Elvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock, 1957
Elvis, Run On, 1967
Elvis, Are You Lonesome Tonight, 1977
I’ve been to three concerts in my life: the Avett Brothers in 2019, Lyle Lovett & Bonnie Raitt in 2004, and Elvis Presley in 1956. On May 23, 1956, Elvis Presley and the Jordanaires played one concert at the Sioux City Auditorium. Most of Sioux City’s white, middle class parents saw Elvis as a threat to the moral fiber of the community, so Daddy’s willingness to be an accessory made me a “cool kid”, at least for a night.
I was fourteen in 1956 when Elvis played at the Sioux City Auditorium. The notion of being a “teenager” was new: there was being a kid, there was waiting to be an adult, and there was being an adult. No age definition or marketing segment separated us as a pack. There were no self-help books or columnists to advise parents about the “teenage years.” There were, however, the first glimmers of something different, something special, and something apart. Elvis Presley, more than anyone else, gave the young a belief in themselves as being distinct—the first “teenagers” in America to feel the power of a youth culture.
Our Elvis, the Memphis Elvis, the pre-Las Vegas, before-sequins, thin Elvis, looked dangerous, wore a perpetual sneer, dressed in black leather, sported a greaser’s DA with a forehead lock that refused to stay in place, and invented the pelvic thrust.
Our Elvis set a bad example and, along with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly, offered teenagers an alternative to the “more appropriate” teen idols like Fabian, Ricky Nelson and Paul Anka—boys you could take home to Mom and Dad.
Our Elvis also loved his Mom, grew up singing gospel music, favored peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and served in the Army for two years.
A week before the concert, our principal called a mandatory school assembly to warn us of the dangers to be found in attending the upcoming Elvis concert. Letters were sent home to uneasy parents advising them to keep their ”children” at home. My parents were born, educated, and married in South Dakota but didn’t seem locked within the limitations defined by their Midwestern upbringing. Muth read books, smoked cigarettes, and played her records too loud. Daddy was a Mason, smoked a pipe, and played Donkey Baseball in the summer.
Those traces of being out of place came to my aid when Elvis surfaced in Iowa. Most of my girlfriends were forbidden to go see him, but my Dad bought two $1.75 balcony tickets, dropped me and my girlfriend off in front of the Auditorium, and said, “Now you girls have fun.” And fun we had—there was screaming, there was moaning, there was bawling. When Elvis began to play A Whole Lot of Shakin, the roof blew right off.
Our cheap seats—top row in the nosebleed section—were miles away from the stage but the power of his personality brought us right down into the action. Two hours later, or it may have been two minutes or two days, he was gone. He came back for three encores and wouldn’t come out again. I’m not kidding—the next thing we heard was, “Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.”
Sound Food Black Bottom Peanut Butter Pie
- 1 c. chocolate chips
- 1⁄4 c. coffee
- 1⁄2 # cream cheese
- 1⁄2 c. honey
- 3⁄4 c. creamy peanut butter
- 2 t. gelatin
- 1⁄4 c. milk
- 3 eggs
Sprinkle gelatin over room temperature water.
Melt chocolate chips and coffee over hot water. Spread chocolate over bottom of baked pie shell.
Using paddle attachment, blend cream cheese, honey, and peanut butter.
Bring milk to a simmer, temper egg yolks with half of the hot milk. Add egg yolk/milk mixture back into remainder of milk. Add final egg/milk mixture to cream cheese/honey/peanut butter mixture.
Add gelatin/water mixture. Combine until smooth.
Beat egg whites to soft peak.
Fold egg/peanut butter/gelatin mixture into egg whites.