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By Mahnuel Muñoz

On October 9, 1973, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu completed their divorce proceedings. The press captures images of the couple leaving together and in a friendly attitude at the Santa Monica courthouse. But really, the signature on the paper is the final blow to the artist’s soul, invaded for some time now by darkness and bitterness.

As in countless cases throughout the history of art – and particularly in music – with the blood spilled from a broken heart, works of heartbreaking beauty are created whose enjoyment by the viewer has certain morbid overtones.

In the case of Elvis, this is especially noticeable. His final years are fascinating for the way the barriers between man and artist are destroyed in a bleak spectacle, with grief taking the lead; But since the pain irremediably took over Elvis’s insides and he tried tirelessly and unsuccessfully to relieve himself by capturing the ordeal in his work, we must try to breathe through the lump in our throat and drink in the inevitable beauty that emerged from his drop.

Elvis on Stage

The ink farewell of Elvis and Priscilla coincided in time with the publication of an album titled “Raised On Rock/For Ol Times Sake”, a work that has much more of longing and personal remorse than a return to musical origins. In fact, the only rocks in the repertoire without sentimental load are located at the ends of the album, as if to fulfill the title and attract an audience that was not interested in a self-absorbed and vulnerable Presley.

Live, clad in his jeweled jumpsuits, handing out kisses and handkerchiefs and breaking out his sample of old hits, it was an irresistible sensation, as it had always been. But not even his most dedicated fans seemed to be attracted to the real, lonely, disconnected and desperate Elvis that made his way on the albums disastrously produced and packaged by the record company.

However, that was the most real Elvis that could ever be known, even more than the one who survived the toxic haze of Hollywood and broke his voice in the Comeback of ’68 and the American Studios sessions of ’69 with so much truth and so much rage. as it came out of his mouth. The Elvis who takes off his gold-rimmed glasses and opens wide in “Are You Sincere,” “I Miss You,” “Sweet Angeline” and, above all, “For Ol’ Times Sake” is the same Elvis who sang “ My Happiness” and “That’s All Right” to find his voice and broadcast it to the world; The difference between that teenage truck driver with dreams of fame who knocked on the door of Sun Records and the ten thousand year old man whose wishes were nailing the lid of his coffin was that the latter did manage to draw an accurate portrait of his soul, even if it was unbearably gloomy.

And that is why this album, ignored by critics and the public, must be reclaimed as a piece of “musique verité” that appealed like never before to the viewer’s help and understanding, like the rest of the works that were released in the era with Presley’s confessions hidden between twin covers and random tracklists.

Elvis Presley – “For Ol’Times Sake”

Article written and provided by Mahnuel Muñoz

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