I’ve been listening to Elvis for months now. It’s the first time in my life, aside from what I’ve heard on the radio, that I’ve given him my attention, and I’m captivated! He was a consummate musician and entertainer.
Even though I knew he was famous for his hip movements, I honestly had had no idea his moves became so blatantly sexual, at least at one point in his career (not sure how long he was into that brand of soft porn). Otherwise, he seemed like the perfect All-American Southern Gentleman – kind, generous, humble, respectful.
I strongly feel that he was a modern-day Adonis. Not Don Juan – because it wasn’t about the conquest necessarily; it was very much about sharing the extraordinary love that he was gifted with in his version of being a Mamma’s boy.
I am thrilled to find out that he knew of Yogananda, and visited the Self Realization ashram in southern California many times, and found peace there.
To me, this song, written for Elvis by Walter Earl Brown and inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.s “I Have a Dream” speech, is the absolute pinnacle of his career. For him, it was a time of exceptional hope, possibility and connection with the highest version of his self.
This first version of If I Can Dream is from his Comeback Tour in 1968, made after the string of racism-related assassinations that assaulted the very concept of Unity.
The second is a later version that year with an integrated audience. I think the comparison of the look is fascinating, although the track is exactly the same. He may very well be lip-synching.