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Thread: Elvis lived to rock, but loved gospel

  1. #1
    Backstage Pass Marlena's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Elvis lived to rock, but loved gospel

    If the King of Rock-and-Roll is known for anything, it might be the gyrating hips, the troubling addictions, the kitsch of Graceland.
    But the Elvis Presley remembered by Joe Moscheo, a gospel singer who sang backup vocals for Presley as a member of the Imperials, was a deeply spiritual man who would leave screaming fans, retreat to his hotel suite and croon old hymns until dawn.
    "When he left the building," Moscheo writes in his forthcoming book, The Gospel Side of Elvis,"most nights, Elvis wanted nothing more than to go somewhere with a few friends and a piano, a place they could gather to sing and listen to the gospel music that nourished the heart and soul of this American musical and cultural icon."

    Thirty years after his death, Presley is better known for his spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than his place in the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.
    But his gospel side is a rich one. Some of his first recorded songs were "Softly and Tenderly (Jesus Is Calling)." He won two Grammys for his gospel albums, "How Great Thou Art" and "He Touched Me," and according to John Styll, president of GMA, there is the simple "fact that he loved gospel music."
    A Hackensack record store owner said Elvis' gospel records are enjoying a revival.
    "I just sold [a CD] on eBay and I had a ton of bids," said Craig Stepneski of Hackensack Record King. "They're the easiest thing to sell because everyone has all his regular stuff. At this point, people are looking for something fresh, something different."
    Presley, who was raised in a soul-filled Assembly of God church in East Tupelo, Miss., eventually had to abandon regular church attendance as his popularity skyrocketed. After he nearly started a fan frenzy one Easter at First Assembly of God in Memphis, he decided to limit his spiritual diet to gospel music recordings and Sunday sermons from his favorite TV preacher, Rex Humbard.
    That's why, Moscheo speculates, Presley's after-hours gospel singing and his well-worn gospel records gained greater significance for Presley as personal time with God.
    An Elvis aficionado in New Jersey said Presley's gospel recordings are particularly powerful, laced with his yearning for redemption.
    "When he sings it, he puts all his heart and soul in it, and he can't help but get through to you," said Roberta Gooley, president of Memories of Elvis -- New Jersey. "It touches your heart."
    Gooley, a Hunterdon County resident, is a member of the Reformed Church and is familiar with many Protestant hymns that Elvis covers on his records. But she said Elvis' renditions always come off as intensely personal. "I feel it's almost a different translation," she said. "It's like God is sending a message."

  2. #2
    TCB Mafia Polk-Salad-Annie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Re: Elvis lived to rock, but loved gospel

    Elvis loved Gospel music.
    People know Elvis more for his Rock and Roll than his Gospel.
    It is a shame, he made very good Gospel music.

    It is music that i can listen to all day long.
    Some of you all never been down South too much...
    I'm gonna tell you a little story, so you'll understand where I'm talking about

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