“Elvis Was a Hero to Most...

24.8.2007
Words by Páll Hilmarsson
…but he never meant shit to me” – to borrow the words of Public Enemy’s Chuck D. I was busy babbling incoherently at the tender age of one when the King passed away in an undignified manner, thirty years ago. Now everybody is busy remembering Elvis. We have bloggers posting Youtube clips of Elvis in various stages of sweat, ranging from a mild dew, to perspiring like a medium size waterfall. The print media shows us still clips from these videos and the recording industry tries to sell us yet another compilation of greatest hits and the Youtube videos on DVD. Elvis’s daughter, Lisa Marie, is planning a duet with her father – or a hologram image of her father – probably to be shown live during Superbowl – sandwiched between comercials.

I am a little sad that I never got the chance to experience Elvis first hand, but also a bit relieved. Sad because Elvis was one hell of a performer and relieved because me and my generation got something much better than Elvis.

I am referring to the greatest rock ´n´ roll album made, of course; Guns ‘n’ Roses debut album, Appetite For Destruction, which is celebrating it’s twentieth year. Appetite made me who I am today. Without it I might have regarded Lisa Marie’s stunt a little cute and might even be a little excited. Thanks to Axl Rose I know what complete shit that performance will be. Appetite For Destruction was a dangerous album. It frightened people. Kicked them in the nuts. It was not an album your parents liked. It was not politically correct – whichever way you looked at it. It was rock ‘n’ roll. And it was dangerous.

It is the album in my collection that I listen to the most. I will defend it anywhere and against anyone. People who listen to Appetite For Destruction are, in my mind, better people than others. It is a timeless masterpiece. Even the sub standard tracks, like Anything Goes, are fucking awesome and way better than anything else.

And here’s the deal: Elvis used to matter to people like this. Elvis used to be dangerous. Parents used to hate Elvis. They could not understand this crazy gyrating of the hips. He made women faint. That is rock ‘n’ roll.

And without Elvis there would be no Axl Rose or Appetite For Destruction. So in a way Elvis is a hero to me. I’m just hoping that Axl will quit before he starts sweating lika the bloated king – but it’s probably a little to late for that.

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