The King is Dead – a reminiscence of things past

The King is dead and, I don’t ever remember him being crowned as such ante-mortem. Thirty years ago, on the day after his death was announced, as I wandered around the centre of Sheffield, all the record stores seemed to be playing Elvis and, quite strangely, I felt moved by The King’s passing. Strangely, because I’d really lost interest in Elvis by around 1960; to be honest I’d generally preferred Buddy, Jerry Lee, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry and a sundry host of jazz and blues artists. That’s not to deny the explosive impact early Elvis had on my friends and myself.


Perhaps the effect of Elvis’s death seemed greater because I was going through a pretty unsettled time myself, painfully recovering from the traumatic dissolution of an embryonic relationship with the wife of a close friend. What I had regarded as a platonic relationship had been treated quite differently by the lady in question. Perhaps the intensity of her feelings for me led to my belief that I was also “in love”, rather than it being a quite simple playfully flirtatious friendship.  As I was a guest in their household, since the lease on my student accommodation had expired, problems were inevitable. Out of concern for these friends, I’d decided to move out and, was somewhat startled by the gap that seemed to be left in my life. A few weeks later I left the city behind me!


In retrospect, it seems that the tearfulness I experienced, at that time, was more to do with my already messed up emotions than the passing of Elvis. The truth is that, as a secondary schoolboy in Sunderland many years earlier, I was much more affected by the death of Buddy Holly. Indeed, I have to admit that the loss of the Busby Babes, a year previous to that of Buddy, cast a far darker shadow over all my school friends.



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