It's probably been a decade back by now. My pal Sylvie called and was really excited to tell me about a long interview that she had just done with Tom Petty. Well, I like Tom Petty. Everybody likes Tom Petty. I'm no special fan, though, and Sylvie talks to lots of famous folks.
The enthusiasm was all about Tom relating the story of seeing Elvis. In 1961 Elvis was filming Follow That Dream around Crystal River in Florida, north of my home in Tampa. I've told you all my stories about going up every day and hanging around, soaking up royalty.
Well, it seems that young Tommy had little interest in any Elvis Presley. He told Sylvie that he was aware of who he was but had no real feelings about him. His uncle wanted Tom to be a witness to history so he took the kid into Ocala where the courtroom scene was to be filmed.
Sylvie's excitement was all about Tom's description of Elvis. "It's just like yours," she shouted into the phone. "He said that Elvis came walking up the sidewalk and that he floated. He levitated! He had a visual aura around him."
"Well, yeah. That's the way it was. I was never just making that stuff up."
Now, it seems that Bob Dylan has opened up. Never happened before. Not even with a best selling autobiography. If you're Bobby Zimmerman in Hibbing and you want to change the world just like Woody did and Little Richard did, you better come up with an act. A good one. Name yourself after a glorious poet and go study Gorgeous George. Fix your hair like Esquerita and wear girly shirts. Plug it in and turn it up when they start to catch up. Always zig when they expect you to zag. Answer every third question with a riddle.
Don't let this sound like any kind of attack. He's great. The Elvises, though... they're not from around here. They don't come often.