Elvis Presley fascinated America with his booming voice, funny hip movement, and graceful southern-gentleman nature. He was a poor boy from Mississippi who grew up in Memphis, taking comfort in loving his sweet mother and entertaining his fans and friends.
On August 16, 1977, many across the world were shocked to learn the “King of Rock and Roll” suddenly died at the age of forty-two. While many knew him strictly as an entertainer, others such as “Righteous Brothers” singer, Bill Medley, knew him as a friend.
Searching through Google several years ago, I found a rare Elvis song I’d never heard. What was most interesting about this piece of music was finding a rare song not sung or written BY Elvis, but ABOUT Elvis.
After seeing the old video feed an Elvis fan placed on YouTube, I learned of the history between Elvis and Medley, and how seven years after Elvis’ death, while Medley was driving down the road on a cold dark night, he heard one of Elvis’ tracks came across the radio. Surprised how it had already been seven years since Elvis’ passing, Medley paused to think about all the memories they shared.
Inspired by their old friendship, Medley thereafter wrote a song entitled “Old Friend.” When I first heard the song, I felt it was one of the kindest things ever written about a fellow friend, but I never knew how much the song would mean to me until one of my best friends, Travis Myers, departed this life recently.
Travis touched many of us throughout North Louisiana. He was extremely kind- hearted, entertaining, and loved to help others — illustrated most by his love for his immediate family (wife, baby daughter, sister, mother, father, grandmother) and his work in the nursing profession. Likewise, he was simply a great friend.
Therefore, while listening to Medley’s tribute to Elvis, I found his lyrics to be a suitable tribute to Travis – particularly the ones I’ve bolded.
“Old Friend” by Bill Medley
Don’t be cruel, teddy bear, dancing hips, and long black hair,
old friend, you crossed my mind today.
Las Vegas hotel, Graceland, sweet young daughter and a million fans,
old friend, you touched my heart today.
If I listen real close in the still of night,
I can hear your voice saying you’re alright
Close my eyes, open my soul, touch the king of rock and roll,
old friend, it’s good to feel you once again
You shook us all up, your love is tender,
caught us in a trap, we all surrendered…
uh huh, oh yeah, loving you
Don’t, don’t, baby treat me nice, I’m falling in love with you.
I can sit down put your records on,
Seven sad years are suddenly gone,
God you were young, it doesn’t seem fair
would you be here if I could have been there?
old friend, my heart is crying once again
Trapped here on earth, your mother is free
a lonely pain we refuse to see
old friend you touch my heart today
old friend I’m missing you once again – once again
I’m missing you once again
As the Christmas season approaches and we once again feel those crisp nights, my hope is that you’ll pause to think of those special loved ones you’ve lost, and your “heart briefly cries once again.” Even more, I hope this is an opportunity to embrace the family and friends you have, since life holds no guarantees.
For me this Christmas, I’ll be driving back to Minden from New Orleans thinking about many memories I’ve shared with special loved ones I’ve lost – especially my “old friend.”
Travis would have turned 30 years old today.
Best wishes and Merry Christmas,