Friday, July 27, 2012

(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care

This was one of the very first Elvis clips I ever saw. I'm sure I'd seen bits and pieces, especially when he died, but few of them stuck with me. This, though...I remember watching this and thinking, oh...right. I get it. Now I get it. 

There was a period where MTV used to play this fairly often. I'm not sure why—maybe it gave them some sort of hipster cred, putting it on between the latest hair metal and some Brit synth pop. Or mabye it was simply that it was less than two minutes long and made programming easier.

All I recall is that no matter who it came between, artists I loved, artists I hated or artists I didn't really care about, it was more than a breath of fresh air: it was absolutely spellbinding. The easygoing manner, the way he clearly has no training as a dancer and yet is almost liquid in his movements as the music starts in his feet and works its way up his legs until he brings into song, the small smile, as if this is all just a private joke you're in on together, the overall insouciance, it all added up to the best two minutes on MTV. I'd watch this and think, sure, Dylan and Lennon and Springsteen are all open about it but, no, I don't care what the bios say about Anthony Newley and  Lindsay Kemp, this, this is where David Bowie got most of his moves, not to mention where Robert Plant got his...well, pretty much everything.

Elvis had the voice, he had the looks, he had the moves and, most of all, he was just. so. damn. cool. It came three years after the true beginning, but watching this is very nearly like being able to witness the big bang of rock and roll.

And just check out the expressions on the faces of the extras; not one of them seem to be acting.

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