off their fannies in no time. Just one question: Do they have any models with blue suede upholstery?
The only Grammy awards Elvis ever won were for his gospel albums. Of course that was back when the awards people were biased against this decadent rock n roll stuff, but anyway, the fact is that every concert of his featured at least one gospel number. Tunes like Crying in the Chapel, You'll Never Walk Alone or Where Could I Go But to the Lord? were not reserved for Sundays in the choir. He sang Peace in the Valley on the Ed Sullivan Show -- it is hard to imagine any recording star today daring to perform any gospel song on a secular TV or concert appearance. Elvis combined rhythm and blues with a gospel backup to create his own brand of rock, so any of his recordings tend to have a positive effect on the listener. Of all the ways to raise one's spirits, music is probably the sweetest.
It may seem odd that when Elvis' 1973 concert was beamed all over the work Live Via Satellite, that it was some new-fangled thing. But this event opened people's eyes to the possibilities of mass communications using the latest tools at our disposal, and in retrospect, gave a real boost to the growth of global communication. I have no doubt that Elvis would have embraced the internet and iPods and the whole panoply of modern electronic gadgetry. Would you pay to watch a live streaming concert of Elvis (in his prime) downloaded to your computer or webTV? I would wager that millions would answer yes to that question. Why aren't more artists exploring the possibilities? Or is it too easy to just sell songs one at a time via iTunes?
What if we had the opportunity to see a resurrected Elvis in concert? In the flesh, or in holographic form, millions would probably shell out to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Plus a couple more bucks for a treasured souvenir like the stuffed hound dogs from his Las Vegas concerts. And someone has to produce those scarves he hands out during the concert. That oughta give the economy a boost, especially if at least some of the souvenirs are made right here in the U.S. of A. And let's say that he ventures overseas for the first time. That tour oughta bring in some precious Euros and yen, and help reverse the negative balance of trade. This has real possibilities.
Sadly, no restaurant that I know of offers fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches on its menu*. However, Elvis and his entourage were known to rent out skating rinks and movie theatres so they could have some fun, so it should be a snap to get restaurants to host or at least cater a weekly banquet. And given the way that Elvis could put away a plateful or two, he could make the difference between an eatery staying in business or going belly-up. Stimulate your local dining establishments today.
So there you have it, the Elvis Five-Point Bailout Plan. What Would Elvis Do? He'd spend some money and have a ball doing it.
[Copyright Minnie Apolis, 2009.]
* Readers inform me that Beale Street in Memphis offers fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. See link below. Thank you, dear readers.