From page 53 of Classic Rock Magazine December 2006
You can call him The King
BY IAN GILLAN Ilost interest in Elvis Presley after he made the Blue Hawaii film [in 1961] and went to Las Vegas, but in his prime nobody could touch him. Michael Parkinson once asked the famous New Zealand soprano Kiri Te Kanawa about the greatest voice she’d ever heard, probably expecting her to name Pavarotti or Maria Callas, but she said: “The young Elvis Presley, without any doubt.” Elvis’s voice was unique. Like so many others he had natural, technical ability, but there was something in the humanity of his voice, and his delivery. He was very influenced by Southern blues, and he helped to prove that you could have this bizarre mixture of country and western, blues and folk music. I soaked up what he did like blotting paper. It’s the same as being in school – you learn by copying the maestro. His personality was also extremely endearing. The shaking of his hips was deemed sensational back then, but unlike Little Richard or Chuck Berry his interviews were very self-effacing. He came over as gentle and was generous in his praise of others.
Gradually, though, his youthful vigour and uninhibited style began to ebb away. For me, he sang the last time in the movie GI Blues . Along with the rest of Deep Purple I once had the chance to meet Elvis. The rest of the guys went along, but I couldn’t stand seeing my hero after he’d changed so much. Those early records are still incredible, though. They can remix them and make them hits for the younger generation, and Elvis will always be The King. The reason is simple: he was the greatest singer that ever lived.
Deep Purple tour the UK in April/May, 2007.