HOLIDAYING in San Francisco in 1959, I was privileged to join a vast audience who witnessed a young Elvis Presley give the performance of a lifetime.

He was superb. His emotional impact was so overpowering that many members of the audience became hysterical.

This reaction was due partly to Elvis' unique vocal talent and outstanding charisma, because his backing musicians didn't enhance his performance in any way.

Scotty Moore on guitar provided a rather nondescript rockabilly-influenced style of accompaniment and Bill Black on stand up 'slap' bass sounded out of tune.

Despite this poor accompaniment and a level of amplification that by today's standards was almost non-existent, Elvis drove his fans wild and confirmed his status as a true icon of popular culture.

His continuing popularity and legendary status is due, in part, to the fact that he possessed a repertoire of truly phenomenal proportions and throughout his illustrious career, he regularly demonstrated an insouciant mastery of many musical styles.

Most people seem to recall Elvis from the time when was a bloated, tragic parody of his former self, but I remember him when he was at his peak - a vivid memory that will remain with me until the day I die.


Clayford Avenue, Ferndown