Gr8at: Flamboyant Outfits Worn by #ElvisPresley in the 1970s

Is there a more important and more influential individual in music than Elvis Presley? ‘The King’ had everything. Looks, charm, sex appeal, the most wonderful voice and a love of music that always shone through. John Lennon himself said The Beatles would have never existed without him. That’s why demand was so strong for another Elvis exhibition at the 02, only two years after the last one. Below are eight of the most striking outfits worn by Elvis in the early 1970s, as shown in Elvis on Tour. Do you have a favourite? Can you ever imagine wearing any of them?

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Gr8at: The Last Songs I’ve listened to

Continuing with ‘Alex Week’, I thought I’d share the last eight songs I listened to that I haven’t ever referenced on a blog post. Do you have a favourite among them? What songs have you been listening to recently?

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Gr8at: Memorable figures from the Wax Museum

I had planned on doing a wider description of Dublin’s Wax Museum, especially after I previously did an introductory style piece. But although the museum includes information about Irish history, its politics and its many famous writers, it will always be a very visual place and so my post will focus on that too. Below are a mix of musicians and very fictional entertaining characters, including the fifth James Bond, a boy wizard, the King of Pop and a very hairy Wolfman. How good do you think they are?

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Line(s) of the Day #Can’tHelpFallingInLove

can't help falling in love Elvis Presley

Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling, so it goes
Some things are meant to be.
Take my hand, take my whole life, too
For I can’t help falling in love with you

Taken from one of Elvis Presley’s most loved songs, Can’t Help Falling in Love, which was first featured in Elvis’ 1961 film Blue Hawaii.

Line(s) of the Day #Alwaysonmymind

Always on my Mind single designMaybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time.

The opening lyrics of the hit single ‘Always on my Mind’ by Elvis Presley (1972). Though originally recorded by Brenda Lee and Glenn McCrae, it is Presley’s version that is considered the definitive version.

Line(s) of the Day #WeDidn’tStartheFire

We didn't start the fire

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenberg’s H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye
Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc
Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock
Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland
Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai
Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather Homicide, Children of Thalidomide…

Buddy Holly, Ben-Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia
Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go
U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo

Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion
Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan
Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shore, China’s under martial law
Rock and Roll, cola wars, I can’t take it anymore.

The verses from the song ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ which lists notable and notorious people, places and events from the years 1949 – 1989. It was taken from the album ‘Storm Front (1989) by Billy Joel.

Gr8at – Non-festive UK Christmas Number Ones

Amidst traditional classics, Christmas Day also provides the chance for completely non festive songs to top the charts. And there have been plenty down the decades. Here are eight of the best.

Moon River – Audrey Hepburn (1961)

Moon River

Used in the much-loved film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Moon River wonderfully captures Holly Golightly’s adventurous and caring spirit and became a huge hit. The fact it came close to not even being in the film just goes to show how many strange decisions there can be behind the cameras.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (1975 and 1991)

Bohemian Rhapsody

No matter how many times I hear it, I still can’t help but be amazed at just how brilliant this song is. Innovative doesn’t even begin to cover it. Spending 9 weeks at number one, after Freddie Mercury’s untimely death in 1991, it became number one again for five weeks as a double A-side with ‘These are the Days of our Lives’.

Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd (1979)

Another Brick in the Wall

The single and album are so interlinked it’s tempting not to distinguish them, but the seminal album’s leading track sold over 4m copies worldwide and even topped the US chart. Christmas is an unlikely time for a protest against education, but then again all the schools are closed at that time of year.

Always on my Mind – Pet Shop Boys (1987)

Always on my Mind

Elvis already had one Christmas number one with ‘Return to Sender’ in 1962, but a cover of his 1972 classic gave the Pet Shop Boys their only UK Christmas Number One. One of the rare times it’s possible to rate a cover as well as the original. A slightly peculiar video mind.

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston (1992)

I will always love you

Considering the song was Number One for 10 weeks, there was always a good chance this would be a Christmas chart topper. Though originally sung by Dolly Parton who composed it, this is Whitney Houston’s song through and through. Best avoided on a karaoke machine.

Earth Song – Michael Jackson (1995)

Earth Song

It’s not just anybody who could get a Christmas Number One with a song about how we are failing the environment, as well as keeping the first new song released by The Beatles in 25 years off the top spot. But Michael Jackson reigned in his musical genius stratosphere, and this is still his biggest selling song here.

Mad World – Gary Jules (2003)

Mad World

I’m hugely fond of the original by Tears for Fears, but there’s something so haunting about this stripped-down Gary Jules cover. Used in the film Donnie Darko, the sombre tone reflected the mourning the world still had trying to come to terms with the 9/11 attacks.

Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine (2009)

Killing in the nameThe first song to reach the UK Number One on downloads alone, there’s plenty more distinguishing features for this song, not least it’s colourful language and supremely aggressive guitar riffs. The anger in the song capture’s a lot of the attitude against the possibility of another X-Factor contestant getting a Christmas number one for a fifth straight year.