🎸Elvis International ~ Written by Janet Bostic
I was wrong. I have no problem admitting it. I was shortsighted, judgmental and snobbish. There is nothing worse than one who chooses not to see. That was me.
The hot August day when my heart hit the pavement hard, never to be whole again, there was something within me that hardened as well. I had acquired album after album, movie after movie, tapes and vinyl – and if the truth be told, most likely 8 tracks somewhere in a box. I was certain I knew it all, heard it all, memorized it all. I believed the RCA discography put out in such a haphazard fashion was the be all, end all. I knew everything Elvis. I’d been eyeball to eyeball, face to face with the man once. I’d been to his home. I’d seen it all, read it all. There was to be nothing new about Elvis any more. Surely no one knew more than I did. Surely no one loved him more than I did. All of this hit that abrupt brick wall jumping in front of me that Tuesday afternoon, stopped and finished. The end.
I knew nothing of soundboards and bootlegs. I believed American RCA output was the only completed finished legitimate product. For this reason, it was likely thirty years or more before I purchased anything Presley ever again. True story. I listened religiously to that which I owned. I played the movies and songs for my children, dragging them to Graceland. I cherished the memories. I kept all memorabilia I owned with only one exception that I truly now regret selling. I had small children and times were tough. Sometimes one makes a judgement call.
Just as there are definitely seasons of life, there are definite periods that seem to be never ending with definite issues that seem insurmountable. In youth we see black and white. In maturity the shades of gray start to run from the edge of dogmatic judgements. And the picture is much broader, much like our waistlines and our blind acceptance.
There is a whole wide beautiful world of Presley out there that I had somehow missed. While our boy never traveled internationally, he was never exclusive to our Americana mindset as I had naively believed. Elvis belonged to the world. Country after country adopted our native son, loving him as intently and honestly as we did, each one often outdoing the other in scope and imagination and design presenting him. All this without a personal visit, a worldwide tour, or purposeful outreach. This is the scope and magnitude of our man.
I’ll venture to say most Americans discount Elvis outside our shores just as I once selfishly did. In fact, I am positive it is the closed norm more so than the enlightened few. Why are we so narrow minded? What is the intent of our selfish nature? Truly there is enough Elvis to go around. Just as our love for him grows exponentially with each passing year, a willingness to share him globally only expands all that is Presley.
I have a HUGE dream. While I haven’t been to Graceland since the new museums opened last year, I have seen beautiful photos of the many wonderful exhibits at Graceland. Some are permanent and some are rotating. In addition to the gold records and many numerous awards, there is Private Presley, Presley Motors and Cycles, Icons, Sam Phillips, the Fashion King, the Entertainer – and so on. All are lovely and worthy and downright exceedingly fascinating. I have plans to take it all in firsthand in 2019 and I can’t wait, truly.
But my DREAM is one that goes a step further. Graceland is terribly amiss with the huge absence of an exhibit showcasing “International Elvis”. Before you disagree, hear me out. This makes perfect sense from a relational standpoint as well as a financial consideration. Surely Graceland keeps records of their visitors and surely there is an International contingency that visits Graceland in droves. These visitors spend money. These visitors tell their countrymen about their trip. These visitors make more than a marginal effort to pay homage to our man Elvis. They aren’t driving two or three states away. These visitors scrimp and save and plan for years to see the King’s things. Respected, happy, satisfied visitors in turn bring in more visitors, often planning a return trip before they have left our shores. They tell others.
I have spent the entire past year delving into with a whole new world, learning more than I ever imagined about the GLOBAL appreciation of this man we adore. I have joined collector’s groups, both U.S. and International and when I say it falls short of anger at not knowing this aspect of Presley before now, it being such a well kept secret, I’m telling the truth. I am honored to help admin “Elvis: A Celebration of the Man and his Music”. In our group, we recently discussed the shortsightedness in album cover design, and song placement, wondering what the thought process was, if any, of producers who missed the mark. We concluded there was little forethought and it seemed album covers were a hurried mess to simply throw out a product with no artistic rendering. Where we fell short, other nations exceedingly excelled. The result is one of absolute beauty, some of which is absolutely amazing and astounding. While album cover design seemed to come into vogue in the U.S. in the 80’s and 90’s, many other countries were simply leaps and bounds ahead as far a Presley is concerned. It is almost criminal that we discounted Presley so and cheapened the product by lack of imagination.
Imagine if you will, an exhibit at Graceland that showcases some of these fabulous artistic renderings. Imagine a contingency from Italy or Chile or Japan or Uruguay or Denmark or Australia or the U.K. walking in and with great delight, seeing RCA licensed vinyl cover design and products from their own country, knowing they are represented and respected as legitimate fans of the King. Not only will such an exhibit be profitable, enlightening and educational, it is simply the right thing to do. These fans deserve the recognition and respect returned to them that they have shown for over fifty years.
I will step down from my soap box. In all seriousness, I NEED to discuss this with someone at Graceland. If anyone has any clue how I can seriously do so, please let me know. You know how to contact me. I have the means to access some of the rarest most beautiful Presley items on the planet. I simply need someone who will listen.
International fans – do you agree?
About the Author: Janet Bostic has been a fan of Elvis since the age of 5 (maybe before that!) and has studied his life as long as she can remember. She saw Elvis four times including once in 1976 when she received a scarf and enjoyed a kiss and some conversation with him. Janet has taken 4 trips to Graceland, with her earliest being in 1976 when Elvis lived there. She is visiting Graceland again in the Spring of 2019. Her favorite Elvis song is “Love Coming Down.” She is the mother of triplets and (just like Elvis) her only daughter’s name…is Lisa. Elvis has always been a huge part of her life.