Unforgettable: Are You Lonesome Tonight? By Elvis Presley

Text: Natassa Papachristou

You know, someone said the world is a stage and that each of us should play a role. Fate reserved me to play the role of your love … Roy Turk’s and Lou Handman’s lyrics with Tin Pan Alley’s music gave birth to ‘Are you lonesome, tonight?’ in 1926. Until 1960, many interpreted it, but fate reserved the song’s great success with the voice of the King of Rock ‘n Roll, the insolent young man from Mississippi with his wisp fixed with rose oil and vaseline, and his trembling lip and shirts with collars up, a seducing country man that although being white could easily fool for being a black male. The applause broke out for Elvis Aaron Presley.

Elvis Presley’s role was that of the performer as he had never written a single track. Part of his duties, of course, was that of the heartbreaker. The ‘play’ unfolds the time Elvis comes back from the army, with Priscilla as his one and only lover and his manager Colonel Parker suggesting he sings this song as it is his wife’s favorite. Here the story (or the myth) begins with Elvis being hesitant to sing it and requesting the track to be recorded with the lights switched off. The hero gets ready, the lights go down but the result is not convincing. However, it is convincing and sentimental for all the young people of that time (and for the upcoming generation) who put the record – it also came in a single- on the record player or listened to it on the radio. Every single person who has been in love or has been broken hearted, facing his loneliness through the lyrics of ‘Are you lonesome, tonight?’ and Presley’s unique voice that brings up the ‘dizziness’, which gives the sense of lonesomeness and loss.

The loss of a habit is something great when it comes to big or even great things. This power, the power of a loss, leads us to continue watching a show that is already over. Is it the habit or the fear of being lonely that doesn’t let us put an end to it? Even though Presley’s clothes were shiny, full of color and glitter the last years of his life were ‘black and white’. Being a caricature of his own self, he kept going… was it the habit or was it fear? Eventually the curtain goes down, fortunately some remain behind it, on the stage and continue the role playing- whatever that is. The stage is a synonym of the end, but there is more to come. Following, there is G. who is dreaming of eating waffles at ‘Zaks’, then A. who is waiting for me to tell her the news of the week and at the end she asks me the one thing that I didn’t tell her but was waiting for her like crazy to ask me, then X. who says that he invested a lot on me which is cute and actually true, then K. who loves me no matter what I say or do and K. who wants to keep everything for himself, for now… Goodbye Elvis, the lonesomeness is all yours.