Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Mark Twain and Elvis Presley: Blood Brothers?

Blame it on the music madness of Memphis—see Dan Tham’s videos of the marching-to-music ducks at the Peabody Hotel below—but a visit to Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion, has me thinking that Mark Twain and Elvis the Pelvis were, at minimum, soul brothers.

The homes of Twain and Presley, who both came from the small-town South, feature rooms devoted to pool tables. Both Twain and Presley loved Hawaii; Elvis’s “jungle room” celebrates the waterfalls and other wonders of Hawaii.

Of course Presley is famous for his hip movement, but take a close look at the only film of Twain. You’ll see he also knew how to move that thing. And both loved spirituals and other music a lot more risqué than gospels.

Right after he was married and traveling with his new wife from Elmira to Buffalo, Twain spent much of the trip belting out these lyrics: “There was an old woman in our town, In our town did well, She loved her husband clearly, But another man twice as well…”

Both Twain and Presley were their era’s superstars. They dressed the part, with heads of hair and tailored suits that commanded awe and imitation. So, remember, you heard it here first, don’t be surprised when DNA testing proves that Twain and Presley were blood brothers.

Loren Ghiglione

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