I Can Still Hear Elvis Singing

Elvis-4Why are we all (almost to the last person) so nutty bananas about music? Why do we spend our days and nights humming tunes and then we go to bed and we dream more tunes?

Why does Elvis go on singing day and night in our heads? I can tell you only one thing I feel sure of. For most of us the music will never stop until the day we die.

ElvisSeveral years I read a book by Oliver Sacks entitled “Musicophilia.” You might remember Dr.Sacks as being the man who wrote “Awakenings” which was made into a movie starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. He is a physician and Professor of Clinical Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University.

Apparently music occupies more areas of our brain than language does. I am not surprised. I have seen the Dawg Walk in Athens, Georgia on game day a number of times and I can vouch for the mind boggling beat of the drums and the fire stoked heat of the Redcoat Marching Band leaving hundreds of us speechless out behind the Tate Student Center. We are all reduced to going, “Woof, woof, woof, woof, sic ’em.”

Elvis 3Aren’t we so glad that the music plays well for us and the power of music can uplift us if we are depressed. It sets us to dancing when we feel bad. It magically transcends us from depths of somber moments and takes us back to a happy carefree time in our youth.

Be happy because Dr. Sacks tells us some people suffer from “amusia.” People who have amusia can listen to a symphony or other forms of music and it all sounds like a clattering of pots and pans to them. Sometimes our sensitivity to music can go wrong and a person can acquire non-stop musical hallucinations that attack them night and day.

But by nature music is impossible for us to resist. It is incapable of being forgotten and that is probably the reason Parkinson’s and stroke patients so often respond to music and to music alone.

So be glad our music goes so right for the great majority of us. Be glad we hear what we are supposed to hear. Hang with your own brand of music and be a happy, happy person.

I was never a great one for wanting to see Elvis in action and I was never a die-hard screaming-meemie fan but I can vouch for one thing. On a cold January day in 1935 in a two room shack in Tupelo, Mississippi an angel of death took a tiny stillborn child back to a better place.

And then a second angel (undoubtedly with golden harp in her hand) reached down and stroked the equally tiny twin brother on his throat and from that day on his vocal cords were as good as gold until the day he died. Thank God for electronically reproduced sound. The gold still flows.

And thank God I hear the music in my head every day. It serves me well.

And yes, I do hear Elvis singing every day.

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