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Peace In The Valley

2007-08-16 - 12:58 p.m.

Well, everyone else is talking about it, so I'll add my voice to the choir.

Thirty years ago today, Elvis passed from this world to the next.

I remember learning of it from the newspapers I was delivering. At that time, I didn't see what the big deal was. I'd seen compilation albums advertised on TV, but had no real idea of the scope of his influence.

I know now.


There are still those who claim that Elvis is alive and well. I have one friend named Wendy who swore she saw him at Graceland, heading up a flight of stairs.

I look at it like this. Either he's dead, or he isn't. If he is, then he's at rest. If he isn't, then this elaborate hoax was enacted so he could (most likely) either go into rehab and detoxify, or take a much-deserved vacation without the world following him around.

So either way, he's at rest.


Which of course leads to the standard question: "What's YOUR favorite Elvis song?"

Well, onstage I enjoy singing "Marie's The Name (Of His Latest Flame)" with occasional lyric changes - nothing dirty, of course...but sometimes I change the like so that it says she has the "prettiest green eye anywhere".

But the one song Elvis did that I love is "(There Will Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)". This a capella masterpiece holds a special place for me. In late December 1988 I was driving a tow truck. I was listening to KRTH when they announced the death of "Brother John" Rydgren (scroll to the bottom of the link for his entry). Brother John was a voice on the radio I had always liked - he did a syndicated Christian show called Powerline that played top hits and had mini-sermons in between - and hearing of his death hit me pretty hard. I pulled over to the side and wept while the station played "Peace In The Valley" in Brother John's honor.

Since then...I weep when I hear it.


So. Peace to you all...and to you, Elvis, wherever you are.

Be seeing you.


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