New Elvis post by guest blogger Ruddy Adam.
Elvis at Christmas and His God-Praising Songs
“Elvis Presley could sing the phone book and make it sound like a chorus of angels.” (Miss Buck to the mother of one her students, who was concerned about Miss Buck’s having her daughter study Elvis’ voice, in answer to her question: “Can this Elvis sing?” As I’ve related to you, Miss Buck was a professional, who did not get wrapped up in celebrities, but let someone question Elvis as a talent or as a person—and a set of claws would pop out that you did not want to get in the way of.)
This verse is for Elvis and all our families who’ve gone on to the Lord ahead of us—and for you! Recorded by the Lord’s Courier, Luke, it is from one, certain Divine Messenger, who surely had a voice like Elvis’, and is a praise-line regarding the Lord’s coming to earth as our Savior. I suggest thinking seriously about this verse, because it is one of the earliest of its type, being one of the most deeply profound verses regarding how the Lord thinks about His people.
The “peace” the Messenger mentions in this verse is not physical peace—it is rather a mental peace that those who know and understand what the Lord accomplished for us while He was walking the earth have.
The “divine favor” is the greatest of all gifts from the Ever-Living to His people: the Adamic race! If we were to make a doctrine out of the Lord’s thinking in this verse, we might call it Gigantic Grace, which places all Adamics in a state of deep Divine Grace with our Savior, and that would be the Lord’s willingness to forgive us no matter what we do, to love us no matter what, and to grant us perpetual mercy. What more can a human ask for from the Creator of the universe? Imagine that people have the gall to ask the Lord to do something physical for them!
In this verse, you might notice there is no reciprocal demand!! That singing Messenger simply and patently informs us that we, Adamics, stand in that state of favor with the Lord, because we are Adamics. Of course, later on, we learn that the Lord calls His Own—and they go to Him, figuratively speaking. This calling is not to some special denomination. It is not to some special preacher, priest, pastor, or minister. It is not to some human ritual. It is to Yasu and His Message to us.
“Honor in the highest of the Upper-Levels to God, and on earth Peace. Among Adamics—Divine Favor!” (Luke 2.14) Notice that here is another Triad that the Lord is so fond of using: Honor, Peace, Divine Favor.
Christmas was Elvis’ favorite time of year. Although by the early 1960s, he was usually traveling or living in California, by the second week of December he was at Graceland, his home in Memphis, Tennessee. His staff had the house decorated and ready for him by the second week. Elvis loved the decorations, he loved the Khristian and the Santa music, and he loved being at Graceland during Christmas, his favorite place in the world.
But what he loved most was giving gifts at Christmas. Elvis loved giving all year long, in fact. In 1964, by December, he had already given away over $200,000. The US dollar was worth about ten-times then what it is now, so that’s about the equivalent of $2-million today. He paid off people’s mortgages, gave them cash, and gifts of all types. He gave anonymously to many charities. Being a dog lover, especially puppies, the children of Elvis’ friends all received a puppy or two over the years.
His manager, Colonel Parker, was always getting after Elvis for giving to individuals, because he could not write a personal gift off his taxes, as he could one to a charity or Church; in fact, he was supposed to pay taxes on gifts over $10,000. Elvis let him know that he did not care. He wanted to give gifts to people on a personal level, and oftentimes did not know the people he gave too well at all. He either liked them, they did some small favor for him, or he saw that they needed the money. If he did not know the people, often he would have an emissary take the money to them.
When he got home that year, he immediately gave away another $100,000 to his favorite Church, to local charities, and to people in need. From the time he got home, to Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and thereabouts, he gave away several new Cadillacs, guns, gold watches, rings, and always gave large bonuses to those who worked for him. Over his lifetime he gave away over 100 new Cadillacs, his favorite car for many years.
A trip to the local jail was another Christmas week tradition, and Elvis always found at least one person that he believed he just had to get out of jail. During the day on Christmas Eve, he went about town handing out gifts, and then had a crowd over to his house that night, which was his favorite night of Christmas. He always had Christmas music on, but not his own. He may sing a song or two, but he would not play his music that evening. Christmas Day was for family.
Elvis absolutely adored the South. One of my favorite comments from him was about Jackie Wilson, and a song of Elvis’ that he did. Elvis liked the way he did it, except for the accent. Elvis said, “I started to do the song this way, and I like the way Jackie did it. But, you know, his accent didn’t help the song; he’s a Yankee, you know. Their accents are, well, you know. (laughter)”
Elvis would tell people in an instant that he was a Southerner and that he loved the South. The boy never forgot his roots. This one was his favorite song about the South.
Watch the great master conduct his symphony. Notice he has a delicious contrast going, with his singing baritone and his back-up singers tenor. Sweating and puffing, Elvis strikes the heart of every person with a scant bit of Southern soul in them. Nobody sings this one like Elvis. He kills it!
The Great Song Honoring the Last Place of Adamic Freedoms: “Dixie,” Elvis, 1972 (4:00) Live & Raw!
Elvis’ favorite Christmas song: “Blue Christmas,” 1968 (2:45) Live & Raw!
As all of you know, Elvis loved the blues, and when he heard this version of “Merry Christmas” by Charles Brown, he decided to cover it in the same bluesy style that Brown did it.
“Merry Christmas,” by Elvis (5:00) Studio Version
Elvis singing middle baritone, rather than his usual high baritone. It’s a range he doesn’t sing all that often, but you can tell he’s really comfortable at this level. Again, where is the singer that can sing middle baritone to middle tenor?
“There Will be Peace in the Valley,” Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show, 1957 (2:35) Live & Raw!
I loved this one when it came out, and still do, because of what Elvis does with his voice, making it slightly raspy and then back clear and clean again. The classical movements are choice.
“It’s Christmas Time, Pretty Baby,” Elvis (2:25) Studio Version.
I put this one in because Elvis sings it so well, but also because of the pictures of him at Graceland. Notice the one with his dog! Really great pictures!
“I’ll be Home for Christmas,” Elvis (2:00) Studio Version.
Elvis doesn’t need harmonies. These are good, however, and give us a fresh variety of his singing.
“O Come All Ye Faithful,” Elvis (2:50) Studio Version
This video shows better than any I’ve seen how deeply into these type of songs Elvis is. You know he believes what he’s singing! It shows the power in his voice, too.
“How Great Thou Art,” Elvis, 1972 (2:55) Live & Raw!