Elvis Presley lookalikes flooded Porthcawl last weekend for the annual celebration of who many call the ‘King’ of rock and roll. Besides the main events in the Grand Pavilion, there were many fringe meetings in over 20 local venues, giving the opportunity for everyone to enjoy the many songs which immortalised the ‘King’.
With such continued success it looks as if Porthcawl is becoming the second Memphis, placing one of our most favourite Welsh resorts firmly on the map. Since his untimely death in 1977 Elvis’ worldwide fan base shows no sign of decreasing and his albums are still best sellers. There’s no doubt that he broke the mould of the popular music of his day. Who would ever have thought that for a few days every September, Porthcawl could claim him as their own – truly amazing!
What many don’t know is that Elvis’ only Grammy awards were not for his pop songs but for his Gospel recordings. Apparently as a teenager, Elvis would sneak out of the church his parents and he attended, just to be part of the neighbouring black congregation where the singing and praise reached the highs and lows of all that is Gospel. The Minister’ Herbert Brewster wrote the song ‘Move on a little higher’ which Elvis later recorded. The vibrancy and the changing mood of Gospel many historians say greatly influenced the beginnings of rock and roll. Elvis and others such as Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly were also grounded in Gospel that was to change the whole music scene of their time. However, one thing I’m absolutely sure of is that Elvis didn’t pick up his pouting lips and gyrating hips from his local Baptist minister!
Gospel and all kinds of music can have an effect on us. A song on the radio can take us back to our childhood within moments. Many couples have ‘their song’. While strains of ‘Cwm Rhondda’ and ‘Calon Lan’ before an international at the Principality Stadium have many in tears of pride and expectation. Elvis, so we are told, would often relax with his guitar, by singing the Gospel songs he knew by heart with his faith grounded in the truths they expressed of God’s love in Jesus Christ.
A great Bible teacher was once asked by his students what was basis of his faith. To the amazement of his class, he began to sing a song he had learnt in Sunday school. ‘Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so’.
I’m sure Elvis would have agreed!