Morning Music: Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las VegasWhen I was a kid, I didn’t like Disco music. But I didn’t get it. I didn’t realize that it was one of those wonderful art forms where it is just an inside joke that even most of its practitioners didn’t realize it. But really: “Disco Inferno”? That’s high comedy and brilliant music! The Elvis films and the music that went along with them definitely fall into this category. How could they not? They were all produced by sophisticated professionals. They knew that they were doing: pandering. And they had fun doing it.

One of the three films that Elvis starred in in 1964 was, Viva Las Vegas. In it, Elvis plays Lucky Jackson. He’s come to Las Vegas to enter a auto race. But he needs to replace his car’s engine. So he enters a talent show to get the money. And here he is singing the title song by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. (Factoid: both of them died of cancer in 1991.) It’s pretty great. But you may prefer the Dead Kennedys version.

4 thoughts on “Morning Music: Viva Las Vegas

    • This is probably the first Mojo Nixon song I ever heard. It seems like he did some other songs about Elvis. Of course, his greatest song was “Don Henley Must Die.”

      • I don’t know Mojo at all beyond the Elvis song, which I remember from Dr. Demento. But the Henley one was great. I was listening to it thinking “this could kinda describe Sting too” and then Sting pops up at the end. Also the vitriol of it makes clear that Mojo’s Elvis song was about the Elvis cult, not Presley himself, who seems to have been rather a simple person way over his head with fame. Had Elvis lived a few years earlier, he might have been a lovely backup singer for country stars and probably enjoyed life a lot more.

        • Yeah, that’s where I knew the song from first: Dr Demento. Mojo’s love for Elvis is real. He also has a song about how great the drunk is on The Andy Griffith Show. He hated pretense, so he went after a lot of pop icons that were big at the time. But he loved the old stuff. Henley certainly deserved the treatment — although I also think that Henley was brilliant. Oh, another Mojo Nixon song, “Bring Me the Head of David Geffen.” “Who killed rock-n-roll? Bring me the head of David Geffen!”

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