I’m No Hillbilly Singer! – Elvis Presley
I went to Paris for the first time in 1985 to visit my friend, painter Frank Bruckmann. Frank had left Plainfield, N.J. the previous year to pursue his dream of being a painter in Paris. Paris, France not Paris, Texas for all you philistines! Anyway during my visit, another friend, Rafael Sanchez from our art school (DuCret School of the Arts) was in Paris at the same time for a wedding. One day a buddy of Rafael’s, named Kenny and I spent the day drinking at a local cafe. And I mean the whole day. At the end, we decided that we were going to take the 11pm train to Amsterdam which we did because we were very drunk and very single. I probably didn’t have to mention that we were single since I started by saying we were drinking ALL DAY at a cafe.
Kenny and I arrived in Amsterdam around 8am the next morning. We found a hotel not too far from the train station and crashed for a few hours. When we got up in the afternoon we headed down to the bar to plan our day. To our delight we discovered the bar also had a pool table so we ordered our first round and began playing.
So this is how it is with me and pool. I either suck or have these brief ‘Rain Man’ moments where I can knock anything in. Well in Amsterdam I had an EXTENDED Rain Man moment. So much so that a group of 5 British soldiers approached us to play, but because both Kenny and i were playing so well they were afraid we’d run the table and not give them a chance to play, so they asked if we wouldn’t mind splitting up and teaming with a British soldier. We were fine with it and played that way. It was fun. Kenny and I carried whichever soldier was on our side each game. We were awesome!
The night I taught Elvis how to dance like Elvis
So here’s why I’m telling this story… Like I said there were five soldiers. The oldest was about 40 and the youngest was around our age, 25.
The soldiers all seemed to think their youngest comrade looked like Elvis Presley (he didn’t) and so that was what they all called him! Elvis.
Anyway after a bunch of games, they wanted to know what we were going to do that evening. Kenny and I looked at each other and said we were going to find out where the Red Light district was and explore it and get drunk. The soldiers all started laughing and pointed out of the bar’s window and told us that the ‘Red Light’ district started at the corner of our hotel. We were basically holding our map of Amsterdam upside down and thought it was way across town! Lol. Anyway, Elvis and the other soldiers asked us if we wanted join them in a pub crawl through the district. How could we pass that offer up, what could go wrong?
We finished our beers at our hotel’s bar and struck out into the unknown of Amsterdam’s Red Light district with 5 English soldiers. They were on a mission… a mission to drink because they were heading to Germany at 5am to bivouac. One bar, one drink. I would tell a joke, Kenny would sing a dirty limerick and the soldiers would sing to the waitress to ‘Show us your tits!”
It was at the third bar where I taught Elvis to dance. Somehow I got control of the jukebox and had everybody singing Beatle songs on the dance floor. Then we found an Elvis tune and we got our English Elvis to sing. I told him he should dance, but he said he couldn’t. “How can any one be nicknamed Elvis and NOT KNOW HOW TO DANCE?! So I said, watch this and started my best Elvis dance. Man, it was good. The whole bar was filled and everyone was crowded around singing and laughing when an old lady came out of the kitchen and walked across the dance and stopped right in front of me. After staring at me for a second she gives me a huge shove! One of the soldiers shouts as he’s laughing, “Oy, Yank! I think you have a new girlfriend!” I’m like, What the fuck? Then the old lady grabs my cheeks with both her hands and plants an insane kiss on my mouth. She then slings her arm around my back and begin singing as if nothing ever happened. Kenny and the soldiers just about pissed themselves.
But hey, how often do get a night where you can say not only did you teach Elvis to dance, but you also got the girl?
Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.
Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King”.
Presley’s music career began in 1954, when he recorded a song with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who managed the singer for more than two decades. Presley’s first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel”, was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit in the United States. He was regarded as the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records.
Man, I really like Vegas.
Presley is one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, with estimated record sales of around 600 million units worldwide. He won three Grammys, also receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame. Forbes named Elvis Presley as the 2nd top earning dead celebrity with $55 million as of 2011.
All work in the LickedinPop Series begins as an original pen and Ink illustration. Rich and colorful, it is my homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein tuned to my favorites in pop culture. Beautiful reproductions of ‘Elvis Presley’ and all my work in the LickedinPop Series are available for sale at my Etsy Store. Please come visit!