Elvis Presley – The Wonder Of You

1st August 1970 · 1970, 1970s, Music

The first Elvis song I ever heard, recorded live at the height of his Vegas period, The Wonder Of You topped the charts in the UK and USA in 1970.

In the mid-Seventies, when I was an angry young punk, Elvis Presley came to represent everything bloated and overblown about music and needed to be consigned to the dustbin of musical history.

This reached its apotheosis one night in August 1977 when I was at the Vortex, a basement club in Wardour Street, watching The Adverts and Steel Pulse, when the news was announced that Elvis had died. 

Immediately the place erupted in cheers and I’m ashamed to say I probably joined them; I do remember the jeers when a scrawny young fellow (Danny Baker, then working at the NME) jumped onstage to remonstrate with us, telling us that Elvis might be a fat old crooner now but once he was “just like us”, starting a musical revolution.

Oh how we cheered… as the bottles began to fly and he was bundled offstage by, of all people, Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69. 

Of course that’s massively embarrassing to recall. Especially as, at the age of 12, I loved this song. And when I grew up (by which I mean grew out of punk) I realised that (a) Elvis was great – even Vegas Elvis – and (b) Danny Baker was right; I just didn’t know it at the time. 

Obviously it’s much cooler to like Early Elvis, and the Sun Studios stuff is certainly my favourite, but it was recorded before I was born, so I didn’t discover The King until later – much later – which mean it was going to be Vegas Elvis who first came into my life.

This was the first Elvis song I heard. It was also the first single I had ever heard that was recorded live, which gave it an extra frisson at the time, when it topped the charts for six weeks in the summer of 1970.