Skip to main content

Elvis Presley - Post Military Misinterpretations

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
Young Elvis Presley

Young Elvis Presley

A lot of people feel that Elvis was washed up after his military career. I do not happen to think so.

Elvis made some of his best songs post 1960, which is when I believe his stint in the army came to an end.

This was definitely a transitional period -- and maybe a necessary one (in terms of the revolution of rock and roll) -- I don't know. He started getting placed into movies instead of stand-up concerts. I tend to look upon Elvis' involvements in the abysmal movie industry as a precursor to what would eventually lead to the basis for all music videos. Yes, the plots to his movies were silly, but the audience seemed to go to Elvis' films to listen to him sing new songs -- and -- in my opinion -- many of them were excellent.

Elvis Presley - Cover to G.I. Blues

Elvis Presley - Cover to G.I. Blues

Take G.I. Blues for example (coming out in 1960). 90% of the tracks were very good, very listenable. And he kept pushing out movie tracks for a long while after. In 1964 Elvis did Viva Las Vegas, where maybe 60% of the tracks were listenable. Thereafter, there was a long, slow dive. If you could find one or two good songs among the sound tracks, you felt yourself fortunate. By 1969 things were pretty much finished. They didn't HAVE to be, but the lack of songwriting talent created an end to a fairly long run.

By 1970 we find Elvis beginning the final stage of his career, where he presented himself as a live performer instead of a film actor. And even here he made many memorable tunes.

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret from Viva Las Vegas

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret from Viva Las Vegas

By 1970 we find Elvis beginning the final stage of his career, where he presented himself as a live performer instead of a film actor. And even here he made many terrific songs.

Elvis Comeback Special on NBC

Elvis Comeback Special on NBC

Elvis from Aloha Hawaii TV Special

Elvis from Aloha Hawaii TV Special

So, to say that Elvis was finished once he entered the army is wrong. He made a boatload of hits after this period. The movies from which they were drawn were weak, but the standalone vocal performances were good for their day ... and beyond.


MTV broadcast a standalone video performance of Madonna singing Don't Cry For Me Argentina. From Wiki:

Madonna's vocals received positive critical response and the song went on to reach the top of the charts across Europe, Spain and the remix reached number-one on US Dance Club Songs charts. The song also reached the top-ten of a number of national music charts, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and received gold certifications from five different countries.

Madonna - Don't Cry For Me Argentina

Madonna - Don't Cry For Me Argentina

Thus, I think it is possible to lift or elevate Elvis' hit songs from his mediocre movies, see them as music videos and give him credit for that instead of focusing upon the lousy plots.


Comments

Suzie from Carson City on April 01, 2019:

rjbatty.....Nice article on "The King." I liked the post-Army Elvis, up to the period before he began to look like an overstuffed sausage! Always love his voice and his songs!!,....Don't Be Cruel Baby!...Paula

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on April 01, 2019:

I agree, Elvis focus just changed after his military stint. He produced some great songs post-military and although many of his movies may have had weak story lines they were really just vehicles to promote new songs and most were very good. Songs like American Trilogy and In the Ghetto are hard to beat.

Related Articles