Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted by Spinner Contributors
Let's say Elvis Presley had lived to a ripe old age (or, if you're more conspiracy-minded, came out of his hiding place). In the following 10 scenarios, several contributors speculate -- some thoughtfully, some whimsically -- on exactly what the King would be up to in the present day.
1. Elvis the Musical Trailblazer
If Elvis hadn't died on Aug. 16, 1977, he would have eventually recorded a critically acclaimed album that showcased his complex psyche and soulful melancholy. Elvis would have delved deeper into his spiritual side and contributed a whole new genre to rock music -- Southern angelic fugue funk.
2. Elvis the Weight-Loss Guru
Elvis would have his own weight-loss program going today if he were still alive. After years of travel and bad eating habits, he would be taking a stance against obesity, especially in children. In his stand against obesity in America, Elvis would speak at schools across the United States about the negative health effects of being overweight. He would present facts that show how he could prevent the heart attack that could have taken his life and explain how eating healthier and exercising properly will prevent heart risks in kids their ages.
3. Elvis the Fashion Icon
Elvis Presley's controversial and uninhibited ways would have undoubtedly impacted the fashion world by 2010. He wasn't afraid to be different and, if he were alive today, the fashion industry would be inspired by his tendency to fuse together seemingly unmixable things. Think cowboy-punk or Parisian-goth, for example.
4. Elvis the Protest Rocker
'In the Ghetto' was a hit for Elvis in 1969. With the current state of the economy and the threat of terrorists, he would have recorded more political songs. 'In the Ghetto' was a career risk for Elvis that paid off. Similar risks would have pay off equally as well.
5. Elvis the No. 1 Football Fan
Had Elvis lived, he'd have brought the NFL to Memphis in the form of the Memphis Hillbilly Cats. The King's love of football is well-documented in numerous biographies penned by his Memphis Mafia entourage. Can there be any doubt he'd have lobbied the NFL Commissioner to bring a team to his beloved Graceland Stadium in Memphis?
6. Elvis the Record Producer
Elvis Presley would have naturally catapulted into a top-notch music producer. With more than 1 billion records sold, he understood music sales. Elvis' kind, humble personality was the perfect match with artists, musicians and engineers alike. His greatest asset in predicting winning tunes would have been his indisputable live performance success. Lisa Marie's music career would no doubt have ignited with her dad as her producer.
7. Elvis the Philanthropist
If Elvis were alive today, he would be involved with helping others. A little-known fact is that Elvis was very charitable; he just wasn't flashy about it, in contrast to other parts of his personality. He would be involved with charities that would relate to personal passions and faults. If alive, Elvis would be important to those serving in the military, battling addiction and combating poverty.
8. Elvis the Industry Savior
Although his live performances were legendary, the King of Rock & Roll made a fortune off record and, posthumously, off compact disc sales. If he were alive today, you can rest assured that he'd feel obliged to assist the struggling music industry in the throes of the Internet age. The former legend would undoubtedly carry a great amount of leverage in gaining fan support, as well.
9. Elvis the 'Idol' Judge
A pop culture phenomenon meets the King of Rock 'n' Roll! If Elvis were still alive today, he'd be a guest judge on the most influential TV show to impact today's pop culture scene -- 'American Idol.' Season after season, Elvis' work is covered by aspiring artists. By guest judging, Elvis could mentor singers and bring more authenticity to the show -- not to mention scold contestants butchering his songs!
10. Elvis the '10 Comeback
There is no one who can call into question the achievements of Elvis Presley. His music did more than move some feet and sell some records -- actually, it's nearly 1 billion records worldwide, according to some estimates -- it broke through racial barriers at the height of segregation and gave the US its first universally recognized icon of rock n' roll rebellion. While they may not like to admit it, every rabble-rouser who has captured the attention of the angst-riddled youth of their generation since owes Presley a debt. Now, on what would have been his 75th birthday, we take a moment to ponder what could have been had his life not been cut short.
Like many artists of his generation, Elvis was facing an uphill battle in the industry he helped build. The times and tastes were changing as rapidly as the technology. Many artists of the vinyl era found it initially difficult to meet the extended album-length requirements brought about by the inception of cassettes and later CDs. And if the pressures of staying artistically relevant weren't enough for a veteran artist, the digital age has forced record labels who were shifting a million units a week less than a decade ago to their knees. Like Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond, Presley would need to find the right producer who could reintroduce him while still honoring his past.
The obvious choice for this role would be Rick Rubin, who returned both Cash and Diamond to platinum glory after longstanding commercial slumps. The imagination runs wild with the possibilities of such a collaboration -- the weathered voice of a wise, but not weary, Elvis over Rubin's signature sparse and steady tracks. Perhaps a modern guitar hero manning the six string, or a contemporary crooner providing backup when the chorus kicks in. We can only dream.
Contributors: Wendy Gould, Karen Barnes, Misti Rainwater-Lites, Colleen Larson, Candy Parker, Karen LoBello, Paul Ruth, Brian Young, Missy Jess and Michael Bilinski