With all of the politicians, movie stars and athletes asking for forgiveness, I’ve been thinking about Elvis Presley.
Elvis is suddenly everywhere these days. The acclaimed two-part HBO documentary, Elvis Presley: The Searcher, drew extraordinary viewership as it tried to shift the focus back on the music and away from the lurid tales of an obese, drug-addled, Howard Hughes-like figure, lost in the Jungle Room at Graceland.
And 2018 is replete with Elvis-related anniversaries. Two of the most significant events in the King’s life have important milestones this year: Elvis’ beloved mother Gladys died in 1958 and the broadcast of the TV special Elvis (better known as the ’68 Comeback Special and album) dates from the end of 1968.
Elvis, who considered himself a firm believer in the Protestant faith of his mother, became untethered, even unhinged, and was prey to the twin demons of excess and ennui that constantly swirled around Graceland.
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Robert F. Darden is a professor of journalism at Baylor University and an expert on gospel music. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.