The Seven Ages of Elvis
"All the world's a stage… And one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages."
As You Like It, Act II Scene VII – William Shakespeare
If the world is a stage then – regardless of what you think of his film career – Elvis Presley was its finest performer, his sound and style defined an era.
"Before Elvis there was nothing," said John Lennon. And he was right. Elvis gave our world its first "rise and fall" megastar. No one played the role of "rags to riches" with more aplomb. In the 1950s ‘Elvis-mania' became the benchmark for celebrity. He lived out a larger-than-life comic tragedy of decline, redemption, drug addiction and depression that chased him to an early grave at just 42.
Even after his death, Elvis lives on. He continues to be the highest selling individual artist ever. He had his fifty-third UK chart-topping album in 2016. He's made more money dead than he did alive, eclipsing all other dead pop stars combined. So what's the secret to his triumphant success? Why are we continually drawn to Elvis? What does he mean and why are we so fascinated by him 40 years after his death? Shortly after his passing in August 1977 one critic remarked, "Elvis is a mystery that'll never be solved" - but perhaps there's a new way to look at the King of Rock and Roll.