The Road Ends In Rangoon

May 5, 2011

There are, according to one number I found on some site, twenty-five thousand Elvis impersonators walking the earth.

Elvis impersonator was the result I got when I searched online a couple weeks ago for the answer to Paloma’s query, “Whatever happened to…?”

The person in question was some kid we knew from a record store twenty years ago. And, technically, he wasn’t a stage performer but, according to my findings, merely impersonating Elvis on vocal tracks for impersonators to use in live performances.

And, thanks to the wonders of the internet I learned that our former co-worker had worked with some character touted to be the most beloved Elvis impersonator in Estonia…or maybe it was Luxemburg.

That intrigued me.

Then it turned out that this Estonian (or possibly Luxemburgian) Elvis had campaigned for some politician friend whose apparently extreme positions had caused people to “on numerous occasions” pour beer over his head.

As for this almost Elvis…the most bizarre thing I found was some article on an obscure news site from Southeast Asia. Estonian (or possibly Luxemburgian) Elvis had performed in some small, volatile country by invitation of a colonel from the ruling military junta.

Unfortunately, my brain took a man impersonating a singer known for garish fashion choices, Southeast Asia, and dodgy circumstances, chewed on it, and spat out “Gary Glitter.”

Dodgy, indeed.

That synaptic connection was made more unfortunate when the article mentioned Estonian (or possibly Luxemburgian) Elvis had caused a stir with his efforts to kiss the women in the audience, left the country quickly and had some trouble with the authorities.

It appears that our our former co-worker’s association with Estonian (or possibly Luxemburgian) Elvis had been a good decade ago, so perhaps he wasn’t on this road to Rangoon.

Yet, I couldn’t help but imagine him getting mixed up in some zany scenario.

(he had show business aspirations and didn’t strike me as being the most worldly of cats)

My mind conjured up plots with him as an unwitting patsy and, in the guise of paying homage to The King, running guns for a military junta in some far-flung Southeastern nation.

I couldn’t imagine things turning out well.

Because of my age, I know more of Elvis Costello’s catalog than that of Elvis Presley. I realize that I have most of his albums from the ’80s and a few other scattered tracks.

I enjoy a lot of Costello’s music, but I’ve never gotten to know it as well or enjoyed it with as as enthusiasm as I think I should. Maybe that’s because I’ve known a number of rabidly devoted Costello fans through the years.

Here are four songs by Elvis Costello that I do quite like…

Elvis Costello – Alison
from My Aim Is True

There’s a lot of speculation on the meaning of Allison and there’s speculation that Allison meets an untimely fate. I just dig the languid melody and Costello’s croon.

And, backing Costello pre-Attractions is a band from San Francisco, Clover, which included a News-less Huey Lewis (though he doesn’t appear on Allison)

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Everyday I Write the Book
from Punch The Clock

I don’t think I’d ever heard Elvis Costello until I came across Everyday I Write The Book on 97X in the early autumn of ’83. But, I did love this song from the outset and it’s still one of my favorites of his.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Shipbuilding
from Punch The Clock

Shipbuilding is simply gorgeous albeit resigned and world weary, and a sad reminder that armed conflict is generally a profitable endeavor.

(particularly if you’re Halliburton)

Elvis Costello & The Attractions – The Only Flame In Town
from Goodbye Cruel World

A year after Everyday I Write The Book became one of Elvis Costello’s few mainstream hits, he nearly managed to make the Top 40 again with the shuffling, shiny The Only Flame In Town.

(and he’s joined on the song by Daryl Hall)

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Dear Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas…

November 8, 2009

question-markAny Major Dude has noted that the search engine terms leading the masses to his blog often involve unrequited or impossible love.

Here? It’s a lot of folks searching for sleepwear.

The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, and John Denver (yes, John Denver) are some of the acts with fans wishing to express their allegiance even as they sleep.

(Paloma takes this, admittedly, small sample as a sign that we should fulfill this niche and become pajama moguls)

The search engine statistics also reveal that you folks have questions – a lot of questions. Well, I’m here to help, so here are a few of your queries with the actual search engine topic in parenthesis…

Is Food Network personality Alton Brown a one-hit wonder?
(alton brown one hit wonder)

Mr. Brown is a favorite of ours and quite an accomplished fellow with success as a chef, cinematographer, author, and actor to his credit. And, after graduating from the University Of Georgia, Brown pursued a career in cinematography and was the director of photography on the music video for R.E.M.’s The One I Love.

However, aside from his resemblance to actual one-hit wonder Thomas Dolby, it appears that Alton has never pursued any musical endeavors of his own. So, no, he is not a one-hit wonder.

However, the band Guadalcanal Diary, who were fellow Georgians and contemporaries of R.E.M., might qualify as one-hit wonders. Though they never were a mainstream act, Guadalcanal Diary had a modicum of success with college audiences in the mid- to late- ’80s and are best remembered for the quirky and engaging Watusi Rodeo.

Guadalcanal Diary – Watusi Rodeo
from Walking In The Shadow Of The Big Man

Is Mark Knopfler obsessed with finding a cure for baldness?
(mark knopfler hair loss)

Yes, the former leader of Dire Straits is follically challenged. However, he is also one of the wealthiest musicians in the UK, so, if he wanted, he could afford to outfit himself with the most extravagant toupee in the history of man.

As he hasn’t done so, I would have to say that, no, Knopfler suffers from no vanity regarding his diminishing hairline. If he does wish to find the cure for hair loss, I suggest he get in contact as I could use an investor.

Dire Straits – Romeo And Juliet
from Making Movies

Has Kate Bush ever attacked the paparazzi?
(kate bush attacks paparazzi)

I’ve followed Kate Bush’s career since she broke through in the States with Hounds Of Love and I own most of her catalog. I know that Kate’s father was a physician, she comes from a musical family, she’s studied dance, she’s quite reclusive, and she’s British.

None of these things add up to a profile of someone that would physically manhandle photographers. She simply seems too refined for such behavior (or, behaviour).

(though it is amusing to imagine her having a snootful of brandy following Sunday dinner and letting the expletives fly)

I think this reader has Kate confused with another eccentric female artist, this one from Iceland.

Kate Bush – Breathing
from Never For Ever

What kind of earrings did David Bowie wear?
(what kind of earring did david bowie wear)

There’s no debating that David Bowie has been one of the most fashion-conscious artist in the annals of rock. He’s donned dresses, leather jackets, Italian suits, and indescribable garb as Ziggy Stardust.

However, a quick study of photographic evidence reveals that his ears have usually been unadorned. In the few pictures in which he does have earrings, it appears that the Thin White Duke opts for a single, ring-sized, silver hoop – tasteful, classy, and restrained.

David Bowie – Soul Love
from The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars