We try not to celebrate birthdays of the deceased here in the Newsroom, but today's occasion might as well be a national holiday in some circles. On this day in 1935, Elvis Presley was born. The man who changed rock and roll forever would have turned 75 years old today had he not passed away in 1977 (unless you're a conspiracy theorist who thinks the King is still alive, in which case we hope he's having cake somewhere).
As the distance grows between Presley's breakout and the present day, it becomes harder and harder to put Elvis' accomplishments into context. He successfully synthesized the blues, country, folk and whatever else was kicking around on the front porches of America to create a sexy, funky stew of shuffling rock and roll that worked as both head music and groin music.
Elvis had 18 chart-topping singles, and his worldwide album sales are estimated at over one billion units (yep, that's billion). He made peanut butter and banana sandwiches cool. He wore awesome jumpsuits (and capes!). He's in four different music halls of fame. His home is now an amusement park. Everything about the man is epic, which is why his legacy has lived on well after his death and his influence continues unabated to this day.
Back in 2002, Dutch producer Junkie XL remixed the somewhat obscure Presley track "A Little Less Conversation," which found its way to the top of the charts in 20 different countries. The tune turned Elvis into the unlikely author of a club hit — appropriate for a guy who first stirred up controversy because of his too-sexy dancing. Happy birthday, Elvis, wherever you are.