Little Sister

In most circumstances, it would be deeply creepy to hear a grown man with oily sideburns talk about pursuing a former flame’s younger sister. But this is Elvis. So it’s still a bit creepy, but it’s coming from one of those rare people who have the je ne sais quoi to turn ‘weird and creepy’ into ‘sexy and charming’. Elvis was one hell of a charismatic man, and he had the power to pull off things that anyone else would fall flat trying to do. Including all those jumpsuits, and sideburns, and bad behavior and  borderline-pedophile lyrics like these. Being slightly sleazy and yet charming was kind of The King’s thing; he was notorious for radiating dangerous levels of sexiness, but made up for it with his Southern-boy manners. The more cartoonish aspects of the Elvis image are easy to make fun of, especially since his estate has been keen to amp up the kitsch factor. But don’t let those things overshadow his prowess at being a rock star. He was a natural for that calling. You can see it in the video here. It was filmed in 1970, supposedly well into his artistic decline, and he doesn’t seem to be trying too hard. It’s a casual, tossed-off performance; the band looks like they’re having fun, Elvis looks like he’s having fun being the focal point and leading the jam. The impromptu segue into a chorus by none other than The Beatles is a surprise, and the mash-up totally works. It reminds you that underneath all the rhinestones and Brylcreem, Elvis was still a working musician and he wouldn’t be on any commemorative postage stamps if  natural musicianship wasn’t at the foundation of his fame.


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