ock and roll has been around for many years. It used to be called rhythm and blues. And as far back as I can remember it's been very big, though in the last five years it's gotten much bigger. But personally I don't think it'll ever die completely out because they're gonna have to get something mighty good to take its place.
Rock and roll music, if you like it and if you feel it, you can't help but move to it. That's what happens to me, I can't help it.
I don't see that any type of music would have any bad influence on people. It's only music. I can't figure it out. In a lot of the papers they say rock and roll is a big influence on juvenile delinquency. I don't think that it is, juvenile delinquency is something, I don't know how to explain but I don't see how music has anything to do with it at all. I mean, how would rock and roll music make anybody rebel against their parents?
I've been blamed for just about everything wrong in this country. Juvenile delinquency, for example, that I give kids "ideas," whatever that means. I'm vulgar, they say. I wouldn't do anything vulgar in front of anybody, 'specially children. My folks didn't bring me up that way. I don't do anything bad when I work. I just move to the music 'count of it's the way I feel it. I hear it and I gotta move.
It's hard to explain rock 'n' roll. It's not what you call folk music. It's a beat that gets you. You feel it. If I wasn't sincere, I'd just leaf through my work and say "Gimme my money and I'll get the hell out." When I don't do a good job, I know it and I'm blue as hell. You'll pardon my language, but I mean it.
I don't like to be called Elvis the Pelvis. I mean, it's one of the most childish expressions I ever heard, Elvis the Pelvis. But if they want to call me that there ain't nothing I can do about it so I have to accept it, like I accept the good with the bad, the bad with the good.
As a rule most of the adults are real nice. They're understanding. I've had them come up to me and say "I don't personally like your kind of music but my children like it and if they like it I don't have to think about it but when I was young I liked the charleston, I liked the foxtrot, I liked this and that." Adults are real intelligent. They don't run people into the ground for having a nice time.
I've tried to figure it out. I don't see how they can think that it would contribute to juvenile delinquency, someone only singing and dancing. I don't see that because if there's anything I've tried to do, I've tried to live a straight, clean life and not set any kind of bad example.
You accept the bad along with the good. I've been getting some very good publicity, the press have been real wonderful to me, and I've had some bad publicity but you have to expect that, and I know I'm doing the best I can and I've never turned a reporter down, I've never turned a disc jockey down, because they're the people that helped make me in this business, and as long as I'm doing the best I can...
Let's face the facts. Anybody in the public eye, their life is not as private any more. Everything you do, the public knows about it and that's how it's always been and that's how it'll always be. Critics never bother me, or change me neither. I don't have time to be bothered. I'm working too hard. And I'm figuring to stay around awhile.
Maybe some of the critics don't dig me. They've got a job to do, I guess. But I don't pay no attention. They're not touching me.
Graceland is just 15 miles north of Tupelo. When I first bought the estate and mansion for 100,000 dollars in 1958, it was just like living in the country. There was nothing around my place but a few cotton and sugar cane plantations. The highway was second class. Now the Tennessee highway department has resurfaced the highway that runs in front of my estate because the thousands of tourists constantly roaring past, parking, backing up, and turning around, had torn it up.
When the highway was put in top shape, it opened the way for a new flood of traffic and a big land boom. Now we're surrounded by all sorts of things I didn't plan on.
My fans don't embarrass me. They're the greatest, I love 'em. Even when they get a little rough, they're swell kids.
I got a lot of good decorating ideas for Graceland. I'm always fixing and repairing around the house. I like to do things first class, too. I had one wall knocked out of the first floor of the house to enlarge the room. Then I got a wonderful idea to make the ceiling of my bedroom all velvet. I like bright colors, like orange, red and yellow. They look right nice.
I'm real proud of Graceland. I'll never leave. If the invasion of my privacy keeps up, it can be easily remedied. We'll just have a solid string of weeping willow trees planted along the stone fence around the entire estate. That will at least keep the noise down and give us privacy.
I only really feel at home in Memphis, at my own Graceland mansion. It isn't that I don't like Hollywood. But a man gets lonesome for the things that are familiar to him; his friends and acquaintances. I know I do. That's why I would never live in Hollywood permanently.
Hollywood's a lovely city. I've learned to appreciate it more since we moved into a Mediterranean style villa I rent on a Bel-Air hilltop. It's so quiet up there. The place is all marble columns and statuary, a fine home from home. But home for me will always spell Memphis and Graceland.
I'd like to tell you a little about how I got into this business and how I got started, where and when and so forth, because it's been written up so many times that people don't actually know the true story. It happened when I was just out of high school and I was driving a truck. I was studying to be an electrician and I got wired the wrong way somewhere along the line.
I went into a recording studio and I made a record for a guy named Sam Phillips. Sun Records. And he puts the record out in about a week. I went on driving a truck and just forgot about it. And when it came out they started playing it and it got real big in the South. I was still driving a truck in the daytime and working nightclubs at night, little bars and fairs. And in 1956 I met Colonel Sanders-Parker, and he arranged for me to go on television. So they put me on television. I did the Ed Sullivan show four times and I did the Steve Allen show, the Jackie Gleason show... And they filmed me from here up, you know. "You stand still."
The first time I went to the Grand Ole Opry it was a talent show and they turned me down. They said, "You get out of here." So I went to the Louisiana Hayride. They turned me down and took Pat Boone. He had his white shoes and stuff, you know.
And then later on they sent me to Hollywood to make movies. "That's all we can get out of him." So I made four movies. In 1958 I got drafted. I went into the army and I stayed a couple of years and it was loads of fun. They made a big deal out of it and cut my hair. Then I came out and I made a picture called G.I. Blues where I thought I was still in the army. I made more movies, Blue Hawaii... It kind of got into a routine and a rut and I kind of wanted to come back and work live in front of people again.
I hope I haven't bored you.
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