E is for Elvis
The couple of hours left of E is not enough time to do justice to Elvis, the King of Rock 'n' Roll who was more of a cultural icon than anybody before or since.
There's a Talking Heads lyric: "One day you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack." Elvis didn't have to wait. He was born into one in Tupelo, Mississippi.
There can be few less promising places to rise to stardom from. Elvis was said to be mediocre at music at school but he was inseparable from his guitar. When his family moved to Memphis, occupying rooms in boarding houses, the influence of the musical Mecca, rubbed off on Presley.
Elvis ushered in a new age of music and his matinee good looks and gyrating moves ensured he became the first global teen idol.
Britain is often hailed as the home of cool music but in the 1950s and early 1960s British youth looked wistfully west and had to make do with Cliff Richard closer to home, a singer who would years later have a Number One hit called Mistletoe and Wine. Enough said.
Elvis was also launched into movies with dizzying results. The audience response at Presley's live shows became increasingly frenzied. One commentator recalled, "He'd start out, 'You ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog,' and they'd just go to pieces."
If Elvis was the world's first superstar he also had a classic superstar downfall. Ruined by wealth and a failed marriage to Priscilla he became increasingly dependent on a cocktail of drugs. There are tales about Elvis ordering dozens of hamburgers a day and shooting TV sets to liven up his miserable existence.
By the early 1970s the idol had become a huge and grotesque mockery of himself. Guitarist John Wilkinson recalled, "He was all gut. He was slurring."
There are now two personas of Elvis in the public imagination; the energetic young crooner and the big bejeweled Elvis with heavy dark glasses so beloved of Elvis impersonators. There didn't seem to be an in between Elvis.
Elvis died in 1977 and his home at Graceland instantly became a shrine. Later there was an unsuccessful attempt to steal his body.
Elvis' life and death should have been a clear lesson to all of those who came after him. But it's not one that the Amy Winehouses, Michael Jacksons and Whitney Houstons of later years, chose to heed.
Curious fact about Elvis: He had an identical twin brother who was stillborn at birth. It's curious to think what would have happened had he lived. Would he have made a living as an Elvis body double?